How do you make a hallway interesting?

12 Minute Read

Although many of us dream of having huge hallways in our homes, the reality of living in the UK is that we traditionally haven’t built homes with large hallways with lofty ceilings – and so it is an area that most of us have to compromise on. Even though most of us only have a tiny space in the area just inside our front doors, there are ways that we can maximise the way in which we use the space. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best tips and tricks we know for making the most of our tiny hallways. 

Keep Décor Light And Bright

When you’re choosing the colour scheme for your hallway, keep the colour palette bright, to help reflect the light. Bear in mind that although dark colours might seem practical, (you might be thinking that they won’t show marks as much) they are likely to make your hallway feel more enclosed than you might like. A palette of white, creams, or washed out pastel shades will help the space feel bigger.

If you particularly want to use darker shades, you can do this on the bottom half of the wall by adding a dado rail (also known as a chair rail) to divide the wall. Using a light colour on the top half will allow the light to bounce around to create that light and airy feeling we all crave in our hallways, and will allow you to use those darker shades that you love. When you’re painting or wallpapering, be sure to keep the woodwork painted bright white to help keep the light reflecting.Talking of bouncing the light around, we’ve mentioned it before as a tried-and-tested method designers use to increase the feeling of space in small room – but we’re mentioning it again here because it works! Adding a mirror (or several) to your hallway will help to reflect the natural light and give the illusion that the space is bigger – not to mention that they’re practical, and you’ll be able to quickly check your reflection before you leave the house.

Light Your Hallway Effectively

Talking of keeping things light and bright, if you’re concerned about your hallway being dull, then choose a visually interesting light fitting. If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings in your hallways, then a pendant light, or a chandelier (there are some fantastic modern styles) can draw the eye up – and will help to create visual interest too. LED styles last for years, and won’t need the bulbs changing, so you won’t need to worry about needing to get the stepladder out after your light has been fitted.

Hallways with lower ceilings don’t have to have dull lighting. You can find amazing lights that sit flush to the ceiling, or you can switch out ceiling lights completely in favour of wall lights – and depending on the style of wall light that you choose, they can be much more interesting than a simple ceiling light. 

Find Hardwearing Flooring

Although we’ve recommended lighter colours for your décor, floors are a different matter entirely. Carpet is (of course) a warm and welcoming flooring, but in hallways that open directly to the outside, they can get dirty really quickly. Even if you implement a rule that everyone must take their shoes off as they come in, it is inevitable that someone will forget – or that there will be more than one of your family trying to get in out of the rain at the same time.

If you really do want to go for a carpet, be certain to choose carefully when you’re in the shop, and get the best quality you can afford. You’ll need a loop, or a twist pile carpet for the best durability, but you can also consider natural flooring – sisal and coir are both tough enough to take the heavy amounts of footfall that your hallway will have.If your hallway floors take a lot of traffic, and are prone to muddy shoes being walked in accidentally, you don’t need the stress of worrying that you won’t be able to get stains out of the carpet.

There are plenty of other options you can choose from though. Hardwood floors are a much longer lasting option than carpet, and they are relatively easy to keep clean – and you might add a machine washable rug, or a runner along the length of the hallway if you want to add a splash of colour. If you really do love the look of a floor in a lighter colour, then floor tiles, or luxury vinyl can be a great option too – they’re easy to keep clean as well.

Add Great Storage

Hallways can be prone to feeling cluttered, which can make the space feel even more cramped. Finding ways to clear the space – or at least, to organise it – will help the hallway to feel more open.

You’d be absolutely correct if you guessed that we were going to suggest using shelves in your hallway! The more narrow your hallway, the slimmer your shelves are likely to need to be. Whether you add a single shelf above your radiator, add a pair of shelves higher up, or you use them in another arrangement, shelves can help declutter your hallway really nicely.

Placing storage on your shelves, such as a catch-all bowl for keys and change, and a basket to collect accessories like sunglasses or gloves, means that you won’t be searching for them on your way out. Although the clutter is still there, it is somewhat hidden – helping the space to feel more open and organised.

Streamline Your Furniture

When space is at a premium, filling it with unnecessary furniture will just add to the cramped in feeling. See where you can streamline – can you swap your bulky coat and boot rack, or large dresser for a row of hooks and a smaller shoe storage solution? Perhaps you can commit to storing shoes in a bedroom? If you’ve got a console table that is taking up too much space, then get rid of it completely – a narrow floating shelf can work just as well, and will help to keep the floor clear.

Many hallways have awkward little nooks or alcoves, and although they can give the space character, if you don’t have much storage then look at how you can make the most of these spots. Shelves are (of course!) a great option, but if you can find a tall cabinet, shoe storage or a small chest of drawers to fit that spot, that might make more sense, depending on the size of the space and your needs. When you’re searching for a piece that is the perfect size, don’t restrict your furniture search to hallway furniture only – you can often find slimline options that are perfect for your awkward alcove in bedroom and bathroom furniture. 

Wall décor

As you, your family and your guests are going to be passing through your hallway regularly, make the most of the wall space! Depending on just how much wall space you have, in addition to your mirror, you might add a large art print, or find several framed photographs, artwork and prints to create a gallery wall.

Hallway Scents

If you’re storing wet coats and muddy boots in your hallway, especially in the winter months, things can get somewhat fusty, and definitely not as fresh as you’d like. Choosing a great scent will help to cover those damp smells, and will feel welcoming each time you step through your front door. You’ll know what type of fragrance that you love, but if you’re not sure, experts recommend woody base notes such as oak and cedar, with rich tones like oud and leather. These types of fragrances are subtle but welcoming and calming – they won’t feel too overpowering. 

Add reed fragrance diffusers, use an essential oil diffuser, or place scented candles alongside the accessories on your shelf – they are all powerful ways to bring scent in. And of course, you can use a fragrance plug-in as well, if you like them.

If you’re not into fragrance or synthetic scents, then adding fragrant plants to a shelf will help your hallway to smell amazing – potted lavender, herbs, or house plants such as geraniums, pansies or narcissi are lovely options. If you’ve got a little bit more floor space, then a citrus tree such as orange or lemon can be an option that can bring colour to your hallway too.

Final Thoughts

It takes a little bit of work, but with some love and attention, our tiny hallways can be completely transformed from drab, uninteresting places to pass through on our way to other rooms, to a welcoming space that you and your guests will love coming home to. If you’re feeling inspired and are ready to get to work transforming your hallway, head to our shop for your shelves – and when you’re done, don’t forget to share your photos with us on Instagram @bensimpsonfurniture.

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