You know what they say about first impression – you only get one shot at them. So what do your guests think when they arrive at your door? Is your hallway simply a place where shoes get kicked off and post gathers in a pile or it is it a welcoming entrance to your home?
Here are some simple interior design teqniques to create a truly welcoming, stylish hall.
What are you stepping into?
A large hallway will always have the room to offer different decorating options but a small narrow space – as halls so often are – can still make a statement.
Flooring is a key element here and you shouldn’t be afraid to be experiment.
Install a floor with a bold pattern by using Encaustic (painted tiles) or lay Victorian tiles. Both these types of tiles come in hundreds of patterns, are incredibly hardwearing and easy to clean – must haves in a hall. They must be laid by an expert and sealed correctly to prevent damage and staining, so ask the company you buy them from for advice on how to look after your tiles. The supplier should also be able to recommend a good tiler if you don’t already know one.
If a traditional or patterned look isn’t your thing then how about wood effect tiles? They are so well designed now that it’s often impossible to tell the difference between tiles and the real thing. But unlike natural wood they won’t scratch or warp. Plus they come in so many different finishes so you could opt for anything from grey oak to a white wash Scandi look. Check out Fired Earth, London Mosaic and The Cement Tile Shop for some inspiration.
Tiles truly are a great option for a hallway but they are expensive so if your budget doesn’t stretch to that then consider a patterned runner to cover less than exciting floors. Sisal super hardwearing. Try binding the edges with a coloured leather. Any good carpet supplier will be able to suggest options and arrange measuring for you. We love Crucial Trading and Roger Oates. Runners can also be fitted to stairs. Tiles or wood on the ground floor with a fantastic runner up the stairs is a gorgeous combination.
What is your light like?
A large, bright room can handle the use of stronger colour, but if your short on natural light then a
luminous shade of off white, cream or pale grey is the way to go. We love Pointing by Farrow and Ball, Stone I and Slate II by Paper and Paint Library and Slaked Lime Light by The Little Green Paint Company. These are really light airy shades that will not dominate the space.
A top tip would be get a selection of testers pots and paint a 20cm x 20cm square of each on a piece of lining paper. Then move it around your hallway at different times of the day to see how the light affects the colour. Paint needs to be seen in situ to tell what it will truly look like. What looks wonderful in your south facing living room might appear totally different in your north facing hallway.
Rethink your walls
Wallpaper doesn’t’ always work in hallways – the risk of damage is too great as people brush up against it. But wood panelling can be a great alternative. There are several different types and some, such as basic MDF tongue and groove, can be bought from your local B&Q. Yet despite being relatively cheap, it immediately adds grandeur. Check out the English Wood Panelling Company for some inspiration.
Hardwearing and easy to touch up if it does get chipped, panelling can also be the perfect base to sit below wallpaper that would otherwise be a no go in a narrow hall.
Furniture to fit
Ideally every hall should have a console table in it. Regardless of your style or taste, a hall table is an essential focal point. The Dormy House have a great selection of hall tables in a variety of colours. We also love Tom Faulkner for glass tables and Oka also have a great selection.
If you have plenty of space then there are countless options and if it’s a bit of a squeeze consider the bespoke option of a very slim console, a shelf or even a radiator cover. All of which can be made by a good carpenter.
Seating and storage can double up in a hallway. Think of a bench with either baskets or a built in cupboard underneath to keep shoes out of. The Dormy House and the Cotswolds Company are great for these.
Create a gallery
This is one of our favourite ways to add character to your hallway and stair case in particular.
It could be a selection of monochrome family snapshots or a mix of artwork and photographs. But displaying the collection as a gallery is a stylish way to hang your pictures. There are no rules when creating a gallery. It’s all about personal style and taste. For example a selection black and white frames in different sizes looks incredibly chic. Or how about mixing styles of artwork – oil paintings with line drawings and maybe a few postcards thrown in? So many options and so much fun to have.
One thing every hall needs
A mirror! For that last check before you leave the house, we think a mirror is an essential fixture in any hall. Place it above a console table and you have the perfect pairing. Plus it will reflect light back into the space. There are so many places to source mirrors from but if you are looking for an affordable starting point and a varied selection try Wayfair.
The finishing touches
Once you’ve found your perfect table then style it up. A beautiful table lamp is a great starting place.
Again, if your hallway is narrow then go for a flatter, rectangular shade that works with a slim line table. If you are looking for a truly stunning lamp then visit Porta Romana or Bella Figura who have the most gorgeous section.
Next you need a pretty dish to pop your keys in and a chic tray to lay
post in. We also love a traditional coat stand or a neat row of pegs to hang jackets on. Then pop an umbrella stand next to it.
Finish with a vase of gorgeous fresh flowers and a scented candle and voila! You are ready to welcome anyone into your home!