How to Decorate Your Hallway  

Once you’re through the front door, the hallway sets the tone for your entire home. If yours currently functions as a kind of three-dimensional storage tunnel – strewn with coats, shoes, bags, bikes and unopened mail – chances are, it is not giving you and your guests the welcome you deserve.

For a hallway to function it has to be hard-wearing. Your floors and walls are going to get scuffed. Beige carpets and pale walls are a no-no. It also – in real life – cannot be minimal. Outerwear has to live somewhere, and unless you are the proud owners of a boot room (us neither) you need to figure out ways of living with muddy shoes, wet coats and umpteen tote bags. We hope these hallway decorating ideas will help you achieve a grand entrance.

Words | Nell Card

Photography (left) @erica_davies | (right) Cassandra Ellis

Hardworking Flooring

First up, is flooring. Unless you are prepared to spend a large part of your week sweeping and mopping your hallway, you need to invest in a material that is hard-wearing and able to disguise heavy – sometimes dirty – footfall. Reclaimed flooring works perfectly here. The natural patina of reclaimed wood or reclaimed tiles will effectively absorb footprints as well as providing a bold focal point for this oft-neglected space. If you decide to tile, do as the Edwardians did, and opt for a patterned design: smaller spaces handle the visual impact of busy patterns with aplomb.

dark grey hallway and staircase

Photography (left) Dustin Askland | (right) Kristofer Johnsson

Interesting Staircases

Much more than a conduit from day to night, with a little thought (and a lot of paint), your staircase can be transformed into an architectural statement. Assuming your staircase leads off the hallway, your aim to lead the eye up through your home, giving the illusion of space in an otherwise cramped part of the house. One option would be to paint the treads (the plank of wood you tread on), and the risers (the vertical plank of wood that joins the treads) the same colour. Black and dark grey look smart, especially if you leave the bannister bare. Alternatively, paint only the risers, leaving the treads bare (or vice versa). A painted “runner” will also lead the eye up through the space – just try not to clutter the edges with laundry, books, cold cups of tea etc…

Durable Walls

Much like your flooring, the walls in your hallway need to be hard-wearing and scuff resistant. Wood panelling – which is having a comeback in 2017 – works wonders in hallways, but new panels can take up precious inches in what is an already narrow space. Instead, consider putting the trend for colour blocking to work. Get out your masking tape and divide the wallspace in two, painting the bottom portion of your walls in a bold, dark colour and leave the above neutral and pale. For added interest, you could even go for gloss at the bottom, matte emulsion or limewash on top. The reflective finish will bounce light around the space, as well as providing a wipe-clean surface.

white and blush colour hallway

Photography (left) Davide Galli Atelier | (right) Tessa Hop

Storage Solutions

Floorspace is at a premium in most hallways, and if you’ve invested in beautiful tiles or boards, you want to show them off, rather than bury them in a heap of shoes. Look for sneaky storage solutions: a narrow, lidded bench would be perfect as would a tall, shallow cupboard (perhaps with pigeonholes). Paint your furniture the same colour as your walls so it appears to recede into the space, rather than take up precious room.

Don’t let your coats and bags bulk up your banister. Use the length of your hallway to disperse your outerwear. A run of shaker pegs are a simple and stylish solution and can be painted to blend in with your scheme. Add a shelf on top of them to stash winter accessories, bike helmets etc. If you can, keep a few pegs free to hang “decorative” items – a leather-strap mirror, or framed artwork, for example. And never miss the opportunity to purchase a pleasing basket: neutral or woven in bright hues, there are some brilliant shapes and shades to choose from right now.

Inspired by these hallway decorating ideas? For stunning flooring to lift your hall, check out Bert & May’s range of beautiful patterned encaustic tiles.

Or for more inspiration, browse our Pinterest board.

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