A hallway is like a handshake:
The introduction to your home, creating a look and feel that should be both attractive and welcoming, as well as providing useful storage.
Design and decorating
Width is the crucial issue in hallways, and unless you’re prepared to do some substantial building work and remove a wall, you’re probably stuck with what you have. To increase the feeling of space in a narrow hallway, use pale colours and add large mirrors, which are also ideal for checking your reflection just before you leave the house. Keep the space as clear as possible by adding only the most essential items of slender storage furniture and using the full height of your walls rather than encroaching on floor space. Whatever the size of your hall, consider it as a linking room and make sure your choice of decorative schemes works well when doorways to other rooms are open. If you have chosen a pale colour scheme for the walls, woodwork could be slightly darker for interest.
Halls and stairs are high-traffic areas, so ensure that your flooring is non-slip, durable, resistant to dirt and simple to clean. Stone, ceramic or quarry tiles, or colourful Victorian encaustic tiles, are all easy to care for, while solid wooden boards or parquet require only some regular polishing or waxing. Cheap wood laminates may not last too long in such a well-used space. Vinyl can look impressive, too, especially when laid in patterns. Carpet is rarely used in hallways these days.
Cosy and bright
Underfloor heating is ideal for narrow halls but do check that it will be compatible with your flooring. Alternatively, you could opt for eye-catching radiators, perhaps a period-style cast-iron column or an eye-catching modern type. Hall lighting doesn’t need to be bright enough for reading, but it should be welcoming and lead the eye into your home: it could be an amazing chandelier (given high enough ceilings) or a series of recessed ceiling downlights.
Most people store a variety of things in their halls, from coats, scarves and hats to buggies and vacuum cleaners. The main choice is between built-in, hidden storage or open, display-type storage. The former is best when space is tight – slender floor-to-ceiling cupboards with plain doors, (perhaps painted the same colour as the walls, or even mirrored to maximise light) ranked along one wall, will hold masses yet be hardly noticeable. On the other hand, you could make a statement with an eclectic selection of free-standing cupboards, sideboards, tables, benches, dressers, baskets, shelves and so on. Umbrella stands and boot racks are ideal for spacious, country-style halls. Somewhere to keep post and keys is a good idea, too, whether a bowl and rack on a dresser or a small, wall-mounted cupboard and set of hooks. If space is really hard to find, it is even possible to build storage drawers into the treads of a wooden staircase.
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