Decorating ideas for hallways

Once your hallway design is finalised, add the finishing touches with interior decoration

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Visual tricks

‘The repetition of a series of pendant lights helps to create a real statement in a hallway. A row of small pendants along its length gives the illusion of a longer space by offering much more light than a single lonely fitting. If you have a low ceiling, a grand chandelier will help to create the illusion of height – simply install one with a flush fitting rather than a chain.

‘Where hanging ceiling lights are not an option (such as with very low ceilings), use wall or floor lights to create depth in your lighting scheme. The latest lighting trend for 2015 is for wall-leaning lamps, which are also perfect for the hallway.’ Claire Reeves, senior buyer for lighting at BHS

arrange your own gallery

Arrange your own gallery

Add a beautiful collection of artwork leading off the hallway up the stair wall – mix treasured photos with mirrors or pictures in similar colour combinations. Keep furnishings simple; a muted floor with a slight metallic sheen, furniture that echoes the frames and unpainted wood will add warmth and balance. Classic staircase in solid ash, from £700 based on an average 13-tread staircase, including handrail and spindles, Richard Burbidge. For a similar set of drawers, try the Gothic black chest, H73xW80xD40cm, £360, The French Bedroom Company. Try Metallic Silver ceramic tiles from the Navarra Tiles collection, £47.25 per m², Walls & Floors

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Creating an ambiance

‘Decide at the start whether you want to try to make your hallway look lighter and brighter, or if you want to go for a dark and dramatic scheme. The lighter the colour, the more it reflects available light – the darker the colour, the more it will absorb the light. So if you want to make a hallway seem larger you will need to go for lighter shades.

‘Try some tricks, such as having a paler tone on side walls, and a deeper tone on the end walls, which will visually pull the end walls inwards and push the side walls out. Bold colours can work wonderfully in hallways – think about using them on the wall that runs up the stairway. This can then be surrounded by an off-white or neutral colour.

‘Think about upcycling old furniture by painting it to tone or match with the walls, so that it blends into the background. Rub down the furniture, apply a primer, and then top with a gloss or satin finish for the best result.’ Judy Smith, colour consultant at Crown Paints

make stripes stand out

Make stripes stand out

Soft flooring, such as carpet, sisal or coir, is ideal in a hallway, as it prevents noise from travelling and gives an instant warm welcome. Bold colourful stripes are great for elongating a smaller space when used vertically, or, horizontally, provide the illusion of width. Keep furniture to a minimum to let the floor take centre stage. (Above) Audrey wool carpet in Sunrise, £140 per m², Crucial Trading

Playing with colour

‘Hallways that have lots of twists, turns and different levels can be really fun to decorate because there are plenty of opportunities to be creative with bold colours. Be brave with shades that have personality and help to emphasise small areas that deserve attention while keeping the rest of the walls neutral.

‘If you have a hallway that is a complicated shape but don’t want to highlight its difference, use tones of one colour to create visual balance. Deeper tones advance and paler ones recede, so use slightly deeper shades of a colour to make walls appear closer, and paler tones of the same colour to make walls appear further away. By using this visual trick you can balance each wall to make them appear as if they are all on the same level, and suddenly a higgledy-piggledy space appears calm and much more spacious.’ Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux

personalise with pattern

Personalise with pattern

Even an older, period property can carry off bold patchwork tiles if paired with a high ceiling and a cohesive colour scheme. Tiles are also hardwearing and low-maintenance, so perfect for a high- traffic area. Choose classic encaustic designs but with a modern twist, mixing and matching the pattern to create your own combination. (Above) Patricia Urquiola Azulej porcelain tiles in Bianco and Nero, W20xL20cm, from £146.28 per m², Domus Tiles

Neutral palette

‘Although it works well as part of a modern interior, when it comes to hallways, avoid the use of stark white shades, particularly on the walls. With such a high footfall of traffic, marks are sure to appear. Instead, opt for neutral tones that are extremely versatile and will make the space feel light and airy. Don’t be put off by the word “neutral” – when the colours are used correctly, interiors that incorporate shades from this colour palette won’t look bland and boring; duck egg blues and sage, for example, are considered neutrals and would work wonders in the hallway, giving it a sense of personality. When opting for neutral décor, it’s important to think carefully about accessories, as these will make more of an impact against a light scheme, adding depth and detail.’ Lesley Taylor, author and member of the British Institute of Interior Design

mix and match flooring

Mix and match flooring

Decorative wall panelling, banisters or dado rails can overpower a hallway if finished in bold shades, but you can still use colour by turning the stairs into a feature, combining complementary unpatterned shades of the same range of carpet. Keep walls neutral, and lift plain green by injecting rich berry tones or combine an icy blue with a deeper navy. (Above) Westex carpet in Green, Burgundy and Aubergine, £34.99 per m², Carpetright

Finishing touches

‘A large-print wallpaper might not seem the obvious choice for a small space, but playing with scale is one of the fun things about hallways. Try to leave doors open, which will tempt guests further into your home and increase the feeling of space. Using shimmering, sophisticated wallpaper designs can introduce a feeling of luxury and will work wonders for reflecting light in a small space. Add accessories of a similar theme on narrow hallway shelves or console tables to help accentuate the luxurious tone of your home.’ Claire Vallis, design director of Harlequin Group

Cocoon with paint

(Featured image) Darker colours will make a hall feel instantly cosy. Try using one shade on walls and woodwork for a continuous feel – more contemporary than picking out mouldings in another hue. Use contrasting furniture and features as striking focal points. Deep blue will not only look different in a variety of lights, but is also rich and inviting, making it perfect to come home to at the end of a day. Slipper satin floor paint, £22 for 750ml; (on walls) Down Pipe modern emulsion, £39.50 for 2.5ltrs; (on woodwork) Down Pipe estate eggshell, £20 for 750ml, all Farrow & Ball. For a similar bench, try Greenhurst hardwood versatile white storage bench, H85.5xW112xD40cm, £119.99, Argos

Read: Space planning for hallways

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