Design solutions for hallways

Rethinking your hallway will impact positively on every room that leads from it

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Awkwardly proportioned and tricky to design, hallways can prove difficult to update. However, as the first place to greet you as you step through the front door, and a showpiece area that gives the first impression of the home beyond, rethinking yours will impact positively on every room that leads from it.

Common problems

‘Creating a design scheme and lighting is often secondary to the functionality of a hallway, but it is just as important to make it feel welcoming. Long and narrow hallways suit low-level lighting, so as to draw the eye through to the next space, and using mirrors on one side can help to open it up. Consider creating a feature wall at the end, and stick with one floor finish, such as large planks of wood, stone or tiles. Single paint colours work best when there is little in the way of wall art.

‘If your hallway is short and wide, make a focal point of the wall opposite the front door with a light feature, or an interesting texture with a central mirror to reflect the daylight and scenery behind you. Having a large blank wall won’t make it feel more open. Don’t use open storage either, as clutter only crowds a space.

‘Very large halls need plenty of soft furnishings and an interesting floor of parquet or patterned tiles. A day bed or bench and a large piece of artwork will give the space grandeur. Use soft lighting to illuminate individual elements – a big bright room will be too stark as an entrance.’ Timna Rose, interior designer at Matteo Bianchi Studio

flooring by quick step

add period appeal hallway

Make a narrow entrance hall in a traditional property feel spacious with a light colour scheme and large-format marble floor tiles. Here, an arched wall recess has been squared off, tall storage cupboards installed and a bespoke console table used to disguise a flat panel radiator, with a mirrored wall above. (Above) A similar scheme, including furniture, flooring and wallpaper, costs from £6,000, Garcia Designs 

Sticking to the basics

‘One common mistake is attempting to do too much with the available space. Trying to cram in everything on your wishlist when space is limited – from storage and seating to coat racks – will only result in a cluttered, busy and uninviting area. Specially designed pieces, such as a wall-hung console or shelf, will make the most of your space, while low stools or cubes can be stored under a console table and pulled out when necessary, as a place to sit when changing footwear, for example.’ Cynthia Garcia, interior designer and director at Garcia Designs

Using every inch

‘Clever hallways will incorporate hidden features, so invest in multifunctional furniture, such as benches with under-seat storage, or an upholstered ottoman. An awkward alcove or understair space can be concealed behind painted panelling with a secret door to give a streamlined look.

‘Consider adding lamps to give a soft glow and to highlight striking features. The right lighting can also transform a small space into a grand entrance, and modern lighting on motion sensors or daylight timers will offer you a warm welcome home on a dark evening.’ Jo Polmear, design consultant at Authentic Furniture 

Slide and hide

(Featured image): When space to open conventional cupboard doors is limited, try adding a wardrobe-style sliding door unit instead. Choose a handleless solution to merge easily with the rest of your space when closed. In addition, a simple bench with shelving is great for keeping everyday items. Pax acrylic-painted wardrobe, H201x W150xD43cm, £211; (inside wardrobe) Skubb polyester shoe boxes in white, H16x W22xD34cm, £9 per pack of four; for a similar bench, try Bestå shelf unit, H38xW60x D20cm, £16, all Ikea