The old saying goes: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. So if you're wanting to update your hallway interiors, but don't want to stray too far from what's familiar – we've got you. Rather than going for something too modern, these traditional hallway ideas will stand the test of time.
If you're not pining for an ultra-minimalist, clean and contemporary hallway ideas – there's nothing wrong with that. While we promise not to go too retro, you can't beat the trends that always come back in fashion. Think florals, chintzy vintage charm and natural materials galore.
We are after all creatures of habit and like our familial creature comforts.
Traditional hallway ideas to elevate classic design
'Entryways are your home’s first impression,' says Ginger Curtis, award-winning designer at Urbanology Designs (opens in new tab). 'Where new people and loved ones alike step into your home, and your style and warmth envelop their senses.'
'Invite moments of beauty to surround and welcome your guests' first interactions with where you live.'
1. Add a floral wallpaper design for a maximalist feel
Don't be scared to layer different patterns on top on one another. This beautiful William Morris wallpaper has been paired with dried botanical framed prints to create a traditional hallway idea that's inspired by nature. Find similar wallcoverings from Sanderson Design Group (opens in new tab).
'We love to introduce traditional wallpaper to modern homes to create a transitional aesthetic. Traditional wallpapers, especially from the arts and crafts era, are full of color and interesting motifs which are my top choice for traditional hallways, as they bring a whimsical touch to both short and long hallways.' says Shaffer.
2. Introduce a console table, and have fun accessorizing
‘A hero piece allows you to be adventurous with accessories,’ says Sandra McCall, partner and home design stylist, John Lewis & Partners (opens in new tab).
‘Pick interesting shapes, textures and colors to enhance the statement look. It‘s something you can have fun with, shaking up the look every few months – it takes little expense or hassle, and a bit of housekeeping will help stop clutter from gathering.'
3. Create a romantic tablescape with a floral centerpiece
Whether fresh or artificial, you can't beat flowers to provide the romantic appeal of a country garden feel. But the devil's in the detail when creating a traditional hallway idea — and that's where curating a tablescape comes in handy.
Add decorative accessories throughout your hallway, making sure to include a versatile combination of colors, finishes and textures to keep things fresh.
The metallic copper bowl for example looks great when mixed with more traditional glazed earthenware, and don't be afraid to switch out a clear vase for colored glass vase for a modern take on a traditional look.
With a spicy mustard hallway paint idea, stone flooring and glazed earthenware, you can create a traditional farmhouse feel that feels fun and fresh.
4. Go for a classic, light-reflecting white color scheme
A bright and airy take on traditional design, an all-white hallway is the simplest way to make a design statement. Not to mention the light-reflecting properties of white paint, so important in this often dark part of the home. Accent with contrasting hallway lighting ideas, and you've got an elegant design scheme that is refreshing at the same time.
This traditional hallway looks bright and chic, thanks to the white paint applied all over, even to the floorboards.
5. Maximize light with a reflective wallpaper
Picking a wallpaper with an intricate design will create added interest in a traditional hallway, but choosing one with a reflective finish is a great way to make the space feel brighter and larger.
Metallics are ideal, but bear in mind that darker metallics, like copper or bronze will make your wall decor feel more somber – although warmer – and lighter metallics, such as silver or gold will maximize light.
This coupled with a large mirror and a stained glass door decor will create a bright and airy space that lets in lots of light.
6. Fake a stained glass window design with film
If you're not blessed with a period home with stained glass window decor, there's no need to have FOMO. The latest digital technology means that you can fake the look with an adhesive window treatment idea.
They're easy to apply directly to your existing windows and doors in minutes, using soapy water in a spray bottle. We love this low-maintenance Art-Deco design by Purlfrost (opens in new tab) which can be removed if you're renting or thinking of selling.
7. Go modern traditional by updating period features
‘I fell in love with the original 1930s front door, but Adam wasn’t so keen to keep it. I’m glad I put my foot down on this one, as I just adore it – particularly in the sunny yellow hue. Eventually we’ll weatherproof it in order to remove the storm porch from the front.', says homeowner and wife, Charlotte Jarega.
To create this look, the couple used a custom color-matched paint. For a similar shade, try Babouche by Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab).
8. Double up your accessories for a maximalist feel
When creating a maximalist traditional hallway idea, an easy way to create a busy but stylish scheme is to purchase your accessories in pairs.
Here, lampshades, ornately framed wall prints and ornamental glazed ceramic pots are displayed in multiples of two. Green decor beautifully complements the brass and brown fixtures to give this space a truly period feel.
Two types of floor tiles have been laid side-by-side to add even more color and interest.
9. Layer lots of grey in a traditional way
Too often, grey is used as a contemporary color to give life to a modern hallway idea. However, it can be used in more classic interior design. Here, homeowners Deborah and Ultan Herr renovated their post-Edwardian property using Victorian-style floor tiles from National Tile (opens in new tab) in their entrance hall.
10. Turn unused space into a seating area
Whether you want a place to recoup after a busy day shopping, or need a place to perch while doing up your child's laces, a seating area is a universally helpful ideal for all.
If you don't want to create an under the stairs storage space, a sofa, armchair or set of chairs is a stylish and functional way to use every nook and cranny in a constructive way. Paired with cushions, this chesterfield-style couch design looks warm and inviting.
11. Add hooks to your under the stairs space
Typically long and narrow, traditional hallway ideas often don't allow for much in the way of storage, that is, unless you have incorporated a downstairs toilet design or cloakroom into your entryway.
One way to tackle this, is to add hook fixtures to the underbelly of your staircase and to your hallway walls. Here, a chair and framed painting have been added to stop this functional area looking boring and bland. It's also a great place to hang dog leads for your pooch and a great spot for them to rest too!
12. Break up bare flooring with a colorful runner
Putting a carpet just inside the front door in a period home is a missed opportunity – traditional homes would originally have had a tiled or wooden hallway flooring idea and it's a good idea to restore these.
But if you want comfort underfoot, and added texture and interest, a carpet runner is a smart option. Choose a striped design like this and you'll create a visual trick: making the hallway look longer. Match it to paintwork for a cohesive scheme.
13. Transform your hallway into a library
If you live in a house with a long, narrow hallway, it could be the perfect place for a library. The rows of books will add texture and interest; and to create a cohesive lo4k, we advise painting your hallway storage ideas the same color as the walls and doors. This hallway library has been painted in Farrow & Ball's Railings (opens in new tab).
14. Warm up the hallway with a creamy wall color
Avoid overly cool or dark color schemes in north or east-facing hallway, as the space may end up looking unwelcoming and dingy. Instead, opt for creamy wall paint ideas, and pick a subtle pattern if there's little original architectural detailing.
15. Give the hallway a unique touch with a gallery wall
Nothing quite has the ability to instantly personalize any room in the house as a gallery wall. The rules are that there are no rules, only your own preference matters. Whether it's a trendy botanical-themed collection of prints, or your children's drawings mixed with family portraits, the choice is yours. And while a very eclectic gallery wall might overwhelm a living room, we say that in the hallway more is always more.
This traditional hallway instantly gives the impression of a busy family household with its pleasantly dense decorating scheme.
16. Create an opulent scheme with Baroque decor
A small hallway in a cottage can really benefit from an opulent and colorful decorating scheme. Think a gorgeous ornate runner and a tasseled curtain. Soft fabrics and dense prints are great small hallway ideas as they stop the scheme from looking too plain, as well as distracting from its snug size.
17. Introduce vintage charm with a linen hanging print
Like a bit of ornament, but not too much? A large hanging print is a great option for a hallway. The high-quality Kyoto Linen Wall Hanging (opens in new tab) is from Abode Living. Its faded, vintage look will fit right into a traditional hallway design scheme.
Paired with understated wall paneling, this allows the art to take visual precedence.
18. Create character with metro tiles in your hallway
Want something a bit different in your hallway that won't detract from its traditional style? A metro tile idea will work with most traditional schemes, but will also add interest and a formal quality we love. These Ledbury Marina Blue Pattern Tiles (opens in new tab) are from Walls & Floors.
19. Mix and match eras for an eclectic look
A traditional style doesn't always have to mean complete faithfulness to a particular period. It can be quite fun to juxtapose different eras in the same room. There is a way to overdo it, of course, and we advise sticking to no more than two or three different styles. Here, traditional style wall paneling contrasts with more contemporary console table.
This traditional 19 century hallway has been given a Jazz Age twist with the Gatsby Marble Top Console (opens in new tab) from Atkin and Thyme.
20. Choose storage that adds heaps of country charm
Most hallways are relatively small, so every piece of furniture counts towards the overall look of the room. So, choose storage furniture that's both functional and attractive.
As a general rule, the primary function of your hallway should determine the style: if you live in the country and love a welly walk, it's best to choose sturdy, rustic pieces that will cope with wet and mud. If you live in a particularly rural area with extreme weather conditions you may ever want to consider boot room design ideas.
21. Pick elegant hallway furniture that will stand the test of time
On the other hand, if the primary function of your hallway is to make a great impression, invest in a beautifully crafted antique console table, sideboard or dresser.
Brand-new isn't always best so you may want to buy second-hand and dedicate some time to learn how to upcycle furniture for a vintage look.
22. Go for traditional patterned tiled flooring
Don't neglect hallway flooring. We advise giving any original flooring the love it deserves and not replacing it. Encaustic floor tiles in particular are worth repairing rather than replacing. Patterned tile works really well with traditional design schemes – and, in combination with stained glass, will provide enough color and texture to keep the rest of the design neutral and low-maintenance.
If you don't fancy taking a sledgehammer to your floors, knowing how to restore and clean encaustic floor tiles is a darn lot cheaper!
23. Restore stained glass panels
Stained glass is a feature, in particular of Victorian and Edwardian homes. If the stained glass in your front door has, at some point, been removed or damaged, it is worth replacing it with an authentic design.
The best way to find something that fits is to take other stained glass in your local area as a cue. Then, find a good local specialist glazier who can make panels to fit.
Either keep things traditional with light decor as shown or add a Gothic grunge twist with dark decorating ideas.
24. Hang a door curtain to keep out draughts
In a period home, it's inevitable that an original door will allow droughts into the home. As well as insulating around the door, hanging a curtain will keep your home warm in winter, make your period home more energy efficient — and add a pretty detail the rest of the year round.
Think through the fixing of your curtain carefully. This one is fixed to a hinged pole on the back of the door; if you have wall space either side of the door, it will be better to hang a pole above the door and pull the curtain right back each morning. This is also a better option if your front door has glazing within it to brighten the hallway.
25. Pick upcycled pieces to add character
In a cottage in particular, using an item that might have been originally intended for another purpose, is an easy way to add extra character. In this hallway, a large chest makes for a useful shoe storage idea, keeping the hallway clutter-free.
26. Paint the stairs
If you've stripped back the stairs and flooring in your hallway, giving the stairs and more interesting treatment than a plain coat of satin finish will add bags of character.
27. Create a purposeful niche in your hallway
Larger or wider hallways needn't be just about coming in and out of the house – giving them a purpose, such as an area to deal with correspondence, will make your hallway design feel less utilitarian and more like another living space.
Picking a narrow console table and a small chair and dressing the table with pretty accessories will create a big impact but take up a small footprint.
28. Hang a large mirror
A large mirror idea is a must-have in a dark or narrow hallway for making it feel bigger and brighter. Pick a frame that flatters the proportions of your hallway – a large or tall one will fit well in a hallway with a high ceiling; a deep, ornate frame will sit well in a wide hallway; slimmer, less obtrusive frames, painted to match the wall behind, will make a small or narrow hallway feel as large as possible.
'Since hallways are tighter spaces in the home, hanging a large mirror on the wall gives the illusion of a much wider area.', confirms Finn Hogue, Marketing and Digital Communications Coordinator at Accora Village (opens in new tab), Canada's largest privately-owned rental community.
'To add some storage space, add a credenza or a console table underneath the mirror and place decor items such as books and plants to make the hallway blend seamlessly into the home. Stick with basic overhead lighting to keep the area as minimal and spacious as possible.'
29. Create dramatic appeal with black woodwork
Painting woodwork in a dark color will give a period home instant drama. And you needn't worry about the dark woodwork making the hallway feel unwelcoming – simply hang wallpaper in a warm shade and pick out an entryway rug to match. Wallpaper and paints by Little Greene (opens in new tab).
30. Don't be afraid to mix and match trends
Traditional hallway design ideas are very subjective. For some it may mean retro rattan accessories and for others, florals make a dominant appearance. Pastels are also a great way to introduce English romance. Thankfully, this execution from George Home makes the most of all three trends.
Starting off with a watercolor effect hallway wallpaper idea, this traditional hallway design is further feminized by a soft scallop-shaped lilac seat, and a cute daisy-detailed cushion. Fresh flowers and candles provide an idyllic setting to take five minutes out of your day to relax.
How can I make a hallway look traditional?
'The hallway is an important space which sets the tone for the house, and patterned floor tiles can create a bold statement,' says Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May (opens in new tab).
'As it is also a high traffic area tiles are a practical solution. For a traditional look, choose bold Victorian-style patterns, and be daring with color – whether in a dark, narrow hallway or a large, light entranceway.'
'Encaustic tile collections come in many different styles and colorways and are created with a blend of natural pigments, cement, sand and marble, which gives a chalkiness and a ‘perfectly imperfect’ finish for a soft lived-in look.'
'I recommend our Basco range, which is inspired by traditional, reclaimed tiles for a true heritage appearance.