The one place that sets the tone for a home is the hallway. This all-important space will welcome your visitors and help make them feel relaxed and comfortable. So the way you approach the design and furnishing of a hallway is critical and should not be left as an afterthought.
Ideally, your hallway should flow seamlessly into the rest of your home. Consider lighting and colour - a dingy, dark hallway, filled with clutter will feel oppressive not just to your visitors but to you, too. Aim for an uplifting feel the minute you step through the front door.
Don't forget that flooring needs to be tough and hardwearing as this is a high traffic area and try to include a focal point, such as spectacular artwork, a beautiful piece of furniture or even a plate rack to display your favourite china. Get your hallway right and you could significantly increase the value of your home...
Staircases are focal points within hallways and yet their potential for creating an impact or being utilised for extra storage are often overlooked. Striped runners or carpets look super smart on a staircase and you can even change the design of the staircase itself by replacing the balustrades and handrail.
A hallway is the perfect place to allow your creativity to run wild with bold wallpaper designs. There are some fantastic prints to choose from, including large scale florals and botanicals, tromp l'oeil (depicting natural materials such as wood, metal and stone), murals, metallics and geometrics.
Believe it or not bigger is best when it comes to picking art for your hallway. You will need to consider the overall dimensions of the walls, but you won't go far wrong if you stick to simple rules such as working with the shape of the wall. So for tall, narrow walls opt for artwork of a similar shape, while for lower ceilings go for landscape orientated pictures. This is a really good opportunity to choose pieces that add impact to your hallway, so don't hold back and invest in something spectacular.
Furniture and storage
Another way to make a statement is with judiciously chosen pieces of furniture. An elegant console - a small table with one or more supporting legs that is designed to stand against a wall - can work particularly well in narrow straight hallways and will provide enough room for a telephone, car keys, post etc. Place a stylish chair or small cushioned bench next to it if space allows. A good quality chest of drawers with a table lamp is also ideal for somewhere to put your bits and pieces.
If you want to maximise storage in a hallway, there are plenty of ways to go. Wall mounted cabinets - either bespoke or off-the shelf - are a good way to provide concealed storage, while allowing room above to hang pictures or to build open shelves to display favourite artefacts. If you have a large book collection then a floor to ceiling bookcase can look stunning - if your passageway is sufficiently wide, install built-in shelves on either side. Alternatively, have shelves on one side and a spectacular painting or print on the opposite wall.
1. Make a grand entrance of your hallway using an eye-catching mural style wallcovering like this personalised wallpaper map available for all counties in the UK, from £174, LoveMapson.com
2. Versatile, practical storage is a must in narrow hallways with little space to spare, oak Cutter bench, £525, with boxes on wheels beneath, £119 each, www.scandiliving.com
3. Floor to ceiling book lined shelves, oversized artwork and distinctive pendant lights give this long hallway plenty of wow factor, Cantera 46130 luxury vinyl flooring, from £19.99 per square metre, www.moduleo.co.uk
4. Sometimes the simplest ideas have the most impact, like this staircase's striped carpet, which is accompanied by earthy terracotta painted walls and bare wooden floorboards, Edel Telenzo Barbican 100% wool carpet, £33 per square metre, edeltelenzocarpets.co.uk
5. This hallway has a light and airy feel, thanks to the clever use of warm sandy hues with white contrast that accentuate the rising stairs, Jute (AF-80), doors Exhale (AF-515), from £18.00 for 0.94L of paint from the Regal Select Matte and Flat ranges, www.benjaminmoorepaint.co.uk