“It is easy to forget that an entrance hall is a room,” says decorating maestro Rita Konig. “It often receives corridor status, but it is, in fact, an important space. As the place for arrivals and departures, it sets the tone for the rest of the house, so it needs to be welcoming.” For this reason, pay as much attention to the stuff in a hallway as you would in any other room, and don’t use it as dumping ground for furniture or art that has no home elsewhere.
Just because you’re moving through a space regularly to get to another room where you might spend longer, that doesn’t make it less important – if anything, it makes it more important. The hallway is nearly always the part of a house that you and your guests will encounter first, so make sure it leaves an impression, perhaps by hanging a statement piece of art in it or by introducing an unusual colour.
Hallway ideas: decoration
Since hallways, especially in city houses, tend to be narrow, the walls are an important feature. Opt for a warm paint colour, some elegant wall panelling, or a patterned wallpaper to lend the space character. Also consider adding wall lights, for a gentler glow than an overhead light. This is a great place to display art. We’ve seen some brilliant examples of statement pieces taking up practically an entire wall, but gallery walls are also a great option in a hallway, perhaps displaying a collection of photographs or botanical prints.
“Traffic is a consideration when you are decorating,” notes Rita. “The floor, for example, has to be practical while remaining in keeping with the style of the house.” We love a flagstone hallway, or the traditional tiles you can still find in Victorian houses, but sisal or jute can also be a great, hardwearing option for this space.
Don’t forget to take into account the other rooms you can see from a hallway – if you have easy views into lots of rooms or one particular room, try to keep the colours of the walls tonal, and think about positioning hallway mirrors to allow unexpected glimpses throughout the house. Pocket or sliding doors can also work well for the rooms that lead off a hallway, especially if it is a dark or narrow space, allowing the doors to be open most of the time, letting light flood in.
Hallway ideas: furniture
“The furniture here should be good,” continues Rita. If you have enough space, consider a hall table, either a console table that can provide a space for keys, post, along with flowers, lamps and decorative objects, or something a bit grander to go in the centre of the hallway if you have a larger space. “The hall table can be quite magnificent – just as it is in many of Robert Kime’s projects, and in William Yeoward and Colin Orchard’s house in Gloucestershire.” A bench or pair of chairs can also be a great feature, allowing people to perch and take off their shoes, or providing a place to wait as you prepare to leave the house.
Hallway ideas: storage
Finally, hallway storage is absolutely key if you want to maintain tidiness. Hallways are always prone to get cluttered up with shoes, bags, umbrellas, coats and other paraphernalia. A bench with storage built in underneath can be a great option, while wall-mounted storage or a simple row of hooks can work well in super small spaces. If you have a bit more room, a coat rack, wardrobe or built-in joinery can look rather distinguished.