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Interiors Q&A – creating a welcoming hallway

November 2, 2010

Dear Andrew, my hallway seems to have become a general dumping ground – how can I make it more welcoming?

The appearance and design of the hallway is easily overlooked since you often just walk straight through it on the way in or out of your home.  You should however remember that it is the first room that you and anyone visiting your home enters, so it should be a welcoming room.  Warm colours work well and an interesting wallpaper can add to the ambience.

Neutral colours are not essential but you do need to consider the natural light available – dark heavy colours won’t work in a dark hallway.  Try to use a paint finish that is durable and washable – it is important for this high traffic area and will ensure you aren’t constantly repainting.

Proper storage is often overlooked so a hallway easily becomes cluttered. The limited width of a console table makes it an ideal solution and it is a great place for a putting a table lamp, displaying fresh flowers and storing your keys in a safe place – a deep bowl will make a stylish receptacle for keys but also keep them away from prying eyes.  You should consider shoe storage, especially if you have a family, and Ikea is particularly good for this.

The area under the stairs often houses little more than the hoover but it offers a great opportunity for storage. If you want to maximise its potential, consider using a carpenter to make you a bespoke solution. Pull out drawers are a very useful way to make the most of the space and can also add an interesting design element.

When choosing your flooring remember the hallway can be exposed to the British weather and however nice a light-coloured carpet may look on a wet midwinter day, it won’t be practical. A solid floor, either wood or tiles, is a good option but to add colour you could carpet the stairs in a smart striped runner and pick up on the colours in other accessories.

After you have solved your storage issues and have a new smart hallway you can complement the design with the addition of a couple of pictures and a mirror. Add just a couple of items so the room doesn’t become crowded again – remember the space should always remain welcoming.

This Interiors Q&A first appeared in an abridged form in CityAM

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