Maximise your small hallway with these simple decorating tricks

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  • Embrace the phrase 'small is beautiful' with these welcoming ways with tiny hallways

    Do you have a small hallway? The hallway is often one of the most neglected spaces in our homes, a dumping ground for shoes, coats, post, keys and all the other general paraphernalia that you grab at the last minute as you are leaving the house. Yet, as the first space that guests see when they enter your home it is worth spending the time and effort to ensure your hallway has instant wow factor.

    In a small hallway it is best to stick to a neutral colour scheme on walls and floors to enhance the feeling of light and space, then inject colour with artwork, flowers and decorative ornaments. Hardwearing flooring is a good idea as the hallway is such a high traffic area, so wood and stone are practical choices, then simply add a mat or rug for people to wipe their feet on. Painted walls are a popular option in the hallway as they are easier to touch up if the walls get scuffed and marked, but hallway wallpaper is making a comeback so pick a subtle pattern that will add interest without being overwhelming.

    Positioning a mirror on one wall is a good trick as it will bounce the light around and help make the space feel larger. It’s also useful as it means you can check your appearance one last time before leaving the house.

    Want more hallway decorating ideas? READ: Hallway colours to inspire you

    It’s important to clear the clutter, so invest in some practical storage solutions such as a seat with built-in storage, a console table with handy drawers, boxes or baskets, and of course a hanging rail or pegs for the coats and hats. There is a wide range of choices available from modern streamlined furniture to antique trunks, so whatever style you are looking for, you are bound to find something to cater for your needs.

    Increase the sense of space in your entrance hall and make a fabulous first impression with these inspiring small hallway ideas.

    1. Make a feature of coats and boots

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    Embracing the ‘clutter’ makes a small space feel less encroaching. A fun peg board-style wallpaper creates a sense of purpose on one wall. Paired with a simple peg rail and attractive baskets the space becomes immediately identifiable as the place to store garments, nothing more.

    A handy bench provides an elevated seating area, where the baskets can be neatly stowed underneath – making the best use of limited space.

    2. Revel in the practicality of smart shelving

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    A simple shelf, above concealed storage units, provides the perfcet place for keys, welcoming vases of flowers and family photos to give your small hallway a touch of personality.

    Mirrors are always a great idea for small spaces, to reflect light. In a hallway they become even more valuable to quickly check your hair before you leave the house. A mirror with a shelf  in a hallway, well that’s just magic! You get the light, the reflection and a place to pop things to remember or keepsakes to display. Win, win.

    3. Maximise space with bespoke storage

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore/Ideal Home

    Maximise the decorative potential of storage by choosing built-in open units instead of those with doors. Place against a wallpapered wall – here, a grey geometric pattern not only makes a fresh backdrop, but turns each section of the storage unit into an attractive separate storage zone.

    Introduce a zingy secondary colour for added up-to-date style and why not get the children involved with low level hooks just for them? Alongside signature yellow, use black and white accessories to make the space homely.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Design Matters Triangle Geo Rug, from £69.99, Very

    4. Single out a wall for pattern

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: David Brittain/Country Homes & Interiors

    Add a summery feel to your hallway with a splash of sunshine. The area under these stairs would be a dark, uninteresting space if it wasn’t for the uplifting flash of yellow wallpaper that cheers the room up no end. A yellow bin, cleverly used as shoe storage, adds a modern twist. Mix the tones from sunflower to sand with a standalone bench and coat hook in warming beech wood.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Wallpaper,
    Cow Parsley, Cole & Son Contemporary Selection Wallpaper Collection, Wallpaper Direct

    5. Add a sense of depth with a stair runner

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Look to the stairs to help open up an internal staircase. Hallways with steps that have a solid wall rather than open balusters can be among the trickiest of spaces to decorate. Make the most of this tiniest of spaces by making a feature of the stairs.

    The stripped back oak staircase in this grey hallway idea is a thing of beauty, and it provides a visual contrast to the grey painted wall panelling either side. Fit a smart stair runner with a strong linear stripe that draws the eye upwards to the light-filled landing above.

    Get the look
    Buy now:
     Runner, Shetland runner in Sudbury Light Grey, Roger Oates

    Do you want more stair runner inspiration? READ: 10 of the best stair carpets

    6. Stop them in their tracks

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Paul Raeside

    Blend moulded forms, geometric design and classic marble for a timelessly elegant look. Make a bouquet of fresh green foliage your focal point by planting it in a larger-than-life lacquered planter. Here, a geometric faceted head demands to be looked at. Break up an expanse of white and grey with a vibrant colour – yellow works a treat in a contemporary scheme.

    Love these small hallways? READ: Small living room ideas for a cute, cosy and compact space

    7. Tap into cherished country

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Combine three wood finishes to give a hallway simple yet elegant style. Line walls with white painted tongue-and-groove panelling to keep the space bright and open, then bring in an easy-on-the-eye oak chest of drawers and a classic black painted coat stand for vintage charm. Give the space personality with personal accessories and a pretty jug of colourful flowers.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Hannah 4 Drawer Chest, £149, Very

    8. Realise the potential of plants

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Catherine Gratwicke/Homes & Gardens

    If your hallway is too small to house large pieces of statement furniture, you may still have the space to fit a narrow console, ledge or shelf – or make use of a windowsill if you have one. Think about the decorative possibilities of potted plants. Select them according to their sculptural shape and size and use pots and planters for the colour elements. Create a line of jolly specimens that will be as pretty as any picture. What’s more, you can swap and change individual plants or pots when the mood takes you.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Planter, 
    Firenze Planter, India Jane

    9. Step up with colour

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies/Style at Home

    Liven up a space-poor hallway with painted stairs. Less is so much more in this modern scheme. Go for a striking blue paint on staircase risers and draw attention to them with brilliant white treads and backdrop. Bring in a contrasting accent shade and use in just two places: a single riser at the top of the stairs and a feature pendant light. This works particularly well in vibrant, life-giving yellow. Finish with a large gilt mirror. Perfect.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar paint, 
    Blue Babe, Dulux at B&Q

    10. Work every inch

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: David Giles/Ideal Home

    Use the dead space at the end of a narrow hallway to house an inviting bench. This clever idea makes great use of otherwise unused space. Build a straight bench, or take the opportunity to use the space for storage by adding a hinged lid. It’s perfect for hiding away unsightly shoes and also visually elongates the small space. Cover a cushion pad in a subtle patten to blend in with the neutral scheme.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar cushions, 

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    11. Turn small into cosy

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Rachel Whiting/Country Homes & Interiors

    Maximise the ‘snug’ factor in a narrow hallway. For a country feel, bring furniture and storage together for a look that suggests relaxed rather than cluttered. Separate two tones of soft blue on walls with a classic unpainted dado rail that picks up on the natural wood finish of a bench for a rustic edge. Soften with textured cushions and hang traditional hooks for coats and hats so they can be seen rather than hidden. Use the space under the bench to display authentic accessories to complete the intimate scheme.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar storage bench,
    Wood Storage Hallway Bench, Wayfair

    12. Lighten up

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme/Style at Home

    Reflect light with a display of interesting mirrors. Small hallways often lack windows and mirrors are the classic light-enhancing solution. Rather than hanging them, give an everyday hallway lunar appeal with a futuristic cut-out radiator cover and display your mirrors along it. Go for a mix of designs and shapes that will counterbalance the space-age vibe with a retro touch. Complete your scheme with a ‘moon-dust’ colour carpet throughout.

    13. Go arty

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole/Style at Home

    Make a plain staircase interesting by creating your very own gallery display. Paint the area immediately behind the stairs in a strong, rich red that is sure to draw the eye, then hang your chosen collection of framed prints and artwork. Choose a mixture of gilt and black frames to reflect the diversity of your collection and keep banisters and stairs pale for a clean, uncluttered look that doesn’t distract from your gallery.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar storage crates,

    14. Aim for easy elegance

    small hallway ideas

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore/Style at Home

    Initiate a warm welcome with a stylishly simple decorating scheme. Create an inviting hallway with a backdrop of soothing green walls and tasteful cream woodwork. Pick out typical hallway furniture, like the mirror, console and decorative light shown here, to work in unison to create a familiar and homely vibe. Continue the co-ordinated scheme with cream accessories, such as a jug and lantern.

    Want more? READ: Give your hallway a revamp with these hallway wallpaper ideas that will add interest to your space

    Will you be trying any of these smart, small hallway decorating ideas?

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