The hallway may be a functional place for removing coats and shoes and greeting visitors, but that doesn't mean it can't look exceptional. You can achieve a lot with striking wallpaper, a stylish mirror or standout lighting.
Make the most of a narrow space
In most properties, hallways aren't very wide and, as a result, they can often feel quite dark. If you live in a house, your front door has a role to play here, as glass panels in the door or at the side will allow light to pass through from outside. On a more basic level, try to keep the doors that lead off from the entrance hall open, as this helps to create the feeling of a larger space and enables more light to flood in.
Mirrors are well known for their light-reflecting properties and are used in almost any well-planned hallway scheme. There are so many shapes and styles to choose from, whether you prefer a traditional French design or a more modern sunburst version.
Plan your colour scheme
In dark rooms, you can’t go wrong with neutral colour schemes, as they are great for brightening a space. Walls offer plenty of scope to add interest, whether it's with colourful artworks, clusters of photographs or an ornate piece of furniture. Use the hallway to reflect aspects of your personality – in many ways, it’s a great place to experiment, as you don’t spend an enormous amount of time here.
Bold wallpapers or paint colours can look stunning in a hallway, but choose carefully and bear in mind that dark colours will often make a space feel smaller than it really is. A busy pattern can also dominate the room if you don’t have enough perspective to appreciate it from a distance – for this reason, a wallpaper will often look great on a wall with a staircase, rather than down a long, straight corridor.
Choose your hallway flooring
Flooring is a great way to make an impression and tiling is ideal for creating an individual look. Black and white chequerboard styles are super eye-catching, as are colourful, patterned patchworks or sleek marbles (or marble-effect). Tiles can be quite cold, though, so if you prefer a more cosy floor, carpets will suit you. Cream carpets are hugely popular and will brighten a space, but in a high-traffic area like the hall, they will quickly become stained, so it’s a good idea to include runners or rugs in colours or patterns that will hide mucky footprints.
Wooden floorboards or wood-effect laminates are also very popular in hallways, and it’s easy to see why, as they look great and are simple to clean. A good coat of varnish will prevent damage to floors, but if you want to add extra protection, use rugs or runners, which are also great for reducing the noise that hard surfaces can create. If you have wooden floorboards that are left uncovered, it’s a good idea to remove high heels before walking on them, as they can mark and dent the wood.
Painting floorboards white is wonderful for keeping your hallway light. Scuff marks are inevitable, so embrace the worn-in, shabby-chic finish if you choose this as your flooring. White painted stairs and landings look great. You can mix and match your flooring, but if you have wood everywhere, the stairs may benefit from being left bare too. If you prefer to cover them, use a runner, rather than carpeting from end to end, so that the contrast between wood and carpet doesn’t look so pronounced.
Think about hallway storage ideas
Clutter is a no-no in a hallway, so storage is really important. The key is having a place for everything so you don't end up with piles of shoes or gym kit thrown about everywhere. Hang hooks to keep coats conveniently out of the way or place a traditional coat stand in the corner. Think about where to keep shoes – a bench that has shelves or storage compartments below it is ideal. A console table provides a handy surface for post and many have drawers for storing bits and bobs, too. If there's space to include other furniture, a sumptuous seat of some kind will create a decadent look and make people want to linger in the hallway.
Use the space under the stairs
A whole pile of storage is available under the stairs. This is often where the vacuum cleaner, ironing board and all kinds of household products are dumped, but if you can possibly avoid this, you could turn it into a place for keeping coats and shoes, with shelving to accommodate each member of the household's kit.
Knocking down the cupboard walls to create an open-plan storage and seating area makes a feature out of this space, but it does require discipline to keep it tidy – piles of clutter won’t look good. Another option is converting this area into a loo. If you don't have one on your ground floor, then this is especially convenient when you have guests.
Hallway lighting ideas
If you have a high ceiling in your hallway, a big glass chandelier will look amazing, especially if the light is reflected in a mirror. A staircase is a good place to hang a chandelier for maximum impact. Otherwise opt for a stylish ceiling pendant and include some lower-level lighting, such as a floor-standing lamp or table lamp.