11 must-haves for happy hallways

Turn a thoroughfare into a main attraction with 11 great ideas that will win your visitors over at the door

Feel a bit embarrassed when you open the door? Only open it a fraction so you're sure to hide what lies beyond? Sadly, it's a common condition. The poor old hallway, rather like the landing, is always one of the areas of the home low among the must-do-something-about priorities.

As a passing-through rather than a sticking-around space, it bumps about friendless at the bottom of the to-do list. It can also pose something of a conundrum when it comes to furnishing and decorating. We're always a bit unsure quite what to do with it. Seating? Storage? Flooring?

Now spring is here, let's have a hallway rethink. After all, after the front door it's the first impression visitors get of your home so it's well worth sprucing it up a little.

Read more: Maximise your small hallway with these simple decorating tricks

Here are 11 things you can do to wow them at the door:

1. Be brave with lighting

hallway area with white walls and bright yellow statement light

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Claire Davies)

Fit a showstopper of a pendant light and you'll be flinging open that front door with pride. This oversized design in primrose yellow makes for a fun, sunny addition to a neutral hallway. Pick out one other feature in the same shade, such as the stair riser shown here, to boost the effect. Choosing the right statement piece like this can be the equivalent of a makeover in one buy.

2. Bring in a practical coat stand

hallway area with coat stand and wooden vanity

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain)

Tackle hallway storage the traditional way with a coat and hat stand. Pick a design in keeping with your decorating scheme and it can become a design feature in itself. A stand also has the advantage of giving damp coats and hats the space to dry - something not always achievable in a packed-out cupboard. Great for storing bags and umbrellas too, a coat stand is the perfect solution for storing everyday items within view.

3. Pick a striking wallpaper

hallway area with metal chairs and quirky red curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Brown)

Don't forget wallpaper as a decorating option for the hallway. Teamed with co-ordinating paintwork, it can create a room of distinction. Use a classic stripe to emphasise the vertical in a high ceilinged space. This room works beautifully in an on-trend grey, with red chevron pattern on furnishings to add to the drama of the scheme.

Want more wallpaper ideas? READ: Hallway wallpaper ideas that will add interest to your space

4. Look for mail baskets

hallway area with rectangle wall mirror and white storage table

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Keep track of all your mail by having a designated spot for everything that drops on to your doormat. Wire baskets are perfect as they have the look of door-mounted letter box cages. Choose designs that can be wall-hung so they are out of reach of little fingers. And why not add a second one for storing any items you need to post next time you go out.

5. Go for eye-catching wall art

hallway area with eye catching wall art and white walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Paul Raeside)

Nothing catches the imagination like wall art. What's more, a picture can be a quick and easy way to bring personality, character and difference to hallways and landings - areas that are typically too busy being practical to bother with such things. In a neutral space like this one, a single piece of art works wonders alongside feature lighting.

6. Sort the shoes with a rack

hallway area with floral print wall and shoe rack with seating

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain)

If you don't have the space for a storage bench or shoe cupboard, a boot rack is the next best thing. Position one under a peg shelf so all your hallway storage occupies one single wall. The mix of neutral shades and wood finishes in this space allows disparate items to work as if part of a matching set, helping to keep the space look co-ordinated and organised.

7. Fit a showstopping runner

hallway area with wooden flooring and seating table

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Paul Raeside)

Whether you have a stripped, laminate or carpeted floor, a simple runner will be a hardworking addition to any hallway. Not only key to preventing footprints spreading into the main rooms, it also has great, untapped decorative potential. Laid the length of a hall it can give a space depth by leading the eye into further rooms. This one mimics the colour on the wall art, bringing jolliness to the scheme. In a neutral space, match to a stair carpet and choose an eye-catching design like this one that will do all the pattern work for you.

8. Hang a handy storage shelf

hallway area with cycle wallpaper and white shoe cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain)

Lost the car keys again? Post gone missing? You may not realise it, but what you need is a hanging peg shelf. This brilliant design is a truly versatile piece that can house paperwork and baskets on its shelves; pictures and jugs of flower on the top; and clothing and hats on its pegs. It's the ideal hallway clutter-buster, helping to keep newel posts and tables mercifully free of paraphernalia while not taking up any floor space at all. A true godsend.

9. Choose a mirror with a difference

hallway area with patterned wall mirrors and white walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

The mirror is the must-have hallway accessory. Its two USPs - reflection and light - make it the natural choice for a space that tends to be narrower and darker than all the other rooms in the home. But why not swap a traditional overmantel design for something a little unexpected? Hanging a series of unusual mirrors is an exciting way of turning a staple hallway accessory into a one-off design statement that's full of character.

10. Factor in practical - but beautiful - shoe storage

hallway with cushioned bench with hidden storage

(Image credit: TBC)

In a family home, shoes gather in corners - in slowly growing mountains. In a hallway it can be treacherous underfoot. For this reason, it's the unwritten rule of hallway design to never forget shoe storage. Imagine how serene and stress-free life could be if you didn't have to trip over size 11 trainers, muddy wellies and assorted slippers en route from the front door to the kitchen. When looking for something to store (and hide) the blighters, think dual-purpose. A pretty cushioned bench with hidden storage is just the ticket (who would ever know the horrors that lie within?) - you can even sit down when you take off and pull on. Bliss.

11. Include an elegant console table

traditional hallway with storage and boxes

(Image credit: TBC)

If you have the space, a console table can be a transformative piece of furniture that will instantly turn a hallway space from a thoroughfare into a room of its own. Use it for stowing keys, letters, gloves, notes, dog leads – and any other bits and bobs that occupy the zone between home and outside world - and it can be instrumental in keeping a hallway calm, serene and organised. Choose a traditional design and your hallway will be a pleasure to walk into.

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.