If there’s one room in your home which is likely to be awkwardly-shaped, incredibly narrow or very small, it is your hallway.
Such challenging proportions will inevitably make furnishing and dressing these spaces difficult. It is all too easy to give up any attempt to make good use of what you have and to leave the room looking bland and uninspired.
However, the hallway is the first room or area that your visitors will see. It is also where you are most likely to dump your coat and shoes as you pass through, and the accumulated clutter will only serve to make the room feel even smaller and more awkward.
But with a little thought and careful planning, you can open up the smallest vestibule, create a sense of space, and add interesting features which provide a warmer welcome for your guests.
Here’s our tips for decorating and dressing an awkwardly-shaped hallway.
Fit the right flooring
It is incredible what a big difference you can make to a small or narrow room with a judicious choice of flooring. Your hallway is a high traffic area and the first place you walk through after you have been tramping about in the rain. It makes sense to use hard-wearing flooring which is easy to clean.
Ceramic floors lend an elegant and stylish feel to any room, and halls are no exception. It is counter-intuitive but choose large tiles for smaller halls as they create a greater sense of space and if you prefer wood flooring or laminate, lay the boards lengthways for a more pleasing effect.
Decorative pieces are hard to squeeze into small or narrow halls, but without them, the room will feel unloved and bland. One way to get around this problem is to make a feature of your lighting. Choose a striking pendant light for your hallway, and if there is a stairwell, a dramatic light or group of lights hanging over it will draw the eye up and around the space.
Clever colour palettes
Deep colours will close in your space and turn any nooks and crannies into dark and dingy recesses. Paint your walls in light colours and keep your colour scheme simple to produce a light and airy room which immediately feels much larger and more open.
Those annoying little niches and recesses can be highlighted rather than hidden away with bright and breezy colours which transform them into decorative features. Splashes of accent colour will lift the room and can be included by choosing accessories in your favourite shades. If space is at a premium, make your statements with wall art which won’t reduce the elbow room or floor space.
Glass glorious glass
It is often the stairs which cramp the space in a hallway and make the room feel darker. Removing the wall or balustrade and replacing it with glass will work wonders. With uninterrupted sightlines, the hall will feel more spacious, and glass is always a striking feature which lifts any home.
The magic of mirrors
The addition of a large mirror is the simplest and most affordable way to create an illusion of space and bring more light into the room without using up any floor space. Before hanging a mirror, experiment a little to see where it can be positioned to deliver the greatest impact.
Nooks and crannies
Those awkward nooks and crannies which are often features of hallways may seem like wasted space that you can’t do anything with. But they could be transformed into useful storage and display areas which enhance rather than detract from the look of the room.
Mount shelves in niches and create fitted cupboards in larger recesses to add interest to your hall and to maximise your use of the available space. The cupboards will enable you to conceal the clutter which tends to accumulate over time. You won’t have to trip over shoes every time you enter the house or apartment.
It can be hard to squeeze any furniture at all into narrow and awkward spaces without restricting access to the rest of the house. Console tables work well in hallways and tallboys have small footprints but provide handy storage space. A coat stand is always a useful inclusion and can be positioned in an otherwise unused corner of the room, and you might be able to place a chair or small chest into a recess.
If there really is no floor space for furniture, fix some coat hooks and narrow shelving to the wall. These features will give you somewhere to hang clothing and tidy away keys and other accessories that you tend to put down as soon as you cross the threshold. Think about what you do during the first thirty seconds after you arrive home and evolve solutions to the clutter that you create.
The perfect hallway
In an ideal world you would have oodles of space in a generous hallway which enables you to feature the storage you need to keep things tidy and organised. Naturally, that never happens. But there is much you can do to enhance the look of your hallway and to make better use of what you have.
If you really can’t squeeze what you need into the room, consider adding a porch to the property. It might be possible to move the stairs to a more practical position or to reconfigure them to create more space. These are potentially costly projects but could increase the appeal and value of your property if they transform your hall from a cramped and awkward room into a welcoming, practical and stylish space.