Ensure your hallway is a welcoming space rather than everyone's go-to dumping ground with these five simple elements.
No matter how large or small, hallways seem to be natural magnets for the clutter of everyday life. Coats, shoes, bags and keys are just the start.
As the first point we arrive home to and the last place before we leave, the hallway becomes victim to all sorts of things we discard in passing.
However, getting your hallway looking organised and fresh needn't be an impossible task. With a place for everything and some simple decoration, it can become a calming welcome home.
A home for everything
First off, you need to decide how much storage you want to include in your hallway. You might have somewhere else that coats can be kept, and so not want to include any hooks, or just one or two for bags. If you like to take your shoes off when you come home, a low bench or shoe rack makes sense to keep them tidy. However, if your clutter tends to be smaller – keys and wallets, then a small table or shelf might be all you need.
Whatever your storage solution, look for something that ties in with the style of the rest of your home to create a cohesive feel as you move through to the rest of the space. Also make sure to measure your space before you buy anything – you'll soon hate a bench that takes up half the width of your hall, no matter how beautiful it was in the shop. Ash bench €129, Cotton storage basket €19.99, H&M.
Many hallways are fairly dark spaces, being narrow with little natural light. It's not new advice, but a mirror will undoubtedly make it feel brighter, and possibly even bigger. To really maximise the effect, place it almost opposite a door so that light coming from the room will be reflected into the hallway.
There's plenty of choice when it comes to shape. Go for a horizontal wall-mounted one in a very dark hall to reflect light through the whole length of the space, a small design with a handy shelf if your hallway is on the brighter side, or a vertical mirror like the one above if you like to check your outfit before you leave the house. This one is also great for rented homes, as it leans against the wall, rather than needing to be hung with screws. Gerog oak mirror €349, Finnish Design Shop.
Colour isn't out of the question
However, while a mirror can undoubtedly help, it's not a miracle-worker. Common advice may tell you to paint small spaces like hallways in neutral shades to make them feel brighter, but that isn't the only option. Some hallways are never going to feel bright and spacious, no matter how many mirrors and tins of white paint you throw at them, so why not embrace the dark, cosy character they naturally have?
A bold colour on the walls will give your hallway instant character, and turns its lack of light into a feature, rather than something to try and fix. Do make sure to test the colour in your hallway, to see how exactly it will look in the light. Paint a large piece of paper with two coats, rather than putting the colour over your existing one, to get the best sense of how it will really look, and leave it on the wall for a few days to see how it reacts to both morning and evening light. Bancha No.298 Modern Emulsion and School House White No.291 Estate Eggshell, Farrow & Ball.
Add a rug
A rug can make a hallway feel warm and welcoming. If you're sticking to a paler colour for the walls, it's also a great way to add an injection of colour, both practical and full of personality (a pale rug in the hall is really only for no-shoes households).
Even though it's a small space, don't be afraid of bold colour and a large pattern. Smaller, detailed designs can feel busy, but something like this geometric print is perfect. As it's a high-traffic area, it's worth spending a bit more on a hallway rug to get something hardwearing. Wool will last longer than its synthetic counterparts, and a pad underneath will prolong its lifespan even further, as well as prevent it from moving around. Jute and sisal are also particularly durable options, suited for those on a tighter budget. Ernest abstract print rug around €725, Habitat.
Add some life
Although you don't want it to feel cluttered, a completely empty hallway isn't any more welcoming at the end of a long day. You want it to have some personality, as you would any other room in your house. A pot plant will add a fresh touch of green. Go for something low-maintenance like these cactuses if you're liable to forget to water them – brown leaves aren't really the look you're going for here.
Other options include artwork, choose one large piece for a minimalist effect, or hang a group of smaller frames for something more eclectic. Alternatively, a small collection of carefully arranged ornaments and favourite trinkets on a console table is a lovely touch if you have the space. Light grey plant box (shown here in black) €215, Industry & Co.
Featured image: Ferm Living