When it comes to home decor, showcasing our personality is often promoted within our personal spaces, such as bedrooms, workspaces, ‘caves’ etc.. Whereas, the hallway is one of the most functional spaces within the home and so the emphasis in decor is often on purpose, and well, functionality. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be one or the other. Here, we look at how you can add a touch of personality and style to your otherwise functional hallway. 

Dressing up hallways

Hallways are gateway spaces. You don’t hang out in them much, they’re a means to an end, a way to get from one part of the house to the other. They can often be small, or narrow and dark. 

When it comes to decorating hallway spaces, we need to be continually mindful of their purpose. So, practicality should always be at the forefront of any design decision. But we can still be playful. 

Hallway flooring

When considering your flooring, hardwood, vinyl, or tiling are easy to clean and maintain and there is an abundance of choice in colours, finishes, styles, patterns and even textures. Consider the overall aesthetic of the home and choose a design that helps to unify the spaces within the home. But don’t be afraid to go bold if you want to create an entrance with the ‘wow’ factor. 

If you have a lengthy hallway, you may want to consider adding a rug or runner to break up the space, create a sense of warmth and comfort and even to help reduce noise and echoes. However, safety is paramount, especially in a hallway, so ensure the rug is firmly adhered to the floor with rug grippers, tape, or a pad that sits under the entire rug. This will help to prevent slips and trips. A rug in a hallway will likely need regular cleaning too to keep it vibrant; as a hardworking area of the home, it will encounter a considerable amount of dirt and dust. So, in addition to regular vacuuming, be sure to routinely give it a professional carpet clean too. Despite the maintenance, a rug or runner in the hallway can be a really nice soft touch to an otherwise hard space. 

Hallway lighting

The lighting can make a feature out of seemingly impersonal spaces around the home, as illustrated with the Davey Lighting Hallway Square Pendant in Weathered Brass.

There are numerous factors that determine how much light your hallway will receive: are there any windows within the space? What direction does the house face and when will light most enter this area? If it’s an upstairs hallway you’re looking to decorate, does it only get natural light when the bedroom doors are left open – how feasible is it to leave doors open all the time? 

By determining how much natural light you get into the hallway – and how you can best utilise it, you can then consider how artificial lighting can enhance the light within your hallway. 

If you have high ceilings, pendant lights and mini chandeliers not only help to create more light with their glass features, but they can make for a striking feature in its own right. With an abundance of fixtures, shapes, sizes and even colours, you can find something that can truly add distinction in a space that is so easily discarded. 

As for utilising the natural light, well placed mirrors – angled in such a way that it can help diffuse the light throughout the hallway, can help you to make use of as little or as much light as you get. Natural light is always preferable, so consider if there are any other changes (as and when appropriate) that could be made to enhance this, e.g. when replacing the front door, is there an opportunity for glass panes or panels to benefit from more natural light?

Staircases as the main event

It’s hard to escape the functional nature of a hallway but actually there are plenty of opportunities to create a space that has maximum impact when greeting guests, or even as a personal welcome when you get up in the morning, that showcases your personality and tastes. 

A staircase, featured in most hallways and across two floors, is often considered ‘as it comes’ and simply refreshed with paint with any hallway makeover. However, there are numerous ways in which you can transform your staircase, and it doesn’t necessarily take a big investment to completely transform it.

For example, you can replace the spindles – even going from wood to iron, add panels and glass elements, remove carpet and refurbish the wood underneath, add runners and stair rods, use contrasting paint colours to create a staircase that pops, and even add lighting to each step. 

Instead of thinking of the staircase refresh as limiting, consider what you can do to make it a striking feature. 

Functional furniture

Most hallways are not just a gateway to rooms in the home, but as a welcoming space for your guests. As such, you may need to utilise the hallway to store coats, shoes and bags. This, of course, can be tricky as it is space dependent. However, like most aspects of home design, you can find coat hooks, shoe racks, umbrella stands and consoles that compliment the overall aesthetic of your home, or particular designs and colours that tie in to the look and feel you’ve created in your hallway. Additionally, most of these pieces are designed with small spaces in mind and will come with narrow surfaces or legs, or can be used in multiple ways to get the most of whatever space you have to work with.

However, avoid over-cluttering. By nature, these spaces are much smaller than other rooms in the home and they can quickly feel overwhelming. As such, consider the nature of any furniture you’re looking to install and whether this does add any functional or aesthetic value. If not, or you have other pieces providing this function already, you probably should avoid it. 

Wall art

Image: Collov Home Design

This is where your personality can really shine through and create a big impact for your guests and for you as you move through your home. 

When we’re talking of wall art for your hallway, we mean anything that can be hung on the wall- anything! 

As highlighted above, the floor space you may have to work with may be quite small and in additional to the items you may need to store in your hallway, you need to consider navigating through the hallways to get to other rooms in the home so floor space is invaluable. However, floating shelving, used sparingly, can help to provide additional function and/or aesthetic. We talked of coat hooks above, well, it could be a whole unit that has shelving above that could be used for pictures, flowers, or scents; the things that give your home that homey touch. 

Displaying family pictures

Additionally, the hallway is the perfect space to display pictures of your family and friends and of the incredible memories you’ve shared together over the years. It’ll serve as a welcome talking point when you have guests over, especially those featured, as well as a happy reminder when life is life – like walking through the door after a particularly tough day at work. There are different ways you can display these cherished memories; you could create a walk through the years, or focus on a particular family-favourite holiday destination and your memories of all the different trips you’ve taken; you could group your friend photos together, have photos of your wedding, etc.. The blank canvas that hallways are provides the perfect backdrop to share and showcase some of the happiest times. 

Like any room in the home, your hallway is an integral part of home-life and as such, it should be incorporated to encompass the overall aesthetic you’ve tried to create in other rooms in the home. Hopefully this article inspires you to make it more a personalised space without having to compromise on its functional nature. 

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