First impressions: 10 ideas for entrance hallway decor (Part 1/2)

Hallway and door

Hallway and door - Credit: Getty Images/Polka Dot RF

Are hallways rooms? It might sound like an odd question but many consider their halls and landings as avenues, there simply to connect one part of the house to another. But there’s much more to them than that...

Vibrant cottage - hallway

Vibrant cottage - hallway - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

When decorating a home, it’s safe to assume that many people don’t pay the same type of attention to their hallways as they would other parts of the property. It’s not where you eat, sleep, relax or bathe. It is, however, where you enter.

It’s the first part of your house to welcome you when you step across the threshold. What’s more, it’s the first part of your home that anyone visiting will see. Some might argue that it’s the centre of the home - the synaptic nerve. It’s the room - because it is indeed a room - that creates a first impression.

So have fun with it - spend time creating a look to your home’s entrance. Here are some ideas how...

Take a pew:

One of the first things you want to do when you get home is to take a load off. Those with an area of space by the front door often think of placing a table there - something to unload your keys, bags and mail onto as you crash back into the house. But what about you? After a hectic day, the least you can do is sit down and take off your shoes, open the mail, greet the cat.

House of Fraser Comfy chaise-end armchair

House of Fraser Comfy chaise-end armchair - Credit: House of Fraser

There are plenty of opportunities to play around with varied seating in a hall space. Most hallways are long, so the perfect addition here is a bench. Invest in an ottoman-type seat to double up as shoe storage. Renovate an old church pew - stain it, distress it, paint it. The lengthy style will add to the corridor effect of your hallway. A chez-lounge adds length as well as comfort. Or put a plump small armchair in the corner - something inviting for you to perch on when you arrive home.

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Let there be height:

Hallways are so much more impressive if they have a tallness to them. Some stretch up the height of both floors, following the stairs upwards, giving an open and cavernous feel to the house. Make a feature of the wall that towers up alongside your staircase. Paint it in a bright colour, in contrast to the rest of the hallway. If opting for wallpaper, choose tall striped paper that reaches up higher and higher. Install a low-hanging light fixture from the second story ceiling and let it dangle right down to the ground floor for added theatrics.

If you’ve not got this type of hallway, there are tricks to give the illusion of a tall space. Again, striped wallpaper works. Panelling and mirrors are also a great effect here, and work better in regimental patterns. Hang three or four floor-to-ceiling mirrors on one of the walls, leaving only small gaps between each one. This works with long canvas artwork too.

Focal point:

Make a dramatic entrance with a curtain track at your front door that's elegant and good for keeping

Make a dramatic entrance with a curtain track at your front door that's elegant and good for keeping out the cold - Credit: Archant

As well as height, hallways should be utilised for their horizontal length too. Add a focus to the space. Put something at the very end of the corridor that your visitor will feel compelled to migrate towards. Anything you want - a large bright canvas; a tiny wall fixture that the guests will want to get closer to and scrutinize; a mirror to add further depth; a table with decorative items on it; an arty hat-stand; an aquarium even!

The Escher effect:

Do you have the kind of hallway with open space under the stairs? If so, why not channel M C Escher, the 20th Century artist who painted impossible constructions of step formations. Don’t get too carried away and install a dual-layered construction into your home, just channel him. The under-side of a stair case can make for a jazzy and unique feature in an entryway. If your home allows it, avoid plastering and smoothing the underneath of the steps and instead allow the pattern to poke through the other side of your staircase. It’s arty, unusual and gives your hallway an added cavern of depth to it.

Behind the veil:

Back in the old days, curtains were a popular feature of a hallway, over the front door, drawn in the evenings to add an extra layer of warmth and cosiness from the outside world. This is a much less popular feature these days, but there are ways of incorporating the idea back into your home from a decorative angle.

Agenda homes Q&A September

Agenda homes Q&A September - Credit: Archant

Add dramatic flair around the front door by installing curtains on either side of the threshold but tie them back with holdbacks, hooks or tassels. Line the space above the door with a thick, theatrical pleated header. Alternatively, take it in the other direction and make things airy. Switch the header for a spindly pole and drape a couple of flighty gauze drapes on either side of the front door.

Check back in at the Herts Advertiser property page on Monday for another five intriguing ideas for the hall.

We’ve got ideas on how to inject a personal touch to the space; how to design a darkly mystical coridor; and what to do if you have a hallway with enough room to swing a cat!