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Hallways are one of the most overlooked spaces in our homes. Sure, their primary purpose is getting you from one room to another, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a bit of TLC. Transform yours from a functional thoroughfare to one of the best rooms in the house with these expert ideas.
Add a bold pop of colour
Many of us deliberately keep our hallways neutral so they don’t detract from the rooms they connect. While it’s important to create harmony and flow with your decorating choices, complementary design doesn’t have to be flat and devoid of character.
Pull the accent colours out of your surrounding rooms and turn them into a hallway feature, adding blocks of colour to doors, or in horizontal strips along the bottom of your walls. If you’re feeling particularly bold, this latter option looks great with a geometric element, such as stripes or squares; offering a modern take on traditional panelling.
Wallpaper is also a great option, especially for hallways too small to get personality from artwork or furniture. Horizontal stripes in a light neutral or pastel colour will create an illusion of length, while vertical stripes will give false height.
Because hallways are typically small spaces without a lot of natural light, it’s a good idea to avoid dark hues and high gloss finishes, which will make the hall seem cramped or overwhelming.
Use mirrors to your advantage
Mirrors are great for making small hallways appear bigger and dark hallways appear lighter. Place a large mirror on one of the side walls (switching older cupboard doors out for sliding mirrored options is a great way to do this) to make the space seem wider, or hang a mirror at the end of the hall to lengthen it and draw people in.
Remember that any mirror will reflect light available to it, so make sure to position yours appropriately (e.g. adjacent to windows or doors, or behind feature lighting).
Nail your lighting
Great lighting can turn a hallway from drab to fab in an instant. Consider a statement pendant, LED strip-lighting, dramatic up-lighting, or even a well-placed skylight for the daytime hours.
As with every other room in your home, the key to successful hallway lighting is layering, so make sure you have enough light sources to set the right mood.
Create your own private gallery
Your hallway is the perfect place to hang art or - if space allows - display sculpture. This gives the eye something to land on, infusing personality instantly. If you have a collection of treasured trinkets, you can add in floating shelves to create a ready-made display.
Set clear zones
This directive kills two birds with one stone, ridding your hallway of clutter and increasing usability. Hallways commonly turn into dumping grounds, collecting shoes, coats, and unopened mail: if this is the case in your home, consider adding a side table, shoe basket, and coat hooks, so your space has order.
Also look at underutilised space, like a landing or under-stair nook, and think about adding a desk or quiet-time hideaway. Built-in bench seating decked out with comfy cushions, and a snuggly throw are ideal for settling into with a good book, while a well-organised desk can provide a new home for life admin (and keep your bills off the kitchen bench).
Deck the stairs
If your hallway leads to internal stairs, you have the perfect ready-made feature. Update the balustrades or add a bold runner to create drama and draw the eye up and away.
Balance function and form with flooring
Hallways are one of the highest traffic areas of your house, so choosing flooring that will stand up well to wear and tear is key. In most cases, tiles are the best pick, thanks to their hard-wearing, easy-to-clean nature.
If your hallway's on the small side, opt for large format tiles in lighter shades to bolster the sense of space. If you have a big hallway to play with, feel free to experiment with both pattern and print, using designs that draw the eye into the heart of the home.
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