3 simple tips for styling a small hallway

12/08/2016 04:17:00 pm HELEN STILES 0 Comments

Morning all, I'm feeling a bit behind the curve with the Christmas decorating. I keep seeing all these amazing images on instagram of beautifully dressed trees, banisters and branches draped in fairy lights (yes, branches are a big thing on instagram at the moment) but I haven't put anything up myself because I feel the need to have an almighty clear out first. I've started the chucking-out process in the hallway, (it turns out we didn't need all 57 of the coats that were bulging out of the coat rack – who'd have thought?) Now that I can see past my front door again, it's got me to thinking about how best to style a small hallway. If you live in a typical British house they you are probably familiar with the small scale of our entrances (and if you're blessed with a larger hallway, then these tips still apply, and lucky you!)

1. Add somewhere to sit.

Whether it's a funky chair or a nice bench, every hallway, however small, should have somewhere to perch. Seating in a hallway adds a sense of purpose and makes the area feel less transient. It also makes getting your winter boots on and off far easier (...showing my age now) and gives you somewhere to sit down while you scream at the kids to get their coat/bag/shoes/lunchbox for the 14th time.  This hallway by Charlotte Crosland perfectly demonstrates how you can squeeze a bench (or in this case, an old church pew) into the narrowest space:

If you have a little more room, then make like Amber Lewis and add a bench and a chair:

2. Shoe storage.

It doesn't matter how hard you try, there are always too many shoes in a hallway. Having some method of storing them will make your entrance feel way more organised and beautiful. I'm a big fan of a hallway bench, as you can line shoes up underneath in a stylish yet intentional-looking way (as opposed to a heap in the corner). Our leather hallway bench stores 3 rows of shoes underneath – which ought to be plenty of room but somehow there are always 2 pairs too many to fit.

You can always organise shoes using wicker baskets, trunks or even vintage school lockers. Anything that adds a semblance of order and, preferably, makes finding your shoes easier will work. If you're starting from scratch and have the budget for a decent cabinet-maker, I've seen some fabulous solutions that use under-stair cupboards and even the space under stair-treads for shoe storage:


3. Make a statement.

I love a wow factor in a hallway – something that makes you want to come in and see the rest! Whether it's a huge mirror, a colourful painting or a statement chandelier, the one thing I would advise is to GO LARGE. If you're house isn't quite Marie Kondo, then making a design statement will also detract attention from the random coats on the floor, carelessly-parked-scooters, school bags and shopping that just hasn't quite been put away.  (Please tell me that's not just my hallway? Oh...)

For a recent client project (top photo) I used 2 fish-eye mirrors, one above another, to accentuate the wonderfully high ceilings. We kept everything else calm and neutral, then added amazing vintage cinema seats (an eBay find) reupholstered and refurbished in Designer's Guild Zaragoza velvet. These double up as extra seating for the dining table when the client has extra guests too).

This hallway makes a statement with dark paint; a huge painting; vintage chandelier and a zebra. Why stop at one statement piece when you could have 4?


Or how about coming home to a unicorn? (From a fabulous Cotswolds home photographed for one of my fave blogs, The Pink House)

 (photographed by Susie Lowe for The Pink House!)

Finally, I'd say accessorise. Add the odd cushion, sheepskin and plant to soften the edges and make your hallway feel like a room, not just a through-way. Here are a few suggestions for a simply styled hallway: 

Clockwise from top:

Right, now to get onto those Christmas decorations....

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