Embellish the hallway

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Add a touch of character to the under-utilised space.

The hallway may be one of the most under-dressed spaces in your house. The hallway may be the pathway that leads to the rooms inside the house or the space at the front door where guests first arrive. If the pathway is a short one, then the more we’d leave it alone because the scope to decorate it is limited. For some, the hallway is merely but a space where we transition from one point to another; it’s the en-route to the living room or bedroom and seldom a place we’d stop to chat or to carry about any task. And, even when we have guests, we’d usually lead them across the hallway to the living or dining room for drinks or a comfortable chat, rather than stopping at the hallway. Correct?

While it’s true that the scope for grandeur is limited, some of us would still love to dress up every inch of the house; and the hallway – as with the rest of the house – is still a great canvas to imprint our character and personality in front of our guests. Just a place for passing through? It is definitely more. The hallway has great potential to be transformed into a cosy nook or a splendid picture gallery of poster art or family pictures depending on your design theme. And how about dinner parties or celebrations? When guests come over, they will usually mill around every spare inch of your space, sometimes standing or chatting along the hallway. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase your design flair.

You might have watched a couple of old movies in the past showing the male lead, drenched in the storm, stopping by a sprawling but usually run-down inn for the night. And he’d be led up the stairs by an aged butler clutching a flickering candlelight, into the dimly-lit narrow hallway, lined with eerie portraits and taxidermy art. While we need not replicate this for our very own hallway (it requires a cultivated taste), what and how we decorate the space with, are important to creating the desired ambience.

Reinforces the design theme

Often, it’s the little details in a space that seal the look; it could be the choice of eclectic furniture or the penchant for rugged textures in the cupboard finishing. Whether it’s a monochromatic look or a minimalistic style, the hallway like any other space in the house can help to reinforce the theme. Consider painting the hallway in an outstanding shade like black to make a statement; or use patterned black and white wallpaper to create a break in the monotony and visual flow especially if the rest of the walls are painted in neutral colour.

Creates the mood with lighting

We would usually place our elaborate lighting where the traffic flow is the highest; like the dining room for example. Though it’s clearly justified to do so, why not consider installing quirky lights along the hallway instead? Or hang a chandelier if the ceiling is lofty enough to hold it. Other lighting options like a street lamp on the wall together with an interesting signage might be interesting to have as well. This is provided that the space is big enough for the ease of walking. Style must meet function and lifestyle too; it’s unwise to install the wall lamp when you’ve a high tendency of knocking into it.

Match the flooring

You may like to think of the hallway as a separate space altogether in order to better pin down the look. Instead of adopting the same flooring tiles as the living area, why not go for another tile design in another colour instead? The rooms usually would be laid with another set of flooring perhaps with wood laminate, parquet, or tiles. Depending on your home theme, you may like to cement screed the hallway flooring for a raw, untextured look or roll a long rug in the middle to amp up the cosiness and warmth.

Wall up

One of the most popular ways of dressing up the hallway would be to display family portraits. Others might document their growing-up years, graduation pictures, or even milestone events like weddings or exotic travels. Still there’re some who like to display artworks of artists they like or even paintings they have a hand in producing along the hallway such that it looks like a mini art gallery. Instead of two or three pictures or posters, consider pinning them in a row or two to create a gallery feel for added style.

Book it

If the space permits, the space can be customised as a built-in storage or bookshelf. Some parts of the wall can be made into a custom shelf so that space along the walkway is not compromised. You may like to convert the entire wall into the bookshelf or parts of it; style the shelving design such that you’re moving through the aisle of a library or bookstore. Add an ottoman or chic stool to play the part; installing the bookshelf this way encourages your guest to pick up a material he finds interesting to read and also creates more topics for conversations during a dinner party.

Mirror on the wall

Mirrors help to enlarge the perspective of a space to make it bigger especially so when the hallway is narrow, small or dark – away from natural light. Having mirrors cut into customised shapes and sizes can also complement the space décor. Mirrors also help to do a reality check if you’re stepping out of the house in clingy hot pants.

Shelving art

Different types of shelving can be installed at various heights on the two walls to create a form of visual art. Add a pop of colours by erecting multi coloured shelving. On these shelving, display knick knacks or picture frames for a homely feel.

There’s a lot we can do to embellish our hallway; however we should not go overboard such as placing too bulky furniture in an already tight place. Go with the space constraints when deciding on the design factors and the hallway would be more than a place for passing through.

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