Hallway ideas: Bring your hallway to life with our makeover design tips

By the time you work your way through every room in the house, the hallway is often pretty low on the list of priorities. It’s not like you spend hours lounging there – the hallway is a thoroughfare where you kick off your shoes and dump your bags – so it’s easy for DIY ennui to set in.

If you’ve just finished a renovation, the hallway’s probably been bashed about by countless deliveries and no doubt scraped by the bum cleavage of numerous tradesman! However it’s also the first thing visitors see, so why not make your hallway a bit quirky and eye catching?

I’m not talking about installing floating minimalist costs-more-than-your-entire-flat type stairs that have been hand chiselled by an impossibly cool bearded artisan, but rather something that’s achievable and affordable for us mere mortals.

Personally I love a hallway that sets the tone for the rest of the house, that ties together all the rooms – almost like the introductory paragraph of a novel. Use your hallway as a little teaser for what’s to come.

So next time your postman delivers a parcel, rather than thrusting your arm through a half closed door to sign for it, you’ll be throwing it open and inviting him in for a cuppa (or maybe that’s just what us lonely freelance writers do!).

Here’s a few gorgeous hallways that Katie and I have visited while shooting for interiors magazines. They’ve totally inspired us, so hopefully they’ll inspire you too. 

Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Hollie Goodwin

Go Bespoke

We had severe hallway envy visiting Hollie Goodwin’s home in Macclesfield, which shows how storage is key.

Her bespoke storage with coat hooks and a bench seat by parkerboothjoinery.co.uk has totally transformed this space.

‘Before it was an echoey area with just a chair where coats would get thrown,’ says Hollie. ‘This has given it a focal point and turned it into a proper room.’

Add a glass balustrade

In a narrow hallway, a modern glass balustrade can help to create a feeling of light and space.

Dominique Davis from Chester-le-Street had hers made by a local steelworks, as the big gaps between the old spindles were unsafe for children too.

Expensive right? Not necessarily so. ‘It was similar in price to a bespoke wood one, but works better visually in a small space,’ says Dominique.

Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Dominique Davis
Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Moira Samater

Introduce an accent colour

Standard 1930s semis aren’t known for having particularly spacious hallways, but Moira Samater from Sunderland made the most of her space with a funky orange accent colour, which also carries through into the living room.

After removing the old beech laminate flooring, she cleaned up the floorboards and painted them in Ronseal diamond hard floor paint.

While her console table and armoire were painted in a bright orange specially mixed at B&Q. Try Dulux Feature Wall in Moroccan Flame  for a similar look. For similar wallpaper, try Laura Ashley’s Iona slate grey floral design.

I love this hallway as it has a fun holiday vibe and would put a smile on my face whenever I came home. 

Work with the period

Let the era of your home dictate the decor for a successful hallway makeover.

With an abundance of stripped back natural wood, Nicola Broughton’s Victorian house in Ilkley needed warm tones to work.

She opted for a Moorish Circles wallpaper in Sombrero by Neisha Crosland  and a Persian rug which compliments her vintage finds.

Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Nicola Broughton
Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Carmen Gabriel

Map it out

I loved Carmen Gabriel’s choice of artwork for her hallway – a custom made Ordnance Survey map centred on their house.

It really adds a personal touch to the decor. Alternatively you could choose a place that has special meaning to you like a holiday destination or proposal spot.

I’d probably choose the precinct where I used to live in Tokyo back in the late 1990s.

What would you pick? Visit Ordanace Survey  to make your own.

Opt for exposed brick

An exposed brick wall in the hallway is a great way to bring an industrial feel to your hallway.

In her Tynemouth felt, Kirstie Kimmins paired this brick feature with coat hooks – a luggage rack design from Graham & Green would work just as well –  and antique timezone clocks.

Alternatively go for a brick effect wallpaper – it’s far less hassle!

My favourites are Superfresco’s easy paste the wall industry rogue wallpaper  at £17 per roll or Albany’s Brooklyn brick  at £10.99 per roll, both of which are pretty realistic.

Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Kirstie Kimmins
Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Stuart Eminson

Curve it baby!

Stuart Eminson’s fab retro Manchester pad was one of my faves. His hallway set the tone for what was to come, and I particularly loved the curved wall.

It’s amazing how much difference this has made to a hallway that could otherwise have felt boxy.

You may struggle to find a builder who’ll depart from the ‘normal’ way of doing things and make your curved wall a reality, but I think it would be worth the cost and effort.

Stuart’s prints are from Stanley Chow .

Give it some glam

Who says chandeliers are just for living and dining rooms? If you have the ceiling height, and a doorway that demands an equally show stopping partner, go for a plus sized chandelier.

That’s what Nicola Ash did in the converted school where she lives in Nunthorpe. ’The hall isn’t huge but the ceiling is high so I wanted to make a statement with the lighting, which can be seen from outside,’ says Nicola.

For a similar chandelier, try the candle style chandelier by Endon Lighting from Wayfair. Try Crucial Trading for a similar runner.

Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Nicola Ash
Beautiful Homes in the North - Hallway ideas - Nic Smith

Experiment with upcycling

New builds offer a blank canvas but often little character, so you’ll need to add that in yourself.

Nic Smith from Newcastle has done that in her hallway by introducing bold colours through up cycled vintage furniture.

This 1950s G-Plan sideboard was just £80 at an online auction and Nic spent an extra £165 having it professionally painted by Kelly at Revamped Home Furnishings.

Still unsure how to improve your hallway?

Here’s my top 3 easy and failsafe makeover tips for hallways:

  1. PAINT THE DOOR: Have you ever walked into a house and been wowed by the hallway, only to notice on your way out that the inside of the door spoils the look as it doesn’t quite tie into the decor? If it’s a wooden door, a lick of paint in an accent colour that marries up with floor tiles or accessories will make everything fall into place. If you have a less than pretty UPVC door and can’t afford to replace it, painting is still a possibility but you’ll need a primer like Sandtex, an undercoat and finally gloss paint.
  2. SMALL SPACE SOLUTIONS: You might think there’s not a lot you can do to jazz up a boring narrow corridor, and that its stunted size means it’s a write off. Not so! I’d suggest creating one ‘stand out’ feature, such as a patterned floor, a stunning statement light or an oversized piece of artwork, to dissipate the blandness and draw the eye. Breaking up the space by painting the bottom half darker is another option, and also helps to disguise scuff marks if your hallway gets a lot of traffic.
  3. LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING: No matter how you revamp your hallway, bad lighting will always let it down. If your natural light is limited to one tiny high window above the door, you’ll need to make it work even harder. Spotlights can end up looking like an airport runway so lighting should always be layered where possible. In addition to a ceiling pendant, consider wall lights on a dimmer switch. Or if you have space, a table lamp on a narrow console unit or even a floor lamp.

And don’t forget a mirror (the bigger the better) whether propped on the floor, on the wall or above a radiator cover, to bounce what little light there is far and wide.

We’d love to see your creative ideas for hallways, so please share your pictures in the comments below and let us know your tips.

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