Written by Freya Millard & Charlotte Luxford

9 clever hallway hacks to create space and add drama

Hallways are often overlooked, but since you only get one chance to make a first impression, it’s worth putting in some effort to wow your guests. These hallway ideas from interior design experts are a great place to start…

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1. Make a den under the stairs

The understairs cupboard often ends up as a hoarding ground for miscellaneous items so turn it into a fun, family-friendly space instead by opening it up and creating a den for the kids to enjoy – a great idea if you’ve maxed out space in the living room and want to keep the pile of toys somewhere else. The clever Ikea hack below uses cheap accessories to create a den under the stairs (Flisat toy storage with wheels, £22; Brogrund hooks in stainless steel, £3.50 for two; Portion curtain rings, £7.50 for 10; for similar shelves, try the Bekvam spice rack in solid aspen, £3.50.)

Ikea hack: create a kids den under the stairs with cheap accessories

Photo: Ikea

2. A seating nook on the landing

Landings are often forgotten spaces – take the opportunity to turn it into a usable area by incorporating a seating nook. It’ll make the perfect chill-out spot when you want to break away from the main spaces in the house for five minutes’ peace. Below, the bespoke joinery was designed as part of a whole-house renovation by XUL Architecture. To recreate something similar, try Barbara Genda, with pricing starting from around £1,400 per linear m.

Landing ideas: create a seating nook

A clever seating nook on a landing by XUL Architecture. Photo: Matt Clayton

3. Use the wall space

Hallways are often pretty narrow, so it makes sense to utilise the potential hanging space on walls over freestanding designs to keep the pathway free of clutter. Look at clever hooks and slim coat racks that can maximise the empty space behind the front door, as well as wall-hung bike racks and shoe cabinets.

wall mounted bike stand from Made.com

Dayde bike stand in mango wood and brass, £59 from Made.com

4. Create a little library

Every space in our homes should be an expression of ourselves, especially our hallways. Studio Killian-Dawson interior design suggests letting your personality shine through the hallway for all to see as they enter your home: ‘We love adding a wall of shelves and useful cupboards with clients’ books and collections on display. This injects a lot of personality into a space that can otherwise be dull.’ A library in the hallway? What a great idea!

Pale green painted hallway with bespoke shelving and a wall filled with books by Studio Killian Dawsoon

Photo: Studio Killian-Dawson

5. Create space with mirrors and lighting

Looking for small hallway ideas? Look no further… For a bright and spacious hallway, Stelrad’s Interior Design expert Chris Harvey suggests a couple of easy remedies. Firstly, opt for a large mirror spanning most of the floor-to-ceiling length, giving the illusion of higher ceilings. Secondly, Chris says, ‘lighting is imperative in a hallway. This can be anything from a chandelier to a retro lamp, depending on your personal style. Brightness is welcoming and when people enter your home you want them to feel a sense of calm.’ 

Standing mirror and side table in white hallway by Cuckooland

Standing mirror and side table by Cuckooland

6. Go bold in big spaces

Interior consult Jojo Bradley believes hallways are important for setting the tone for the rest of your home: ‘If you have a larger space, don’t be afraid to go a bit moody and try out some bolder, darker shades to really make a statement.’ Jojo suggests a few extra touches like a show-stopping chandelier, a dark console table with some lamps for warmth and an eye-catching mirror that can offer the perfect combination for making your hallway stand out. Alternatively, doors and skirting boards often go unnoticed, so why not make an entrance with a vibrant paint job and bold wallpaper combo?

Hallway paint ideas - paint the skirting board and door frames bright yellow

Trumpet intelligent eggshell paint, £68 per 2.5ltrs; Lorini wallpaper in Dorian, £104 per 10m roll. Both from Little Greene

7. Create a feature staircase

Stripes are a powerful asset. Use them to define areas and even adjust the perspective of a room. ‘Stripes along the hall will lengthen it whilst stripes across the hall will make it appear wider,’ says Andy Guard, Creative Director of Roger Oates Design. He suggests stair runners as the perfect way to embody the timeless pattern. ‘Stripe runners are especially versatile, complementing decorative and geometric tiles and patterned or floral wallpaper,’ he says. ‘Stairs are the transient space between rooms and a runner can be used to link interior themes throughout the house with colours picked out in accessories.’

Stripped green runner rug on hallway stairs by Roger Oates Designs

Masai Emerald stair runner by Roger Oates Design

8. Showcase your art

Up-and-coming London interior designer Pandora Taylor has a keen eye for shapes, colour and pattern. She recommends not letting empty spaces define our hallways any longer: ‘You can really get creative with the empty wall space. Large mirrors always look good as they make the space look bigger, but for something softer and more unusual, either contemporary textiles or more traditional tapestries can be an inexpensive way to get maximum impact.’ For an easy cheat, create a gallery like space using Umbra’s Exhibit wall picture frames (£55), which can be hung at an angle to run perfectly up the staircase.

Create a gallery-like space in the hallway with Umbra's Exhibit wall picture frames (£55), which can be hung at an angle to run up the staircase

Photo: Umbra

9. Oversize those accessories

‘Carefully thought-out design details have the ability to transform an otherwise linear space,’ says Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, co-CEO at home décor brand Dowsing & Reynolds. She suggests thinking ‘oversized’ for your fixtures and accessories to create a grand entranceway and give the illusion of space. Large faux plants can bring a sense of life and bold statement lighting can instantly grab attention. Looking for hallway paint ideas? This pale green-and-white wall adds a touch of warmth while keeping things bright and airy.

Light oak hallway flooring with pale green walls and plants

Madrid Light Oak Laminate from Flooring Mountain

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