8 hallway decorating ideas from local interiors experts, NOOK
Hallways aren’t just thoroughfares – stylistically, they’re what connects every room in your home and can be a lot more useful than you think. That’s why we’re pinching some top decorating tips from North East interiors experts, NOOK.
When there are so many rooms in our homes that we live and entertain in, it can be easy to neglect our hallways.
Kitchen and bathroom interior design ideas are always trending, and we can’t watch TV without seeing adverts for new sofas or beds. Hallway decorating ideas, on the other hand, rarely make screen time.
But we feel that’s a mistake.
If you think of the home as a human body, with the kitchen at its heart and every other room another internal organ, then our hallways are essentially veins: keeping the lifeblood of our home design flowing.
If you’re wanting to feel a sense of continuity and intent throughout your interiors, then smart hallway décor is integral.
That’s why we’ve picked the brains of interiors expert Rhona Harris, Managing Director of NOOK – a business that designs, builds and installs bespoke furniture from their Heddon-in-the-Wall workshop in Northumberland – to shine a little light on the hallway decorating ideas worth investing in.
At the helm of a team with more than 40 years’ experience in the design and manufacturing industry, we knew with Rhona that we were in safe hands…
HALLWAY DÉCOR – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
‘Hallways invite residents and guests to delve deeper into the home,’ Rhona explains. ‘Think of them as the host of a party: they’re the first thing you meet as you walk through the door and set the tone for the rest of your time there. You want them to be striking.
‘For homeowners, hallway décor offers their guests a tease of the interior design choices they can expect within and provide a sense of sophisticated continuity and calm to the home.
‘This can be achieved as easily as choosing a coherent colour scheme and using the same flooring through your hallways into your lounge, or more subtly by referencing the unique styles of your rooms with your choice of artwork or personal belongings on display in the hallway.’
DECORATING HALLWAYS WITH CHARACTER
‘As our hallways are often areas that are passed through rather than lingered in, it’s possible to be bolder and more imaginative with our design choices,’ says Rhona.
‘At NOOK, we’ve found that while a huge mirror, some dramatic lighting or quirky accessories like umbrella stands may not be suitable for a relaxing lounge, they certainly make a great first impression when you walk in the front door.’
THE CHALLENGES WITH HALLWAY DESIGN
‘The most common issues customers come to NOOK wanting solutions for revolve around space,’ Rhona says.
‘They’d like somewhere stylish to store their shoes, with additional hanging space for jackets and coats. For many, having somewhere to actually sit down in their hallway to change their shoes is also desired.
‘Another common pitfall with some hallways is the amount of light available to them. This can often make them feel small and dingy, so a lot of our customers come to us wanting a hallway that feels lighter and airier. Colour consultancy really comes into play here.
‘As well as advising on all elements of interior design, the single biggest way we can help customers at NOOK is through our furniture. Our made-to-measure furniture can provide welcoming and practical solutions to all the challenges I’ve mentioned here.
‘And, as it’s entirely handcrafted, this furniture will be unique to our customers’ needs – meaning they can balance bespoke functionality with a style that is completely individual.’
SPACE-SAVING AND SMALL HALLWAY DECORATING IDEAS
‘Perhaps the most obvious space-saving hack I’d recommend is also a NOOK speciality: under-staircase storage solutions,’ Rhona says.
‘Often, the space left under a staircase is poorly used, difficult to access and prone to becoming a dumping ground. But with effective design, that area can either blend into the hallway almost invisibly or stand out with style. In either instance, this previously unloved, unused space can become highly practical.
‘Another neglected feature is the central heating radiator, which often isn’t the prettiest part of any hallway. But when covered with an attractive radiator cover, not only is the radiator hidden but you find you have another useful space to display your belongings.
‘Some can even have a hidden drawer to offer a more secure place to store your house and car keys.’
CONSIDER YOUR COLOURS AND LEARN ABOUT LIGHTING
‘At NOOK, we’ll always encourage the use of colour to accentuate walls and provide depth and interest to your interiors, and the hallway is no different,’ Rhona reasons. ‘But where hallways differ from other rooms in the home is in the natural light available to them. This can affect what colours work best.
‘Contrary to what you might think, bright white is not the best colour for a dark space. The reason white is so bright is that it reflects natural light; if natural light isn’t abundant, the white will seem dimmed and will make your hallway close in on itself.
‘We’ve found that lighter shades of blue or green work well in hallway décor, especially those without windows or doors, as they really bring a sense of life and brightness into the space.
‘If you do have windows that flood your hallway with natural light, I’d suggest playing about with darker, bolder colours; you might be surprised how effective they can be. Similarly, creating a feature wall – especially one that nods to another room in the home – is a great way to bring character into the space without completely committing to a darker colour scheme.’
SHINE THAT SPOTLIGHT
‘Speaking of lighting, we have a team dedicated to home lighting challenges and solutions at NOOK,’ Rhona explains.
‘Natural light can cause real problems in homes, especially within hallways. The NOOK Electrical team like to instal low-level lighting in these situations, which adds another layer of interest to a hallway design.
‘But they also enjoy getting creative, too. Conventional downlights and inset LEDS within our bespoke furniture allow our customers to really shine a light on their personal belongings on display – whether they be family photographs and artwork, or ornaments collected throughout their lives.
‘We’ve even backlit a stained-glass window recently, which made for a really beautiful feature within a local home.’
WALL PANELLING DO’S AND DON’T’S
‘Many years ago, it was common to have wooden panelling in entrance hallways,’ Rhona remembers. ‘These tended to be rather dark and went out of fashion. Many were painted over.
‘But today, panelling in hallways is right back on trend. Either traditional rectangular panelling or simple tongue-and-grooved bead boards below a dado rail with paper or painted walls above are proving popular. There’s a range of exciting shapes and styles in all sizes available now, which has really recreated panelling into a contemporary interior design trend with panache.
‘To help create the illusion of light, I’d suggest a two-toned approach to your panelling using a slightly darker shade on the bottom of the wall (normally around 900mm), then a lighter shade on top. This also adds a sense of texture and depth, which promises to make your hallway look more expensive, too.’
2023’S HOTTEST HALLWAY DÉCOR TRENDS
‘As well as a growing interest in panelling, we’re seeing a huge rise in the use of reflective materials in hallway designs right now,’ Rhona tells us.
‘Mirrors have always been, and continue to be, used to create the illusion of space in a hallway. But now, glossy materials such as floor tiling and coloured or vintage glass are also being used to select light and contribute towards making spaces appear larger.
‘Where colours are concerned, warmer, more earth-toned colours such as burnt orange, terracotta and olive green are proving most popular among our customers.’