Genuine question: is there anything more awkward to decorate than a hallway? I seriously doubt it. Especially if, like me, you live in a Victorian cottage with a hallway that’s not big enough to swing a cat in.
I love our house, but the hallway’s always been the least inviting part of it, which is kind of ironic as it’s the first bit you see when you walk through the door. Not only is our hallway long and thin, but it really suffers from a lack of light. This was the first part of the house we paid attention to when we started to redecorate, and the biggest challenge was making it feel lighter, brighter and bigger. Tough job.
I stupidly never took any “before” shots of the hallway so you can’t see what it used to look like, but if you picture a dark, cramped space then you get the general idea. There was a slightly dated charcoal carpet running through the hall right up the stairs and onto the landing, which made the whole area feel even more gloomy. The space wasn’t practical and used to regularly get on our nerves, because the carpet would catch on the buggy and was impossible to clean.
What’s more, there was only one set of coat hooks and they were behind the front door, meaning we couldn’t open the door all the way. Not an issue if you don’t have a buggy or aren’t regularly taking in large parcels from the postman, but definitely something that used to get on my nerves! There was more than one occasion when I accidentally shut the door in someone’s face as it slammed shut from all the coats stuffed behind it.
Our new hooks are the Umbra Subway multi hooks from Red Candy, which I love. Not only are they big enough to hang multiple coats, but they add a splash of vibrant colour to our otherwise plain wall. I’m all about fun, quirky design touches when it comes to the home, so these fit right in.
Ultimately, we’d like to strip off the dated wallpaper and have a flat, smooth surface, but it’s a huge job as the paper runs all the way up the stairs and the ceiling’s pretty high. For now, we’ve gone with a simple update by stripping the carpet, sanding the floors, adding tiles in the downstairs hallway and painting the stair runners white. We’ve also added an extra set of coat hooks for the girls, put up at just the right height, along with hooks to keep our keys tidy.
I’m currently on the lookout for a large mirror to bounce some light back into the space, and a narrow shelf to store our mail which always get left on the top of the radiator.
The hanging picture frame which we made in the summer adds some personality to the space, along with the Ingela P Arrhenius postcards framed in bright frames (from Devon Picture Framer) going up the stairs. We’re really drawn to bright pops of colour throughout the house, with yellow, turquoise and bright pink regularly making an appearance, so the coat hooks combined with the frames help to carry a sense of fluidity throughout the house.
Finally, we painted the formerly white banister rail turquoise, using Annie Sloan chalk paint in a mix of Florence and Pure. It adds another bright spark of colour to the space and helps to tie it all together.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the space and think it’s a big improvement on what it used to look like. I have to ignore the inner voice that’s nagging to strip off the wallpaper and be done with it, because it’s just not realistic at the moment. Still, it’s good to have things to improve on, right?!
The Umbra Subway Multi Hook is £30 from Red Candy. Thanks to Red Candy for sending me the coat hooks featured for the purpose of this post.