Hall or nothing (...and how to really make an entrance)

Published: 29/01/2020

Hallways don’t get enough credit. Although they’re hardly our place for down time, on viewings they are front and centre to proceedings. As the connecting path between inside, outside, rooms and floors, we pass through the halls and landings of Berkhamsted and Tring with potential buyers and tenants more than any other single part of a home.

So hallways can be the splendid start and perfect punctuation to a great viewing, or they can be a rude interruption, an obstacle course, or just plain off-putting. And because they are circulation spaces – rather than places to relax – we often don't really nurture them as we should (or at least as we could) when trying to sell a home.

Many become dumping grounds for paperwork and items ‘to deal with later’ or they just get neglected when the rest of house gets treated to a refresh. But it’s wise to remember that a buyer or tenant is taking all the house, and that includes the hall. So if you want more glam and less glitch, here are some pointers for decorating your hall and landing to start on the right note.

Hall-some goodness
As with everywhere else in your home, check the paint and the flooring. Does it enrich the experience of entering your home? Or have you become a bit too used to the faded noughties colour that's somewhat past its best?

By their very nature, hallways are passing places. They take a bit of a beating and it’s all-too-easy to miss the scuff marks that accumulate over time. But viewers will notice them immediately. So conduct a thorough examination: could you do with a repaint, or did Kitty shred the doormat for her own, ineffable Kitty-scuses that only those with fur could ever understand?
If you’re going to redecorate, remember to pick a shade that forms a flow between the rest of your decor. The good news here is that you can let yourself go a bit with the colour as the hall is not such a personal space: you have a bit more leeway to move from a neutral to a stronger colour choice that might express the key facets of your home. Think yellow tones for a happy, sunny house; regal reds for a sense of occasion; oranges if your house makes you feel 'pow'; hip navies and greys to say you're a total hepcat, with an eye for tradition.

TIP: Using colour on just one side of the hallway can give you a striking backdrop for artwork and (if you have room) furniture. It can really make the hallway pop.  Things like pet feeding bowls and litter trays should really go ‘back of house’. There are properties of all shapes, ages and sizes in Berkhamsted and Tring, so we’ve put together a list of styling tips for every kind of hallway in the area.

Narrow focus
Long and slender Victorian halls love a mirror to reflect back some light, perhaps with some stylish coat hooks or an antique hallstand. But stash the big bulky winter jackets that block the flow elsewhere (probably under the stairs). For your doormat: simple and stylish is best If you’ve got terrazzo floor tiles, patterned is fine for stripped boards, matting or plain carpet.

It might sound obvious when it's put like that, but many of us have pre-set ideas of what a hall needs, regardless of the actual size. So for thin halls, slim down the content.

Bigger ideas
But what about the more generous Edwardian, Art Deco or modern minimalist hallways? A mirror above a gorgeous console table (vintage, contemporary or antique), with an uncluttered surface is both beautiful and practical. Don’t be afraid to use it for the post, but stack it vertically and tidily in a letter rack. If there's a good spot for a bench with stylish shoe storage below then definitely add one: many people operate 'no shoes' rules in their homes, so it’s a bonus to show how easily your can accommodate that, particularly for family-sized houses.

If your hallway tends to shade, add a lamp and a fresh bouquet of flowers (ideally from your own garden) and you've instantly upped your welcome-factor.  If you have good light then show it off with contemporary potted plants (Boston Ferns or ZZ Plants are two hot faves: always go for a 1, 3, or 5 grouping, depending on size) for both Instagrammable style and a sign that your hall is loved and light.

Go big, go small, but go brave
Artwork in halls of all sizes can be a bit more daring than you might usually choose because you're not going to sit with it for hours. Contemporary favourites are old, hot metal printers' drawers with tiny vintage finds (but glaze them so it's not a dust collector), or big vintage movie posters in plain frames. So feel free to live a little to give your hall some zing – colour and size are certainly up for grabs here. If you have a collection of smaller sized pictures, hang them together, but always create an overall rectangle or square with the cluster, and hang the top frames at the same height. This is one area of the home where your pictures of family and friends won’t distract your viewers, so grab the photos from the living rooms or kitchen, and turn them into a gallery in the hall.

Tardis time
If your hall has the luxury of acres of space, it can sometimes be hard to make it feel loved and lived in, rather than simply staged. The key is to give your hallway a purpose so it doesn't come across as a useless area. Large halls can make wonderful studies or libraries – where better to put bookshelves of the family’s volumes? – adding decoration, insulation, sound proofing and style in one design choice. A big hallway can also make a wonderful gallery for a collection of vinyl or original art - just add a chair to sit, browse and admire – or perhaps even an upright piano.

Happy landings
We’ve successfully made it upstairs, so let’s continue the work.

Victorian landings often have a space designed for a linen cupboard; an excellent idea that helps keep bedroom wardrobes free of overflow and purely for clothes. There are plenty of fabulous Victorian, Edwardian or Art Deco pieces out there in all manner of conditions, from fully restored for an instant win, to pieces in need of some love (grab the Farrow & Ball tin for a unique upcycled accessory).

A landing could also take a small desk and elegant chair for a useful and space-saving study, keeping the workplace out of the living or sleeping zones. If you have light – perhaps coming down from above – hanging plants will simply thrive.

Finally, a landing is another perfect spot for those photos family and friends. So go for a win-win by taking them out of the bedrooms to create blissful sleeping sanctuaries, then follow the grouping advice from the hallway for an upstairs gallery of life, love and a happy home.

If you have a property in Berkhamsted or Tring and would like some advice on staging it for sale or for rent, please give one of our teams a call:

Berkhamsted office: 01442 863000
Tring office: 01442 820420