Floor designer

How to bring space and light into the most delicate room of the house


The most important thing to think about when reconfiguring a hallway is “the journey,” says design studio co-founder Anna Burles Run for the hills. “Where do you put your keys, where do you hang your coat, who else do you live with and how messy are they? It’s about being realistic from the start – you may be happy to put your things away, but there will be family members who won’t. If shoes are to live by the front door, “a big Victorian radiator, which doesn’t have to cost too much and looks very nice, will have big enough spaces underneath where shoes can be stored. .”

“The area under the stairs in a hallway is also a massively overlooked space,” says Burles, who launched its spin-off design service Miscellany during the pandemic, to help people make the most of tricky areas like this.

For a project, she designed storage units under the stairs in sections, made to measure by a carpenter, in a vintage spirit. A disguised cupboard where the electric lighting system and smart meters reside has been put on wheels, so that it can be easily removed to access the mechanics behind, and inside there is space for vacuum cleaner, cleaning tools and accessories. Next to it is a series of drawers – deeper ones for school backpacks, smaller ones for hats and gloves, and even smaller ones for scissors, batteries and a first aid kit. The letter slots above were designed to store things like homework books and spare birthday cards.

As for free-standing solutions, a storage bench or low drawer unit that can sit under coat hooks is a good option for storing shoes (try Garden Trading or the Cotswold Company) – keep a basket alongside for any spillage, or as an alternative for children to throw away their shoes.

And when it comes to coat hooks, keeping them evenly spaced along the wall, rather than grouped together, will help avoid coat clusters during the winter months. Turner suggests covering the hallway wall with tongue-and-groove panels and adding a row of shaker pegs for the coats as a smart, practical and cost-effective approach.

Contrasting color scheme

Being smart with paint is an easy way to bring a narrow hallway to life, says David Mottershead of the paint brand Little Green. “A hallway can be quirky and fun, in a light and fresh way,” he says. “You can wash the walls with something relatively easy on the eye, maybe a soft warm neutral, then you can add a thin stripe along the top of the baseboard with a bold hue that ties in with an area rug. stair or artwork (it’s kind of like trim, which you can paint yourself by applying a line of masking tape as a guide about an inch or two above the baseboard). Instantly puts a smile on people’s faces as they walk through the door.

Choosing a dark paint color can make a narrow space feel bigger, says Heuman: “In fact, I often think that if you have a small space, if it’s darker, it’s is almost as if the walls are receding in a certain way, which makes it seem a little bigger and richer and adds depth.

Color dipping is also a hot trend right now and can also give the illusion of more space. “If you paint all the walls and the ceiling the same color, the space becomes less defined, so your eye isn’t drawn to the dark corner at the end of the hallway,” says Mottershead.

Powerful model

For a narrow hallway in a London home, interior designer and hotelier Kit Kemp (kitkemp.com) upholstered all the walls with Pierre Frey’s ‘Sirens’ linen, a bright buttercup yellow, “so that it smells of spring all year round”. “It’s important to create a real entrance when you walk through the front door — those in-between spaces are where you can really expand your home by making them feel like a room in their own right,” she says. “The pattern creates a mood and creates an experience, drawing you to other rooms in the house.” His secret is to also hide electrical boxes and clothes closets behind arrow doors, covered in the same paint color or pattern as the walls, “so you lose them in the wall, making the more homogeneous space. Kemp’s other trick for using a larger-scale pattern in a hallway is to line the wall above the dado track up to the ceiling or cornice height with a print, then paint underneath. “I think pattern makes a hallway more desirable than two painted colors that you hardly notice,” she says.

Painting the stair railing posts a slightly different color can also be interesting. The pattern also works on the floor, creating a visual pathway that draws attention to interconnecting rooms – for its new rug collection with Annie Selke (available via kitkemp.com and andrewmartin.co.uk), Kemp has designed rugs and paths such as the Stripey “Always Greener” and “Sooner Than Later” made from recycled PET “It looks like wool but it’s as strong as iron,” she says, making the rugs ideal for high traffic hallways, especially those in households with children and pets.

Georgina’s Cave Interiors of the cave agrees that the pattern should not be limited to a bedroom or dining room. “Very often we do paneling – incorporating traditional low-level paneling so you can play with two-tone colours; for example, darker at the bottom (to hide scratches more easily) and lighter at the top,” she says. She also suggests bringing in pattern by covering the walls with a textured wallcovering of Lincrusta.


During the pandemic, Alternative flooring has seen a massive resurgence in runner rugs, says its creative director Lorna Haigh.

“It can be a very simple and affordable style solution to lay down a new rug, compared to the cost of carpeting an entire room, and it creates maximum impact,” she says. “A runner can also make a hallway look more expansive because the eye is drawn along its length, especially if it has a pattern or stripe.”

While neutrals and stripes continue to be popular, Alternative Flooring has recently introduced bright ‘doll mix’ colors to its cotton edging range, allowing for a pop of hot pink or lime green edging to brighten up a simple path. herringbone sisal table top.