I want to make use of my hallway without making it look small and cluttered

Hallways in new homes tend to be on the small size nowadays and it can be difficult to make the hall look larger by the time you are using the space. The following tips may help you make the most of this space which, after all, is the first thing that visitors to your home see.

Increase the light

Many halls tend not to have a great amount of natural light as builders tend to use obscured or stained glass in front doors that may themselves be in a porch or laid back from the front wall of the house.

Because of this you should choose your paint or wallpaper very carefully, avoiding dark or bold colours and patterns which will immediately darken the space even more and may make the walls seem closer together. Instead it is better to go for light colours and neutral tones which will seem to increase the light and therefore the perceived space.

Use the space carefully

If you need storage in the hallway then think about using a narrow book-case or hall table. These can be used to put keys and mail on when you first come into the hall. A small drawer is useful to tuck small items such as keys out of sight, but make sure that the drawer can not be opened by someone from outside the house (you do not want to have someone use your own keys to burgle the house).

When thinking about hanging coats a good solution is to have a small coat rack on the wall of the hall (on the same side as the hinges of the front door so that the coats are not immediately visible.

Pictures hung on the walls should be of the smaller size so that they do not over-power the available space, thinner frames will also help here.

One exception to the picture rule is to hang a decorative mirror along the length of the hall, this will make the hallway look much wider than it actually is and will increase the sense of light if carefully placed. This also means that you can have a last minute check of your appearance before you leave the house.

Lighting effects

A normal pendant light with a nice shade will normally do the job of lighting the hall. You may want to think about using a low energy bulb with a high rating (for example a 20W low energy bulb will give out as much light as a 100W normal bulb – with a 23W low energy bulb comparing to a 120W ordinary light bulb). By using one of these bulbs you can brighten up the hallway and save money on electricity bills at the same time. You will often find that lampshades will give a maximum rating (for example 60W) due to fire risks, because the low energy bulbs produce less heat you can normally safely use a larger bulb.

You should be careful, however, when choosing the light shade as many low energy bulbs are physically larger than ordinary bulbs and the bulb may not fit between the pendent and the shade (although smaller bulbs are coming onto the market now). The other drawback with low energy bulbs is that they can take a few seconds to warm up and reach their full brightness, if you need instant brightness they may not be suitable.

Of course, if your hallway has a high ceiling you may even be able to opt for a vintage (or vintage looking) chandelier (as long as there is room for the door to open safely).