By Rhoda Parry
Give guests a festive welcome from the minute they draw near.
Dressed up and dressed down, bold and subtle, sophisticated and abundant, take a look at our gallery of inspiring Christmas hallway ideas. So, where is the best place to start?
‘In the Christmas hall I always do the banister,’ says Sophie Conran. 'That is the focal point. I like it to look busy, and I seem to add more and more throughout the Christmas period which is such fun. I keep on going back to it.'
'I start with a lot of foliage weave around the banister, and then I add all sorts of red decorations - bows, candy canes, lots of pine cones, paper apples, berries etc.’
1. Hang a festive wreath
Don’t confine these floral decorations to the front door. Instead, add seasonal cheer to any room in your home with your favorite wreath designs.
The hall is the first area of your home that your visitors see, so dress it with an impressive wreath. A design made up of just one tile of flower or foliage is an elegant option with dramatic impact.
2. Make it a celebratory affair
A sparkling scheme of soft pinks and amber is a perfect way to dress your home for a fabulous Christmas celebration.
Create a stunning entrance with an abundant floral arrangement ascending the stairs. To ring the changes, design your display so the flowers rise from the steps in a contrast to the more traditional garland which runs along he handrail.
Simple paper wheel decorations are a quick way to bring a bold decorative touch a staircase wall.
3. Deck the halls
A grand staircase in a hall area is the most obvious choice for a decorative focal point at Christmas. As the first room that visitors will see, it’s an opportunity to make something of a showpiece to set the tone of the whole house.
More of a challenge to manipulate into shape, nevertheless, twigs make a striking alternative to foliage for any garland but particularly one to be strung up a staircase as the irregular and organic shapes help to break up and soften the edges of the spindles.
On their own, the look would be too harsh; instead decide to bunch together at intervals pine cones, ribbons and pompom balls which have been spray painted. Take a view on whether you want to either make a vivid colour statement here or take a cue from the surrounding space, such as in this scheme which uses calm and warming colours of red and burnt amber on the wide-width satin ribbons.
4. Essay in elegance
The tradition of the Christmas wreath, with its circular shape and evergreen material, is thought to represent eternal life and a symbol of Advent; today they are almost as essential form of decoration as the Christmas tree itself.
Generally reserved for the front door, or in street-facing windows, indoor hallway wreaths are a simple nod to traditional decorating with a modern twist. For a fresh and elegant look, maintain a strict colour scheme of green and white.
Take a plain wreath (or make your own out of juniper branches, lot of different types of eucalyptus, olive branches, mimosa and privet) and thread a short string of battery-powered, warm white fairy lights into the wire frame to give off a subtle yet welcoming glow to the hallway.
Finally, pair this with a simple spray of mistletoe on a length of wide-width satin ribbon.
5. Go for a festive festoon
One of the easiest ways to decorate a Christmas hallway is to make the architectural details do most of the work. Generous period architraves are particularly well suited to carrying a festive garland, with little or no damage to the walls, save for a few pins to hold it in place.
Where possible, draw the eyes further into the house, again working within the existing shapes and room proportions for a pleasing visual marriage. The door opening perfectly frames the Christmas tree, for example.
Within a traditional context, keep the decorations in neutral colours of green and silver but strike a less formal accent; here a witty disco ball takes the place of the standard mistletoe hanging above the doorway.
Using the same colours of silver, white and green to wrap up the presents under the tree requires some extra forward planning (no raiding last year’s leftovers) but has the effect of elegantly tying together the decorative scheme.
See also: The most beautiful Christmas table ideas
6. Instil a heavenly scent
With sustainability becoming increasingly core to every aspect of our lives, try to embrace winter-flowering plants when assembling flowers in the hallway.
Choose whites and greens for a fresh, neutral look and use rosemary (thought to bring health and happiness for the coming year during the Middle Ages), white chrysanthemums, the Christmas Rose, and, of course, mistletoe.
Pots of hyacinths not only add to the scheme but will introduce a sweet floral scent into the hallway, introducing another layer of impact for guests and family. A mix of terracotta and glass planters keep the tone natural and less formal.
Then, in a nod to the shorter days and to make the display stand out during the day and evening, weave in some light—either with fairy lights or tealights (LED ones for homes with young children).
7. Opt for fabulous foliage
Most designers and decorators agree that key to decorating a Christmas hallway is to be as generous as possible with flowers and foliage - in an era when everyone is starting to keep a closer eye on how much plastic we use and dispose of, it’s a sure-fire way to keep a cleaner environmental conscience.
Seasonality is, of course, fundamental to that, meaning that most will be made of native foliage including eucalyptus, ivy, yew and fir—with a few imports for a bit of colour.
When commissioning a wreath for the front door, go a little wayward with the shape if possible (especially if there’s no risk that a postman or delivery courier will damage the arrangement in search of the letter box) and have the greenery trail down the front door for a loose and natural look with the highest welcoming impact.
8. Look up
Take the traditional Christmas bauble for a creative spin. An obvious choice would be a central hallway chandelier where the light will bounce off the glistening surfaces and create a pretty and eye-catching display. Be led by the design of the chandelier itself and try and echo the shapes that it makes.
Here, the droplets of crystals are embellished by a collection of silver, white and frosted baubles in varying shapes and textured finishes which are artfully tied at different heights using lengths of delicate narrow-width silver ribbon. Together it creates a glamorous display which might see out the festive season and beyond.
9. Decorate with a country style
For a country house look, go for a magical, playful look in a hallway with wood board flooring and woven runners. Abundantly swathe a staircase in rustic paper chains and a mass of flowing ribbons. A beautiful pink limonium wreath hung on the wall is an unusual modern take on the more traditional style.
10. Create a garland centerpiece
In a panelled hallway, centre a painted Swedish demi lune table between the boards and add candle sconces either side for symmetry. Simply decorate with a beautiful large bowl of pink limonium foliage.
A collection of miniature antique wooden sheep give a ‘nativity’ look, and the whole room is dominated by a stunning wrought iron garland on the wall.
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