Hallway decorating ideas –because first impressions count

The entrance of a house should set the tone for what is to come. From coolly restrained to bolding dramatic, our gallery of looks for halls will start things off on the right foot.

Hallway decorating isn't always easy, but it should be.

From the first space any guest sees to the circulation zones between rooms, all the hallways in your home demand serious design attention.

See ourstatement wallpaper ideas for halls

Besides often being overlooked, they’re also cursed with limited light and no natural focal point, so you need some solid interiors know-how to transform them into artful spaces. As well as looking inviting in its own right, a hallway should set the tone for the rest of your home. Move it up on your decorating agenda: it’s a place to be bold and show your personality. Winning schemes pay attention to wall and floor treatments, mood and storage – whether concealed or statement, fit plenty to ensure that it doesn’t become a glorified dumping ground.

The hallway is usually the first area of your home that visitors encounter and, as such, should be a reflection of your taste and personality. You can go flamboyant or pared back: nothing is off limits as long as the scheme is in tune with the rest of your home and not a one-off statement that competes with other rooms.

See our decorating section for more inspirational ideas and advice

Remember that lighter colours give the appearance of more space, while darker tones will bring the room in, resulting in a cosier, more intimate feeling. Similarly, a wallpaper with a large motif will introduce a sense of drama, while a smaller design will help to make the hallway appear more spacious.

With no, or few, windows, hall lighting is critical. As with most schemes, the key is to layer different sources. Try to include ambient or background lighting; task lighting for areas such as a post table; and accent lighting to pick out features, such as a mirror or doorway.

From interior details to inventive suggestions for storage, be inspired by these design-led ideas for entrances, hallways and landings.

Runner up

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Runner up

A hallway offers the opportunity to be brave with colour, particularly with soft furnishings that can be easily changed. Here, an eye-catching runner and wall hanging lend vibrancy without overwhelming.

Runner up

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Runner up

A hallway offers the opportunity to be brave with colour, particularly with soft furnishings that can be easily changed. Here, an eye-catching runner and wall hanging lend vibrancy without overwhelming.

Light touch

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Light touch

Victorian hallways are often quite narrow and dark, but introducing gleaming, reflective surfaces can distract from cramped proportions and low light levels. In this scheme, polished marble, stone flooring and accessories with a metallic finish brighten the space, while a geometric runner draws the eye into the house.

Wild thing

(Image credit: Catherine Gratwicke)

Wild thing

Pack a punch with a well-chosen stair runner that reflects your personality. Everything else in this hallway scheme has been left neutral so that the carpet is the focus as you walk into the house. This is a look that's effective, but simple to achieve, as it doesn't involve elaborate decorating everywhere else. It's worth noting that the stairs have been painted white, compared with the dark-wood floors, to let the pattern stand out.

Graphic thoughts

(Image credit: Simon Brown)

Graphic thoughts

Whether emblazoned on silk and velvet, or hinted at it muted flooring, this striking chevron motif gives this scheme a refreshing graphic edge. Here, striped wallpaper is hung vertically and horizontally to give the impression of panelling.

Green with envy

(Image credit: Sarah Maingot)

Green with envy

The hall is the perfect place to experiment with colour. Here, saturated shades of cobalt, malachite and verdigris combine with botanical motifs to bring natural depth and earthiness to interiors. A low-hung pendant is a great way to add emphasis to the furniture below.

Grand scale

(Image credit: Tor Interiors)

Grand scale

The double-height ceiling of this hall creates a theatrical setting that lends itself to an eclectic decorative approach. The scheme by Tor Interiors, artfully mixes warm, inviting colours with furniture from different eras.

Right angles

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

Right angles

This patterned scheme is a reminder that colour isn’t the only way to make a statement. Here, a vertical chevron design on the portico is continued via the wooden flooring inside the house. With shades of grey and white elsewhere, the timber adds a warmer note for a more inviting feel.

Pure and simple

(Image credit: Emma Lewis)

Pure and simple

Not only are tiles a practical option for hallway flooring but they also add interest. Here, a classic monochrome diamond repeat is framed by a generous border for a clean, fresh look. The simplicity of the scheme is continued with an unobtrusive cantilevered shelf and minimalist front door.

Clear vision

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Clear vision

A glass wall offering a view into the sitting room helps to increase light levels and enhances the sense of space in this hallway, while steel-framed glazing has a distinctly modern feel. Architect Stiff+Trevillion, stiffandtrevillion.com, which created this scheme, recommends Clement Windows, clementwindows.co.uk, and D&R Design, randrdesign.co.uk, as suppliers.

Summer weave

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Summer weave

From seagrass and bamboo to rattan and cane, natural woven textures are ideal for bringing interiors to life. Dating from the days of the British Empire and traditionally used to grace conservatories, classic rattan chairs and furniture exude timeless elegance.