• James Treble

The Narrow Hallway

If the hallway of your property is narrow and long, chances are it may be dark and somehow unwelcoming. Doors open into rooms we cannot see inside and at the far end some light is calling us to walk through, quickly through. It sounds like the beginning of a scary movie, doesn't it? Well, whether we intend to sell, rent out or live there, we should improve this room and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling. Addressing a few basic issues will help achieve a welcome feeling, instead, and increase the sense of space in the hallway, without breaking the budget or turning into a massive renovation.

First things first: DECLUTTER! Pictures on the walls, bulky furniture, knick-knacks on shelves... anything that can be removed must be removed. All furniture that intrudes in the smooth and easy walk through must go, and perhaps any striking wallpaper or 'visually noisy' rugs. Space in a room is immediately achieved by lessening the elements of furnishing and decor. Surely we are not aiming for an empty room, but by substituting quantity with quality we will achieve a valuable sense of space and elegance.

Next step: ADDING LIGHT! Let's change the light bulbs from warm light to 'white light'. These have a brightness identical to sunlight and will spruce up the feel of the room immediately. Also, if your property permits, consider adding a skylight. The tubular skylight is an easy to install product that will add a surprising amount of brightness at a very affordable price.

If the lack of light here is the main issue, could the walls be painted a lighter hue? We will choose a colour that matches the overall scheme of our property, possibly the same colour of the living room walls, and then opt for one or two shades lighter. Note: a narrow hallway will feel narrow-er the taller its ceilings are. By optically lowering the height of the ceiling we can achieve a wider feel. So, painting the walls not up to the ceiling's cornice but 15/20 cm lower will pretend the walls to be optically further away: there's a wider room. With a small tap into our budget we can add a smaller cornice to justify and refine that lower painting edge. The results will amaze you.

Then we add furniture that's proportionate to our room's size. That bulky heirloom set of drawers we love so much, will better suit a larger space. For our difficult hallway we will choose a tall and narrow sideboard instead. Its legs will be thin and leave the floor visible, because the more floor surface we see, the wider the room will feel.

Finally the styling. Pictures on walls help us look beyond, like windows would. As these also help to bounce light around, mirrors will be perfect for this purpose, reflecting light and optically 'opening' our space. The pictures should be in light and simple frames and hung leaving generous space between them. Beware of gathering pictures in clutters, as this may give small spaces a hovering feel. The objects on the sideboard will be minimal and elegant and should never protrude out of the shelf.

I love Interior Decoration, and could go on for days on this subject. Just like the Design and Styling of our properties is also a never-ending but exciting adventure.But for now we will stop here and insist with: declutter, simplify and work with the room's proportions. Doesn't your hallway look better already?

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.


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