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» Decorate the Hallways

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If you have a hallway in your house, you have the perfect setting to make family, friends and guests feel welcome as soon as they step over the threshold. But not all decorating themes work for all hallways – first you have to take a long look at your hallway and decide which theme will look most effective.

A deep, wide hallway with space either side of the door is almost like another room in your house, an inner porch where you can set up a welcoming space to pause and refresh.

A hall table or stand is a must in a deep hall, along with a rack to hang coats and hats. If you prefer your guests to remove their shoes before entering other rooms, have a rack for their own shoes and some soft slippers in a variety of sizes.

The hallstand will be a safe place to leave gloves and other items that your guests would prefer not to carry, but it can also have some thoughtful touches, such as a jug of chilled water or lemonade and a few glasses on a tray in the summer. Some refreshing towelettes and a vase of flowers also helps to make a guest feel instantly at home, and refreshes after the heat outside.

In winter, emphasize the warmth of your welcome with a bowl of fruit, and a place to sit and rest and remove boots and gloves. A couple of fluffy soft hand towels will be welcome to a guest that has been caught in the rain. A mirror is a nice touch for guests who want to quickly put their hair to rights.

Your hall decor should be in keeping with the rest of your home. If you favor a very minimalist, modern look, the right fittings can be found to suit the overall feel of your home. Simple coat hooks, and a sleek metal finish hallstand will suit your home better than trying for a more cottagey look.

If you favor a more homely style, your hall can reflect that as well, with furnishings chosen to blend in with your favorite style, such as timber, bamboo or shabby chic. The idea is that guests should get a sense of your style on entering the hall, but also feel a sense of warmth and welcome.

Halls are ideal places to display memorabilia, art and personal collections. If you have room you can set up a display cabinet, but a couple of shelves, or one long shelf fitted around the hall on a level with the top of the door will also display your prizes to good effect. It adds a talking point when guests arrive and helps break the ice.

A long narrow hall with little width to include hall stands or seating needs to be treated differently. You can still supply little welcoming touches, on narrow occasional tables set up against the wall, and a neat row of coat and hat hooks, but the main emphasis in long hall will be on expressing your character and the character of the house. A long hall is an ideal place to display works of art, perhaps even your own; family photos dramatically grouped and lit; and collections of plates, tiles, vintage posters and anything that lays flat against the wall.

If you have no hallway, but you still want to create a space in which to pause and refresh before continuing into the rest of the house, use a screen or partition to section off the area at the front door. Screens are excellent for this purpose and they can be chosen to complement the rest of your decor. A screen with places to slide in family photos or favorite prints will be a charming touch. To give a more defined sense of transition from the outer world to the inner, look for, or have made, a screen that is above head height.

Your hall should convey many reassuring messages to your guests – but always remember that the most heart warming way to greet anyone is with a smile of welcome.


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