You never get a second chance to make a first impression. What do you think of this old adage? I believe that it is absolutely true, whether we are talking about people or houses. That first impression really does count and is particularly important if you are in the process of selling your home. But really, you want to make a good first impression all the time so that when you come home from a long day, you have a nice welcoming hallway to greet you and you immediately feel relaxed.
It is also really pleasant to have a place that feels right to welcome guests to your home. So don’t just treat this space as a place you have to get through to see the rest of your home. Treat your hallway as somewhere special so that you make that good first impression every time.
A gorgeous hallway from Nat Wheeler's Glen Iris 1920s Californian Bungalow renovation. I particularly love the wall colour, Dulux Tranquil Retreat and the generous double front doors from Corinthian.
I have 7 tips for you to follow to ensure you have a welcoming hallway:
1) The Welcoming hallway vignette
Consider the size and shape of your hallway. Is it grand with a magnificent stairway or is it compact with rooms leading off of it? Even if the area is small, the one item that you really should invest in is a console table as this provides an opportunity to inject some of your personality into the space.
This is where you can have fun and create the perfect vignette.
A console table top gives you room to display favourite pieces that say something about you and your home, for example a collection of photographs, books, a beautiful piece of porcelain or a bowl of flowers or vase of greenery. Or all of these! This is also a great opportunity to place a table lamp to provide ambient light and therefore a nice welcome and of course the all-important mirror or artwork will complete the vignette.
2) A Welcoming hallway colour
Colour too is important as this, more than any other element, says a lot about you and your home and what visitors can expect. If your hallway is grand then you may have some wall paneling which can be painted an off white which acts as a perfect foil to a richer colour on the remaining walls.
Your hallway may be oriented in such a way that you have a natural feature space which you could wallpaper or paint a different colour. I feel that the feature walls of days gone by where you select a random large wall and paint it a different colour have really had their day. However sometimes you might just have a small wall that is crying out for an alternative treatment, perhaps one that greets you as you enter and painted in a dark grey or an injection of colour can add to the overall look.
The warm colours of the spectrum are particularly welcoming. I absolutely love the above image!
Finally don’t forget the inside of the front door. I am often asked what the rule is here in terms of colour and there are a few approaches – all of which work and boil down to your personal preference. You can use the same interior colour that you are using for all your doors and trim, often an off white. Alternatively you can paint the inside of the door the same colour as the outside, so perhaps a smart charcoal blue or red! Or you could use the inside of the front door as your ‘feature wall’ colour.
Are you struggling with colour? You might like to sign up for my Free Resource Library and download my free e-book on how to create a mood board.
Related: What should you paint the inside of your front door?
Related: What colour do I paint my internal doors
3) The hallway floor
Hallway flooring is important to consider for 2 reasons.
Firstly the practical one as the first metre of the area collects almost 90% of the dirt from your shoe.
And secondly, hallway flooring creates a great visual opportunity. A separate vestibule area is an excellent idea if you are designing a home as this can be tiled, perhaps in a tessellated tile to make a decorating statement, but also to provide a great practical solution. Ensure, at the very least that you have a good quality door mat so that guests feel comfortable upon entering your home.
Terracotta flooring is back on trend and is a gorgeous choice for a classic style as it is hard wearing, practical and beautiful too.
Depending upon the size of your hallway, a rug here is also a good idea as it acts to collect any remaining dirt from your shoe but also again this will provide, colour, texture and defines the space well.
Rugs are a great way to inject colour and personality into a hallway too.
Related: How to select the right rug
4) A Place to sit
If you have the room, I believe this is the next most important element for a welcoming hallway. A corner chair, window seat, bench or small sofa really defines the space as a room rather than just somewhere to quickly pass through. Together with a rug, table and lamp you are really turning what is often a neglected thoroughfare into a really nice place to be.
Somewhere to sit and change your footwear rather than teetering uncomfortably and hanging onto the wall is a real advantage, particularly if you have a no shoe rule in your home! A bench too is an excellent idea, and really important if you have a tribe of children.
Related: Seating options: Finding the perfect place to sit
5) Hallway storage
On the topic of shoes, there is nothing worse than entering a home to be greeted by a pile of various sized footwear that you have to step over so consider what you do for storage here. Ikea has a very handy slimline shoe cupboard that is a perfect storage solution for small hallways but if you have the space then a built in cupboard here will be really convenient, particularly if you don’t have a separate large laundry/mud room.
At the very least, have a large basket, a coat stand and an umbrella holder to keep these pesky items in good order!
Hallways may be quite large so you really need to consider furnishing them as you would a living area with some seating and storage. Don't forget to include artworks and styling to give the space personality and make it welcoming.
6) Hallway lighting
So many of my clients when they are designing and building a house are conscious about the amount of natural daylight for their hallways.
It is always a good idea to have a window in this area but often there isn’t the space so sidelights or glass panels can work in your front door. However, sometimes this feels like a security risk so hallways, more than any other area in the house, often rely heavily on a good lighting plan.
A beautiful pendant will provide a talking and focal point for the area and a table lamp (or two) as part of your hallway vignette will offer soft ambient light but you should also install LED downlights in the ceiling to provide good quality coverage.
Remember to consider your overall scheme when choosing a pendant and ensure that it works with the space as a whole.
Finally wall lights are back in fashion and hallways and staircases are a great place to install these. Remember that good lighting is really key to having a welcoming hallway.
7) The finishing touch for a welcoming hallway
Artworks and mirrors are my go to decorating accessory. Nothing else says more about you than your choice of art and a favourite piece in the entry to your home will bring you joy and will tell your visitors so much about you. Alternatively a collection of photos of your family or of a hobby that tells a story about your family is great to decorate this area.
Mirrors in hallways too are an excellent idea to touch up make-up and arrange hair to ensure you leave the house each day looking great! Finally, fresh flowers or statement greenery really completes the look and sets the tone for the rest of your home.
If you feel overwhelmed putting an interior scheme together then you should sign up for my Free Resource Library. I have some great e-books and checklists that you will find helpful. In particular I have an e-book on putting together a Mood Board which will help if you are trying to determine a look for your hallway space. You can sign up for free here
26 thoughts on “7 Tips for the Perfect Welcoming Hallway”
I do not feel privacy with my door light panels. Kids in my neighborhood look into my windows. Appreciate any ideAs.
Hi Ginni Have you tried plain translucent glass? It still lets in light but you can’t see in Samantha
I sprayed the inside of our side panels with etched glass spray paint and it looks great, lets in light, and gives us privacy. In my other home, I made sheer white panel curtains for privacy and light.
Lovely ideas Christina – thanks for contributing x
Can you tell me where the gold/brass lighting fixture is from that is on your title page “Making Your Home Beautiful- The Entrance Hall”?
Hi Carin This is an image from the US but Emac & Lawton in Sydney have similar ones – you can find them online. Hope you manage to get what you are looking for! Samantha
I have an entrance way wall that has a doorbell , alarm system, and key pad. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to disguise my wall so I can use artwork or hang a mirror. Got any suggestions?
Hi Lori Technology has given us so much but it is a constant battle to disguise it and I come across this a lot when helping people to renovate. Clearly an alarm system with a key pad needs to be accessible so in these instances I ask the supplier whether the surround comes in a colour that will blend with the wall – so white for a white wall or silver for grey etc. Many look like smartphones now and have a black front when not in use and if this is the case you could consider painting that wall a dark feature colour. Alternatively if the keypad is next to the door you could hang a very simple drape or sheer that is pulled off of the door but hides all the technology. I hope this has given you some ideas. Samantha
I was wondering what console is in image #7 – House of Turquoise, or where I could buy something very similar? I love it! Thanks
I love this console table too! I don’t know where this particular one comes from but you will find a similar one in a French style interior shop – it looks like an oak table that has a beautiful dark grey wash – good luck!
Hello! I am having a hard time deciding what to put in our front entryway? One wall is around 14-15′ long and the other wall is around 10′ long. And we just finished putting board and batten 2/3 of the way up on both sides. We bought a metAl bench that we put on the longer wall, but I am not sure if it is too short for that wall? Is there a way for me to include pictures? Thank you!
Hi Amanda Unfortunately you can’t post images here but my rule of thumb with a seat like this is for it to not take up more than a third of the space. If it is smaller and you are concerned that it will look out of proportion you could place a feature plant next to it to extend the setting or a small slimline table etc. that will make it look in proportion to the length of the area. Hope this helps! Samantha
I love the round side table in #7 ( stainless steel legs), where can I purchase one from?
Hi Georgina this image is from House of Turquoise which is an American blog and it is an American photo. You could look at a company called Regency Distribution here in Australia – they have a similar look….Samantha
We have a very narrow entrance – barely room even for a console table in terms of floor space. But there is a blank wall that is almost in eyeline as guests enter. I’m trying to envisage if there’s a way to use a shelf instead… to create a small welcoming vignette. Maybe with a mirror, framed black and white photos or artwork? Or would this just look odd?…. thanks Fiona
Hi Fiona I think this is an excellent idea! A shelf will not take up much space but will be a point of interest. You can prop up a mirror and photos/artwork and have a little bowl for keys etc. Just ensure that it is not too narrow and that people might brush against it and knock the mirror on the wall. You might need to prop it up on the shelf but also keep it intact somehow too? It certainly won’t look odd – I think it’s a great idea. Let us know how you go Samantha
Thanks Samantha. Feeling emboldened now to give it a go! I’ll keep you posted. 🙂
so beautiful post ilike Samantha thanks
My hallway is top half duck egg blue and bottom white panelling. Looks a bit dull will a pop of mustard accessories look ok.
Hi Debbie yes – mustard should work but keep it an accent and consider the depth of the colour so that it doesn’t overwhelm the delicate feel of the Duck Egg Blue. A dark framed artwork with a splash of mustard would help to define the walls well. Good luck Samantha
We have painted our house outside a Black/Grey with white trim. It’s really beautiful and is a regal elegant look. I have been racking my brain looking on the internet on what to paint the front door. Right now its white but was thinking a Red by Benjamin Moore, to give it a real POP of color. Is that outdated or what do you think?
Hi Susannah a colour for the front door is very much on trend and will certainly give your black/grey and white house a lovely lift. Perhaps try a sample on a board and prop it up next to the house colour so that you can get the effect before you commit but remember it is a relatively small job if you don’t like it. Good luck Samantha
Iv just bought a new house where the front door opens in the centre of a long narrow hallway
(It runs left and right of the door)
The stairs are directly ahead and there are a lot of other doors also. Thus means I have very little wall space and almost no room for a table or a bench! Can you help?
Hi Sonia that sounds like a challenge! All I can suggest is perhaps some shelving below a mirror on the small amount of wall space that you do have. A mirror will open up the space and the shelving below means you at least have somewhere for keys etc. I also think that a statement pendant could be good and draw your attention away from the fact that there is nothing special along the hallways except for doors! Good luck Samantha
Hi please advise our front door is huge with side glass panels and top glass panels it’s balmoral grey ral 7030
The Hall is big but I’m afraid having front door on the inside in balmoral grey will be overbearing – planning off white coloured doors and walls .. what do you suggest ? White inner front door or just keeping door grey and keeping inner side panels white ?
Hi Ambi I think if you are concerned about this I would keep the inside of the front door in white. Good luck Samantha