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Making A Grand Entrance

Let your entrance play the staring role in your house. crack

“This is an area where you really can stamp your personality. A hallway and stairs are the core of a home, and provide a link to all the other rooms, but you can afford to be bold with decor style and colour because it’s not an area where you are going to sit and relax.”

So make sure your entrance makes you proud and welcome in the glamour by following our guide to halls of fame.

Stage a floor show

Think flooring before walls as it has a dramatic effect, especially in a hallway where the eye is naturally drawn downwards and to the key feature - usually the stairs.

“Don’t rush into a flooring choice,” advises Maflin. “Mistakes can be expensive and it is more costly to change than paint or wallpaper. Generally, I’d use the same flooring for hall, landings and stairways as this will give continuity to the scheme.” Hallway solutions: Poseurs would love their own ‘red carpet’ and Fun On The Floor has a classic, a Balta Christchurch Twist in True Red, £29 per square metre. But if you haven’t got a celebrity budget, simply paint the stairs red! Louise Smith, Dulux colour and design manager says: “You can create a stylish stair runner easily using paint.” She advises sanding stairs thoroughly first, then drawing the outline of the runner using a pencil and ruler. Masking tape along the edge should help ensure a sharp, accurate line when painting.

Apply a coat of Dulux Multi-surface primer, £12.49 for 750ml, allow to dry thoroughly, and then use a deep red, Dulux Celebration, in non-drip gloss for wood and metal, £8.99 for 750ml.

If that’s too full-on for your taste, stripes are fashionable this year, and Crucial Trading’s wool Mississippi Stripe in black and silver, £52.20 a square metre, could turn stairs into stars.

Wonder walls

Skinny, narrow, short or square: Rather like figures, hallways come in all shapes and sizes.But just as we use clothes to make the best of our appearance, paint and colour can also do a lot to ‘trick the eye’ and appear to alter the shape or size of this space. In a dark hall, for instance, enhance the light by using gloss paint on walls. Alternatively, bring a lofty ceiling down a peg or two by painting the area above a picture rail a warm shade, one which is darker than the walls below.

Hallway solutions: Colour and pattern are now essentials for successful rooms, and a hall could be an easy place to start experimenting with decorative papers. Laura Ashley’s excellent large wallpaper selection includes the brand new Oriental-style Osaka Cranberry paper, £27 a roll. Graham & Brown’s Spirit collection also features lovely papers to suit a hallway, including a stylised floral range, Charm, £30 a roll.

Let it shine

Lighting sets the mood in halls, says expert Sally Storey, design director at John Cullen.

“Often hallways are narrow and can look dull but you can overcome that by featuring an oversized lantern or chandelier. Do ensure though that the light levels can be altered by having it on a dimmer switch,” she advises.

“In a long hallway avoid a central downlight, and instead use shallow wall lights or table lights to break up the space by providing a soft glow. Recessed downlights could create a wash of light on one wall.”

Hallway solutions: Marks & Spencer and Bhs both have an impressive array of eye-catching chandeliers to suit your budget and your taste. There’s a host of smaller, specialist interiors companies who also have lighting gems in their ranges. Let a Black Magic 10 arm crystal chandelier, £465, from Sweetpea & Willow, take centre stage or bag a bargain at The Contemporary Home. Its multi-coloured chandelier is only £21.99. Create a hall lighting scheme using lighting fittings from John Cullen. Its versatile, low glare, Polestar light, £50, can be set in the ceiling, and as it’s directional, it can be used as a highlighter for features.

Stunning storage

One of the easiest ways to add razzle-dazzle in a hallway is with a striking piece of furniture, from a wooden chest to a slim console table. Hanging a mirror above it will further enhance it.

“Halls need eye candy,” says interior designer, Joanna Wood.

“A console table and mirror will be a focal point. If you choose mirrored furniture, as well as a large wall mirror you maximise the feeling of light and space.”

Hallway solutions: A sleek Quinto console table, £450, from Bhs’s Gloss collection could be ideal for a narrow hall. In my view, it’s hard to beat the glittering good looks of Graham & Green’s Manhattan console table, £498, which is covered in multi-faceted mirrors. Complement it with the company’s round bevelled wall mirror, £285. Littlewoods’ elegant French-style wooden console table, £179, available in silver, black or white finish, is another good buy or take a simple, rustic approach and use hand-woven baskets, a set of three for £60, from The White Company.

Glamorous details

Halls can be an ideal location to display collections of pictures or photographs, says Claire Hornby.

“Give a collection a feeling of cohesion by using the same colour or style of frame for all the pictures,” she says.

“Pictures hung in a display that continues up the stairs will lead the eye upwards, helping to create a feeling of space.”

Hallway solutions: Make a pretty feature with a set of Butterfly prints, framed in distressed mirror glass, £199, from Graham & Green.

Banish boring coat pegs and instead hang its aluminium, Yale-style, key coat rack, £58.50.