When we have renovated properties over the years, the final area to get an interior design makeover has usually been the hallway. The reason is simple, if there is other work going on in the house and even if you are careful and the trades promise to be careful; the hall and stairs will always get impacted, with knocks, scuffs or worse. So, despite the desire to finish the hall, stairs and landing we have always held off.
It is of course doubly hard as it is the first part of the house you see every time you come in and so can be a bit of a downer even when the rest of the house might be looking amazing.
One property we renovated had the most amazing original floor tiles which we discovered had been covered over by carpet as the previous owner found them ‘too cold’! We were desperate to rip off the carpet but we held off as that last thing we wanted was something falling and cracking them.
Once the time comes to renovate the hallway and the glorious day arrives when all the hard work of painting, wallpapering, laying flooring, fitting lighting etc. has been completed, the last thing you want to do is then fill it with clutter. It would be nice to be able to leave the hallway clear without any shoes, coats or bags, just like you see in the magazines or on Instagram, but the reality of it is that you need those items. Not all hallways have somewhere to hide them away either, such as under the stairs.
So how do you keep the hall looking lovely and filling you with joy when you walk in, when you have kids who might throw their coats, shoes and bags all over the floor within 5 seconds? How do you keep the keys and other bits and bobs you need handy, without adding a storage unit that eats into the space and doesn’t go with the look and feel of the hall?
We have this exact challenge in our home, which was heightened over the winter with all the extra scarves, gloves and hats that we all need. So, we tried to find a way to add some storage that would enable the kids to keep their things tidy, would be in keeping with the hall and wouldn’t take over the space. We wanted to give them a space that was specifically for them that would (hopefully!) encourage them to be tidy.
We wanted to keep it simple, cheap and be something we could do ourselves, of course! In our minds there were three parts to this, something to store the shoes, hooks for coats, bags, scarves and hats, and a shelf to keep keys and other bits and pieces plus the ability to add some styling elements.
The baskets we found in Sainsbury's and were around £10 each so we picked up two, one each for an adults and kids to share. These may not be available now but there are plenty of similar ones out there such as:
via The Basket Room
via Great Little Trading Company
Next it was the hooks and for this we were lucky enough to already have some left from another project and were perfect for this space. We had bought a big bag of them and so had the four hooks left over we needed, but if we hadn’t, we would still have looked for similar style hooks. We wanted double hooks as this area was for the kids’ storage and so they will be able to get more tucked away.
Here are some examples of similar hooks you could use:
Lastly, we wanted to add a shelf, but wanted it to blend in and look as though it had always been there. The hallway has panelling which we had painted in a colour match to the Farrow and Ball Railings colour and has quite a bit of detail going on. The shelf therefore needed to be simple. As we tend to do, we looked in the garage for some off cuts of wood that we keep for just these types of occasions and found a piece of thick MDF board that was close to the size we needed. Using the circular saw, or you could use a jigsaw, we cut the board to the right length and width. We didn’t want the exposed edge to be square as it stuck out a bit visually and could be a head hazard for the little ones so we mitred the edge at 45 degrees.
In terms of paint, we used a primer/undercoat first and then added two coats of the same Railings colour we had used on the panelling so that it would blend in perfectly.
To attach it we found some fab brackets from Black Country Metal Works who have a great range of styles and materials. We liked these as they fitted with the paint colour and had some interesting design detail that went with the panelling but without being too ornate.
Put it all together and it is just what we wanted to achieve, and without spending too much.
But has it worked, is our hall looking tidy or is it covered in the kids’ coats and accessories? We’re pleased to say it has worked and by giving the kids their own space with hooks at their height it has given them a sense of ownership. They come into the house and they know which hooks are theirs, which basket is theirs and they do put the shoes away and hang up their coats and bags. Maybe it is a novelty, but it hasn’t worn off yet, so we are hoping that our love for interior design and tidiness is rubbing off!
If you are thinking about making changes in your home and need some help or interior design inspiration, do get in touch with us here. And don't forget to follow us via Instagram, Facebook and our upcoming blogs.
Fresh Start Living is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and covers surrounding areas as well as offering a remote interior design service.