Hallways – Giving The Right First Impression

Most people don’t give their hallway much thought, but it is the first thing visitors see when they come to your home. By making it beautiful, warm and welcoming you can give them a great first impression, which can set the tone for the rest of their visit. In this article we offer some tips and advice on how you can get it right.

Driveway and Doorstep (The Bits People Often Forget)
First impressions actually start before your guests enter your home. It is in those 20 seconds as they walk up your driveway and wait on your doorstep for you to open the door that they begin the process of forming an opinion. Is the front door nicely painted without any flaking or damage, is the doorbell easy to find, does the doorbell work, is there a nice plant or flower pot, is the space adequately illuminated, is the space clean and tidy or are there dry leaves and cobwebs? These are all things they probably don’t think of consciously, but they will notice subconsciously and will help them to form an opinion as they enter your home.

Make Small Spaces Look Larger With Lighting and Clever Design
As guests walk through the front door make sure your hallway is inviting. If the space is small use light colours and neutral tones to make it look bigger. Make sure it is well lit and not dark and dingy. Maximise your use of natural light by strategically placing mirrors to bounce lights around the hallway and give the impression of another room or throughway. You could even use forced perspective to give the illusion of a longer hallway by having larger paintings/decorative object near to the front door and smaller items further away. All of these techniques are simple to employ and give the illusion of a bigger space than you actually have.

Exploit The Senses
Humans have 5 senses so why not exploit all of them to give that memorable first impression. By simply placing a bowl with potpourri, some fresh lavender, a room diffuser or a scented candle you can mask those extraneous smells and make your guests feel like they’re walking into a room at a 5-star hotel.

If you live in a cold climate then make sure your entrance is warm and cosy. That rush of warm air that greets them as they walk in will make your guests feel instantly at home and relieved to be out of the cold. If you live in a warm climate then make sure your hallway is cool and airy so that they feel refreshed and comfortable as they enter.

Declutter and Tidy (On An Ongoing Basis)
One of the most important ways to give that perfect first impression is to make sure your entranceway is clean and tidy. With the busy, modern lives we live today the hallway is a dumping ground for the family’s shoes, coats and bags. By placing a small cabinet near the front door you can provide a quick and easy method of storing all these items. Moreover, you can use it as a hub, managing to store keys, mail, loose change, and all manner of other items that you need to access on a day-to-day basis.

If you don’t have space for a cabinet, consider installing a wall-mounted coat rack or shoe rack near the entrance to provide that much needed storage.

Hide The Unappealing & Emphasise the Rest
To really make the most of your hallway you need to emphasise the beautiful features and play down the less pretty ones. For the latter, if you have a radiator by the front door why not install an elegant radiator cover over it with an useful little shelf running along it’s entire length. This way you can hide the unattractive radiator whilst also creating a small space for you to display decorative objects or store other bits and bobs.

Laying the right flooring can have a dramatic effect of the look and feel of your hallway. Unless you and your family are super clean it would be unadvisable to go for a light coloured carpet in the entrance. Hardwearing and low maintenance should be your mantra when choosing what to install. Choose flooring that is easy to care for, resists moisture and hides dirt well.

To bring that touch of comfort and warmth back consider placing a runner on the floor. Not only will this insulate feet from a cold floor, it will provide comfort when walking and it can even make the hallway appear longer than it actually is.

As you have read, there are many ways to decorate your hallway to give visitors that memorable first impression. We have just scratched the surface of what is possible but, in reality, it all depends on your home, needs and specific circumstances. Why not go to your doorstop and then walk into your house with an opened mind and a critic’s eye, and try spotting the good and the bad in your current setup. Then, work out what you want from your hallway, bearing in mind the day-to-day requirements of your family. This will set you on the right path to determining what you need to do to make your hallway something you can be proud of and something that wow’s visitors to your home for years to come.

Jennifer Cox
Jennifer Cox