Walking the Line: Corridors and Hallways
A ‘corridor’ describes how rooms are accessed through a pathway that runs through a building. Similarly, ‘hallway’, refers to a space within a building that serves as a passage to rooms on either or both sides of it. Corridor also refers to a passageway on a train or ship, as well as an exterior location between buildings. For our purposes, however, we refer to corridor, interchangeably with hallway, to refer to a passage in a residential building, extending from the front door, leading to the various rooms in the house.
What purpose can be served by a corridor or hallway?
Aside from the afore-mentioned purpose of a corridor or hallway being an indoor thoroughfare, it can function much the same way as any other wall in the house. One way could be for it to have a sculptured arch above what would be the doorway, another could be that the threshold itself could be adorned with ornate mouldings on the sides and the top, to tie in with matching cornice mouldings along the ceiling and crown mouldings around light fittings.
Another way to utilise this space is as a feature wall; feature walls are the most desirable area with which designers wish to work, as it is a plain, relatively small, flat surface area that is the simplest (and possibly the most cheapest), but most rewarding expanse to dress up.
How to decorate your corridors and hallways
The walls of the corridor could be decked out with wall lights such as sconces which brighten up an area that generally does not have access to natural light, but also make the light fitting an aesthetically pleasing focal point on the wall. The aim is to extend your interior design to carry through every room in your home, and where best to exhibit your style than to capitalise on the previously neglected space of your corridor walls.
Corridors and hallways can become home to personal, commercial, and valued frames. Whether it's baby's bronzed footprints, your beloved niece's ghastly caricature of you, your degree certificate, or a treasured family photograph, make the walls your canvas to display framed personal artefacts. A new element added to display frames is three-dimensional artwork.
However, do not limit yourself or put yourself through expense by paying for framing or buying empty frames; acquire abstract paintings or picturesque photos of the seaside or a mountain scape, or even create your own by drawing random squiggles and shapes on blank canvases, and hang them along the walls.
Create holding spaces on the walls by mounting floating shelves for tchotchkes. If you have a little more cash in hand, invest in a credenza, side cabinet or any other sort of table-top furniture that doubles as entryway storage for the landline phone, keys, letters, and the like.
It is important to remember that the corridor is quite certainly the narrowest space in the house. Beware of cluttering the space though; as with the front door entrance, the hallway should remain free of obstacles, and the items displayed should not be easily upturned or disturbed by any draft created by using the front door.
Where to begin decorating your corridor or hallway
Wall and all
The hallway starts at your front door, and carries on through the rest of your house therefore, you should concentrate your design efforts beginning with your entrance. Take a step back and look at the outside of your home - continue the style you designed for the entryway, from outside the door, to within. If you have limited space available, keep it practical and only add necessary elements such as a frame to the wall, a hook to hang up coats, a rug to warm up the space - and to catch remnants of debris left from the outside mat- and built-in storage for other articles you may need, if the area permits. If you are fortunate enough to have a foyer, then the sky is the limit! You can opt for space-saving upholstered ottomans that could have hidden storage or an opulent chaise love seat upon which you can delicately pitch. Practicality would no longer hold you back; you just need to ensure that you keep the style and design of the rest of your home in mind.
Choose flooring for your hallway with much thought; highly polished surfaces may become slippery, especially when wet, and this leads to your flailing arms destroying all of your carefully selected decor, trinkets, shelving and wall hangings while you are grasping to steady yourself as you fall.
- Surfaces that are most attractive when polished like granite or sandstone will add a different sort of appeal when installed as it exists in nature. They are also easily cleaned and durable.
- Wood floors like mahogany and oak, are warm and welcoming but require regulate maintenance.
- Cost-effective flooring like tiles, may be affordable but aren’t very durable.
Hallways by staircases
If your hallway extends to include a staircase, adding a simple rug at the base of the stairs would improve an otherwise bare, unworkable space. Focusing on designing away from the walking areas, hang pendant lights on the ceiling, following the pathway of the stairs. Insert natural elements of creeping and vine plants up the balustrade of the stairs, and place a low-maintenance potted plant at the foot.
Brighten dark corridors and hallways
Installing light fixtures is the go-to answer to illuminating areas with insufficient visibility. Lighting home stores feature an array of styles to suit your decor and pocket. But what of spaces where electrical outlets and electricity cords cannot be run? The solution - finance permitting- is to practical and effective use of both sunlight and moonlight by installing a skylight. It is strongly recommended that rather than committing yourself to such a tall order (height pun intended!), contact a professional who will advise you on which skylight best suits your needs according to your space and budget.
A thankful hue
The paint colour you select for your corridor should be soft to reflect as much light as is possible. Choosing a dark colour would close off the space and make it appear smaller and claustrophobic. Also avoid bold shades, unless on a feature wall, as they may tend to become stale after some time.
Centre your ‘chi’
Take a leaf out of Chinese philosophy and adopt the feng shui arrangement of your corridor area such that your decor invites positivity. Basic rules are lighting scented candles along the passageway, hanging mirrors, rather than frames, to create the illusion of a larger area, displaying fresh flowers or better yet, low-maintenance potted plants, and placing symbolic statues and sculptures where you are able to, without creating an imbalance, literally and spiritually.
Whether you are renovating an old and tired corridor or hallway, or intending to create a more cheery entryway, find a happy medium between putting your personal stamp on the space, functionality, and practicality. If your creativity is stifled, invest in your sanity and engage the serves of a seasoned, professional interior designer for assistance.