365 Objects Of Design

How To Create The Perfect Entrance Hall

7th February 2017
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Right so first up let’s be honest about the headline, which was created to tempt you all in. This post will NOT help you create the perfect entrance hall. There I’ve said it. That is not unless you have been architecturally blessed with a large space, preferably square and a window or two. No exactly, me neither. I have a long, narrow passage with a radiator one one side and doors on the other. HOWEVER, before you all leave in disgust, what this post WILL do, is show you all the elements needed to create the perfect entrance hall and you can then pick and choose the ones that you have room for in your own homes. Better? It will show you how to create the perfect entrance hall in your own home – otherwise known as making the best of what the builder and the mortgage broker saw fit to let you have.

black bench from cox and cox

if you have room for seating in your hall: black bench from cox and cox

It goes without saying that the hall is the first thing you see when you come in. Now it’s not just about first impression for visitors and potential buyers (although if that’s your bag come back next month when TV presenter Amanda Lamb will be guest blogging on how to sell your house) but crucially, it’s about you. How does your hall make you feel?

Is it welcoming you in with a sympathetic smile? When you stagger in with plastic bag wrist (those deep red welts from where it has cut into your flesh), a dripping umbrella, uncomfortable shoes and a slightly shameful desire for a large drink before you can even think about taking your coat off/ dinner/kids/netflix, does it say: “Come on in. Put your shoes here, your coat there and get rid of the brolly. Don’t forget to put your keys here so you don’t lose them. Now then, why don’t you go through to the kitchen and find a drink and a comfy chair?”

a narrow console table is perfect for the hall westelm

a narrow console table is perfect for the hall  from westelm

Is your hall saying that to you? Or is it shouting: “Where the hell have you been? What do you think you’re doing trying to jam your coat on that peg, can’t you see it’s full. No there’s no room for shoes there. Mind the bike.  If you put your keys there I’m telling you they’ll be gone by the morning. Told you that bike was in the way.”

Does that sound familiar? I suspect most of us are probably somewhere between the two. So what are the elements of the perfect entrance hall? We’re just talking objects here not floors, walls and lighting – we’ll do that another day. So stuff to put in the hall – one: coat storage. And no you can’t all put all your coats here. There does need to be some discipline. I suspect you all have far more coats than you’re going to own up to so be realistic – are they all winter coats? The lighter jackets and spring coats can go in the wardrobe for now. That old padded thing that you wear to go to the corner shop on Saturday morning – upstairs.

muuto dots for coat storage

muuto dots for coat storage image via J. Levau

Now then hooks. Two ideas – one a row of Shaker pegs all along the wall. This works for bags – school, hand and kit, even shoes laced together but mainly coats. Fill the length of the wall with these pegs. If you don’t like those try something more decorative like the Muuto dots that look pretty even when empty.

Next – shoes. Again two thoughts – if you have a room a lovely bench with shoes underneath it can work. Or, remember the trick of floating furniture so you see more floor space? Ask the builder to create two shelves along the wall. One for sitting on and one underneath that is narrower for the shoes. Or put shoes on both if you need to – I’m going to say discipline again. You can’t all have all your shoes in the hall at the same time. No you can’t. Well all yours maybe, not his and theirs as well.

shaker pegs via remodelista

shaker pegs via remodelista

Storage and seating done – the latter is very much an aspiration for me as mine is so narrow, but you can sit on the stairs if you need to. Now you need a mirror. The purpose of this is two fold – one to bounce light around if yours is a dark and windowless space and secondly for the last minute check for spinach between the teeth. If you can, get one that has a shelf on it. Not just for keys and post but perhaps for flowers too.

Or, if you have the space – I don’t – a narrow console table is a good idea. Stick a table lamp on it to create some interest and height, a tray to collect all the pocket detritus that otherwise ends up in the kitchen, and, if it’s not too dark a plant. Although that is the great advantage of all the faux plants that are round – they don’t need any actual light so that’s a win too.

carriage mirror with shelf from graham and green

carriage mirror with shelf from graham and green

Finally the accessories – an umbrella stand is always handy. Some pictures on the walls. If your hall is dark think about investing in a neon sign. It will light the space,  inject some humour and doesn’t take up any floor space.

Now that’s probably quite long enough for today. We’ll deal with the structure another day. In the meantime, think about what your hall is saying to you and see if you can make it work a little harder and be a little friendlier by incorporating some of these ideas.


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  • Stylish Hallway Storage – Around the Houses 16th February 2017 at 4:07 pm

    […] Watson-Smith on Mad About the House recently explained how to create the perfect hallway. When it comes to keeping shoes in hallways, Kate advises discipline, dispelling the notion that […]

  • Joanna Biddolph 13th February 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I have a lot of inherited furniture which I love. Yes, it’s dark wood but it’s beautiful and the association with previous generations is very pleasing to me. I don’t want to get rid of it but it does mean that it takes up space such as in the alcoves next to the fireplace which means I can’t have built in cupboards/shelves/seating. And, bearing in mind this post, I have a hall table which is … in the hall. I look at photos such as in this post with huge interest – how lovely to start from scratch – but it would be really helpful if occasionally you could give advice on how to accommodate inherited furniture in those situations. It might not be what you do so that would be that but, if it is, my ideal would be that one of the photos/ideas would include the inherited angle. I have no idea if my hall falls into the welcoming good impression category because I have nothing to go by!

  • Nicole @ Wallsauce.com 9th February 2017 at 10:14 am

    We hear of so many questions around this topic! Thank you for sharing these tips, we’ll be sure to share this post when they arise! 🙂

  • Marcella 7th February 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Today’s post was delightful – causing me to laugh in an otherwise dreary waiting room!,??
    Thank you!

  • Jenny 7th February 2017 at 10:43 am

    Brilliant post thanks Kate. What I’d also love to know is what about all the hats and gloves – where are they supposed to go? Can you help us to find gorgeous hallway storage solutions for a whole family of five’s myriad wooly accessories?

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 7th February 2017 at 11:05 am

      If you have a shelf or a space under a seat then the ideal is a box for each person – their hats, gloves, scarves etc – we have done this with mailboxes in the kitchen for each person’s post/homework/stuff. If it’s a narrow space then you could have something like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MFX8JBT?psc=1 or whatever size you need – one row per child? for gloves and hats? This was just a quick one I found but that sort of thing. If you have the Shaker peg idea then you could hang one kit bag per person with their gloves and hats in? Variations on a theme.

      • Jenny 7th February 2017 at 9:48 pm

        Ooh yes, I hadn’t thought of hanging solutions – great idea thanks.

  • Taste of France 7th February 2017 at 10:02 am

    Our renovations have wall-mounted coat racks with little tabletop/drawer, mirror, coat/hat hooks and umbrella holder. Slim profile, covers all the bases. In the bigger entry, we also have a large marble-topped console table and and armchair. I don’t like having shoes by the door unless they are hidden.

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