This makeover of the hall is one of the rooms that gives me most pleasure now it is done. Read on (again) to see why it’s so important to take care of the first space you see when you come in. Get this right and the rest will flow naturally on from there.
Regular readers will know that if there is one room in my house I regularly complain about it’s the hall. It’s so narrow there’s no room for any furniture and, since there is a suspended floor, there is no underfloor heating either. For the last eight years it has been a white door, white walls and an ugly white radiator.
Now it wasn’t all bad – there was the fabulous spotty stair runner greeting you as you came in but it wasn’t exactly a hall that revealed much about people who live here. And, as I have said before (many times) the hall is arguably the most important room in the house. It’s the first thing you see when you come in and the first thing your guests see. So it needs to count.
It needs, as I say in my book, which has a whole chapter devoted to the hall, when you come in your hall needs to welcome you. “Come in, put your coat here, your bag there and head on through to the kitchen where there’s a large gin/cup of tea waiting for you.” That is what it should be saying to you when you open the door.
Does your hall say that to you? Or does it snarl: “You again, mind the bike, oops too late, might as well chuck your coat over the handlebars, watch out for the shoes… oh. Look, just move along will you there’s no space for you here.”
If that’s the welcome you get from your hall then it’s time to do something about it. Last year I wrote a mini series on five easy ways to revamp each room in your house including the hall. But my own hall was sadly lacking in some of these tips. Yes it was tidy, no, there was no clutter but it was a little devoid of personality.
But gradually we have been working out what to do with a space that doesn’t have room for anything other than a radiator and a mirror on the wall. And that was the lightbulb moment.
The first thing was to paint the back of the front door to add some more colour. This was done in Farrow & Ball Brinjal which matches the bannister and the stair carpet so while you can’t see both at the same time there is, at least, some bold colour at both ends.
Then when Bisque approached me about working together I suddenly realised that it was all about the radiator. Match it to your wall or contrast it with the wall I wrote a couple of weeks ago. And finally I had worked out what to do in my own hall. It’s one of those – if you can’t beat ’em join ’em scenarios. Hiding the radiator wasn’t working and nor was it adding any personality to this narrow space. Painting the hall dark wasn’t an option. Yes it can be a brilliant idea for all sorts of reasons, but I have a dark sitting room leading off it so I didn’t want to add more darkness. The only solution was to make the radiator the feature of the space. And suddenly it all came together.
So now there is a dark grey radiator which looks great, adds some personality and, a bonus this – while smaller than the old one pumps out twice as much heat. The old one was a single radiator, this one, despite being only a couple of centimetres thicker a double so it’s much hotter. So much so that the Mad Husband returning from work the other day remarked that it was the first time he had felt the heat on opening the door.
It’s made from aluminium (although it looks like cast iron) but this means it’s lighter and slimmer and heats up and cools down faster than cast iron – in around 15 minutes, which given the weather we’ve been having is a bonus.
And while I’m on the subject of heating; if you live in a house (rather than a flat) the hall radiator is arguably the most important one in the house as the heat will funnel up the stairs. Our heating engineer told us that in order to make the house properly warm you need a big hall radiator and to keep the doors closed all the way up the stairs. That way the rooms will be heated by their own radiators and the hall one will push the heat up the stairs and keep the landings warm. We never quite manage to keep all the doors shut as well – cats and teenagers – but on the rare occasions we have done it does make a difference.
Finally, after an afternoon hanging pictures and unpacking the new umbrella stand – which had to be replaced after the 17-year-old tripped over the first one and smashed it, the hall feels like it has the personality it deserves. And I have practiced what I preached.
If you want to read my earlier post on Bisque colour matching radiators – for some seriously inspirational photography too it’s here.
This radiator was given to me as part of my collaboration with Bisque radiators. I paid for the installation and you know, by now, that I am picky about who I work with and choose only brands I believe in.