Liven Up Boring Hallways Liven Up Boring Hallways

Q: I'm fairly happy with the decorating I've done in my living room, dining room, and bedroom, but I have a corner of a hallway that is just blah. The hallway has a turn in it, and it's too small to really make use of, yet every time I pass through, I think I should try to do something with it. Any suggestions?

A: Once you've made the big decorating moves you want in your home, you often will start noticing the smaller spots that still are in desperate need of assistance. The living room and bath may both be gorgeous, but getting from one to the other might make for a very dull trip because of the hallway decor.

Bear in mind that the more common problem in decorating is over-doing it; the eye needs a place to rest for a moment, and a bit of blank wall space or a corner where there is just nothing can sometimes work wonders in terms of clarifying a room's look. But while every corner of a home doesn't need to be decorated, sometimes a spot just calls for a bit of attention.

First, make sure the hallway is one of these places. Try hanging a series of small decorative plates, or small paintings in frames, on the wall, and see if that feels too busy. Several tiny pieces will brighten up the space without bullying it the way one big picture might.

Such little places can be especially fun to decorate, as you can break free from the moods you've created in your other rooms. The hallway or staircase can be a place you don't have to link with color, texture, or style, but of course you can echo these elements from other rooms if you want to.

For small spots, something Japanese-inspired often works, because you don't want to overwhelm the space with anything too big or bulky. Installing a shelf with a few small Japanese porcelain pieces, one of them a vase with a few curling bare branches, may do just the trick in terms of bringing life to an otherwise dull corner.

You could also try just one vase with a small bunch of fresh flowers. This will literally bring life to the spot, and again, without overwhelming it.

Another hallway design idea is to look up: hanging something from the ceiling can be an excellent way of brightening a corner where there isn't room for installing a piece of furniture, even a small one. A mobile, wind chimes, or a small decorative kite handing from the ceiling will provide interest without taking up precious floor space.

While hallways are a necessary connection between the rooms of your house, there's no need for the trip through them to be uninspiring. With a little work, you'll find interesting and unique ways to spice up your hallway's decor, making it feel much more welcoming.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

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