The Insider: How to make your hallway welcoming

I painted my dark hall white, under the – as it turns out, false – impression it would brighten it up. Now it's cold and still dark, not to mention grubby. I'm about to revamp – what do the experts suggest?

Shine on

"Glossy wall paint reflects what light there is," advises Cassandra Ellis, who runs one-off interiors workshops (cassandraellis.co.uk). "But the finish must be perfect." (For this: undercoat/sand/tack cloth/paint with roller.) She also warns against grime-attracting white in heavy-traffic areas.

Dress it up

"Consider hallways carefully – they're the first thing guests see," says the stylist Pippa Jameson (pippajamesoninteriors.co.uk). Think "warm colours, runners, a dramatic light fitting" and ornaments. One hip hallway near me has a bell jar displaying old toys atop a vintage child's chair.

Basket case

"Organised hallways are nicer to come into," says Ellis. "A hall table with a basket or tray controls keys, phone, wallet, coins..." No space? "Get a wall-hanging cupboard or shelf." I like skandium.com's dual-purpose Lumi shelf-mirror, £295.

In the mood

Ellis also suggests wall lights: "Space-saving mood-setting." Can't face rewiring? Caravanstyle.com's golden pineapple candle sconces (£89) are cool. Failing that, install a dimmer to convert harsh glare to homely glow.

Hanging around

No room for a coat stand? "Get a nestgoodies.co.uk Ferm Living 'tree' wall sticker with hooks," (£55) adds Jameson. Another good trompe l'oeil is rockettstgeorge. co.uk's "ceiling rose" sticker (£39.50). Illuminate via filamentlightbulbs.co.uk.

Floored

"Striking tiles create an impact on entrance," says Jameson. And not just in period homes. Try mawandco.com.

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
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