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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.


"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