Ideas & advice for buying the best hallway furniture
Only buy hallway furniture that you really need
Start by thinking carefully about what you actually need in your hallway. Whereas other rooms in your house or flat will be able to accommodate a more generous amount of furniture, hallways are traditionally quite small affairs. Therefore, more often than not, try to only buy things that you actually need and will use.
Equally, don’t succumb to the pressure of thinking that you need to conform to other households and that certain items are ‘expected’.
If you’ve only recently moved in, this should be the last area that you shop for, giving you time to establish what’s practically needed, plus of course allowing as much entry space as possible whilst you move other new furniture and various items in to your new home.
Keep sizes to a minimum
For a number of reasons, unless you have a very generous entryway, try to be conservative with the size of anything you place in this area of your home. From a purely practical point of view, this is the key thoroughfare within your house and you certainly don’t want to be brushing past or knocking into anything as a result of furniture protruding more than it should do.
From an aesthetic perspective, keeping things minimal helps to avoid your home looking small and cluttered. Having too much near to the front door restricts visitors’ perception of space and can give a congested impression. If you’re ever in any doubt about the size of a piece of furniture you’re considering, err on the side of caution and go for narrow, slim and small.
There’s one exception to this rule – large hallway mirrors will help create the impression of more space, plus they’ll reflect light, which is never a bad thing.
Carefully consider your optionsTake your time and shop around for everything. Some homeowners make the mistake of buying in haste or treating the hallway area as an afterthought. It deserves as much consideration and attention as you’d give any room in your house or flat.
Coordination is keyThe style of furniture you choose will help to set the tone for the rest of the house. That’s not to say that you need to rigidly stick to one style, but any items you select must broadly coordinate with other rooms, especially ones that lead directly off of the hallway. Any sharp contrast in styles will be too much of a jolt.
If you’re unsure about which style to choose, it’s best to go with something that’s fairly neutral in terms of colour, which gives you more flexibility to coordinate with other things. A lighter colour of paint or wood is also often best, as hallways can be darker than some other areas.
Think practicallyThat gorgeous, cream-coloured crushed velvet occasional chair might be tempting you, but how will it fare when the household is rushing past with muddy shoes and boots in deepest, darkest winter time?
As it’s a thoroughfare, hallway furniture will receive more knocks, scrapes and stains than mostly any other items in the house and it’s best to accept this from the beginning and buy accordingly. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t aspire to a stylish look, but being realistic about the traffic that’s passing through this area on a daily basis will help you to buy furniture that’s still looking great for months and years to come.
For this reason, rustic and reclaimed wood pieces are popular choices for many. The wood is already distressed and therefore scratches and knocks won’t be as obvious as they would be on more pristine pieces.
What are the 5 most popular types of hallway furniture?
1) Console tables
Crucially, they’re very practical – usually featuring small drawers for housing of items such as keys, whilst often also including a shelf below, for placing storage baskets or decorative items.
2) Shoe cupboards
Shoe storage cupboards’ dimensions vary greatly and so there’s options for most households, depending on how much space you have. From the wide and low, to the tall and narrow, shoe cabinets come in various shapes and sizes to suit most needs.
How many shoes can be stored will of course depend on the size but again, if you’re in doubt, go for a small option. Larger cupboards can hold 20+ pairs of shoes, but how often are most of these shoes actually worn? It might be better to have a smaller cabinet by the front door and store occasional shoes elsewhere, such as in a bedroom cupboard.
3) Storage benches
It’s particularly important that whatever storage bench you choose, it must be hardwearing and robust. To get to shoes and other items stored, the lid of a monk’s bench will be opened and closed hundreds of times a year, plus of course the seat will need to take the weight of each member of the household, plus visitors. Try to opt for a hardwood piece, such as oak or walnut, or indeed something made from reclaimed wood.
4) Hallway mirrors
Larger mirrors are usually popular, as they bring the benefits described above, plus they enable shorter and taller members of the household to use the mirror without standing on tiptoes or stooping down. That said, rather than one large mirror, a few smaller mirrors can also be placed side-by-side, and this is certainly a popular and contemporary look at the moment.
5) Hallway chairs
Sizes and styles vary greatly but if you’re considering an occasional chair, as mentioned earlier, try to think very practically about which fabrics are suitable for withstanding the day-to-day wear and tear that might come with being placed in the hallway.
As an alternative to buying a designated accent chair, you may want to consider using a spare dining chair. For example, you could have six dining chairs within your home, four of which normally live around the dining table, with two spares being placed around the house, such as one in the hallway, when not in use.
Other hallway furnitureBookshelves or bookcases are occasionally used in this area. If not deployed for their traditional purpose of housing books, they can offer lots of storage space on each of the shelves. From a safety point of view, particularly in a hallway, where people are frequently walking back and forth, it’s important to ensure bookshelves are secured to a wall.
In larger hallways, a small sideboard can also sometimes be suitable. They certainly afford a generous amount of storage space and are a viable consideration if you’re struggling to find a console table that’s large enough.