Ideas & advice for buying the best hallway furniture
Hallway furniture comes in many forms, and often needs to serve both a decorative and practical purpose. Whether you’re looking for traditional wooden pieces or the ultra-modern look, in this guide we offer an overview of some of the most popular items and provide buying tips to ensure you make the best possible choice for your home.
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 options
Take 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 key
The 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.
That 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
Possibly the most popular choice of them all for households across the UK, console tables are ideal for the entrance way to your home. They’re designed to be relatively high and narrow and, rather than being imposing, they almost blend in to the background.
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
The blight of many hallways are shoes littered across the floor. They look extremely messy and are also a trip hazard. But fear not – a good shoe cupboard can take all of those problems away.
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
These are extremely popular, as they serve two purposes in one – seating and storage. The most common type - often referred to as a ‘monk’s bench’ - are ideal for an entry way, as they give a generous amount of storage space below the seat, plus somewhere to sit when you’re putting on or taking off your shoes. Aside from monk’s benches, more simplified alternatives without storage compartments below the seating area are available.
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
Mirrors are perfect for most hallways. They create the illusion of more space and they also reflect light, which helps illuminate an area that often doesn’t have an abundance of natural light. Another practical benefit is that placing a mirror here enables you to check your appearance before leaving the house, rather than having to go into another room.
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
Occasional chairs (sometimes also referred to as accent chairs) are often used in hallways or larger corridors within houses. They offer the practical benefit of giving you somewhere to sit and put on your shoes, plus they’re also an appealing decorative element when not in use.
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 furniture
Bookshelves 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.
Buying hallway furniture online?
Unni and Evans is an independent online furniture
retailer, offering a number of modern furniture ranges, including a broad choice of hallway furniture solutions.