INTERIORS Make a teeny tiny hallway feel big

spacious room

Make the most of a small hall

Interior Design
Niamh Tuohy

If you own an apartment with a teeny tiny hallway, painted in magnolia with several doors off it, and a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling that you just haven’t gotten around to putting a shade on yet, then this article is for you.
And, let’s face it – it’s more than likely also for the neighbour beside you, above you, beneath you, and everyone within a 15-mile radius of you.
For some reason, everyone got a buzz out of decorating their wee nests, tiling bathrooms to within an inch of their lives, creating living rooms with more atmosphere that a movie set and fitting kitchens that Nigella herself would be proud to work out of. But hallways? Well hallways just sort of fall flat.
What do you do with them? They’re awkward sizes, with (more often than not) no natural light and pokey little corners that hold nothing but resentment because of their presence.
So, how do you make the most out of the entry area to your dwelling and make it a part of your home, not a walkway from the communal corridor to your pad?

Mirrors are a great way for giving the illusion of space. Fill a whole wall with one if the space is right. Or alternatively, play with shapes and sizes. Make wall art out of it by forming different outlines and figures. Using one large piece will give a classier finish though.

More than likely you’ll be working within a space that has no natural light, so you need to be creative with the alternatives. If there are nice architectural aspects in the hall, then use spot lighting to accentuate them. Have fun with your light shades. There are places that can make bespoke shades from pretty much any material that you choose in any size you like, so have a little fun with it!

Working with small, sometimes, oddly shaped spaces can require ingenuity and a little bit of thinking outside the box to make the best use of what you have. If you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop and still haven’t found anything that fits, then you may need something that is custom made. While it may cost more, it WILL be an original and most importantly, will solve the problem for you.

To create the feeling of space, you’re better off staying as neutral as possible on the walls. That doesn’t mean you have to go with the bog-standard magnolia. There are an infinite number of beautiful colours out there so, check them out on line or in the shops, but remember, always get a sample and put it up on the wall as each and every space will have their own shadows and shades and what might look great on the palette, may not necessarily look so good on the wall.

Out of all the usual options – carpet, wood and tiles – the one material that can really give the ultimate in luxurious finishes is tiling. Nothing quite gives that ‘WOW’ factor like tiles can when it’s the first thing that one sees when arriving into the apartment. Especially a large cream porcelain or Italian stone.

All in all, there are huge changes you can make to your hallway to enhance it and get the most out of it. Remember to know when enough is enough though. Taking ALL of the above on board in one small space might be a tad overkill…

Naoimh Tuohy
is an interior designer based in Westport and working countrywide. Originally coming from a property background, she made the jump from valuing buildings to redesigning their interiors. She has worked freelance for the last six years and specialises in show houses, home-owner renovations and investment-property fit-outs. She can be contacted at 087 7625539.