How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Staging the Hallways
The hallway just inside the front door is a welcoming space, where people first enter the home and where they get their first impressions.
Other corridors, landings and spaces between rooms form the circulation space of the house, along which people travel on their journeys from place to place.
Hallways can also be places for chance meetings, where people bump into one another as they move from one place to another.
As hallways are travel places, where people move from place to place, then these circulation spaces should be clear and easy to walk, without having to navigate around obstacles. It should also be possible for people to pass one another without touching, although some hallways are so narrow they make this difficult.
With a little imagination, odd bits of corridors, hallways and other corners can be turned into interesting zones, such as areas to sit, read and work. All you need is a chair and a light and you have effectively created another 'room'.
The front hallway immediately behind the front door is where people pause for greetings as they enter the house. Make sure this is clear and as spacious as possible. If you have the space, a place to hang coats and place umbrellas is helpful, although ensure these only contain tidy token items, rather than being overloaded with every jacket, hat, coat and scarf you have. A sideboard or table may also fit well, and flowers on this can set it off nicely as well as providing a pleasing fragrance.
As the front hall is the first thing that guests see inside the house, ensure it is as good-looking as possible. Look along the vista from the door to determine how pleasant this view really is. Remove things that are in the way, including big wall pictures which are seen only side-on.
Ensure the lights are bright enough and the fittings are clean. The floor should be recently cleaned. If the carpet is stained, then either get it steam cleaned or put a rug over it (this should not prevent the front door opening, of course).
Beyond the front hall, any corridor to downstairs rooms should be clean and clear. Leave doors to rooms half-open (but do close toilet and bathroom doors). This will both allow light into the corridor and offer tempting glimpses into the rooms. Light can also be increased with strategically placed mirrors.
Ensure the walls are clear and light, ideally white. This is because corridors are usually enclosed and can be quite dark and forbidding places. For this purpose it is helpful to have good electric lighting, even during the day.
Make sure all doors are clean and all repairs needed are done, from wobbly handles to scuffs and scratches.
Make sure staircases are as clean as elsewhere. This can be tricky as stair treads can have awkward corners. Check the firmness of carpeting on the stairs and fix any areas which are loose (you do not want your visitors slipping up here!).
Remove any coats and clothes from the newel post at the end of the stairs or which are hanging over the rails anywhere.
As you walk up the stairs, what do you see at the top? A nicely lit picture or planter can make this ascent more pleasant. A couple of elegant pictures on the wall going up the stairs may also break the tedium of the journey.
Walk both up the stairs and down, looking around all the time. What do you see at the bottom and over the banisters? What vista emerges at the top? Ensure this is pleasant. A tip when looking down is to check for dust on top of things that you had not noticed before.
The upstairs corridors usually go between bedrooms and bathrooms (although different configurations in the home may vary this). As with downstairs, check the appearance of doors and avoid obstructions.
Generally, the upstairs corridor can be a bit darker and more muted than the living corridors below. Warmer lighting orange hues can be give a sense of relaxation and warmth.
If you have wider spaces in parts of hallways, such as a landing area at the top of the stairs, you can use this for a feature display, such as a plant or sideboard. If there is enough spaces, a couple of small chairs and a table offers a quiet spot for reflection and reading.
The back porch is an area just inside the rear door of the house. This can easily be neglected and filled with muddy boots, coats and the like. Clean this and put things away so it is as attractive as elsewhere.
Pictures may be used to enliven large bare walls, but do this sparingly. Use pictures that your visitors will appreciate rather than things your children did at school or your family photos from last Summer. Use neat frames that do not stand out too much.
If you remove pictures, remember to hide marks, including the nail hole and discoloration around the frame. If needed, do some re-painting.