Hallways deserve a lighting scheme that makes the very best first impression. Here’s how to plan yours to perfection.
THE hallway: generally a dark, narrow space with few redeeming features – but also the first room you and your guests see on entering your home. So how to make the best of it, other than investing in good shoe and coat storage? The answer is lighting – get it right and you’ll transform your hallway into a bright, light, feature-packed space.
1. Conjure up atmosphere A hallway should be inviting, drawing guests into the house. An easy way to achieve this is by installing low-level lighting – like this mini pendant – to supplement your more practical fittings.
The aim here is simply to create a soft pool of light to highlight what’s nearby, so fit a low-wattage bulb, one with a warm tint, or one connected to a dimmer.
2. Know your lampshades Wall lights are a highly practical choice for hallways, because they take up no floor or tabletop space – which should be jealously guarded in a narrow space.
Choosing slim shades is a must – but so is picking pale-coloured, drum-shaped designs that throw light evenly both upwards and downwards, and diffuse it softly outwards too.
3. Light a recess If your hallway is all about minimalist finishes and swathes of architectural glazing, you won’t want to be messing it up with a bulky old banister. So why not copy this genius alternative? A handrail that’s not only recessed to save valuable space and create a neat finish, but is also top-lit, so it’s nothing more than a slash of light at night. Now that’s clever.
4. Use reflections cleverly
No self-respecting hallway should be without a mirror (the bigger the better) to make it seem larger and – most importantly – much brighter.
How to maximise its effect? Place a table with lamps on it right in front of the glass and the light will be doubled. Choosing lamps on narrow stands and furniture made of reflective materials will only enhance the effect.
5. Don’t paint it – light it If yours is a modern home, an LED installation like this one will create instant party-time wow factor. Best kept for evenings only, it will add colour and light to an otherwise minimalist space.
Ask for light controls that allow you to easily switch from all-white light to colour-changing effects like this when you’re feeling particularly funky.
6. Create a scene Believe it or not, there’s an art to placing table lamps on a console, particularly in a hallway, where they’re instantly on show.
Here, it’s done to perfection: the lights create a frame for and focus the eye on the grouping of pictures, while the monotones of the artwork complement those of the lighting and table. Consider your own colour scheme carefully.
7. Big it up OK, so we can’t all afford to own a house that could fit a light this large in it, but really, it’s all about proportions. If you have a high-enough ceiling – or perhaps a stairwell with an opportunity for a larger-than-average fitting – a super-sized light can be all you need to create that desired first impression.
8. Group for effect
As we all know, good lighting isn’t just about, er, light – it’s also about the fittings themselves and the impression they create. A grouping of pendant lights – a big trend in dining rooms – makes for both a practical and decorative lighting solution in a hallway too. It creates a pretty focal feature that takes up no floor space and casts plenty of light about.
9. Go high, go low Lighting a hallway is all about creating choice and an even distribution of light. Here, a track of directional fittings throws light downwards, while separately operated skirting spots fill in the gaps.
The result? A long, narrow, potentially dark hallway is flooded with light along its length. And at night, with only the skirting lights on, you’ll have instant atmosphere too.
10. Lead the way
Lighting the stair treads isn’t just about health and safety – it’s a clever way to draw the eye upwards. It’s a trick you might like to use if you have a particularly attractive staircase or banister, or even just a piece of sculpture or furniture at the top of the stairs to which you’d like to draw attention. This recessed skirting hides an LED strip – an elegant solution.