Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - FRONT PAGE -

The open­ing scene of a film is hugely sig­nif­i­cant. It sets the look, tone and plot for the rest of the movie. The same can be said of your home’s en­trance hall. Of­ten, the hall­way is last on your DIY to- do list. Af­ter all, it doesn’t have quite the same ‘ value- adding’ po­ten­tial as a great kitchen and bath­room, and it’s not a room you un­wind in like the liv­ing area and the bed­room.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not im­por­tant. It’s the spot you last see be­fore leav­ing the house and the one that greets you af­ter a tough day at work. It’s also the first glimpse vis­i­tors will get into your home, and first im­pres­sions do count.

But with some care­ful plan­ning and a lit­tle bit of hard­work, you too could cre­ate your own award- win­ning show­stop­per. The floor­ing op­tions in a hall­way are end­less; from at­ten­tion- grab­bing tiles to clas­sic wooden floor­ing and even lush car­pet.

It’s en­tirely de­pen­dent on per­sonal taste and of course, bud­get. But there are a few things to take into con­sid­er­a­tion.

Pri­mar­ily, the hall­way is the room in which you first en­ter from out­side. Even with the best wel­come mat in the world, dirt and mud is likely to be tram­pled in at some point. Wooden floors and tiles can be easy to clean but car­pets may prove a lit­tle trick­ier. What’s more, the hall­way is one of the home’s busiest ar­eas, so floor­ing that can han­dle a lot of traf­fic is im­por­tant.

If you don’t have the bud­get to re­place the en­tire floor­ing, in­vest in a fan­tas­tic run­ner or rug to add in­ter­est. This will also of­fer some pro­tec­tion from stains. The hall­way can be a dump­ing ground; coats, bags, shoes, even mail, can all clut­ter up the hall­way in no time at all. But this ‘ clut­ter’ is an essen­tial part of ev­ery­day life, so why not make a fea­ture of it?

Or­nate coat hooks, beau­ti­ful coat stands and vin­tage shoe lock­ers will not only add in­ter­est and de­tail but are prac­ti­cal ad­di­tions that will en­sure your essen­tial clut­ter not only be­comes part of the fur­ni­ture but looks fan­tas­tic too. The stair­case is an in­te­gral part of most hall­ways. But if th­ese have seen bet­ter days, why not rip them out and start again? This will com­pletely trans­form the look and feel of your en­tire home.

How­ever, a warn­ing. Stair­cases are essen­tial to the struc­ture of your prop­erty and are gov­erned by strict build­ing reg­u­la­tions, so make sure you get an ex­pert who un­der­stands the rules and will ad­here to them to un­der­take the work.

For a quick spruce up, var­nish­ing or re­paint­ing the wood­work will give your stairs a fresh new feel while those slightly more am­bi­tious and skilled in the DIY stakes could re­place the spin­dles and balustrade. The hall­way is a fab­u­lous area to ex­per­i­ment with art.

It adds in­ter­est, some­thing some hall­ways are com­pletely de­void of, and doesn’t have to cost a for­tune.

Post­cards from your favourite travel des­ti­na­tions, fam­ily photographs and re­pro­duc­tion prints are great ways to add per­son­al­ity.

You could even get a se­lec­tion of your favourite In­sta­gram shots printed and use a mul­ti­a­per­ture frame to show­case your pho­tog­ra­phy skills.

Al­ter­na­tively, let a huge piece of framed art take cen­tre stage. Just make sure it’s a pic­ture you love, be­cause you are go­ing to see it each and ev­ery time you walk into and exit your home.

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