Stunning stairs lift your home

Wilton wallpaper in Sovereign, �57.00 per roll, Little Greene Wallpapers.

Wilton wallpaper in Sovereign, �57.00 per roll, Little Greene Wallpapers.

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First impressions are crucial, whether you’re welcoming guests to your home or trying to impress a prospective buyer.

Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to make sure visitors are greeted by a calm, not cluttered, hallway...

You’re not alone if you walk into your home and your spirits wilt as you’re greeted by a jumble of coats, shoes and bags, as the hallway is generally the most neglected area in the home.

All too often it’s an afterthought when it comes to decor, and yet the hall should be the star of the show because it presents the first impression of your style to visitors.

A hallway is usually such a small area in a home that you can let loose and try a bold pattern paper or a colour you might be too inhibited to use in a main living area.

“Painting walls a bright or darker shade half-way up a wall, dividing with a dado rail if desired, and then using a lighter shade for the upper half of the wall which reaches the ceiling will make a hallway look more spacious,” advises Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau, author of Happy Home.

Add impact by removing carpet and painting an entire staircase, and stencil decorative or amusing words on each riser to bring instant character to the space.

Juts be aware that this will make stairs noisier though.

It’s essential to have hard-wearing flooring in a hall - a high traffic area. “Floor tiles come in such a wide range of colours, textures and finishes these days that they’re becoming increasingly popular for halls,” says Claire O’Brien, trend manager for British Ceramic Tile.

“Natural stone tiles are an ideal way to create a timeless, opulent-looking hall. For a real statement, combine natural stone with a French pattern design, to emphasise the shade variation of the tiles.

“Alternatively, choose a rustic-looking floor tile that can flow through the entire downstairs to achieve a sense of bringing the outdoors in.

“A muted, organic colour scheme with moulded borders and wood cladding will create a hallway full of warmth and character.”

Tiles start from around £22 per square metre.

Carpet, provided it’s high-quality and hard-wearing, is a good choice and can bring warmth and colour to a hall area, as well as minimising noise.

“Stripes are hugely popular in halls and work particularly well on stairs and for runners,” says Roger Oates, founder of the company of the same name, which specialises in floors and fabrics.

“Striped designs are timeless but have a contemporary edge in the colour combinations used - and can lo ok stunning against old oak or even on stone staircases.”

Staircases are a key feature in a hallway and nowadays their potential is being realised with revamps of bannisters, bespoke staircases, or lighting.

“Revamping a staircase can breathe new life into a hallway and turn your stairs into a real style statement,” says Simon Meyrick, designer at Neville Johnson. “A staircase’s visual impact can reflect upon the whole property.”