Jason is a reader that has a particular problem with a hallway and how to decorate it. As we corresponded by email, we also covered a couple more decorating issues he has and he has agreed that I can use our correspondence for this post.
“I have a large hallway that I don’t know what to do with. The hall is about 10′ long and 4′ wide. Like most halls there are a couple doors on wall wall and the other is a long blank wall. I also just got this sideboard and am wondering if I should put a mirror over it. I don’t like the one that comes with it.”
Jason, your hallway sounds a little wider than normal which gives you a little more decorating freedom. I wrote an article with 10 ideas for decorating hallways a while ago and it may give you some inspiration. Generally, you can be a little bolder in your choices of color and decor because it’s a small pass-through area and people don’t linger. Often a hallway is used for a family photo gallery. Collect some fave photos and frame them all in the same color (not necessarily the same frame) and hang them along the long wall. Add a chair rail or two tone paint colors for interest.
As for the new sideboard – it’s lovely! It can certainly carry a large mirror and in fact it might be hard to find one big and beefy enough to balance it’s visual weight. An alternative might be to use 2 mirrors side by side to fill the length of the chest. Or use one mirror in the center flanked by two good sized sconces – either lamp or candle type. Another option is to put one big mirror to one side and balance it with an oversized cool accessory on the other side – a tall floral arrangement, a big pot or some dramatic candle sticks (big chunky ones to balance the mirror).
WHERE TO USE THIS MIRROR?
“I have this metal mirror currently in the entry and am thinking of moving it. It’s 28×28″ and I was thinking of using it on the long wall in the hallway. I also like shelves like this and I was thinking of these at the end of the hallway. I also found these sconces and wondered if I could use them with my mirror?”
I like the idea of a mirror in a hallway – it opens things up and reflects any light so that the hall is brighter. However, I think the mirror is too small and visually light weight to anchor the long wall, so I suggest putting it on the short end wall – you said it’s about 38″ wide so a 28″ mirror would fit perfectly. Then use a set of the shelves and the sconces on the long wall. It’s okay to spread them out a little, but keep them close enough together that they’re clearly a grouping. Don’t try to fill a whole 8′ wall with a few shelves and sconces; it’s better to have a strong grouping in the middle of the wall. Your extra wide hall allows you to have shelves without worrying about people running into them. I’d also recommend keeping the sconces together rather than at opposite ends of the shelves. I think they’ll make a stronger statement as their own block. Plus I like the idea of the curvy metal sconces contrasted with the linear shelves and it will bring the curvy metal of the mirror to a different wall creating a great connection. At the end of this post about displaying figurines I have some before and after pictures of a client using similar shelves.
HOW TO FRAME FAMILY PHOTOS COHESIVELY
The next day Jason wrote: “Thanks for all the advice. If I want to use pictures with my shelves, what color/style should I get? How about the mats? Should I use color or black and white photos?”
If you’re going with the black shelves, I’d suggest a frame color that is different from that so they contrast a little. The color doesn’t really matter- whatever fits with your style: white for country or shabby chic, maple or black for modern, cherry or any wood tone for more traditional. Of course choosing silver or gold always works. The wood colors are definitely only guidelines because of course you can find contemporary white frames, but you get the idea.
As for color or b/w photos – again, there is no right or wrong answer – it’s your preference. I happen to prefer color so my unification is in the mat & frame. I keep all my family photos in frames that are either black or silver and have modern, simple profiles. Especially with color photos white or off white is always safest for a mat color and creates a nice separation from the frame. A black mat is usually too heavy and dark; the only other option I’d suggest that would keep it neutral would be a light tan/beige/khaki color.
Tomorrow Jason has some good questions about what to do with his entry. Check back and read some tips on handling an entryway and still keep it toddler proof!
By the way, Cindy and I have some great stuff coming your way in December – a couple of free guides, a contest, a giveaway, lots of ways to celebrate the season. Keep checking back so you don’t miss anything.