My Hallway Plans: Going From Dark To Bright & Banishing The Beige

When we moved from the South to the North and found our house, the hallway was one of the major selling features. It was a huge, in your face, 'Buy Me' hallway and soon as we walked in the door, we realised that we absolutely had to live here. Even if we had to take on a mortgage the size of the UK's deficit, sell Buddy (or possibly a child), spurn holidays and live on crisps for the next five years, we knew that the Dawson's and The Elms were a match made in heaven. To be fair, it took a while to convince the Bank but thanks to Anthony (The Best Mortgage Advisor In The World) we ended up with the perfect fixed rate deal that meant the children would be able to bypass rickets and the dog would avoid relocation trauma.

 The photo that sold us the house.  I'd love to say the garden and driveway still look this immaculate but I would absolutely be lying through my teeth.

The photo that sold us the house.  I'd love to say the garden and driveway still look this immaculate but I would absolutely be lying through my teeth.

Joe and I have always pushed it to the limit. We've moved nine times in 14 years. The way we've worked it is that at the point that we realise that we can afford the mortgage without sacrificing other stuff, we sell up, extend the mortgage, move to something bigger and start pushing it again. I learned from my Dad that life is for living - we always felt that we wanted to have the best home that we could possibly afford in the best possible area. Now we've moved into this house - our dream house - and our kids are in secondary school, we feel like we want to stop. I can tell you now that there's more chance of Farage becoming Prime Minister than there is of us ever paying our mortgage off, but we bloody LOVE living here and wouldn't change a thing.

 The hallway runs around the ground floor so it's in two parts with a vestibule in the middle that leads into the courtyard.

The hallway runs around the ground floor so it's in two parts with a vestibule in the middle that leads into the courtyard.

So back to the hallway. It runs from the front of the house, which has a standard staircase front door combo going on, to the back of the house, which would originally have been, I suppose, the tradesman's entrance back in the 1700's when the house was built. In the middle of this corridor, there's a vestibule and an entrance door to the cellar which is two rooms that run under the living room and kitchen. When we moved in, the whole lot was painted an apricot off white. There's large white tiles across the whole of the ground floor corridor and the stairs and landing were, inexplicably, laid with cream carpet. Who in God's name puts down cream carpet in a house that is made for a family? It's madness. Anyway, it was destroyed within two months by a combination of dirty feet, drink spillage and dog wee which I stupidly tried to remove quickly with purple hair shampoo which was the nearest thing to hand. Rookie error.

 The stair carpet before we moved in.  Destroyed within two weeks by a badly toilet trained dog and three children.

The stair carpet before we moved in.  Destroyed within two weeks by a badly toilet trained dog and three children.

I was desperate to make my mark on this space and was going through what can only be described as my 'Downpipe' era. Miles The Worlds Best Decorator did the rear hall (the one that we use) in the dark grey and we wallpapered a feature wall that crossed both areas of the hallway in Cole & Son Deco Palm. I absolutely loved it. This was two years ago. Regular readers, you will know that I am a terrible transient decorator and it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I'm bored of it.


When I sanded my sitting room floor for Revamp Restyle Reveal last September, I was so sick of the constantly filthy stair carpet that I lifted it in a fit of rage. Joe and the kids were furious. I loved the look of the bare boards but to them they were noisy, cold on their feet and looked like we were constantly in a stage of mid decoration which wasn't impressive when their friends came over. The only redeeming feature was that we could hear the dog running downstairs which always alerts us to the fact he has a) eaten discarded food, b) been rooting through the wash basket or c) wee'd or poo'd in a bedroom. I decided it was time for a revamp.

So what am I going to do?


 Going. Going.  Gone.

Going. Going.  Gone.

Whitewash The Walls

So it's going white. All of it. The wallpaper is coming off, the dark grey will be no more and the dirty hand prints that are scattered like some alternative art project up my stairs will be covered with snow coloured beautifulness. I'm not going off white - I made that mistake in my kitchen when I bottled it and used a grey white and regretted it ever since. I'm going white.

Over the last year, I've been gradually whitewashing my entire house. The reasons for this are as follows. I love gallery walls and decorating my walls with art. I love wallpaper. I love making an impact. So white works for me. Why? Because I can put whatever I like on my walls and there is no distraction or colour clash. Perfect.

The only issue is is that Miles will have to literally hang himself off a 20ft drop on the landing, risking life and limb, a fact which I am totally freaking out about, but Miles has assured me that I don't have to watch. He obviously doesn't know about my Instagram Story addiction.


 The home of designer and creative  Christine Lennon .  

The home of designer and creative Christine Lennon.  

Lay A Colour Appropriate Carpet

Because I haven't got a colour on the walls, the world is, quite frankly, my oyster when it comes to carpet choice. I'm going for a runner up the first section and then wall to wall on the upstairs corridor, mostly because the floor boards are knackered and covered in plywood (a great disappointment). I'm heavily leaning towards pattern and there's loads of choice.

Personally, I think it's time that patterned carpet had a moment in my home so I'm going to bite the bullet and find one that works. Banish the beige and bring in the colour. Oh, and I've heard pattern means less hoovering so that works for me too.


 This feature wall is going but I'm thinking I may put another elsewhere.

This feature wall is going but I'm thinking I may put another elsewhere.

Consider A Feature Wall

I absolutely love the Deco Palm but it's time for a change.  However, if I didn't consider a feature wall in my new plans, then I would not be true to my decorating roots. I'm thinking that if I'm going for a patterned carpet, a plain but textured paper might work rather well.

I've been looking at weaves and natural patterns and they are really exciting.  There are two possible locations - one on the landing and one in the downstairs vestibule. Will be sampling in the next few weeks so watch my stories.  Although my natural propensity towards colour and pattern may overrule my attempts to be subtle and stylish.  As always.


 Staircase gallery wall of dreams.  The amazing home of  Barbara Husted Werner  photographed for  Elle Decoration .

Staircase gallery wall of dreams.  The amazing home of Barbara Husted Werner photographed for Elle Decoration.

Deck The Walls

My rooms would not be my rooms without a gallery wall, and if I didn't put one on the landing it would be a crime. I've currently got a total of 17 prints to frame and a vast majority of them will be going in this space, together with some other large pieces I've been holding on to for this very purpose. 

I'll also be trawling the charity shops with my friend Karen to find some nice oil paintings to mix it up a bit. I'm replacing the LOVE neon that is currently at the end of the rear hallway with something super exciting designed by Bag & Bones. It's the words of Joe and I's song, although if he realises this when it arrives it will be a bloody miracle.


 Mid century perfection from  West Elm .

Mid century perfection from West Elm.

Go Vintage

So furniture wise, I'm going to be scouring Gumtree, eBay and the Community Furniture Warehouse. I love the whole wood against white vibe and I think it will look really fresh.  I've already got a few vintage pieces that I'm going to reuse but I'll be looking for a hall table that's fairly simple but classic.  Upstairs on the landing, there's also space for some slim furniture so am excited about what I will find when trawling - currently the landing is home to a dirty washing basket and a rubbish bin so it's going to be a decor revelation.

Plus, if I can afford it, I'm going to invest in a bit of Ladderax. Mid century, light and bright is the look I'm after.


 My love for Persian carpets never fades.  Photography by  Sabra Lattos Photograph y via  My Domaine .

My love for Persian carpets never fades.  Photography by Sabra Lattos Photography via My Domaine.

Pattern It Up

Every hallway needs a bench and mine is no exception. A metre long bench from the fabulous Eye 4 Design Upholstery will be upholstered using a gorgeous fabric from Anna Hayman Designs.  Anna is amazingly talented and her designs are just beautiful - am really looking forward to how it's going to look.  Plus I can guarantee you now that the children won't be allowed anywhere near it.  

I'm keeping the Persian runner I already have in the back hallway - picked up from the charity shop for £10 - and am looking for another for the front.  eBay here I come.


 I've always wanted the inner door to be pink so it's time for a change. Photograph  Elsie Larson, A Beautiful Mess .

I've always wanted the inner door to be pink so it's time for a change. Photograph Elsie Larson, A Beautiful Mess.

Think Pink

My front and side doors are currently painted red. Much as I like the red, it's looked a bit knackered (particularly since I asked Joe to leave a note for a delivery man on the door and he stuck it on with gaffer tape, removing half the paint).  I'm thinking that I might take the external doors - side door and front door - back to black which is what they would have been originally.

I'm going to paint the interior of the doors pale pink. Because I can.


 A perfect plant situation.  Photograph via Instagram  @melissamlo .

A perfect plant situation.  Photograph via Instagram @melissamlo.

Tempt More Plants To Their Death

I've got a huge window on the landing that's literally crying out for greenery. It's the original Georgian arch and has a ledge in the middle that's suitable to put plants on.

My intention is to get some trailing plants, and have a few big plants on the landing. They'll look fab. Until I manage to kill them off by either lack of watering or they incur shock syndrome from being constantly lugged around the house for Instagram photographs.


 The dream chandelier.  Which will remain in my dreams.   Apparatus Studio  photographed by Matthew Williams for  Elle Decoration .

The dream chandelier.  Which will remain in my dreams.  Apparatus Studio photographed by Matthew Williams for Elle Decoration.

Add A Massive Fuck Off Chandelier

Okay, so I've already got a large glass chandelier in the hallway that I was lucky enough to pick up from a local hairdressers when they moved premises so that's staying. In an ideal world, I would have something big, brass and mid century styled in the central landing.

It's super high so it needs to be something with a long drop but I think it's going to be a bit of a struggle to find something budget fitting.  My last resort will be the huge IKEA Maskros that is currently in my bedroom.  Am going to be eBay searching as though my life depended on it and will keep you updated.

Side lamp wise, I'm thinking glam, gold or brass. Again, clean lines and impact is what I'm going for.


 A big mirror, round or rectangular, is a must have.  Selfie City.  Designed by  Amber Interiors .

A big mirror, round or rectangular, is a must have.  Selfie City.  Designed by Amber Interiors.

Mirror Mirror

I've realised that, unbelievably, this is something that's currently lacking in the hallway and I'm thinking big. And maybe round. Or possibly rectangular. But definitely as big as I can get.

I've got two teenagers and an eight year old who likes hair gel so selfie suitability is key. Plus it's a big space so adding a mirror will maximise the light and brightness which is the ultimate aim of the whole project.  


The Moodboard 

White & Bright Hall, Stairs & Landing.jpg



So that's about it. Miles is booked the last week of February and he'll be risking life and limb on my behalf. Fingers crossed the whole project will be finished by the end of March. The key look will be light, bright, a bit Palm Beachy and eclectic. I'm going to try and utilise mostly what I already have and add to it with vintage finds and a few key pieces.

I'm really looking forward to bringing the lightness back to the space and the rest of the family are looking forward to having a house that doesn't look as though it's mid renovation. Bring on the revamp!