How to Design a Hallway That’s Easy to Clean
Are you endlessly tidying your hall? Read this expert advice on how to build easy maintenance into your scheme
Professional advice from: Eva Byrne of houseology; Anatoly Alekseev of Black + Milk; Hannah Young of Revive Your Space
More in this series: How to Design a Bathroom That’s Easy to Clean | How to Design a Kitchen That’s Easy to Clean
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“Your first defence against dirt is a recessed mat well, with the mat laid flush with the floor,” Eva Byrne says. “This is essential where you have tiled or timber flooring, but you can also consider it if you have a carpeted hall.
“A removable coir mat is perfect [for this purpose],” she says. “Shake it out once a week and vacuum to remove the copious dirt it will collect. Choose a stainless-steel or brass trim as suits your decorating style.
“Laying it flush with the floor will ensure the mat won’t “snag” when the door’s opened, and will allow you to fit a cosy, draught-proofed front door.”
The second layer of floor defence, Eva suggests, is “a long, narrow runner, laid on a non-slip backing. You will be astonished how much dirt and dust this runner will collect every week,” she adds. And, like the door mat, it can be shaken out and vacuumed frequently to keep the floor protected and clean.
In terms of materials for hallway rugs, Anatoly Alekseev suggests “a practical hemp or sisal rug or runner as they are hardwearing”.
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To swerve scuffs and marks, Anatoly suggests avoiding light flooring material in the entrance area.
However, if you have your heart set on pale tiles, Eva suggests selecting a floor finish that is “forgiving” of dirt. “It’s possible, for example, to choose floor tiles that appear white – and are therefore reflective – but which have enough “movement” [for example a flecking or graining or speckling] to disguise a light sprinkling of dust or dirt,” she says.
Likewise, if you’re going for timber flooring, “Choose a heavily brushed finish, as it will make all future imperfections look less obvious,” Anatoly says.
“Where possible, avoid flat surfaces in a hallway,” Hannah Young says, “as these will end up collecting post, hats, keys and all sorts of clutter, and provide another surface to clean and tidy.” She suggests instead creating a wall-hung “command centre, perhaps using a shallow bathroom cabinet to store these small items away”.
If you do need a console table, Eva suggests choosing one with a clear glass or Perspex top, to “protect the surface from possible damage from wet or soiled items”. A quick wipe over with a damp cloth will then keep the surface sparkling, and will cut out the time it would take to oil and protect a wooden surface.
“A ‘bits ’n’ bobs’ box can be really handy [to place on top of a console],” Hannah says, “but review and declutter frequently.”
“Ledges gather dust, so choose simple skirting boards, doors and architraves,” Eva says. “A flush skirting board is the gold standard in terms of maintenance-free joinery and it looks very contemporary.”
If flush skirting boards are not an option, then a plain finish or a very slim profile, as shown here, will still help to reduce the surface area on which dust can settle.
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If you want to cut down on dusting, you need to limit the number of surfaces on which it can gather. “Consider the potential for dust to settle on everything you choose,” Eva says.
This applies to your lighting as well as furniture. “For example, a globe-shaped light fitting will gather less dust than a chandelier,” she says, while recessed light fittings will obviously gather none.
“Suitable storage is going to be different for every home, as we all have a different size and shape of hallway that needs to accommodate varying habits and hobbies,” Hannah says.
“Many of us struggle with narrow hallways, but it’s surprising how even a very slim, built-in, floor-to-ceiling cupboard can transform your entrance by providing space to put everything away, so it doesn’t all end up in a muddy heap on the floor!” she says.
Anatoly agrees and recommends, “If possible, use floor-to-ceiling fitted wardrobes for overcoats and shoes.” This will also help to keep your hallway looking streamlined.
Within any cupboard, or on the wall if there’s no room for a cupboard, the way you allocate each space can help to keep things tidy.
“Allocating a box or basket and hook to each person in your household, and labelling these, can help to foster a sense of responsibility and ownership over the items that belong in these spaces,” Hannah says.
“This works especially well for children if the pegs and boxes are positioned at a lower height, so they can put their own coat and shoes back where they belong,” she adds.
“Storage on the back of a door is often a quick and easy way to solve your hallway clutter problem,” Hannah says. “Adding pockets or hooks for all manner of items can instantly provide a home for the bits and pieces that tend to end up on the floor.
“There are many storage options available that either fix to the door or hook over the top,” she says. “Doors you might be able to adopt include the inside of a cupboard door or the back of a cloakroom door. Use this storage to stash shoes, keys, dog leads, de-icer, sun cream and anything else you struggle to find a place for in your home.”
“If you have a suitable staircase, one of my favourite storage options is to have a bespoke sliding cupboard fitted,” Hannah says.
“You can have a taller one for coats and smaller ones for boots and shoes. Make sure the unit can be removed,” she adds, “as the floor will require a vacuum from time to time,”
How do you keep your hallway tidy and organised? Share your tips in the Comments section.