Redesign Progress: Hallway

Like many pre-war NYC apartments, ours features an incredibly long hallway. At over 46 feet long, it spans the length of the apartment and presents quite the design issue. Not only do we need to put down floor covering (all of the foot and paw traffic would annoy the neighbors if we left the original hardwood), but we have over 400 square feet of wall space to decorate. On top of this, our foyer has to serve as a mudroom for everyone who lives here.

I'll admit that when we moved in--and the years that followed--I didn't really put much thought into the design of the space. Despite the fact that it was the most heavily trafficked area in the house (and thus the most viewed) its designation as a weigh station between far more important destinations caused me to overlook it. Its design before was purely functional, housing larger pieces of art that wouldn't fit on any other wall, serving as a place to throw our coats and valuable wall space to hang my ridiculous collection of family and friend photographs. Here's what it looked like before.

At the time that I hung those photos up, I thought the snake pattern was so cool and original. Borne from a lack of photos to cover the whole wall, the pics were arranged in ebbs and flows down the hallway. Coats were stored on a simple IKEA coat rack up front that never had enough hooks, and we put our shoes on while seated on a bench that Grant's dad made for us. It was all very blah, non-functional and cluttered.

Well, with my intense nesting came a desire to clean up all of the wavy lines on those walls--and to find a place for everything. Here were my ideas for the space.

1. A large-scale piece of art to counter the preserved newspapers hung on the shorter wall
2. Photos hung in straight lines down the hall
3. A new, brighter runner
4. A bench that offered storage as well as a place to sit
5. Wall hooks to maximize hanging space

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Just look at the clean lines on that wall! I think that the photo arrangement is so much more soothing now--just two rows straight down the hall. Grant found those newspapers in his grandmother's house when she passed. They're from the Lincoln, Neb., paper announcing the end of WWII. He had them preserved properly and they're sentimental, historical and striking all at once. In order to even out their size on the long wall, I needed to find "art" that was oversized, but not insanely expensive. I also wanted something that would bring some color into the hall, and after finding some inspiration pics on Pinterest, I snagged this vintage-looking flag on Amazon for under $30. The runner is actually four 7-foot runners from Target that I think help to lighten up the hallway completely. 

The view from the bathroom is one of my favorites. I hung a woven piece and a tapestry that Grant bought on a trip to India on either side of the alcove, and I love the way that the colors play together.

At the end of the hallway sits the only non-functional piece of furniture in the whole apartment. I found that radio at a second-hand store in college and picked it up for about $25 (Nebraska is a magical place like that). After some sanding, staining and a burlap fret cover, it's one of my favorite things. I spray painted that candlestick holder bright pink awhile ago and put graphic wrapping paper in that IKEA frame as a place holder almost as soon as I got it five years ago and haven't changed it since. I love this vignette and think it's so fun to look at when I open the door everyday. 

Looking down the hall the other way, it's so nice to see the streamlined photos. I'd like to do something with that front door (framed peephole/doorbell? Painted door?), but overall I think it's a vast improvement.

I moved the red IKEA trunk from the dining room to this space and it fits perfectly. It's thin enough to allow people, dogs and carts to get through to the rest of the house, and provides both storage and a place to sit and put on shoes. I moved the DIY plank art that was previously hung in the center of the hallway to above the trunk, and installed wall hooks above to hang coats on. I feel like the space is too white overall so I'll be adding something to the space, but as far as function goes this setup is working a lot better than the previous one.

In the small front alcove (not-quite-foyer) I have a thin shelf that houses all of our dog leashes, hats, gloves, purses, mail, keys, laundry supplies and oft-used shoes. The system isn't perfect and the shelf needs a lot of styling help, so that's where I'll be focusing most of my improvement efforts in this area. Still work to be done, but I'm so happy with the results to far!

Here are some quick before-and-afters!

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