Hall, stairs and landing ideas that (quite literally) make an entrance

oak frame dining rom and hallway with staircase and landing
(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Finding a scheme that ticks the boxes for hall, stairs and landing ideas can be a tough nut to crack. These spaces, while connected, actually have different requirements so finding a universal style to unify them takes time and patience. 

Hallways, staircases and landings are crucial to get right as they're circulation spaces we travel through to get anywhere else in the house. Hallway ideas must be welcoming to guests and provide storage, staircases need to be suited for high-traffic, and the perfect landing ideally needs to feel light and spacious.  

We've collected our favourite ideas for entry halls big and small, practical stairways and interesting landings so you can design your ideal scheme. Plus, our design experts weigh in with their advice and suggestions on how to decorate to any budget, make a small space feel bigger and get the small details right. 

victorian hallway with glazed doors and white staircase

Original features have been retained during this renovation, while new glazed door let natural light penetrate the once dark hallway.  (Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Hall, stairs and landing ideas: Where to begin

Modern hallway ideas need to be welcoming but practical. Think about storage and hardwearing flooring as a primary concern and the paint and decoration as a second. Durable paints are a must to protect walls and joinery from getting scuffed by coats, bags and shoes. 

For staircases, flooring is also pretty essential, but also consider how the bannister will play a part in the overall design — can materials like wood and glass emphasise the scheme you're planning? 

Landings are often a neglected areas, but this circulation space can play an important role in how we feel in our homes. Remember, landings can be dark as most windows have been divided up for bedrooms so consider installing a source of natural light to bring the space to life. 

1. Give a hallway and staircase a darker treatment

dark hallway with patterned tile flooring

A monochrome scheme such as this one can provide the best of both worlds — the light ceilings make the room feel spacious while the dark treatment gives a contemporary edge to the renovation.  (Image credit: @half_a_hall c/o Dowsing & Reynolds)

"Hallways and landings can definitely have a darker colour scheme. If this is a small space and you're worried it will make it feel too small or erase any natural light, why not bring this theme through the accessories instead," advises Connor Prestwood, interior design specialist at Dowsing & Reynolds

"Think about pictures on the walls, side tables with ornaments on, and your hardware and switches. These can all be in a darker colour scheme to complement a more mid-tone wall colour if you don't want to paint the walls fully dark. 

"Alternatively, go all out and paint the walls and ceiling a darker colour, you can then lighten this by doing the opposite of the above and having lighter accessories and hardware."

To apply modern staircase ideas to an existing design consider also painting the steps and bannister in a contemporary colour, as shown here. 

2. Create a multipurpose mezzanine-style space

wood panelling in self build with staircase and mezzanine area

The warm exposed wood really sets this staircase and landing (with mezzanine library) apart.  (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Without a significant purpose the landing sometimes goes ignored when considering design. Even if your space is small, try to give it personality with landing ideas or a secondary function. 

A book shelf with a chair can create a cosy reading nook, or a slim desk for flexible working can work well for those with children. A window seat can also be cleverly utilised as extra storage. 

If you have a larger space, consider making it an open room – a home for instance – like the one pictured with bags of personality and a connection with the staircase and hallway below. 

3. Use different wall ideas to zone spaces

white hallway with wood panelling and wood balustrade

Under stair storage ideas are hiding beneath the wood panelling of this hallway.  (Image credit: Dan Duchars)

A clever interior trick for hallways, staircases and landing is to use the same colour scheme with different textures and treatments. 

A brilliant example is this off-white space. The reclaimed timber flooring (from Bert and May) provides a neutral backdrop, while timber wall panelling ideas hide storage under the stairs at the lower level. 

Travelling up the stairs, a gallery wall provides a splash of colour and white wall lights beautifully blend in against the pale walls. Finally in the landing space swaps to a light grey carpet with characterful reclaimed timber storage doors. 


4. Soften your hall, stairs and landing with lighting

white hallway and staircase with rooflight and window

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

"The staircase lighting ideas and scheme will be key in getting the space to feel how you want it to," says Dowsing & Reynolds' Connor Prestwood. "With it being a practical space where you need to see where you're going and what you're doing, opt for a brighter light, especially if the space lacks natural light. This doesn't necessarily mean bright white fluorescent lighting though, you can still get brighter lighting with a warm undertone to keep it feeling homely.  

"Like any other space in your home, adding more landing lighting ideas in the form of lamps, candles and fairy lights can really help add some warmth and interest. It will also set the perfect atmosphere in the evenings when you don't really need to use these spaces practically but still need to be able to see." 

Here, the natural light from the roof and wall windows illuminate the space during the day, while cleverly positioned spotlights on the ceiling will provide a soft wash down the walls at nighttime. 

5. Add luxury and save money with 'invisible' heating

hallway with dark front door, tiled walls and tiles floors

A patterned laminate floor choice blends beautifully with the navy tiled half wall and matching door.  (Image credit: Tile Giant)

"If you have extra budget, underfloor heating in the hallway is an effective way to combat heat loss keeping the main entrance of the house warm," advises Kamla Swaitecka, head of marketing and brand at Tile Giant

"Unlike traditional radiators, heating the floor rather than the air could help save you up to 40% on your heating bills — so although there is an initial large investment, it will pay off down the line." 

Opting for underfloor heating alongside landing hallway decor ideas is also a great way to create the illusion of more space — removing bulky radiators and opening up more wall space and potential for storage. 

6. Make a hall, stairs and landing feel bigger with a light colour scheme

curved staircase with mirror and black radiator

Both the balustrades and the traditional-style radiator make this half landing feel taller.  (Image credit: @Ourlondonhouse_renovation c/o Dowsing & Reynolds)

"Painting your walls in lighter colours can really help brighten the space. This will give you an overall feeling of a larger space," says Dowsing & Reynolds' Connor Prestwood. "The same goes for your ceiling, keeping this a light colour will give you the illusion of higher ceilings.

"These illusions can be exaggerated in the furniture and soft furnishings too. Consider using diagonals or vertical stripes on the walls (depending on the dimensions of your space) as this helps lead your eyes in each direction and helps trick you into thinking the space is bigger than it is.

"Mirrors are also a great way to do this. Carefully placed, they help bounce the light around the space as well as reflect the space back into the room, giving the illusion of it being much bigger."

7. Find the right flooring for halls, stairs and landings

white staircase with wood flooring and bannister

Warm timber flooring and matching handrail and bannister provide a warm character to the pared-back paint scheme.  (Image credit: Richard Kiely)

There are a good amount of alternative options to carpet when choosing flooring for halls, stairs and landings. 

"Porcelain tiles are a good choice for hallway flooring ideas, especially if you have pets or children as they are so easy to clean and can withstand heavy everyday use," explains Tile Giant's Kamila Swiatecka. 

"Laminate flooring has become increasingly popular for the stairs and landing.  Available in a wide range of timber-effects, laminate gives a fresh, neutral look, plus it’s easy to lay and cost-effective too. Laminate floors are notably less expensive than other flooring solutions and offer an affordable alternative to carpeting." 

Also, remember that this flooring can be the same throughout, but it doesn't have to be. Many choose to use either the top or bottom of the stairs as a changing point, switching from hardwearing wood flooring in the hallway to a softer option on the stairs.

8. Add in natural light to dark spaces

white landing with chair and bifold windows

Something as simple as a picture or painting and a chair can make a landing feel like it had more purpose than simply being circulation space. (Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Landings and staircases, far more than hallways, can be dark and unwelcoming so if you're undertaking a renovation or extension project, consider where you can add in some access to natural light — think picture windows and rooflights. 

In the project pictured, a long line of bifolding windows were installed that can open out to deep planters with fresh-smelling flowers — an ingenious top-of-staircase design idea that give the space so much to look at and admire. 

Plus, the full-height cupboards to the left of shot have enabled every bedroom to outsource winter coats and other bulky items so there is more space in the house all-round. 

Amy Reeves

Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.