Apartment Halls, Part 1

Sophisticated simplicity sums up the look in apartment-style halls. Space may be at a premium, or the hall double as a living area, so features are both decorative and practical.

The apartment-style hallway offers a first glimpse of a home where a busy urban lifestyle is reflected in its pared-down, stylish decoration. Planned with creative flair, the furniture is streamlined, the storage practical, and the color scheme distinctive. Utilizing space in a visually pleasing and innovative way is a priority. Hallways can be small and narrow, or airy and open plan, with boundaries between the hall and the living or work areas not traditionally defined.

Color, shape, and texture create an essentially upbeat mood. Space-enhancing neutrals are balanced with vibrant color accents and simple furniture and accessories. These have sleek organic or geometric lines, in pale wood, metal, glass, or plastic, perhaps counter-balanced with high-tech industrial-look pieces, or flattered by textured natural fibers. Simple accessories, such as a plain table lamp, are in keeping with the pared-down look.

Creating the Look Visual streamlining creates a sense of space, and minimizes less than perfect features. Use pale color or white to create a sense of light and space, and consider how the color choice will affect adjoining rooms – aim for a good tonal balance, using either color harmonies or contrasts. Use stronger color or interesting texture such as roughcast plaster, and glossy finishes, to accentuate structural features such as pillars, posts, alcoves, prominent walls, or sloping ceilings. In a narrow hall you can use mirrors or mirror tiles to open up the space or front a built-in cupboard.

In a larger space such as an open-plan hall/living room, create a visual break with a screen wall of glass bricks, or use a freestanding shelving unit as a divider between the entrance and the living area.

Counteract the effect of too many doors – or any other unwelcome details -by painting them a color to blend with the walls. Woodwork should match the wall color, or be painted a slightly lighter or darker shade in a matte finish. To suit the style, doors should be plain and flush with a wood veneer finish, glass paneled (with wired glass for a high-tech look), or painted as a color accent feature. Door furniture and handles should have a contemporary twist – in matte metallic or quirky resin shapes.

Style Pointers WALLS Plain/color block: white, neutral, space/light-enhancing walls and ceilings: controlled contrast color areas, textural, rough-cast/mirrored/metallic/glass brick areas.

Wall coverings: graphic images, bold color wash effects.

WINDOWS Simple blinds/curtains: natural or colored wood slatted Venetians, white, neutral, color accent Roman, or roller blinds; rod pocket/tab, eyelet-headed/tension wire curtains, panels; metal curtain rods.

FABRICS Neutrals/striking color: natural heavy cotton/linen weaves; bold checks; stripes; bold, stylized abstract florals/graphic prints.

FLOORING Sleek/space-defining: blond wood/colored floorboards; natural fiber matting; linoleum/rubber flooring; contrast color tiles; plain wall-to-wall carpet; bold abstract/designer rugs.

FURNITURE Streamlined/space saving: clean lines, designer/architectural pieces, dual purpose, blond wood, steel/aluminum, console table/chest of drawers/desk, neutral/mirror fronted built-in cupboards; modular/free-standing shelf unit; color-accent occasional chair/seating.

LIGHTING Atmospheric/high-tech: wire tracking/halogen spotlights; sculptural effect pendant/Avant-garde/quirky, designer chandelier; versatile task/atmospheric lamps; wall-mounted or free-standing torchieres, natural finish, metallic, glass; table lamps in molded plastic, metallics, glass, parchment.

ACCESSORIES Color accent/sculptural: designer style, Avant-garde, bold, organic form/streamlined looks for: clothes/hat stand/hooks, umbrella stand in pale wood/brushed steel; sleek wood/metallic picture frames, graphic/modern art/photographic prints; plain/colored glass/plastic or brushed steel vases/containers, modern clock; specimen flowers/large plant/cacti; over-sized urns/twisted willow twigs.

Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, MyInteriorDecorator.com. May not be reprinted.

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