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  • Writer's pictureRicardo Lopez Sanz

ASK: How to brighten up your hall and stairs?

Today I am sharing one of my email consultations. This is part of a larger interior design consultation I've done for this property. In this case, I studied the entry hall, which includes the stairs and the landings for the three floors.

The homeowner felt that the ground level area was quite dark, especially in winter. The lighting was too dim and the stairs were overpowering the rest of the room. They also wanted some advice on how to style and make the space cohesive with the rest of the property.

The stair rises three floors, from the entrance hall to the loft. A window on the first floor and the skylight are the only natural light sources.

Here is what I suggested

There are two big challenges in this space. One is providing good lighting through all the floors and the other is keeping the space cohesive with all the rooms that lead off at the different levels.

The lighting challenge is partially created because of the choice of light fittings. The pendant lights are hanging too high (only drop down to the first floor) and use candle type bulbs, which are not very powerful. So it is very hard to get the entrance on the ground floor lit. The issue can be resolved by bringing the pendant lighting lower and choosing a light fixture that allows you to use bulbs with higher Lumen levels. You can also use pendants with light sources at different levels (in cascade), in this case, I will go for something a bit more minimal which won't look as heavy as a big pendant bubble.

The other challenge is the amount of natural light, as the windows are located on the upper levels the stairways cast shadows one over the other. Placing mirrors strategically to bounce the light into the entry hall on the ground floor can solve this.

The chosen colour palette is very cohesive and as long as it is kept and applied to the rest of the elements in the property (fabrics, decorative items, etc) the home will look cohesive. As the palette is neutral, you can add some touches of colour as long as they do not overpower it.

I think that the first and second-floor landings are the perfect place to display all your family photos. It is a more private area than downstairs while it is still visible every day. Using the same frame for all the photos will tie them together and keep the gallery cohesive. In case you already have the frames, just choose one colour and paint over them (a type of charcoal grey will go brilliantly here).

Tall plants are great to fill up the death corners on the first floor. I wouldn't use a heavy curtain for the window. A nice sheer or a Roman blind is perfect as they allow the natural light to come in while maintaining privacy, although you can add a panel of heavier fabric at the bottom to increase the cosiness.

Here are some tips for you to style and elevate the space.


Are you in need of a little design advice? If you have just a few questions that could be answered by someone with some experience in the field, my email consultation service might be right for you. Just ASK

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