In our daily desperate search for space, halls often provide unsuspected bounty. Not to be overlooked, these transition spaces can be put to work to make room for our treasures.
The easy conversion of a long hall into a family library is often ignored. Books are small, requiring shallow, eight-inch shelving.
Walls between doors can be lined, ceiling to floor, for books. In fact, the wall space above each doorway easily accommodates more books, so that every inch of wall becomes part of the library. This treatment can be used on one or both sides of the hall, depending on the width.
If you already have sufficient book shelving elsewhere, but not enough storage space (who does?) try a deeper 12-inch or 14-inch shelf along one wall, continuing above the doors on that wall. It's a perfect place for wicker hampers storing out-of-season-clothes, toys, games or seasonal sports equipment.
A hall can be a gallery, too, a perfect place to display family photos or small prints, indeed anything that must be looked at close-up. The lighting, of course, is important. An easy solution is to run two or three continuous sections of four-foot wired track on the ceiling for adjustable spot lights to highlight the art. If you prefer a changing display, try a narrow ledge, deep enough to support the bottom of a framed work and angled so that the top of the work rests against the wall. This can be made of wood and attached to the wall between doors, making a simple, but effective system for a changeable gallery.
In a hall where the end wall is unbroken, a neat solution to convert this tidy space into a study is to build a work surface and shelves above. Or, the entire wall can be mirrored from ceiling to floor to minimize the length of the space. With a shallow, wall-to-wall shelf, a phone and a chair, you can make a comfortable message center.
I used just this sort of space to make a much-needed linen closet. I found a wonderful armoire with delightfully carved, intricate doors. It was old and rickety, the price was reasonable, so I decided to buy it and build it right into the wall, where the sides and shelves could be better supported by the corridor walls on either side.
I trimmed the bits of leftover space on either side of the armoire with dry wall, and rebuilt the inside with new shelving and drawers below, providing enough linen and blanket storage for the whole house. The same shape and doors could have concealed hanging space, for a guest coat closet, for example. d
I had the armoire doors stripped and left in their original fruitwood, but painted the inside a fresh, glossy white. The light wood is illuminated by a recessed wall washer. More of these light a series of fine black and white drawings in light wood frames on deep green walls.
A white ceiling, washable white vinyl asbestos tile floor, plants, baskets and a mobile ottoman join the armoire to create a decorative place out of a forgotten hall.