Q. I’ve moved into a new condo that has a very long and narrow entrance. There is a plain coat closet door, three ceiling lights and dark wood floors. I like warm colours and have a contemporary style. Any suggestions?
– K. MacDonald, Toronto
Paint the shorter (left-side) wall a punchy accent colour. Wrap this colour around the corner on the return wall and introduce it into the main living space.
Paint the plain door and its frame the same punchy colour to blend it away.
The long wall (on right) and its return should be a warm neutral colour that continues into the entire space. My favourite new accent colour is a brick colour called Fiery Opal from Benjamin Moore Paints. It looks great with all the golden brown tones in wood, yet warms up all the new grey colours that are all the trend right now. As a warm neutral, try Lighthouse, also by Benjamin Moore for the main walls throughout.
Since the hallway is so narrow, I suggest a small pedestal table or chair in the corner and a slim table in front of the middle wall-hung mirror. Make sure the table is less than 12-inches deep in order to create good flow. The Echelon console ($599) from Crate and Barrel has a hand-made, artisan look and is only eight inches deep — perfect for small foyers and hallways.
GO FOR A RUNNER
I suggest breaking up the long hall with a colourful carpet runner.
Centre the runner in the middle of the hall — this will visually shorten the overall space by chopping up the dark wood floor.
If you want a boot tray near your front door choose one that is exactly the same dark brown as the flooring in order to keep the eye focused on the runner as a go-to accent.
A multi-coloured, loose-pattern carpet is great for narrow spaces as it spreads the eye from side to side.
Try Crate and Barrel’s Montague Rug ($249), which is a slim 30 inches wide but 96 inches long. Remember to stay away from hallway carpets with striped following the length — this will emphasize the long hallway and only make it appear narrow.
Invest in three matching pendant lights; they will add more light to the hallway space and have more presence than the small ceiling lights. Semi-flushmount fixtures drop slightly into the space and help stop the eye every so often. This tricks the eye that the hallway is divided into sections and therefore shorter. The Middlebury pendant from Hudson Valley Lighting ($900) gives the illusion of a modern art deco light fixture that would have welcomed guests in a hotel lobby for years.
Hang three floor standing mirrors on the long wall; spaced about 16 inches apart with the middle mirror being opposite to the closet door.
This will help visually widen the hallway, especially in the middle where it feels narrowest and tight.
I like the Beverly Leaner Mirror ($110) from Home Depot; its mirror-on-mirror frame helps to reflect many angles in the hallway.
Hang the mirrors rather than leaning on the floor. Raising the mirrors higher will make the hallway feel lofty in height and not crowd the floor space.
Place one punchy piece of art at the end of the hallway to create a destination point for the eye.
Large, colourful and modern art will help set the tone for a contemporary yet welcoming entrance.
The Glyph print from West Elm ($135) is colourful and plays up on the paint and carpet colours suggested.
As this is a focal point from the front door, make sure the size of the print is substantial and makes a statement.
Karl’s decor sources
Large affordable mirrors: homedepot.ca
Framed modern art: westelm.com
Carpet runner and slim console: crateandbarrel.ca
Reproduction light pendants: hudsonvalleylighting.com
Karl lets us in on his secrets
Learn all the tricks to decorating and entertaining this fall with Metro’s decor guru Karl Lohnes, Sterling Vitner’s Collection wine, Benjamin Moore and the LCBO.
A special Changing Seasons style and entertaining class will be held Thursday, September 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the LCBO in Summerhill. Go to lcbo.com for more information and to purchase tickets. Tickets are limited for this one-time, special event!