What to do with a hallway out of House of Leaves?
January 3, 2012 6:37 AM   Subscribe

What are some interesting things to do with a very long hallway in an otherwise not-too-large space?

Friends of mine just moved into a three-bedroom apartment. When you enter the apartment, you walk down a very long (not sure exactly how long, but walking down it feels arduous), fairly narrow hallway. There is a crook in the hallway, where it angles back, so it's not even as though you can see the end of it until fairly late in the trek. The three bedrooms are off of the hallway, but I believe that's already toward the end.

Basically, this adds a lot of square footage to their apartment, but their not sure how to make good use of the space. any ideas?
posted by taltalim to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A similar question on Apartment Therapy last year got some interesting responses.
posted by argonauta at 6:42 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Assuming the ceilings aren't too low, I'd follow my friends' example and put up a series of shallow bookshelves just above head hight, running the length of the hall. Alternately, lots of postcard-sized pieces of art in matching frames, which is what we did in our last place.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:44 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've always wanted such a hallway, so I could do have a swing or zipline.
posted by apparently at 6:46 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Interesting things to do with it? Highly polish the floor and get an over-excitable cat or dog. Guests can have sock-sliding races.
posted by Coobeastie at 6:48 AM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Maybe the work of Felice Varini could inspire some ideas?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:16 AM on January 3, 2012

A long expanse of wall is a perfect place to hang many, many photos or other pieces of 2D art in cool arrangements. This example is a little over-the-top in terms of paint scheme (thought I love it), but it gives the idea. Here's another that tickles me because of the bright red frames.
posted by xingcat at 7:24 AM on January 3, 2012

Use two pairs of portieres to break the hallway into three "rooms" and give each a purpose.

Nearest the door, hang coat pegs, shelves for boot storage, mirror for last check before leaving,etc. Second "room" can be public art, small display shelf. interesting wall treatment. Closest to the bedrooms, display family photos and artwork.

Portieres can be plain canvas duck or $400 dollar a yard tapestry with boullion fringe. Have the same or different fabric on each side of the panels. Instead of one long runner, buy less expensive 3x5 or 3x7 rugs suited to each area, but complementary to each other.

Use a single length of track lighting for the entire hallway, and light each area accordingly.

Upsides: strangers can't see beyond the "foyer" when you open the door; cuts down on echo and drafts; three extra areas to have fun with.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:26 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

A different Apartment Therapy post on the same topic -- I love the crazy table getting swallowed by the wall.
posted by little cow make small moo at 7:29 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

maybe a picture gallery of the inhabitants from birth to the present day? I saw that in someone's house once along the wall of a long stairway, if you pick the right pictures that portray the seminal moments in the development of the individual it's really touching.
posted by any major dude at 7:32 AM on January 3, 2012

You could divide it up into seven sections (with curtains?) and decorate each section as if it were the castle in the Masque of the Red Death (will not work without grandfather clock and eerie specter at the end).

A series of spaceship doors, a la Satellite of Love? Works best if you have a theater at the end of the hall and some robot friends.

Bowling alley? Really long hopscotch on the floor? Skateboards available at each end so that people can borrow them and zip from one end to the other?

On a more serious note: I'm not sure I'm a fan of the idea of putting artwork on the walls. It might feel really claustrophobic...people wouldn't be able to step back and look at it. I suppose if it were small artwork it wouldn't be as overwhelming. I would prefer to have something that you look down the hall at, not to the sides. Interesting light fixtures, a series of wall hangings/artwork that work together and draw your eye down the hall, etc.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:59 AM on January 3, 2012

My previous home had a long hallway with high ceilings. The former owners chose to showcase their cap collection. All along the hallway, about 1 foot from the ceiling, they installed lovely, wood pegs.

Since your hallway is very narrow, you may want to keep things simple and just string Christmas lights along the top. Paint it an interesting color and pay attention to the floor detail.
posted by myselfasme at 8:24 AM on January 3, 2012

How narrow? 3' is almost too narrow to do anything other than a nice paint color, a few attractive overhead lights and a runner. I know, I've got a 40" hallway. Anything on the walls cannot get admired as you're too close. You're so close, that you might brush your shoulder on anything hanging on the wall. It's frustrating.

I like the idea of creating "rooms" with the floor covering and lighting. You could divide it up with tapestry or get cute with one small focal point artwork at two or three points in the hallway. If the front part acts as a foyer, you could make a "landing strip" and spot for shoes and jackets divided from rest of hallway with a curtain, drawn back. Or, if they're funky, one of those beaded curtains. Since this space would feel so crowded, having the rest of the hall minimal might be nice. Paint the "foyer" a different color to complete the feeling.
posted by amanda at 8:41 AM on January 3, 2012

I hope, at least, that they are able to get a designer (perhaps from Etsy) to create a large-scale poster of the number 5½.
posted by juniperesque at 9:53 AM on January 3, 2012

take advantage of the narrowness by learning to ride a unicycle.
posted by daisystomper at 4:51 PM on January 3, 2012

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