A Travel Themed Hallway – Reveal


Back at the end of 2014 I set myself a monthly challenge to revamp one area of my home. Travel is the theme I went for in our hallway, I travelled to Kenya and Cardiff last month, but I found time for some creativity and some decluttering.

This approach is changing our family life. Our home is slowly transforming under our noses. Experts advise you to start from the hall, as it gives the right impression when you walk in and motivates you to keep going with home improvements. Our hallway was messy and made me feel stressed. One thing I did love was the map wallpaper, which you can see reflected in the mirror below.

This was taken when I was part way through making map some travel and map themed stuff, but hadn’t decluttered. That white shelf drove me mad, as did the mirror – both collect nonsense!


Committing my goals to paper and promising to blog my progress has made me accountable.

Social media is an amazing way to invite people into your life who can support you and help you achieve those goals. On Instagram and Twitter I have been sharing progress updates and asking questions – I love furniture and objects, but paint and soft furnishings are less appealing elements of homemaking for me – so it was great to get opinions.

I asked if I could just paint the whole house white, there were some really stylish people on both sides of the fence which is always reassuring! In the end we went with trade white in the hallway, because we just wanted it as bright as possible, and to make our colourful collections of eclectic things stand out.

I asked what colour to paint this chest. I loved all the ideas, from yellow to turquoise to Navy. Decorating a home is about bringing together more than one person’s taste and I thought navy would appeal to both grown ups in the house, and fitted well with the travel theme. Dulux Venetian Blue spoke to me – once you have a theme, things become so much easier.

hallway makeover

A friend messaged me on facebook suggesting globe knobs, I found some via Graham and Brown, I love them and how the chest came together.


To explore the theme, I played around on Pinterest and made this board about map ideas.

Follow Penny Alexander’s board Maps on Pinterest.

I then decided to make this old pinboard into a map pinboard, something I have always wanted to have, you can visit the tutorial over on Space in Your Case.


I also had a pinterest board of travel quotes I liked, so printed off some of these and framed them in some simple back frames. The hallway began to feel like a launchpad to our adventures, as well as somewhere to come home to.



Decluttering best practice

Decluttering was a big issue in our hallway, here are my top tips:

Analyse your hallway clutter.

We had to take everything out for the decorating, which gave us chance to properly rethink the space from scratch and deal with things that weren’t meant to be there!

We removed the whole shelf in the hall which you can see above, was gathering all sorts of nonsense, it instantly made a big difference. It also gives us more space to all get in and out of the house, especially when faced with an over excited greyhound who just heard his lead rattle.

The new rule is everything has to be sorted as you come in the house, but a few changes have made that easier.

Make it easy to recycle junk mail

A second bin makes recycling junk mail and envelopes easy. Post goes on the stairs to be taken up to our offices at the next ascent. Having a three floor house any trip up or down is a chance to put things back where they belong.

Sort things seasonally


We took all the coats and shoes out of the shoe rack and had a seasonal sort out, putting summer jackets and sun hats in a cupboard upstairs, which makes everything look cleaner. Everyone has a storage box for their scarves, gloves and hats.

Secure storage for your little things

The multi drawer chest, which was lying empty in my bedroom, came into its own in painted in the hallway – it perfect for things we may need to find quickly on the way out – keys, pens, sunglasses, hairbrushes, lipsticks – but they are not in view. Anything that keeps things out of sight is great, boxes, suitcases, lidded baskets, drawers –  think what sort of things clutter up your hall before you commit to buy.

Use surfaces for displays not stuff

It is so tempting to use hallway surfaces to store stuff or leave things you need to remember, but it looks messy and makes you feel overwhelmed when leaving and arriving home. Organise welcoming objects instead, that make you feel at home. I followed the rule of threes, objects of different colours, shapes and patterns organised in three look pleasing to the eye. The giraffe came back from Kenya with me.

hallway makeover travel theme

Little and often

The stair basket is perfect for taking things up and down so that clutter doesn’t accumulate. The whole exercise has just made us realise there are solutions, but the thing that makes the biggest impact is the little and often approach to clutter.


As a final touch I love these Atlas storage boxes from Wayfair. Perfect for hiding paper and pens, stamps etc.


The best thing about this makeover? I can add to it as we travel. My goal was to make the space work – which it now does, and I am so pleased with fitting some creativity and homemaking into what was a really busy, adventurous month.

I spotted some old maps in my local Oxfam books and some old pictures on wooden canvasses and made some more things to hang on the walls, I just need some time to plan how to hang everything just right.

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  • Reply HELEN

    it looks great Penny! I so need to repaint my hall as there are so many grubby marks on the walls. The best thing I ever did in there was to fit a radiator cover as it brought the hall together so well – and gave me a place to display a few things. Did you keep your mirror as I love it!

    08/02/2015 at 9:29 pm
  • Reply The Alexander Residence

    Thanks Helen – 8 years of grubby finger prints – it needed doing – feels good, for now. I have plans for the mirror in another room, the dark wood clashes with the pine floor – and Mr A won’t let me paint it.

    08/02/2015 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply Actually Mummy

    I absolutely adore those globe knobs and the chest is a great idea – we have so much junk in our hall. I feel inspired now 🙂

    09/02/2015 at 6:46 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Glad you approve and feel inspired Helen – it is hard when you are busy travelling isn’t it 😉

      09/02/2015 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply

    Hallway’s looking fab! Nice work Penny!

    09/02/2015 at 2:31 pm
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Thanks for inspiring me to take on the whole house 😉

      09/02/2015 at 7:33 pm
  • Reply sriches

    Well I am definitely inspired to do a little decorating now! The colour choice of the chest is stunning, love the colour! The hallway looks fab! Sim x

    11/02/2015 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply Kate Takes 5 (@KateTakes5)

    I adore the painted chest! But it’s a bit annoying how quick you are… All this in such a short period of time? I decided to do my hallway up after seeing your first post and am still picking paint colours!

    11/02/2015 at 2:11 pm
  • Reply Polka Dot Family

    It looks wonderful, I really love the navy chest with the atlas knobs – a wonderful transformation of an old piece of furniture.

    11/02/2015 at 6:11 pm
  • Reply Mammasaurus

    It looks fab Penny! I am in the middle of painting our hallway, which is always too bare if anything and I know I need to commit to some sort of console table or shallow drawers for it but the space in it is such an odd size that I am struggling to find anything that will fit properly let alone like! I love your display, the travel quotes work so well!
    Now I need one of those stair baskets as I am forever starting little piles of things to take up on the bottom steps and then tripping over them on the way down!!

    11/02/2015 at 6:41 pm
  • Reply beingmrsc

    Wow – that looks fab! I’m a huge huge map fan and have grand plans for my hall, but I think it may have to wait until we no longer have a buggy in there as that very much dominates the space right now. I have decided that we need a stairs basket though. Another three floor house here and there are always things that need taking upstairs here!

    11/02/2015 at 8:38 pm
  • Reply stressymummy1

    Oh wow that all looks so amazing. That is so true about starting with the hall. Our hall is narrow and dark and I have started painting it white this week to try and make it lighter. I love the travel theme too as you are often travelling somewhere when you are passing through the hallway.

    11/02/2015 at 10:09 pm
  • Reply Michelle Twin Mum

    Well done Penny, you did a great job. I realy love that navy chest. Mich x

    11/02/2015 at 10:33 pm
  • Reply Jen Stanbrook

    The chest and knobs look fab Penny, well done!! x

    12/02/2015 at 9:42 am
  • Reply liz Burton

    I envy your lovely big hall!

    And wow what a transformation. I love the travel theme, so perfect for you all, and great makeover on that chest. x

    12/02/2015 at 10:00 am
  • Reply The Ana Mum Diary

    What a great makeover! That colour is perfect for the chest. You are shaming me to get a crack on with mine.

    13/02/2015 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply steph_baybee

    That all looks great, the little globe knobs are so cute!

    14/02/2015 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Antonia Ludden

    Love love LOVE your hallway makeover. Firstly, what a really nice big space it is, lovely front door and the fresh white walls look fab. Next, the blue chest of drawers – perfect colour and little drawer knobs! That’s my kind of furniture makeover! I’m also in love with your coat rack. Great job Penny and I agree about starting with the hall first; when I’m on a tidying and decluttering mission I always begin there. Antonia x


    17/02/2015 at 1:11 pm
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    I love this! Really wish I had money to travel to have the proper inspiration for something like this to fit in our home. Love those drawers! x

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