Finishing touches - my hallway art gallery

My partner and I have been living in our apartment for about 4 and half years. When we moved in together we had just finished university and were quite frankly flat broke! Decorating, and indeed furnishing therefore came as a slow process... but we did eventually get there. We did however, fail to finish off the job. We finished decorating last year but it has never really felt finished.

We are planing on moving this year, so as a new years resolution we set ourselves the challenge of finishing off the flat so we could live in a finished home before we moved and had to start all over again.

One of the key areas that needed finishing off was the hallway. The hallway is the centre point of our apartment, it's where you come in and all the rooms lead off it. We had painted this room in a sort of neutral green colour, added a coat hook and last year we added some light shades but it still felt bare and it was clearly just a thoroughfare.

I had two ideas, we need a piece of furniture to act as a focal point and we needed something on the walls to add a bit of interest.

For furniture we didn't have a lot of options as we only had one wall that didn't have a door and had enough space to fit a piece of furniture without getting in the way. The size restrictions were however, quite tight. We decided on a bookshelf as we lacked a space in our home to house our collection of books. The challenge was finding a bookshelf that wasn't too tall because the entrance phone would be in the way, wasn't too wide so we could still manouvre down the hallway and was narrow enough to fit in the small bit of wall between doors.

After 8 months of searching online, looking in all the high street stores and popping into endless second hand furniture stores and charity shops armed with my tape measure. We finally found the perfect bookshelf in a handmade furniture store on a  trip to a village in Cambridgeshire. They offered to make us one to measure, but this fit almost perfectly and was a fantastic stained rustic green colour which worked fantastically with our green hallway. At £95 it was an absolute steal for a unique good ol' English handmade bookshelf. As soon as we got home I filled the shelves with books. Step one complete.

Next up was tackling the long blank wall. We decided to use a few bits of art work we had collected that we had never got round to framing and putting up. We had two pieces and set about searching for others. Looking on ebay, in charity stores, shops and We randomly found a cute picture in a garden centre and were actually gifted a beautiful drawing by my partner's mother following her trip to Canada.

The next challenge was finding the frames to fit and in black, which we had chosen as a good contrast to the light walls. This was possible if we had a budget of a couple £100, but sadly we did not - we are trying to move after all! So I decided to get creative. I started hunting in charity shops and TK Maxx for any frames that were the right size. I found two that matched our size requirements perfectly for less than a fiver each and actually found another black frame in Pound World. I finally found the last frame, already black and perfect in size at the Ideal Home Exhibition for a rather decadent (relatively) £22. So in total I managed to buy all our frames for less than £33!

I used spray paint to colour the two frames black, which took two coats and as my first spray painting project I was quite pleased with the results. You might actually say I'm hooked (details of my second spray painting project coming soon!).

To hang the frames we wanted to create an organised presentation to really show off the odd variety of frames. We measured the width of each frame and divided the wall up. We kept the same distance of 16cm between each frame and 35cm at each end. We measured a centre line and centred each frame vertically along that line so they all had the same vertical centre point. I love the effect it looks like a mini art gallery in my hallway. It adds an extraordinary amount of depth to what was a bland hallway and the room looks finished.

Finally as a last touch I decided to put some finishing touches to the bookshelf to make it look more put together. Rather than just shelves of books, I broke up the shelves, added a bit of variety by turning some books on their side and putting a candle on top, adding a couple of boxes to keep hallway knick knacks in and finally finishing off the top with a vase, fragrance diffuser and candle.

I am so pleased with the finished look of our hallway. When you walk in now, it feels like we have a well designed put together home. It is welcoming and very homely. I love it and so glad we took the effort to finish it off.

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