Making a Drab Hallway Inviting

The long hallway in a city apartment often presents a challenge: How do you make it inviting? At Remodelista, we found the answer from Irina Graewe. The Hamburg based designer created this artistic and warm area in her city apartment using affordable pieces.  Here are a few key elements, all under $30, to help recreate a similar look.

Above: The eclectic and minimal entryway to Graewe’s residence, originally seen on Design Sponge. For more photos and details, visit Remodelista.

Above: Graewe added depth to the narrow space with some reflection. The stainless steel Grundtal Round Mirror is a well-priced option; $29.99 at Ikea. Check out Remodelista’s post on random mirrors for other ways to add light to a dim space.


Above: Give your old magazines a new purpose: Graewe created instant side tables by stacking past issues. Check out Remodelista’s post on Maria Helgstrand to see how she uses magazines in a similar fashion.


Above: The suspended black and white paper lanterns make the eye travel upward. To add definition to her Regolit Pendant Lamp Shade, Graewe darkened the frames with pencil; $5 each at Ikea. Check out Remodelista’s post on Vanessa Bruno’s stacked paper lanterns for other ways to incorporate this affordable accessory.

Above: A quick black lantern fix is the Black Premium Paper Lantern; $7.95 from Luna Bazaar.

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Sian R.
Sian R.3 years ago

I simply painted my hallway a very strong yellow, with white ceiling and skirting boards.
Everyone who comes in says its like having the sun in my house and its instantly cheerful on a dull day.
Paint is cheap, and doesn't create clutter.

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.3 years ago


Carol P.
Carol P.3 years ago

Though I like the idea of not wasting too much in the way of money or resources just to decorate, these ideas look like what a college graduate might do until they can afford to buy some real pieces.

Magazines? Keep them out of your house in the first place or read and recycle.

Paper lanterns? Cheaply made, hard to clean and easily damaged. Put your money into something more substantial that will last a lifetime (or two or three).

Ikea mirror? Made overseas and shipped across oceans to get to your doorstep. We can do better.

None of these ideas are environmentally friendly, aren't all that practical or useful, and don't look very good.

Better would be to buy a single piece of used furniture that you love, has storage space, and can be handed down to the next generation. Find a used mirror at an antique shop or yard sale (craigs list or freecycle work too). Lighting? Buy something well designed that is timeless, that will either add value to your home if you sell it, or is something you'll want to take with you if you move. Then add finishing touches with items from your own life, things you've collected, have meaning to you, or serve some practical purpose.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago


Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago

Thanks, but no thanks

Michele Wilkinson


Mindy F.
Mindy F.3 years ago

Interesting use of magazines.

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago

Magazines,,,Fire hazard,,,dust collector,,...Just tidy up ,,lick of paint and so on,,,..

Kathy K.
Kathy K.3 years ago

Hmm. I don't like the magazine. Although we do have several stacked up books as a plant stand at work. (A library.)

Laura S.
Laura S.3 years ago

Although it's unlikely that the stacked magazines would be a source of fire (There is very little oxygen between the pages of a closed magazine. Try to actually burn one.), they would pose a hazard for emergency responders should they fall over during some crisis. They could block doors from opening, or make the hallway impassable by simply covering the floor's surface and presenting a slipping hazard. They would have to be skewered together somehow to prevent collapse which, from looking at the photo, would start at the base, as the weight of the upper magazines exerted pressure on the ones at the bottom, pushing them away from the wall.

Just an observation from someone who used to have way too many magazines. ;-)