Transition from outside to inside.
The entry-hall, vestibule, or just: the hall, is what architects call the transition from outside to inside.
On the contrary of what you see in many soap series, a house should have a hall, a transition from outside to inside, and vice versa.
It shouldn't be so that you open the front door and enter the living room immediately.
Usually in homes, there will always be some kind of a hall, where you can hang up your coat, and/or take off your shoes before you really are inside the house. Even thousands of years ago, when the first homes were built, you have several cultures that always made some room between the front door and the living room: the entry hall.
Don't fall with the door in home!
It's a Dutch expression which means not to start directly with something radical, like a very direct question or an unpleasant announcement.
It can come as a shock. The same goes with selling a product: you don't just say: "Wanna buy this?" No, first you ask how that person is doing, and if you can help him or her if you can be of any help. Even with flirting with someone in a disco: don't go directly to the girl's ear if you want to say something, but grab her attention first, give a gesture of "hello" and then you start the conversation! That's why, you also don't just come in as a storm into a house, but you first get a bit accustomed with the house before proceeding.
Anyways, to get back to the subject of interior decoration: The entry / hall is mainly meant as a station between the outside of the house and the living room. You can make a sanitary stop, hang up your coat at the coathanger, and do a last check-up in front of the mirror. This is also a place where you can get a first impression of the house of your host/hostess. Although you'll never be spending much time in this room, unless you've been a naughty child, this hall is an essential part of the house, and of course: we all know how important this first impression is!
What do you want to do with your entry hall?
OK, before putting the first step of redecorating your hall, it's important to know your budget. Not only if you want to hire a professional interior decorator, but also if you want to work on your house yourself. Without money it's very difficult to start something, especially if you have a very specific taste! Think of a lean and modern piece of design furniture, or a baroque cupboard of massive Italian nutwood like in the 17th century: beautifully varnished without even a single dust particle on the lacque! So, do you know your budget? Do you just want an extra piece of furniture? Or do you want to do a whole restyle which you want a professional interior stylist to do for you? Very often, you'll notice that the bigger the budget, the more possibilities you'll have, the more difficult and complicated it can become to redecorate your hall. To get a bit of an overview, I added three types of hall interior: the basic/minimum, a good medium, and a top-of-the-league entry hall.
So, as the basic, a hal
l should always have:
- a doormat (to clean your feet, otherwise you'll dirty the carpets)
- a coat hanger or coatrack (is also very obvious)
- the floor (unless you love brutalistic grey concrete or other cold and hard undergrounds)
- lighting (otherwise you won't see anything at night)
That was the absolute minimum.
Also quite common in a hall are the following things:
- a standard for your umbrella (always useful in times of Dutch weather)
- a mirror (for the final check-up)
Should you be fortunate enough for more possibilities, then you can decorate it even better, with:
- a clock (to see if you'll make it in time for your appointments)
- art or other (wall) decorations, to stimulate the mind a bit
- hall cupboard of hall furniture (to drop your keys on and of course to put things in)
- a shoe cupboard or shoe cabinet (to keep the floors clean)
- and so forth...
Choosing style: Who are you?
Probably, you already know that with interior, and even furniture, there are litterally thousands of possibilities...
Every paint shop has thousands and thousands of colors you can choose from and as for styles, there are so many possibilities that you can't see the forest through all the trees anymore... Would you like to have something modern? Or do you prefer something more in Renaissance or classical style like the Jefferson Memorial building? What kind of furniture fits best with you? To know this, a professional interior decorator will always try to find out with what kind of person he's dealing: What do you do for a living? Do you have any special hobbies? What do you think to be important in life? What kind of things are beautiful for you? Do you have favorite colours? These are the questions which give the interior stylist the opportunity to get to know his client better: Are you a "boring" person? Are you chaotic? Or maybe you're a little bit of an elitarian?
With this non-verbal cues (by seeing what kind of person the other is), a stylist can make a collage or moodboard. With this moodboard, everyone can see in a blink of an eye how the room should be decorated: which ambiance, which materials/furniture and which colors have to be used.
A few examples of these moodboards can be found on http://www.design-skills.org/mood_boards.html . These are of course the professional moodboards, but you can also make them yourself! For some more hints, you can have a look on http://www.mostinspired.com/blog/2009/09/16/mood-board-101-branding-and-image-development/ . Other things an interior decorator will want to know is which style you like. Classical? Modern? Simple? Retro? Or maybe a more romantic country-style?
Show your true colors!
Colors say a lot about a person. Do you like something flashy? Or do you prefer more soothing colours? Knowing all this is a first step in knowing what you like with interior: first you look at what kind of person you are. Although knowing yourself can be an art by itself, it could be a very useful thing to know, so you can choose interior that fits well with who you are!
So, a person who loves to practice yoga and his peace and quiet probably won't enjoy modern design or retro: way too bright! A person who likes to enjoy the simple things in life, will probably also not enjoy an imposant cupboard from the baroque era: way too much!
Another important aspect are the colors someone likes: which colours appeal to you? Also with colors you can see what person you are: are you very terperamentful? Then red is your colour of heart! Do you like something more cosy and homely? Then brown is a nice and warm color for you! Very often, you can look at the clothes you wear often: is a there a dominant color?
And what about materials? Do you like wood? Metal? Plastic? Rubber? Leather? Yes, even your floor can be made of leather if you want to!
How are we going to do it?
By knowing who you are and what you like, we will be able to make an entry hall that fits the person you really are.
Work it out in 2D first!
A professional interior decorator will always make a few sketches, so that's why, he'll always ask for the ground plan. If he doesn't have this ground plan, he'll make one himself by measuring the room. However, even if there's already a ground plan, he'll always measure things twice to double-check. Things could have changed, or the building could have been made differently... Who knows... From this point he can start with sketching: the routing and the furniture...
In the entry hall, it doesn't have to be difficult: coat hanger near the front door, just like the cupboard and lighting at the right spot. Usually the (interior) architect already chose a good spot to place your hall lighting, but in some cases the location of the lamp has to be put somewhere else. The interior itself doesn't have to have a standard layout per se. Maybe you want to deviate a bit? If so, this must already be obvious in the moodboard, so that in this phase (the sketching phase) you can take this into account. At least, that's how a professional interior decorator would do it. He won't stop when one sketch has been made.
He'll make at least 2 other versions. Maybe he'll use a different concept? Or it could be a variation which could be an improvement? Or maybe he just wants to try something new? Anyhow, there are more than enough reasons why not to stick to only one design. So, if one layout has been chosen that's to the satisfaction of the interior decorator, we can go to 3D.
Choosing the interior: the 3D materialization.
Once the sketches have been made, it is time to materialise the design in 3D.
Usually, one of the most problems with designing a hall is the lack of space.
There are so many nice things that you can put into your hall, that it simply won't fit: too many works of art, too many cupboards, which coat hanger to choose?
In the 2D sketch, these problems should have become obvious, so that the interior decorator would
already have had to make choices which furniture to put in the hall and which ones not.
If, for example, the cupboard is too big or too small, you'd might have to come with another idea
which fits into your plan: either a new design or you need to choose another piece of furniture.
So, the 3D is meant to visualise the design in a more spacial way, to give a better idea of the look and feel. Usually this is quite straightforward as most furniture is already designed to fit in most places and to suit most people's needs concerning the heights. Only if you want to have 100% EXACT fits, you'll need to have custom designed furniture, as most pieces of furniture only have one size with a few variations you can choose from. A 3D model can be made out of a good drawing where you really get a good impression of how the space will look like, but actually a 3D computer drawing would look more professional, but since a good 3D software package can be very costly that only architect firms use it, an interior decorator would prefer to present his 3D model by maquette. So, if the 3D model looks satisfactory too, it can be presented to the client together with
the ground plan and moodboard/storyboard. If the client likes what is presented to him by the interior decorator, the orders can be placed for the new furniture and the home can be rebuilt!
Is everything working out well?
If you're having your house rebuilt, be advised to always check if everything is going right:
know what's going on! What are they doing? What is it good for? Is everything going on schedule? These are the things an interior decorator must know, so that everything will come at a good end in one go!
If something is about to go wrong, an interior decorator must know how to intervene to know what to do:
Can some things be undone? Who's fault is it? What's the plan B? There are many things that could go wrong: the colors, the wrong furniture, or maybe the client wanted something else? You have to be on top of this project all the time to be the first to notice. Fortunately, if you hire an interior decorator, you won't have to worry about all this: it's his problem. You only need to say what you want.
Mind you, a rebuilding of the hall is quite a task, which can take weeks, or even months in some cases which require special furniture.
That's why it's important to work with a good interior decorator who knows what he's doing, as redecorating a hall is quite a complicated job, but in the end, the interior decorator must be giving you a hall that you have been dreaming of!