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Hallway and stairs - paint the walls white, or something else?

(25 Posts)
minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 12:41:44

We're in the final stages of repainting our house - just the stairs, landings and hallway to go.

We originally thought white just to make it all as bright as possible as the hallway has very little natural light. However I wonder if it might look a bit stark, and mark very easily? We don't have DCs yet but are TTCing and friends have babies.

We don't have a dado rail so can't do half white and half something else (which would be ideal).

Have you got white walls in your hallway and up the stairs? How have you found it? Or if not white... then what?

thanks in advance

HangingGarden Fri 19-Aug-11 12:45:37

White can look very cold and clinical. Any of the white with a hint of colour would still look bright and clean, and if you went for ivory/cream/pink/apricot type shades would also look warm.

minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 12:59:54

Thanks for your reply HangingGarden! Hmmm was worried people would say that! I do worry it could look a bit too "basic".

Cream is my default colour choice for other rooms but wanted to avoid this time round as we're aiming for a more modern look... (although it's a Victorian house!).

So if we were going to have something other than white, it would probably be more of a very pale grey, but then would that just end up looking like white that's gone a bit grubby ...?

mollschambers Fri 19-Aug-11 13:03:23

I think pale grey might be quite nice. I have beige white in my hall. Really like it as it's a bit softer/warmer without being yellowy.

minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 13:06:14

Thanks molls

Now, the question is, would your view be the same if I'd already bought the (non returnable sad) white paint....

mollschambers Fri 19-Aug-11 13:07:28

In that case white will be lovely grin

minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 13:25:39

I do now think pale grey would be better, though, dammit <looks ruefully at cans of surprisingly expensive white paint>

Mandy21 Fri 19-Aug-11 14:18:54

We've just done our hall, stairs and landing in very pale grey and I think it looks lovely. We're in a 1930 semi so there is a picture rail in the hall, so its white above the picture rail and the ceiling is white, as is all the woodwork. We've also painted the spindles in the bannister white but have the hand rail left just varnished (which matches the wooden floor and the original wooden doors downstairs). We have 3 DC and 2 weeks in, its holding up remarkably well smile. It would be relatively easy to touch up though if it did get marked. I was contemplating using Little Greene Paint as you can get that in a wipeable finish in a grey colour, but couldn't afford it when it came down to it (on the basis that we bought everything at Homebase's 15% off weekend smile).

minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 15:25:37

See Mandy, the irony is that we did shell out for Little Greene's wipeable finish - but in white! (they call it Shirting but frankly now I look at it it is just white). Which is why I can't really bear the idea of paying out more for pale grey... even though I think that would probably be better...


minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 15:27:24

ps your hallway sounds lovely. Wish our banister was wooden - but it was painted over years ago so stripping it would be a total pain.

We don't have a picture rail or dado so it would have to be grey top to bottom (from cornice to skirting).

Mandy21 Fri 19-Aug-11 17:52:13

Would they exchange perhaps if the tins are unopened?

If not, have you actually got it on the walls? It may be when you contrast it with brilliant while gloss woodwork (if you have that) that it might not look as white as you think??

Alternatively, is there any possibility of mixing it? Am not sure how you'd go about it and you'd obviously have to be careful if you were using more than one tin of paint to make sure both tins ended up the same colour, but could you perhaps add one of the little matchpots of a deeper colour so you end up with a shaded white (say for instance could you add a little pot of the medium / dark grey to end up with a big tin of light grey?). At least then you wouldn't end up with wasted paint?

minipie Fri 19-Aug-11 18:03:11

Hmm, I could ask them I suppose, but I don't think so - it didn't come direct from little greene but from a local paint shop who I think mixed it to order.

It is not quite brilliant white, just white. But then we are not having brilliant white on the woodwork either (just white). So not sure there will be any contrast really.

Mixing is an interesting idea... if a bit terrifying !

Grockle Sat 20-Aug-11 07:31:43

Mine is white (Victorian house) and I love it. I have a light oak wooden floor in the hall & creamy-beige carpet on the stairs and it looks lovely and bright and clean. It's south facing though so we have the sun shining through the door which helps. It's FAR better than the dirty cream that was everywhere when we moved in

minipie Sun 21-Aug-11 15:12:59

Thanks grockle that is reassuring. Ours isn't south facing but there is a stained glass front door and hallway floor is shades of brown so that warms it up a bit. The previous owners of our house painted the whole house shades of dirty cream and we are dying to get rid of it so I know exactly what you mean!

Update: we've now had the undercoat done in white - it looks good, very light and bright. It is a little on the stark side but think we will stick with white for the moment and see how it goes. Lamps and pictures will help with the starkness hopefully.

80sMum Sun 21-Aug-11 15:16:46

Get a teeny tin of dark grey (or black) emulsion and mix your own shade of grey with your non-returnable white. Make it all at the same time (large bucket!) then decant it back into the tins.

Earlybird Sun 21-Aug-11 16:04:23

A friend has her windowless hall painted a pale yellow and it always feels warm and welcoming.

Would think grey would look lovely in a light, bright hallway, but dingy in a dark-ish one. White too clinical without natural light, imo.

Earlybird Sun 21-Aug-11 16:07:59

What colour is the hallway floor? The stairs?

superv1xen Sun 21-Aug-11 17:55:16

my hall stairs and landing have just been painted white (not brilliant white, just white) and IMO it looks fab. i have a black and white checkerboard tiled hallway, light brown/beigey coloured stair carpets and natural coloured wooden blinds on the hall and landing windows. we went for silk paint so its wipe clean if any marks get on it.

it has made the world of difference and the hallway looks light, clean and spacious. it looks lovely. it was magnolia before and looked really dull and dingy.

(i live in a smallish 60's 3 bed semi if that helps! )

go for it i think it will look fab.

minipie Sun 21-Aug-11 18:13:07

The stair carpet is mushroomy colour, fairly light.

The hallway floor is Victorian mosaic tiles, in shades of black, dark brown, mustardy yellow, grey/brown, and off white. (Looks better than it sounds..!)

Think we will probably go with the white (it's white, not brilliant white) and see how it looks... The undercoat looks quite good in white so fingers crossed! we have got it in a more sturdy finish rather than the really chalky stuff.

RedSpike Sun 21-Aug-11 20:48:41

Minipie - we have shirting in our kitchen and I love it, it's clean and modern. If you like white walls it will be fine - if you like biege then you may be in trouble.

minipie Mon 22-Aug-11 15:52:15

Thanks Red that is reassuring! I am definitely not a beige person - though I do seem to be drawn to all things grey at the moment - but suspect that may be a phase!

TheEndlessArete Mon 22-Aug-11 20:09:57

I love love love white walls. Clean, classic and v.easy to choose pictures etc to go with it. Good for making an impact but can be softened by the furnishings.

hopskipandjump Mon 22-Aug-11 20:53:23

The house we have just bought had white with a hint of grey walls on the staircase - the result was they looked dirty. We have just painted them Dorset cream/Tallow (F&B and the change in the way it looks is quite a lot - looks much better. You need to have a lot of light to get away with grey which this staircase doesnt have

minipie Mon 22-Aug-11 22:50:50

phew. hopskip you have made me think that white Shirting is the right decision. We don't have a lot of light in our hall so that was my worry, that pale grey could look dirty.

(can you tell that I only want to hear that white is the better option wink)

thanks all

CointreauVersial Mon 22-Aug-11 22:54:45

We have Milk White from Crown all over our house (including the stairs and hallway). As long as it isn't Pure Brilliant White (which is very stark) you'll be fine. It serves as the perfect base for whatever colour of accessories/pictures/carpets you choose.

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