Dear Debbie: We have a long hallway that stretches along the front of the house. It’s an unusual design with entrances to the main rooms off the hall on one side. It gets a lot of use by our large family of kids and dogs. How can I break up the runway feel? — Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth: Often we don’t give much thought to hallways, but they are important spaces that connect all the rooms and can be a prelude to what is to come. It might not seem appropriate for a hallway, but why not make it a feature? Give it the attention it deserves with a bold paint finish. Most dark to medium shades of blue are dramatic in a friendly way. A favorite color pick for many of us, blue relates to the sea and sky and wide-open spaces. There is also the connection to royalty that gives it a special panache. Shown in this hallway is a cobalt blue from Benjamin Moore. The baseboards and doors are white, which keeps the space bright. The contrast is striking.

A bold wallpaper is another option. Don’t be concerned about large motifs in a narrow space. They can be exciting. Be sure to make a connection between the colors and patterns you select for the hall and the rooms that follow. Carry along a shade or pattern in small ways such as a set of chair cushions, a table runner, part of a carpet pattern or an ornamental vase.

Break up the long stretch with a table that affords a place to arrange personal items of interest such as photos and plants. A long wall is also an opportunity to mount a gallery of artwork or photography. Your hallway can be a destination as well as a passthrough.


Dear Debbie: I’m looking for some inspiration to perk up my dining room. It’s part of a small open-space planned condo. The walls are white, with a large storage unit that is plain and also white. My style is contemporary. I’m working with a small budget, and I would like to make a few purchases that would give the best bang for the cost. Thanks for your help. — Renata

Dear Renata: You definitely could use some color to liven up all that white. Why not check out the many different blues that are trending on the market right now? Contrary to the negative connotation of “having the blues,” there are many shades that are fresh and uplifting. A multicolored rug — like the one from IKEA pictured here — placed under your table will become a fun feature. Make sure it is large enough so the chairs don’t get caught on the edges. You now have a great selection of colors from which to choose, including the blue you see on the vertical wall stripe and the chairs. This color is reminiscent of Benjamin Moore’s Blue Hydrangea from their selection of pure, saturated colors and has a distinctive, modern feel to it. Stackable chairs with style are a good pick for small spaces. They are easily moved away and tie into that colorful rug. Continue to add splashes of color as you wish with artwork and crockery.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to [email protected] Follow Debbie at, and