Christmas hallway ideas – 10 ways to create an instant festive feel in your entryway

Because first impressions count so let our Christmas hallway ideas wow your guests and fill you with festive cheer each time you walk through the door

Christmas stair decor garland with bells and ribbon in white hallway
(Image credit: Lindsay Salazar/House of Jade Interiors)

We are of the opinion that hallways are the most important rooms to ensure have plenty of festive flourishes come December. Therefore your Christmas hallway ideas should be given equal thought and effort as your other rooms. After all what space is seen more by both you and your guests than the hallway? Plus you can impress the postman or any doorstop visitors too with a glimpse of the winter wonderland you have transformed your hallway into. 

'The hallway is the welcoming center of your home, not just for your guests but for your family too, so be sure to lavish it with festive touches.' says Suzy Humphreys, founder of the Layered Lounge. 'A wreath on the front door is an essential feature, elevate a simple faux or real version with brass bells for additional style. Inside place lanterns on consoles or on the floor if possible to create magical lighting. Garlands on the staircase are a firm favorite but weaving in light and our paper stars will create a greater wow factor. I love to hang the stars all the way up the staircase so staying guests can enjoy the experience as they head to bed. Finally, complete the feast for the senses with a beautifully fragranced candle.'

So whether you adorn your hallway with Christmas decorations every year and just looking to try something new, or if you are a hallway decor novice, we have plenty of looks that are sure to inspire, from minimalist rustic looks to colorful contemporary schemes...

1. Adorn doorways with a lavish garland

Christmas hallway with lit garland

(Image credit: Future)

How just deliciously festive and inviting is this hallway? Honestly, we think you can never have enough garlands at Christmas, they add an instant festive feel to any room and unlike a tree, they take up zero square footage so are perfect for smaller spaces like hallways. 'Often, the holidays are a time to welcome guests into your home. To make a house feel holiday-ready, I love including décor at the home’s threshold. A beautiful, natural wreath and garland around the doorway always make an inviting statement.' says designer Marie Flanigan.

While the classic use is to wrap them around the banisters, we'd also drape them around every door frame too. Just imagine walking through your front door and being guided into each room with an abundance of wintering foliage. And whether you opt for real or fake, add in some subtle lights too because they'll look beautiful of an evening or dark wintery morning, twinkling around every door.

And another tip to take from this lovely space – candles, cover every surface with them to add to that lovely soft glow. Vintage candle holders that can easily be sourced from online marketplaces (try Etsy) and look fabulous with twisted taper candles in an array of festive colors. 

2. Make kitsch elegant with paper and foil decorations

Small hallway with mirrors decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Paper decorations have been such a Christmas trend the last few years and we just love that slightly kitsch, vintage, nostalgic feel they give to a room. But as this Christmas hallway idea proves they can be both retro and elegant. For a lovely traditional, but chic, festive look string paper garlands along dado rails and picture rails, adding a collection of baubles and ribbon at every loop.

For a super quick Christmassy update, pinch the idea of hanging tealights from any mirrors you might have in your hallway to add a magical glow. And hang extra baubles from any light fixtures, as Marie advises 'Don’t forget to look up! Sometimes the most magical decorations, like snowflakes, wreaths, bells, and mistletoe, are hung from chandeliers, light fixtures, or doorways. Holiday hallway décor can feel magical. Create a winter wonderland by hanging a cluster of ornaments or snowflakes from the hallway’s light fixture. Further, you can always add wreaths or decorate the doorways that face the hall.'

3. Make it magical and fill the ceiling with paper stars

Christmas hallway with hanging gold stars

(Image credit: James Merrell)

So simple and yet so effective, hanging decorations from the ceiling has a magical, effect that's is perfect for a hallway as you get that instant wow factor the second you walk through the door. If you don't trust your DIY skills, you can find really similar decorations on Etsy or buy a kit with all you need from Trouva. Or spend a lovely festive afternoon with a mug of mulled wine creating your own, get the family involved too, and don't worry about them being too neat either because you can always fall back that homespun charm vibe.

And for this look really go all out, as Jonathan Adler says, 'Nothing’s sadder than a wan display of “festivity” during the holidays.  You know that famous quote from Chanel about looking in the mirror and taking one thing off before leaving the house? Ignore it!  If you can’t go all-out for the holidays then when can you?  Think of your home like an outfit your eccentric, rich aunt might wear and layer, layer, layer. ' So fill that ceiling!

4. Or float a collection of paper baubles 

Christmas hallway with red paper decorations

(Image credit: James Merrell)

For an equally show-stopping look, suspend large honeycomb baubles from your hallway ceiling in different sizes and varying heights. There are so many colors available in these decorations too, and this is a look that will suit all styles – stick with simple white for a more minimalist look and go for a rainbow of colors if you are embracing maximalism this Christmas. We personally can't resist the deep red, so festive and reminiscent of juicy winter berries, it's fun and bold and just so darn Christmassy we are for sure pinching the idea for the holidays.

5. Take a minimalist approach with rustic wreaths

Minimalist wreaths hanging in a hallway

(Image credit: Catherine Gratwicke)

If you like a more minimalist, rustic vibe create a simple display by hanging a group of wreaths from the stairs or a bare wall. It's a lovely way to add in some greenery and could be a nice Christmas craft to fill a cold afternoon. Look closely and you'll see the 'wreaths' are in fact embroidery hoops, that have been covered in ferns  – a really easy look to create from things you might already have around the house or could easily find second hand.

'I personally love natural accessories and decorations. Repurpose Christmas tree clippings - foliage throughout the home creates a big impact at a low cost, and the smell of pine is so nostalgic!' says paint and color expert Annie Sloan.  'You can create bespoke decorations from found objects foraged for on a bracing December walk with your family. Start with a beautiful twig and gild the edges - or all over for more drama - using my Gilding Waxes. Combine with some ivy or glossy holly - adding a touch of paint to the leaves if so desired. Essentially free, wholesome and perfectly tailored to your space.'

6. Fill small spaces with vases of winter foliage

Green hallway decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Another simple Christmas hallway idea that you can pull together with the bit you probably already have in your house or garden. If you are squeezed for space but still want some festive fills in your hallway, fill any surfaces with lovely bunches of foliage. 

Spruce, fir, ivy and red berries are perfect for creating a classically Christmas look but if you are after something a bit different this year, Sue Barnes, Founder and Creative Director at Lavender Green Flowers recommends using hydrangeas as a nice alternative. 'Cut hydrangeas from your garden and dry now. This is easily done by cutting each bloom on as long a stem as possible, placing it in a vase filled with water, and allowing the water to evaporate over time. The hydrangea heads retain a lot of their color or they can be sprayed with a metallic paint and added to the tree, into garlands, or simply left in the vases. The faded Hydrangea colors are gorgeous.'

'Vases of cut foliage with berries such as Holly, Ivy or eucalyptus look, and smell amazing. And nothing beats a bowl full of Hyacinth or Papetwhites for beauty and fragrance. Planning ahead will allow these to flower at exactly the right time. Cyclamen can be planted in your favorite blue and white China for a gorgeous, seasonal addition.'

Take home tip: the bigger the better when it comes to festive foliage, don't cut it all down to fit neatly in a vase, you want it to look a bit wild, think branches rather than twigs and whole tendrils of ivy rather than just a few leaves. 

7. Go asymmetrical 

Hallway decorating with garland by The White Company

(Image credit: The White Company)

Be inspired by this minimalist look and rather than take the garland all the way around the frame, create a more contemporary, asymmetrical look by hanging it down just one side. It feels a bit less curated than going all way round, more rustic and natural. And we love the look of the simple pillar candle in a plain hurricane vase,  creating a warm welcome in the chicest of ways. 

As designer Sara Cosgrove says, 'When it comes to the entrance hall at Christmas time, you want it to be impactful and inviting. This can be done with garlands, fresh will always give an extra punch of that gorgeous smell of pine that we associate with this time of year. A scented Christmas candle is always good as an entrance hall element as it welcomes people and creates a seasonal vibe.' 

Designer, Abigail Ahern takes a similar approach when decorating her hallway for Christmas. 'For me as soon as I turn the key in the door I want to feel like I’m transported to a magical world.  As the hallway is a transitional area that you don’t tend to linger in for very long why not up the drama?  An oversized vase filled with seasonal botanicals, lots of little votives with flickering candlelight, and a rustic bowl filled with pinecones that I scent with my fave Christmassy essential oil so that it feels and smells like I’m passing through a forest of pine trees.'

8. Bring in an alternative Christmas tree

Scandi Christmas hallway

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

While only the luckiest among us can bring a full sized spruce into their hallway, for the rest of us, there are some fabulous alternative Christmas tree ideas that can bring all the magic of a real tree but just take up a lot less space. The simple, rustic candelabra used in this hallway adds that classic Christmas tree outline and perfectly suits the more minimalist Scandi aesthetic. 

9. Create a nature-inspired Scandi feel

Christmas stair decor garland with bells and ribbon in white hallway

(Image credit: Lindsay Salazar/House of Jade Interiors)

So maybe you can't fit in a 12 footer in your hallway but instead, squeeze in a small potted Christmas tree. We love this very natural Scandi look, the bare tree, the wicker baskets, the birch logs, and the simple garland, and those blue ribbons? Who knew blue could look so festive but this is definitely a Christmas staircase idea we'll be trying out this year.

10. Cover a bannister in eye-catching decorations

Quirky Christmas hallway decorating with a colorful garland

(Image credit: James Merrell)

And of course, when it comes to decorating a hallway at Christmas, the banister is prime real estate. And while we know everyone loves a classic garland, dripping in berries and evergreen, we couldn't resist this funky alternative used in the home of interior stylist Marianne Cotterill. Strung over the banister are beautiful Indian wedding decorations – ‘I brought tons and tons of wedding decorations back from India,’ says Marianne. ‘They’re joyous and colorful and make me want to party.' Very much agreed.

Hebe Hatton

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.