Passages are traditionally overlooked areas in the home. Here’s how to add a little interest, so that you don’t end up with “dead” space.

Create a gallery effect by placing a large artwork at the end of the passage, suggests Donald Nxumalo, judge on Win A Home and owner of DNX Interior Design. This makes the area less sterile, particularly if you direct lighting on to the artwork.

A runner will also add colour and impact. Try a customised piece for even greater effect.

Think about the width of the passage. A narrow passage can be more challenging, but one way to add character, according to Susan McCoubrey, head merchandiser at Block & Chisel, is to panel the walls. “Use wooden planks to add texture and surprise, or bold graphic wallpaper to bring the area to life. A narrow shelf can hold a mirror, candles and greenery, or family photos.”

Not all passages need to make a statement – it depends on where they lead. If yours lends itself to it, one trick is to paint the passage a certain tone and change the colour at the end; for example, a dark wall can act as an anchor for a light passage.

A photo gallery of family shots, interspersed with mirrors of different sizes and various objets d’art, adds warmth to the home, suggest Tammy Holmes and Sue Lederle, owners of online home gifting platform Loveables.

An interesting piece of furniture at the end of a long passage helps to draw the eye.

Use mouldings and interesting door surrounds to create a country-style feel, if the passage features doors.

Consider flooring. For example, Holmes and Lederle point out that chequerboard tiles can add depth and dimension.

What about lighting? If you have high ceilings, a pendant light could be the answer, creating a perfect focal point. Otherwise, opt for LED lights to add some sparkle.

Furnishings may be a challenge, given the limited width. But a narrow sideboard can be functional, while breaking the space. McCoubrey suggests a half-moon table, holding mementoes or favourite objects, with a mirror above it.

Be wary of cramming too much into the space. Above all, a passage has to practical, so don’t include too many elements, or they may challenge your progress through the house. Be sure to make the space light and bright, as gloomy passages can be depressing.

Image: SA Home Owner Libary