Porches and hallways need our love and attention especially at this time of year. Not only because they quickly descend into chaos when we’re all wearing coats, boots, scarves, hats and gloves, and carrying umbrellas, with wet dogs in tow as well. But also because, naturally we tend to prioritise rooms we actually spend time in. So just passing through these spaces, we forget to consider the poor first impression that our chaos makes on visitors.
Since 1996, craftsmen at Neptune have been creating beautiful handmade furniture that lasts a lifetime but doesn’t cost the earth – literally or metaphorically. They also offer an ever-growing collection of lovely accessories to help you make your house a welcoming, well-organised home. Here they give us their tips on how to transform any chaotic porch into a beautiful yet practical, organised space.
You can get your porch clutter under control with just three items, but six items will transform it completely…
1. A ‘surface’ of some description
This ‘surface’ essentially gives you a home for keys, post and anything on its way out of the house. After that, it’s all about storage. It always is. The more you have, the tidier and easier life will be. Maybe you already own something that will do the job beautifully and just needs to be requisitioned. So this ‘surface’ can be a variety of things…
* A console table, potboard, or even a bookcase
In a very narrow space, a console (from just 33cm deep) works best. (For teeny spaces even a little bookcase can do a great job.) Choose a console with a lower shelf where lovely willow open baskets can provide invaluable storage for gloves, hats, scarves, even footwear. A potboard gives you essentially the same look as a console table but is deeper so can take deeper baskets that will hold more.
* A sideboard or chest of drawers
This has the same ‘footprint’ as a potboard but offers much more storage. Choose drawers or cupboards depending on what you’ll be storing. Drawers are brilliant for gloves, hats and scarves; cupboards work well for shoes; a combination of both is great.
You can never have too many pegs in the porch as we all switch between at least two or three coats depending on what we’re up to. Avoid installing the rack in the narrowest part of the porch where passing by will involve being ambushed by outerwear. If there are little ones in the family, install a second rack at their height, to the side of the other one if there’s room, below it if there isn’t.
Their brilliant Suffolk Coat Rack is available in 3ft, 4ft and 6ft, and in any one of our 30 paint colours, and its charming pegs are perfect for coats, hats, bags and dog leads. Always leave a few handsome wooden hangers there, as best coats and suit jackets need the extra care, and wet coats need a chance to dry.
3. The largest mirror that will fit
Mirrors are great decorating tools because they create the illusion of space and light, both of which are much needed in a porch. It’s also an essential for that final last glance at your appearance before you leave the house. Always choose the largest your space can take but as with a dresser, if you have an original picture rail, this will affect the height of mirror you have room to hang.
4. A handy seat where shoes can be popped on and off
A bench, like their fabulous oak Arundel, is a brilliant option in a narrow porch or hallway; it looks friendly and is so easy to quickly perch on. A long, skinny footstool can also work well, or a low ottoman (great for some extra storage) or even our neat little Stratton step stool.
5. Beautiful, welcoming lighting
Nice-to-do but not essential, take a good look at the lighting. A real statement light is a lovely touch in a porch and does make a great first impression. Neptune’s new Browning Lantern is perfect and comes in two colours and two sizes to suit all homes. But our favourite, if there’s a power socket, is a lamp (or a pair of them) on the table to provide the friendly pools of soft light that make a welcome really warm.
6. Umbrellas-and-everything-else Stand
Everyone has these things and typically they all end up in a tangle on the floor behind the front door. So let’s be practical and give them a proper home of their own. You can improvise with all sorts of buckets and bins but really you need something that was purpose-designed for the job. The Somerton Willow Umbrella Basket has neat interior dividers that ensure umbrellas, walking poles and shooting sticks all stand perfectly and neatly upright.
For more inspiration or information, visit neptune.com, phone +44 (0) 1793 427 300, or visit one of their nationwide stores. You can subscribe to their newsletter at neptune.com/register