How Designer Jo Gick Used Pattern to Make Her Hallway a Destination of Its Own
When interior designer Jo Gick of J & J Design Group began the process of decorating the new hallway in her home addition, she knew she wanted it to be more than a space one just passes through. Instead, she wanted it to be a design destination of its own. “Hallways are usually an afterthought because they aren’t really a room, per se, but more of a thoroughfare. I think hallways should be given just as much thought as the rest of the rooms in the house,” she says. A can of paint and some art just simply wouldn’t do.
“Hallways can be so boring if they are just painted. You can only hang so much art or mirrors until it feels overdone. And if you hang your artwork sparingly, you end up with too much blank space,” says Jo. “This is why wallpaper is the perfect solution for a hallway—it is interesting to look at at every turn...Wallpaper immediately fills the void created by so much wall space.” And wall space was something Jo now had in spades.
Given the generous size of her hallway, Jo knew scale was going to be a determining factor when selecting just the right wallpaper. She had recently installed Quill in a client’s home, and the pattern stuck with her ever since. “This particular hallway is so big and I knew that I needed to inject pattern into this space to make it come alive,” she says. Drawn to Quill’s airy, open repeat, linear design, and larger scale, Jo felt like this pattern was an ideal solution for turning this expansive stretch of wall into a major design moment in her home. “Quill is a little more streamlined and has a great balance of positive and negative space that I think is perfect for a hallway this large,” she says.
Color was also a major consideration when Jo was designing this space. As a gateway to several other spaces, all with their own color palettes, the hallway needed to feel cohesive with the rest of her home. With that in mind, she decided on the Cadet colorway—her version of a neutral. “Navy is the ground color I used in the décor in my home in place of a gray or black,” she says. “It feels a little softer and a little more preppy.”
The final consideration was creating aesthetically pleasing sightlines from within the hallway itself, as well as from the adjoining rooms looking back into the hallway. Not only did the wallpaper she would select have to be a pattern and color that wouldn’t be overwhelming in such a large space, but it also had to complement—not compete with—the decor in those connected spaces. “Since this particular pattern is linear, monochromatic, and has so much white space, it really is the perfect pattern to transition with almost any other space. It feels like a great backdrop to compliment all the other elements," Jo says. “This pattern reads like a stripe but in a more interesting way.”
Once Jo settled on the base layer of her hallway—the wallpaper—she was able to add layers of visual interest with art. “The art that I selected for this space was larger in scale than the wallpaper, and more figurative,” says Jo. “I love to mix art and not think about it too much. I like to use pieces that make me happy. Since this particular paper is more linear, it works with almost any type of artwork.”
With the walls carefully considered and perfectly adorned, Jo then moved on to the last remaining details. First, she used furniture to create smaller moments within this larger space. “I added a little console landing spot with artwork and sconces, as this is the first thing you see as you enter from the garage,” she says. A pair of pink fringed stools, some thoughtful accessories, and eye-catching pink lanterns pop off the paper and make the space feel like a complete thought—a place that makes you want to linger.
The completion of this space has been a fulfilling one for Jo, who has made a career out of embracing the higher voltage side of design. “It has been fun to see people’s reactions to the space. I always get compliments on this paper. They say ‘Wow, this is a bold choice that really paid off!’” she says. In Jo’s world, pattern, color, and whimsy should be celebrated, and playfulness reigns supreme. Fear of going big has no place in her designs. “I think so many people are so worried about making bold choices and don’t realize how much they would enjoy it if they just took the leap,” says Jo. “I like my spaces to be fun, colorful, full of pattern, and fun to be around. This paper checks all of those boxes for me.”