Entrances and Hallways for your Edinburgh Period Home

Continuing with our series of blogs on restoring or converting Edinburgh period homes, this time we’re going to take a look at entrances and hallways. As we know, first impressions count when inviting visitors to our home as they give a taste of what is to come. Here are some tips and images from Edinburgh period home restoration builder Mackenzie Hughes to give you inspiration for the entrance or hallway to your own Georgian or Victorian Edinburgh home. We hope you enjoy it.

Enclosed design of Edinburgh townhouses often means a lack of light in the entrance hall

Let there be light

From 1781 to 1851 a window tax was levied in Scotland which caused the owners of several Edinburgh Georgian and Victorian townhouses to brick up many of their windows to avoid paying tax and there are still examples of that today. But, even with some windows closed off, corner townhouses will still benefit from more light than many terraced homes where the natural daylight may come only from the windows at the front and back of the home. A cupola set into the roof will also allow natural light into the top landing and downwards through the stairwell however, the addition of recessed lights will lend a modern yet discreet touch to your period home. 

The enclosed design of many Edinburgh Georgian terraced townhouses means that there is often no window either side of the entrance door with the only available natural light coming from the fanlight above it. By choosing a lockable internal door,  similar to the original one shown below, you will be able to maintain the original Georgian period look yet open your outside door during the day to let in more light.

Recessed ceiling lights enhance the natural light  

Internal door designed for maximum light

View the hallway as additional room

View your hallway as additional room rather than simply a passageway.  In the picture shown below, a window seat with a storage unit below has been added along with custom made wall units to make further use of the available space yet it still remains light and airy. Even a narrow hallway can be made more interesting by adding artwork to the walls, well-designed lighting and perhaps a coat stand or telephone table. 

Clever design with added storage yet the entrance hall remains light and airy

Brighter colours

A brighter colour palette will also lighten up your hallway. Choosing the same colour scheme for the walls of your staircase will also add continuity and both lengthen and heighten your hallway. The same principle applies to your doors and floor coverings. If your aim is to retain a more traditional look throughout your period home, white doors, frames and skirting boards along with a rug to add splash of colour will all pay dividends in brightening up your entrance hall.


The traditional choice of flooring for the entrance to a Georgian or Victorian period home is natural wood. However, if your existing floorboards are past their best, reclaimed timber or engineered wood could be your next choice. You may want to  lay them from the entrance door to the back to make your hallway look even longer. 

The brightness of the hallway is enhanced by a centre focal light and continuity of colour throughout

The contemporary entrance

Changes to Edinburgh period homes are governed by City of Edinburgh Council listed building consent so check with your architect or builder before you make any changes. Changes to the exterior of the property itself will always be met with resistance as Edinburgh holds two UNESCO World Heritage Site accolades – one for the Old Town and one for the New Town. However, much can be done with the interior to give it a more personal and contemporary feel such as opening up the space by removing a non-load bearing wall. Your builder should be able to advise you on this.

If you own a Victorian detached or semi-detached property you could be granted planning permission for an extension which adds another entrance to your home. Often, it is easier to gain approval if your plans add a modern contrast to the existing build rather than trying to recreate the original walls and roof. This is where a good architect and builder will work together. The architect will create a plan which is not only interprets your vision but will liaise with the builder to make sure that the structure can realistically be built. A modern extension with an additional entrance could allow for more glass with slim profiles rather than stone walls to capture the maximum possible light.

Contemporary additional entrance on this Victorian villa lets in the maximum available light.

If you would like advice on restoring or transforming your Edinburgh Georgian or Victorian period property, for 21st Century living, contact Mackenzie Hughes on 0131 557 4377 or view some of our other projects here.  

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