Our top coat hooks for clutter-free hallways

Can’t see the door for the coats? Let’s get you hooked.

Making sure your entrance is neat and tidy is key to a visitor’s first and last impression of your home.

This becomes even more crucial when you are thinking of selling. If potential buyers walk into an unorganised space, it sets the tone for how they view the rest of the house.

As a home stager, one of my key techniques – and one that created a great response from homeowners – was to demonstrate how there is room for coats and shoes.

Even in the smallest of entrance halls, by adding a few hooks or a simple coat rack (and maybe some stylish shoe boxes) the look of surprise at the sudden impression of space was usually followed by them asking their partner if they really did need to move.

hallway with neat storageCredit: Shutterstock/Pixel Studio

So, the coat hook can be a secret weapon in your home design arsenal – but with such a wide variety available, how do you work out which is the best one for your home?

Do you want hooks fixed to the wall or do you prefer free-standing storage? While some homeowners have the benefit of a dedicated boot room, many of us must use our hallways for coats, and it’s not always an easy task finding the right hanging combination.

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What makes a good coat hook?

Having tried several coat hooks over the years, I’ve found they’re definitely one of those items worth investing in. If you feel you can bend it just by holding it, then it’s unlikely to carry the weight of your coat for very long.

While very few items last a lifetime, coat hooks are used several times a day. It needs to be strong enough to carry the load for a number of years, and nobody expects them to fail.

But given winter coats, in particular, can weigh over 1kg each, quality materials really are key.

Although coat hooks now come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from single hooks to multi-purpose hanging systems, it was the fashion-conscious Victorians who introduced the concept of using hooks and hangers in the home.

As women’s intricate bustles and skirts required clever storage to retain their shape and more men needed to keep their formal workwear in good condition, inventors responded to the call, patenting hundreds of hanger designs.

What makes a good coat hook?

Having tried a number of coat hooks over the years, it’s clear that there are two key things to get right.

From experience, it’s one of those items that it’s worth spending a little extra money on. If you feel you can bend it just by holding it, it’s unlikely to carry the weight of your coat for very long. While very few items last a lifetime, coat hooks are used several times a day. It needs to be strong enough to carry the load. Winter coats in particular can weigh over 1kg each.

Hanging properly adds strength

Ironmongery Experts, an company serving the construction and joinery trade, offers the following advice on their website:-

1 – Use a stud locater to find wall studs. If you can’t find a stud and really need to fit the hooks in this spot, make sure you use an extra fixing such as hollow wall anchors or molly bolts. Top tip: use masking tape to mark the locations of the studs – this will save you having to wipe pencil marks off the wall.

2 – Mark the centre of where you want to position your hook on the masking tape. If fitting more than one hook, use a tape measure to ensure they are evenly spaced and use a level to ensure they are in a straight line (if this is your preferred design).

3 – If the hook has visible front fitting screw holes, place the hook over the centre point and mark the screw points so that you can drill pilot holes. Putting intended spots in first means before you drill the final holes you can remove the masking tape ahead of attaching the hooks.

The original design for the coat hanger is claimed to have come from a simple wire hook designed by USA resident, Albert J Parkhouse, in 1903.

As fellow workers needed somewhere to hang their coats, he simply bent a piece of wire into two ovals with the ends twisted together to form a hook.

Fixed hook or freestanding storage – which works best?

For a busy household needing lots of hooks, a traditional oak and metal coat hook rack can work well if you’ve got a free wall to use.

Giving you a clearly identifiable place for coats, if you buy carefully, you can easily double up on hanging space – either through the rack design itself or buy adding more than one to your wall.

This 9-hook rack from the Cotswold Company is a great example of a design that combines tradition with a contemporary clean design.

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coats hanging on wooden rackCredit: Cotswold Company

With its simple, solid oak strip and 9 double hooks, it has twice the hanging potential in just the one rack. Classical, but with a contemporary feel, this would work well in a hallway, utility or boot room.

Even humble coat racks can have iconic designs

Perhaps one of the most iconic coat hook designs of the 21st century is the ‘Hang it All’ hook designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1953.

With its metal framework and coloured wooden balls, the original system of white frame and brightly coloured balls suited the 1950’s pop art style.

brightly coloured coat hook on green wallCredit: Nest

As with many Eames designs, it has transcended the years and remains popular today. Now available in a range of different colour choices, including simple two-tone effects, the design has been widely copied by other brands. If you’re after an original, it’s only made by Vitra.

The ‘Hang It All’ would suit any home with a slightly more contemporary feel. With the variety of colours available, it sits well against any colour wall or material. The uniform spacing of the hooks also means the racks can be fitting alongside each other giving you endless hanging options.

If you have visiting children, the brightly coloured version fitted at an appropriate height is also a great way to encourage them to hang their coats from an early age.

Scandinavian design turned single coat hook design ‘a-round’

In addition to coat racks, single hooks are another option if you want to use your walls for hanging coats.

Although hooks are traditionally u shaped in design, Scandinavian design company Muuto encouraged us to view hooks in a different way when it launched its simple Dot. With over a million Dots now sold, it’s clearly pulling together a large group of fans.

circular dot coat hooks on wallCredit: Muuto

Using just two pieces of wood, the Muuto dot comes in a variety of different sizes and finishes. Perfect for using as either individual hooks, or by combining a variety of shapes and colours to create your own unique piece of wall art.

The hooks can also be used to good effect in other areas of the home – as demonstrated in this minimalist bathroom design.

towel hanging on bathroom wallCredit: Muuto

What if you need more from the humble coat hook?

If your collection of bags and shoes has grown at the same rate as your wardrobe of coats, then manufacturers have also recognised the desire for clever storage. Furniture that combines seats, coat hooks and storage is widely available.

Often referred to as a monk’s bench, the design derives from furniture in monasteries where space was at a premium. Seating had to be multi-functional and have a high back to keep out the cold.

In today’s world, the designs have become taller to allow the addition of coat hooks. A great option if you want the functionality of a boot room but only have the space provided by a hallway or utility room.

With their solid freestanding construction, there’s also potentially less need to attach items to wall studs – although we’d always recommend you follow the manufacturer’s advice and secure them if necessary, especially if you have kids or pets around.

This beautiful blue coat bench from The Furniture Market features hooks, a seat and handy open shoe storage underneath.

blue coat benchCredit: The Furniture Market
Organise your hall for a feeling of calm

Other designs like this bench from Off the Grain have lift-up seats if you prefer fewer items on display.

painted coat standCredit: Off the Grain

Other designs like this bench from Off the Grain have lift-up seats if you prefer fewer items on display.

A few more tips before you start re-thinking your hallway

  • If you’re looking to replace your existing coat hooks or install some more, then as a rule of thumb the average height for a coat hook is around 180cm. Fixing it at this height means you’re looking at the middle of the coat when you look at the wall. Handy for a busier household when you’re all looking to all leave at the same time and need to quickly identify which coat is yours.
  • If you’re fixing hooks near to the corner of the room, don’t forget to leave enough space at the end of the hook for the coat or item to hang properly. It’ll not only avoid the item getting creased, but will also help avoid any frustration if it doesn’t fit. Anything to avoid the floor becoming the new storage space.
  • If you’ve got regular smaller visitors, hanging a coat hook at dado rail height – beneath the main hooks – will not only make it easier for them to reach, but also give you extra storage for shopping bags when they’re not around.
  • And if you’re simply switching your coat hooks out for a new design, why not recycle your old ones and use them in the garage or shed? They can be great for hanging garden tools to free up space.
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Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her

Updated:

Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

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