It’s safe to say that as a professional who designs New York City apartment building hallways, I witness a number of mistakes that need remedying. I wanted to share the most common hallway design mistakes below—make sure your building is not guilty of any of these!

1. Lighting

Lighting can so significantly contribute to the mood of a space. I often notice lobbies in which each light fixture has a different color temperature, which is certainly not ideal. If you don’t provide your superintendent or resident manager with a specific lighting temperature, they may simply grab the nearest bulb and call it a day. As a result, you wind up with a very visible mish mash of bulb colors, which leaves a lobby looking chaotic.

2. Plastic Corner Guards

My advice is to avoid clear plastic corner guards at all costs. Why? The clear plastic versions look flimsy, yellow over time, and show damage and wear quite easily. I feel that corner guards should either be custom painted to disappear into the wall covering or should be a metal color that matches the brass or chrome finish used in the hallway. Also, keep height top of mind. When corner guards are short—as in, they do not range from floor to ceiling—they appear out of place.

3. Shoddy Hardware

I cannot tell you how many times New York City cooperative and condominium buildings opt out of upgrading their door hardware, door chimes, and the signage on their unit doors. After implementing a fresh, new hallway design scheme, these elements that are left over from a bygone era will be an eyesore. Do everyone a favor and say goodbye to them once and for all!

4. Not Purchasing Stock Material

Purchasing stock material for future use is always a smart decision when it comes to lobby and hallway design. Unfortunately, some buildings must operate with very tight budgets and don’t purchase additional carpeting, wall coverings, light fixtures, or any of the other materials they just paid to have installed. But, the reality is that there may be times when you will need to replace some of your hallway design elements. And the unfortunate consequence is that often products are either custom to begin with or discontinued over time. It is best to have 10 to 15 percent of additional materials stored away for such occasions, trust me.

5. Not Keeping Track of Paint Colors

It is critical to keep a list of the paint colors used in the lobby and hallway so that when doors need to be repainted over time, your building staff doesn’t have to guess or try to match paint colors. This process is not fun for anyone and simply leads to complications that could have easily been avoided. 


It’s always easier to go into a remodel knowing what to avoid, and your condo and coop lobby design will truly shine if you just keep the above five tips top of mind!

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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