Have you ever entered a home and needed a place to hang your coat or scarf? Maybe you were wearing muddy rain boots and needed a place to sit so you could remove them before entering the main house. Do you want a place to store shoes out of the way while you host guests? If this was ever the case, you have wanted (whether you knew it or not) a hall tree.
A hall tree is a piece of furniture that is about six feet tall and about two or two ½ feet wide with a depth of about one and ½ feet. Hall trees are usually placed in the entryway, foyer, or mudroom (back door entrance) of a home and are used to hang coats and even store boots and shoes.
Hall trees are not as common as they once were, and they are not often as elaborate as they can be. But they are still just as functional as they were when they were commonly used in American homes. Hall trees can also be beautiful display pieces that set the stylistic tone of home the moment you enter it. Read on to learn more about hall trees.
What is a Hall Tree Used for?
Simply put, a hall tree is a place to store what you do not want to wear beyond the front door of a house. Think of going over to someone’s place for dinner on a cold rainy night. Once you get inside, you will want to remove your coat, scarf, hat, and even your shoes. All these can go on or in a hall tree. Simply hang up your coat and scarf on one of the hooks and stow your shoes in a cubby below the bench.
You can also think of a hall tree storing everything you want to put on for leaving the house. This could include all the things mentioned previously, as well as
- Dog leashes (and dog coats)
- Rain boots
This may also include things from a small compartment like gloves, keys, or your wallet.
A hall tree can be elaborate or simple. It can be merely functional or an ornate fashion statement. It can hold as much as what was listed above or as little coats that hang from a simple stand. The hall tree is a highly functional and adaptable piece of furniture that had its heyday once long ago, but it is no less functional in modern America.
Typical Dimensions of Hall Trees
Hall trees come in a variety of sizes and styles but often have a similar set of dimensions. Of course, these dimensions can change depending on the design of the hall tree, especially if it is a custom design.
These days though, hall trees are typically between six and seven feet high. Some may be shorter and some taller, depending on what you need. In general, you do not want a hall tree that will let your coat or overcoat drag on the ground. This also goes for a hall tree that has a bench. It should give your coats enough height to clear the bench.
That said, the height of a hall tree really depends more on the style of the hall tree and what you want it to include. If you just want it just to hold your coats, then it will be shorter, but if you also want it to include a bench with cubbies underneath, then it will need to be a little taller.
Width and Depth of Hall Trees
The depth of hall trees typically is not going to change much. It will likely be between one and one and ½ feet deep, with some running as deep as two feet.
The width is where you will often see the most variance, even more than in the area of height. Hall trees are most often between two and three feet wide, with the average width coming in around two and ½ feet. But, hall trees can be wider depending on the style.
If you want a hall tree that stretches a greater width, you can get them. Wider hall trees are great for accommodating:
- Long benches
- Several cubbies for storage
- A larger mirror
You can also find wider hall trees that have tall cupboards on one of both sides for further storage of items that you would need, such as brooms, rifles, or vehicle-related items such as an ice-scraper.
Types of Hall Trees
For the sake of clarity, it is worth taking a moment to discuss the different types of hall trees. The variety of hall trees is endless, but you will often see them falling into one of three general categories:
- Hat stand style
- Small bench style
- Large console style
What you can do within these categories depends on you or the person making the hall tree. But, in general, these three categories encompass the smallest hall tree to the largest and most things in between.
Hat Stand Style Hall Tree
The hat stand style hall tree is as simple as you can get. They are so simple. In fact, they do not look much like the larger hall trees. The point of the hat stand-style hall tree is simply to hold coats and hats.
Hat stand hall trees look like poles that usually have three or four supports at the base to keep them from toppling. You will often see hooks in a circular fashion around the top for hats. Then you will see hooks attached to the central pole. Those are for the coats.
Even these can vary in size and appearance. This can vary from:
- Just a few coat hooks on the pole
- Coats hooks on the pole as well as hat hooks on the top
- A circular rack near the bottom for umbrellas
These hall trees do not offer as much storage as other styles.
Small Bench Style Hall Tree
The small bench style hall tree looks more like the hall trees that this article has been discussing:
- Overall width of about two and ½ feet
- A small narrow bench
- An overall height of between six and seven feet
Small bench-style hall trees often look about the width of doors. In fact, some designs play off of this with an average door width and maybe a doorknob attached to one side of the hall tree. In fact, some people have made hall trees out of old doors.
The main idea is to have a small bench and about six coat hooks arranged across the top of the tree. For the older style of hall trees, a mirror was essential, but that is not necessarily the case these days. Hall trees often have a rustic paneled back piece, if not an actual door.
Large Console Style Hall Tree
These hall trees have a lot more width to them and include great storage for transitions from inside to outside and vice versa. The console-style hall tree can be:
- As wide as five and ½ feet
- Typically as tall as seven feet
Sometimes the extra height will give room for extra shelf space above.
The console-style hall tree can have a minimum of bench space for a maximum of storage space, or it can have it the other way around. It really depends on what you want out of the hall tree. If storage is a premium and you can put your shoes on without having to sit down, then you can feel free to negotiate space however you want.
Styles of Hall Trees
Within the different types of hall trees, there are many styles and makes that elaborate on the basic concept. It only takes a few examples of each style to bring to life what they look like and how functional they can be.
So as you finish up the article, take a look at the following examples to see what style of hall tree might work for your home.
VASAGLE Free-standing Coat Stand and Hall Tree
This example is the essence of a simple, free-standing hall tree that works to hold hats, coats, and purses in an unobtrusive corner of your entryway.
This simple and slightly industrial-looking hall tree is made of a steel frame that sports six hooks for coats and hats, as well as two brown wood shelves for small bags and items like your wallet or keys.
Standing just under six feet tall and weighing just under six pounds, this is a simple, sturdy and elegant way to venture into the hall tree world.
3-in-1 Entryway Coat Rack
If you are looking for something a little more hall tree-ish but not quite so domineering, then this modern hall tree may be something to consider. It is a good example of how the hall tree functionality of old can translate into the modern world.
This hall tree is made from a stable metal frame that supports up to 260 pounds. The wood-looking portions are MDF but handsomely finished. With the back being entirely open, this hall tree is a great example of rustic and modern coming together.
Functionally, the hall tree has seven coat hooks (says the description, though the picture shows nine) and two side hooks. You also get a bench to sit on and shelves for shoes and other items.
Bush Furniture Salinas Hall Tree
Venturing ever further into the old-fashioned hall tree world, this example comes from Bush Furniture and comes in a variety of wood styles, including ash brown. The dimensions sit at:
- Two and ½ feet wide
- Around five and ½ feet tall
- Just under one and ½ feet deep
This means it is an old-style hall tree that is diminutive in stature, so it can bring an old-fashioned presence to a small space without overwhelming it.
This hall tree features:
- Six coat hooks on three two-pronged hook sets
- A bench
- Four cubbies for shoes
It is the ideal wood hall tree for a small space. Supporting up to 250 pounds and weighing in at about 68, it is a handsome addition to your entryway.
Prepac Hall Tree
If you want an impressive hall tree for your entryway with the functionality that could benefit the worst mudroom, you may be looking for something like this piece from Prepac. It is a splendid piece that shows off just how handy a hall tree can be. And how big.
The Prepac hall tree is:
- About six and ½ feet tall
- An impressive five feet wide
This means you have storage galore and enough space for a couple of adults and a hoard of kids to sit and take off their shoes. This hall tree’s impressive stature is offset a little by the fact that it is only a little over a foot deep, so it fits snug against the wall.
For all this, get:
- An expansive top shelf space
- Six coat hooks
- A bench
- A whopping 24 shoe cubbies.
You can pack so much stuff into and on this hall tree that you might miss its impressive greyish wood color and design.
Hall tree options are not limited to only those that come prepackaged and easy to assemble. There are furniture makers who still make hall trees to be sturdy and rustic or ornate.
Some of these even offer custom designs. Hall trees can be truly beautiful pieces of furniture that are crafted from scratch or double as works of art being built off old antique doors.
Where Should You Put a Hall Tree?
While hall trees are versatile in terms of looks and design and can often fit into a variety of contexts, they typically go in one type of location: Anywhere there is a transition from inside the home to the outside or vice versa.
As such, you will typically find hall trees in one of two areas:
- An entryway
- A mudroom
There are a couple of exceptions depending on how homes are designed around the front and rear entry points, but in general, these are the two areas where you will find a hall tree.
The entryway is the most likely transition point in a home between the inside and the outside. Positioned right off the front door, the entry finds the home’s residents and guests coming in and out and needing a place to set their things.
Given the hall tree’s primary function, this is the most useful place to put it. But the entryway area may dictate what style of hall tree you use depending on how the area is designed. If your entryway is small with low ceilings, you will likely want to place a daintier hall tree in it so that it does not overwhelm you or your guests.
However, some entryways have a more open feel with few walls and high ceilings because they open up to several areas of the home at once:
- Living room
If that is the case in your home, then a larger or taller hall tree will look good in these areas. The open nature of the entryway will not be so easily overwhelmed by a tall or long piece of furniture.
The mudroom is another likely place to find a hall tree. Mudrooms will typically be in the back of a house and are often found in homes where long and harsh winters demand a more informal space for taking off boots and coats.
Hall trees in these rooms can accommodate the nature of the transition space by:
- Being taller for bulky coats
- Being longer for more bench space
- Having more storage for a variety of items
The mudroom is the entry and exit point most often used by the family. It is the informal area where kids and even grownups can dump stuff and deal with the organization of it later (or never). True to its name, the mudroom hall tree can handle melting ice and mud.
Furthermore, the mudroom hall tree can be large in a small area, because style is not the point. This area is almost entirely dominated by function.
There are typically two exceptions to the entryway and mudroom where you might find a hall tree:
- The living room
- The kitchen
The reason you might find hall trees in these areas is either because of the design of the home or the owner has adopted the use of a hall tree for something else.
But most often, the design of the home will play a major role. In small homes, the entry sometimes consists of a small nook off the living room, an area that allows room enough for someone to greet and step aside while the person coming in takes off a coat. In these cases, a hall tree may fit better along a living room wall close to the door.
The other exception is the kitchen. In many older homes, the kitchen is right off the mudroom, and in some cases, the kitchen is the mudroom. In those cases, you are likely to find a hall tree in the kitchen proper, especially if the mudroom has enough space to accommodate a washer and dryer but not much else.
From the humble beginnings of the Victorian middle class, the hall tree, though less popular, still remains in use today and can offer your home a unique blend of traditional design and modern functionality.
From open-back designs to large, ornate, bus stop-sized storage options, the hall tree can give your home a stylistic flair while offering a great functional value. With the hall tree, you do not have to scuttle off with your guest’s things and lay them on your bed. You can hang them in style, neatly and out of the way.