Every room in your home gets lots of attention when it comes to design and organization—the living room, the kitchen, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, and probably even the garage. What often gets overlooked is the hallway. Apart from the being a place to hang lots of pictures, the hallway is rarely a consideration. Yet, we use it every single day. So why not give it a makeover too?
Light It Up
Hallways, especially long and narrow ones, tend to be dark and gloomy. If you’re lucky enough to have a window in the hall, throw those elaborate curtains in a storage unit and go with shear curtains or, if privacy isn’t a factor, no curtains at all. A great alternative here might be to place vinyl around the window and turn it into a piece of art to liven it up and let in more light.
If your hallway doesn’t have a lot of lighting, consider adding more. “Your home should be bright when you or your guests enter it, so ceiling light is a must for a hallway,” says Mackenzie Robinson of DecorLove. “A glam chandelier in the center could make a stunning focal point and an eye-catching element when people walk in. To be able to create an ambiance, use dimmer switches or add additional lighting, such as wall scones, lanterns or an elegant table lamp to put on a chest or console.”
Give It Pizzazz
There are several elements you can add to make your hallway sing with character and charm. Consider the following:
- Apply wallpaper with a large-scale pattern to hide wall smudges and change the sense of space.
- Change carpet to wood flooring or tile. A checkerboard tile pattern is great for widening narrow halls. Patterns with neutral colors conceal dirt, while light wood floors go well with large-print wallpaper.
- Use bright colors to lighten and visually widen the hall.
- Choose frames and pictures for a gallery-wall approach that reflect your style and make it more like a room.
- Incorporate a mirror or reflective surface to widen the space. (Floor to ceiling mirrors are the most effective.)
- Add furniture, such as seating, that fits the flow and size of the space but works to create a cozy rather than a transition space.
For very narrow hallways, such as those approximately three feet wide, you’ll want to keep the walls somewhat bare and create a focal point at the end of the hallway. “Celebrate the unique vibe your hallway provides,” says Interior Designer, Carla Aston. “Make it beckon and call you to investigate beyond. Make it pull you in and through where you won’t notice that narrow, claustrophobic feeling. You’ll be so focused on what is happening at the end, what might be around the corner, that you won’t notice the side walls.” Apartment Therapy has a great post offering more long-hallway design inspiration.
If you’re looking for design themes for your hallway, check out the hallway designs posted on ArchitectureArtDesign.com. There you’ll find everything from country-chic to Latin-inspired designs to get you brainstorming.
Make It Functional
Many hallways already have a closet, which you can organize to fit storage needs that range from linens to your kids’ craft supplies. You can also add storage space in the hallway if you do it correctly for the space you have available.
“A small console or a slim chest in close proximity to your front door is really helpful,” says Robinson. “Ideally, it should have drawers so that clutter can be concealed and the surface kept for a vase with flowers, but otherwise, you can store incoming papers in a pretty magazine file placed on top of the table.” And if there isn’t room enough for a larger piece of furniture, but storage is needed, consider a wall-mounted, long, narrow shelf or organizing system that doesn’t utilize floor space.
If you have a hallway relatively close to the main entry to your home, you can make it more like a mudroom, concealing the jackets, bags and shoes away from the door for better visual appeal. This is especially functional if your entry opens straight into the living room without any built-in storage, like a coat closet.
Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom did just this with her space. “As I’m sure you know, hallways have a reputation for being a sort of waste of space — square footage that you can’t really live in,” she explains. “But the more I looked at it, the more I wondered if we could make the hallway more functional, if we could transform it into our ‘mudroom.’”
She added disappearing hooks to the wall for lightweight items (at varying heights for everyone in the family) and a narrow storage cubby, for shoes and backpacks, that left plenty of pass-through space. You can see more of her renovation on the Design Mom post for additional ideas to make your hallway functional.
Regardless of how you use the space, there are many ways you can make a hallway more than just a corridor. It deserves just as much love as any other room in your house, and when you’re done, it might actually become one of your favorite spaces.