Light-colored walls help to brighten an entry hall.

How to Brighten an Entrance Hallway

by Mary Cockrill

When you brighten your home's entryway, it might even perk up your own disposition. Because a dark entrance doesn't project a very welcoming environment, give it a quick makeover to deliver a light, cheery feel. Make arrangements for someone to watch your kids so you can add the right colors, lighting and furnishings to brighten your entryway without any distractions.

1. Walls and Floors

Dark-colored walls and floors can contribute to a dimly lit entrance hallway. Because dark colors tend to absorb light, cover the walls with a fresh coat of light-colored paint -- and no, it definitely doesn't need to be icky hospital white. Creamy ivory, delicate beige, light yellow or barely gray paint colors offer instant brightness to any entryway. Make your hallway smile with an intensely cheery yellow hue. Select a semigloss paint finish to reflect more natural and artificial light, as well as to provide a surface that's easy to clean. Brighten dark hardwood, linoleum or tile floors by placing a light-colored hall runner and doormat, both on top of a slip-resistant backing, in your entry hall.

2. Lighting

Lighting is a key player toward brightening up a dark hallway. Allow maximum natural light to stream inside your entryway by stripping your hall windows of light-blocking, heavy draperies. Next, scrub the window panes until they're sparkling clean to eliminate any hazy light barriers. When privacy isn't a concern, remove any type of window treatment to allow more natural light to stream inside. Install sheer curtains over bare windows for a transparent window covering that allows natural light to filter through. For overhead artificial lighting, suspend a glistening chandelier or modern pendant light from a high ceiling to illuminate the entryway with a little pizzazz. Hang the dangling light so the bottom of the fixture is about 78 inches above the floor. Perch light-colored lamps on top of hallway pieces.

3. Furniture

Entrance hallways can quickly become crowded and dark when they are furnished with oversized or too-numerous furniture pieces. Avoid bulky, solid wood pieces in dark colors, as they will only make your hallway appear darker. Opt for slimline storage pieces, such as an armoire, dresser or shelving unit painted in a brilliant color -- juicy orange, lemon lime, raspberry red -- to wake up your entryway with a bright, happy look. Delight your kids by painting bold stripes or colorful stencils on your furniture for increased visual interest. A streamlined storage bench in light-colored upholstery contributes to a brighter entrance while offering a convenient seat to tie your shoes.

4. Accessories

Accessorize your entrance hallway with only a few items in order to keep it looking open and airy. Hang a large decorative mirror on the wall to visually expand and brighten the space with reflected dancing light. Make the space appear brighter and more interesting by hanging framed prints surrounded by generously sized white mats. Pristine white picture mats help to brighten the artwork as well as the wall it hangs against. Surprise your kids by displaying some of their artwork in the entryway instead of standard prints. A vase of fresh flowers in a shiny silver vase has dynamic brightening power with natural appeal.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.

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