Modern interiors are typically unfussy and have clean lines.

How to Modernize Your Hallway

by Alicia Garey

A hallway may at first seem simply a place for passing through; however, your hall is both literally and figuratively the connector to other areas of your home. Modern decor utilizes elements of design that are less about ornamentation and more about color and clean lines as well as a sense of order rather than clutter. You can even artfully organize your children's scattered toys, backpacks and clothing in a modern hall. Lighting is an important factor in your hallway to illuminate artwork such as family photographs and mementos on display.


Paint your hallway either a crisp white or a bold shade that exists in another area of your home to both provide continuity and to hide marks or fingerprints. Use paint made specifically for high-use areas that is washable and scrubbable. On walls in excellent condition, use a glossy finish for a vibrant sheen. For walls in less-than-optimal condition, a matte finish diminishes the appearance of flaws. Apply the same color on the baseboards and trim to streamline the surface. For a well-lit hallway, consider painting the walls medium warm gray as a backdrop for vibrant artwork in bold colors, akin to a modern art gallery. For bold graphic appeal, hang durable wallpaper with a modern pattern such as wide horizontal stripes in silver and white on one feature wall or below a chair rail with which the younger members of the family are most likely to come into contact.


Position artwork and photographs in a linear fashion, lined up and evenly spaced for a sense of order. Frame your art in either black, white or silver metal. Hang large-scale abstract artwork as a centerpiece on one large wall in your hallway or frame a collection of children's art in the same frames to unify and celebrate homemade art. Turn your hallway into an "art studio" by creating a display of framed black-and-white family photographs. Hang one large simply framed mirror or a group of mirrors in a grid pattern on one wall as art and reflectivity, visually broadening the hallway space. Display cherished family keepsakes in clear acrylic or white framed shadow boxes in groups of two or three.


Install energy efficient track lighting aimed at the art on the walls, adding to the visual depth of the images while presenting a well lit space. Use matte silver switch plates which hide fingerprints and are easy to wipe clean for an ultra modern look. Recessed lighting in your hallway will also make for a streamlined, unfussy look while illuminating the space in a modern fashion. Hang multiple modern pendants in your hallway as a featured design element, allowing the pendants to take center stage as an artistic statement.

Floor and Ceiling

Painting your hallway ceiling the same color as the walls creates a visual extension of the walls. Simple white paint provides a clean appearance. Use high-quality washable paint for easy maintenance. The flooring in your hallway should ideally coordinate with the other areas in your home. If the floor is in a distinctly separate area, select a durable, modern material such as a geometric-patterned carpet or a washable runner over wood floors, or opt for a neutral solid carpet like slate gray or medium beige as an even-toned backdrop that will coordinate with other hues.


Install organizers on one wall of your hallway such as open shelves for books, a row of wooden boxes with drawers attached to the wall to contain sports equipment and school supplies, and contemporary metal hooks for backpacks, hats or jackets. Arrange items in a straight line so that even everyday belongings have their proper place and become a type of sculpture within the space.

About the Author

Based in California, Alicia Garey has been writing interior design articles since 2013 for the Huffington Post. She is featured in California Paints' Designer palette, and designed "Loft" for The Sofa Company. She studied interior design at UCLA, and is an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images