A soft gold hue adds warmth to a bland hallway.

How to Pick a Hallway Color

by Mary Cockrill

Make your hallway an intriguing passageway through the application of color. The paint hue you pick for your corridor emanates a variety of visual and emotional feelings. Color can also generate illusions of a wider, taller, longer or more spacious passageway. In addition, consider your home's architectural features, existing color scheme and personal preferences when choosing a paint tint for your hallway.

Size and Shape

The size and shape of your hallway has a major impact on the paint color you choose. If your corridor is small and compact, opt for a light hue, such as white, cream or a soft pastel, to render the illusion of a larger space. Narrow passages can seem wider when you paint the ceiling a few shades darker than the walls. For example, if you decide to go with barely beige for your hallway walls, select medium beige for the ceiling. You can visually shrink a long passageway by painting the end wall a darker shade, such as forest green, when your side walls are pastel green.

Natural Light

Dark paint colors tend to absorb light, while light hues reflect light. If your hallway is lacking natural light, select a pale tone – pristine white, smooth ivory, soft yellow -- to brighten the space. Add coziness to a corridor permeated with abundant natural light by painting the walls in a warm shade, such as creamy caramel, sage green or burnt orange. Medium grays, browns and tans offer neutral appeal with a more intimate feel in a light-filled passageway.


Produce a designer-savvy wow factor by painting your hallway in a vibrant color. Electric greens, oranges, blues and yellows wake up a dismal corridor with lively energy. These bright hues are well suited for an edgy contemporary or hip beach cottage style. Boost your hallway's visual interest by painting the top two-thirds of the walls a lighter shade than the bottom third. For example, apply sandy beige to the upper portion of your walls and chocolate brown to the bottom area. Add a pristine white chair rail to fashion a refined transition between the two hues.


Visit a home improvement or paint specialty store to acquire paint color cards for four or five of your preferred hallway colors. Choose color cards to complement your home’s existing color palette and decorating style. Tape the color cards to the walls of your hallway to view them at various times. Select your three favorite hues and acquire small paint samples for each of them. Use a paintbrush to apply a one-foot-square patch of each sample on your hallway walls. Examine the painted squares at a different times of day in both natural and artificial light. Opt for the paint tone you like the best for your new hallway color.

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.

Photo Credits

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