Wake up a small hallway with vibrant color and pattern.

Help With Small Hallways

by Mary Cockrill

Give your small hallway permission to live large when you implement professional decorating tricks. Whether your petite hallway needs color pizazz, fresh accessories or increased functionality, if you select the right items, you'll make your hallway a winning design. With a few resources, a little of your time and some helpful design tips, you can bestow on your small hallway the decorating help it needs.


Correct small-space issues in your petite hallway with color. The right paint hue can generate visual illusions of depth, width and a more spacious overall feel. Apply a light-colored paint -- soft white, creamy ivory, light beige, barely gray -- to the walls for a more open, airy appearance. Light wall colors with a satin or semigloss paint finish produce a more reflective surface that bounces and reflects light to offer a brighter passageway. Add dimensional depth to your hall by painting the end wall a few shades darker than the existing wall color. Visually raise a low ceiling when you paint it pristine white; add the illusion of width to a narrow hallway by painting wide horizontal stripes on the walls.

Floors and Furniture

Install glossy, narrow floorboards lengthwise in a hallway to make the space look wider and longer. Lay a hall runner in a light color or perky pattern over hard-surface flooring to add textural interest while helping to brighten the confined area. Hall runners with a short nap, such as berber, present a neat, streamlined appearance. Avoid cluttering a narrow hallway with oversized or numerous pieces of furniture. Artfully place a small bench or single chair to provide a convenient spot for tying or removing shoes. Construct a built-in bench seat in a recessed wall nook to keep the passageway uncluttered. Situate a small accent table topped with potted greenery against the end wall of a wee hallway to bring energetic life to a lackluster space.


Dimly lit hallways lacking natural and artificial light can appear even smaller than their actual size. Remove dark, heavy draperies from hall windows to permit natural light to stream indoors. Put in an overhead skylight to allow bright sunshine to permeate a dark hallway with abundant natural light. Install recessed ceiling lights for brilliant illumination in a small passageway without taking up any valuable headroom. Mount wall sconces on the side walls of a small hallway to tender decorative, practical lighting in a cramped space.

Decorative Accents

Too many decorative accents can rapidly congest a small hallway. Keep accessories to a minimum to deliver an open, uncluttered appearance. Hang a large mirror at the end of your hall to extend the visual illusion of a longer passage. Fashion a gallery wall filled with black-and-white photographs framed in similar frames for budget-friendly wall decor with a uniform appearance. Attractive metal wall hooks deliver increased function to an entry hallway as a convenient spot for hanging sweaters, jackets or hats. Install floating wall shelves at varying heights for displaying framed pictures, vases or pottery. Top the shelves with woven baskets as functional storage for keys or mail.

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

  • FooTToo/iStock/Getty Images