Whether it’s an entranceway, landing or simply a thorough through for other rooms, a hallway is a space in the home or workplace that can often be overlooked in terms of decoration and interior design.
A narrow hallway is especially difficult to decorate as there is limited space for free standing furniture. This leaves you with just the floor, lights and walls to play with in terms of creating a space that is functional but also contains an element of design.
Due to the lack of space, narrow hallways can appear dark, closed in and uninviting.
Follow these tips to help lighten your hallway:
Depending on the location of the hallway you may need to consider the functionality of your floor covering. If it is an area that gets high traffic or is close to an external door then you may wish to consider a hard wearing floor such as natural wood, laminate or tiles. If on a landing then you may opt for more warm and chose a carpet, runners or rugs. In all cases it is advisable that you go for a short tight pile, as hallways tend to get more use than you may think. Think about the longevity of the floor covering, after all, the hallway is not the most exciting area to be refurnishing regularly.
As well as the functionality of the flooring, it is vital that you also consider the colouring and patterns. Wherever possible try to stick to a light colour pallet. This does not necessarily mean whites and creams as we all know that they will soon dirty, but consider neutral colours such as beech wood, beige, light browns, greys or even pastel colours. Think also about patterns, bold heavy decoration on your flooring will pull the space inwards and make it appear smaller than it is, but don’t feel limited to a plain surface. Consider subtle patterns that create an element of interest but are not over bearing. A small repeating pattern, either in a complimentary colour or engraved into the surface would work well.
First consider if there is any natural light coming into the space and try to maximise it. This may mean reducing the amount of dressing around a window, leaving open or even removing a door. Removing a door may sound a bit dramatic, but if it is possible and it allows natural light to flood through the space, you will be amazed about how bright and inviting it makes your hallway.
If there is limited natural light, or even for nighttime, you need to consider how to use artificial lighting. In terms of ceiling lights it depends on the length of your hallway and the height of the ceiling. For a long passage, considering adding more than one ceiling light and wherever possible ad lights close to adjoining doorways to illuminate the entranceway. With high ceilings you may be able to get away with multiple light bulbs from one light fitting such as chandeliers or more modern multi-light pendants, whereas for lower ceilings you need to ensure that the light fittings do not hang too low. Opt for shades that sit close to the ceiling and again if possible contain multiple light bulbs. You may even consider strip lighting or spot lights to spread the illuminating qualities along the space.
Try to avoid wall lights. Although they will create light at the widest points of the room suggesting space, they will almost certainly stand out from the wall, creating an obstruction and narrowing the space further. If you feel that you need more lighting than the ceiling can provide, you may consider setting spotlights along the sides of the floor or even in the skirting boards.
When trying to brighten a room, try to avoid the temptation to paint the walls white. Although white gives a sense of clean and airiness it is extremely reflective and can reflect the darkness as well as the light. It can also appear stark, cold and uninviting. However, off-white, light cream or pastel shades would work extremely well to brighten the space whilst still adding a touch of warmth.
Avoid using wall paper as this draws the wall in straight away, or if you would like to use paper then ensure that it is light in colour, that the pattern is not too heavy and try to limit it’s use to just one wall (preferably the end wall directly in front of you and not the narrowing side walls.
Due to the narrowness of the space it is extremely difficult to add any artwork to the wall as this again draws the walls inwards, however a large glass framed mirror could work well. Do not be tempted to use a mirror with a coloured frame, even if it is fairly flat to the wall, as the differential in colour will make it appear wider than it actually is and create an intrusion to the eye (an illusion of clutter).
There are many benefits of using a glass-framed mirror:
- The clear nature of the glass means that it has a transparent nature and so is not intrusive.
- If the decoration of the room is light and not over powering, the reflection in the mirror will accentuate this and make the space appear larger than it actually is.
- Glass framed mirrors tend to contain bevels, which are fantastic for catching and sparkling in the light, making your hallway feel as though it is lighter.
- There are now hundred of glass framed mirror designs to chose from. The best option for a narrow hallway is one with a fairly plain center but with a clear glass patterned frame or surround. This way you have a mirror that is functional, but also acts as a piece of art.
- Big is beautiful! If you have the wall space within your hall way, choose as large a mirror as possible. As you will have very little other furniture within this space, use a large mirror to add a wow factor, a focal point and most of all draw as much light as possible,
Brightening up a narrow hall way is therefore not as simple as using just light colours. By considering the type of lighting, what is on the walls and the amount of patterning and durability of the flooring you are sure to design a hallways that is as light and inviting as possible, without it being dull and boring. You can still have an intriguing and creative space that looks ‘done’ rather than just a plain thorough through.