How to Decorate a Hallway



When it comes to decorating homes, we all have a tendency to focus so much on the obvious (bedrooms, powder rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and so forth) that we forget about the spaces in-between! We tend to not think of hallways as rooms, as they are a way to get from point A to point B and therefore, we spend only fleeting moments of time in them. The reality though is that hallways are spaces that can be occupied and are a part of a home enclosed by walls, floor and ceiling and therefore, by definition, can be categorized as a room! With that said, why shouldn’t hallways be equally deserving of our attention? In fact, sometimes hallways are the key to achieving a cohesive flow in a home. If you only think about decorating what we traditionally think of as rooms and forget about the hallways in between, the end results can be somewhat disjointed. Due to their typically narrower nature though, they do require a different approach to your typical room. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way and like to keep in mind when designing a hallway…

Photo Courtesy of Elle Decor

Think of Your Hallways as the Chorus

We like to think of hallways as the chorus to the song that is your home, as they are a space that you will return to and move through multiple times throughout the day. The rooms that branch off of the hallway are like your verses, each one unique in it’s own way but all sharing commonalities reflected in the hallway. When selecting hallway decor, it’s worthwhile to think about the recurring themes, colours, tones and textures throughout your home and how that might be reflected in your hallway. It can be as subtle as a specific materials you select to frame your artwork or as loud as an intricately woven runner on the floor.

Photo Courtesy of Studio McGee

Let the Walls Be Your Blank Canvas

As hallways are often narrow, there’s usually very little space for furniture. The odd time we will squeeze in a narrow bench, a single chair or credenza at most but more often than not, it’s all about the walls. The first thing to consider is whether you prefer paper or paint. If you opt for wallpaper, we recommend selecting a paper that has a mural effect, as they tend to create a sense of length and space by drawing your eye down the hall to see the continuation of the scene or graphics. Usually though, we opt for a carefully selected paint colour, as they allow for endless options for wall decor. If your hallway is particularly narrow and has limited natural light, we recommend selecting a colour that is on the lighter and brighter side to create an illusion of space and for maximum light reflection. If you have the luxury of plenty of space and natural light however, a deeper hue can be a fabulous choice for some added drama. Next, it’s time to decorate! This can be in the form of a series of art pieces, a gallery wall of framed photos of things that you love and are inspired by or a single framed piece that has the scale to make an impact. Whichever path you choose, don’t overthink it! Go with what speaks to you. Then, when it comes to framing, you can make more calculated decisions by selecting materials that can be found elsewhere in your home.

Photo Courtesy of Studio McGee

Hallways are a great place to hang a mirror or two for a number of reasons. First, if we’re being honest, vanity is probably number one. Most of us can’t help but take a quick glance at ourselves as we move from one room or another for a quick hair or accessory adjustment! Beyond vanity though, light and space are two other valid reasons to add mirrors. Mirrors reflect light which not only brightens a space but makes it appear larger. Try adding one at the end of your hallway and see what happens! Alternatively, a mirror opposite a window can bring the outdoors in. If you’re creating a gallery wall, try adding a few mirrors into the mix to break things up and incorporate different materials and textures.

Design by Tracy Hardenburg

The great thing about a hallway is that since you’re always just passing through, there is absolutely no need for bright, harsh pot lights. No one reads or accomplishes important tasks that require bright light in a hallway so embrace soft, romantic lighting! If your hallway has a high ceiling, play with the verticality by installing a series of hanging pendants. For lower ceilings, consider mounting wall sconces. Not only is the light emitted from them lovely but also, they can be incredibly eye-catching on your walls.

Design by Designstiles

A hallway runner isn’t always necessary and can sometimes have adverse effects on the space so typically, we leave the runner as a final consideration. The first thing to think about is the size of the space. If the hallway already feels cramped and somewhat closed in, a runner is probably not a great idea. Next, examine your floors. Are they stunning herringbone floors or perhaps a gorgeous vein-y marble? If that’s the case, why cover them?! But if your floors have seen better days or are just ordinary, a runner might be the right move. Last, look at the space as a whole… does it feel like somethings missing? Is the space beautiful and simple but in need of some impact? Try adding a striped runner. Or perhaps your hallways is maximalist with its ornate light fixtures and stunning wallpaper, in which case you may decide to really go for it with an antique needlepoint. When used in the right context, a runner is a great opportunity to bring in colour and warmth. Some of our preferred vendors even allow you to leave a deposit in order to try out a piece at home. If it doesn’t workout, simply bring it back in it’s original condition!

Feeling overwhelmed and need a hand with your hallway? We’re happy to help. Sometimes, our Paint & Wall Covering or Art Consultation packages are enough to get you started! Get in touch to find out more.