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Clever Design Ideas for Narrow Hallways

Is your hall on the slim side? Make it feel bigger with these smart ideas

Houzz contributor, interior design project manager and blogger. I have a passion… More

We all want a gorgeous, inviting hallway, but a narrow space can make that difficult to achieve. Not to worry, there are lots of decorating and design tricks that can visually boost a space and make it beautiful, as these nine stunning hallways prove.

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Add an internal window
Who’s going to notice that this entrance hall is actually on the slim side, when all you can look at is the stunning living room through the glorious internal window? The size and style of this window could make it quite expensive, but you can create a similar effect with a series of smaller windows or a long, narrow window at eye height. This works best on non-supporting walls, but if you don’t have that option your builder will add a support beam.

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Open up the line of sight
In this compact hall, the floating treads and open design of the staircase creates a feeling of spaciousness. How exactly? The eye focuses on the room beyond rather than the slim hall. Pale tones throughout also help to make the hall feel bigger than it actually is.

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Build into the wall
What’s a surefire way of making a compact hall feel even smaller? Clutter. Storage is key when it comes to creating a neat entrance hall that feels spacious, but incorporating it into a narrow space can be tricky.

This hall has had a sizeable cupboard, complete with discreet sliding doors, built into the wall. Perfect for storing coats, shoes, bags and all sorts of other paraphernalia, it ensures that the hall remains tidy at all times. If you’re thinking about a project like this, make sure your builder puts in sufficient supports if it’s a supporting wall.

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Add interest high and low
Sometimes it’s all about the art of distraction. This stunning entrance hall boasts a striking tiled floor that immediately grabs your attention as you walk through the door, making you forget about the narrowness of the space. And the beautiful ceiling lights and mirror draw the eye up, so that you’re looking up rather than side to side.

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Create a focal point
The opposite end of a hallway is often the first thing you see. By adding a point of interest and creating a feature area there, you’ll draw the eye toward it and bring the wall ‘closer’ visually, counteracting the feeling of narrowness. Try a striking piece of art, a gallery wall or just an arrangement of plants or flowers.

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Go bold
The instinct with compact spaces is often to go for lighter colours and smaller pieces in an effort to make the space feel bigger. In fact, the opposite can be a much better way to go. Narrow hallways are often long, with large expanses of wall, so any art or groups of artwork need to be of an appropriate size.

As you can see from this vibrant entrance hall, the bright patterned wallpaper and large artworks don’t appear overpowering and, if anything, make the space feel bigger. A hook tucked around the corner keeps coats out of sight and the narrow part of the hall clear for the wallpaper and art to be admired.

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Don’t be afraid of the dark
On a similar note, dark colours work really well in tight spaces. Entrance halls often suffer from a lack of natural light due to the shortage of windows. As a result, bright white and other pale tones can take on a dull look without sufficient light to bounce off them. A deep, moody hue can be just the ticket to creating a little drama and cosiness to welcome you home. Coupled with some good lighting and accessories, you’ll have yourself a stunning-looking hallway.

As an area that you will always just pass through, a hall is a great space for some design experimentation. Unlike a living room or bedroom, where you’ll spend significant lengths of time, you don’t need to worry about how a colour might make you feel for extended periods. It’s just the first impression that counts.

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Introduce wall panelling
Panelling is another great way to add interest to your walls without taking up too much space. It’s also a smart addition. Usually finished in either varnish or an eggshell or satin paint, this is a more hard-wearing surface than standard emulsion paint so it’s great for preventing scuff marks in narrow, high-traffic areas like hallways.

Opt for full height or go for half height like in this beautiful home. It’s also a good way to introduce another colour. And just because you have a slim hall, it doesn’t mean you can’t fit anything in it – just look at this slim antique chest in the corner. The final smart idea in this hall? The convex mirrors that help to reflect light throughout and create a feeling of space.

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Find ways to introduce natural light
This compact space should appear narrow and small, but several clever design tricks help to open the space up. The main feature is the magnificent skylight extending the length of the hall. Most homes won’t be set up to allow for an upgrade like this, so if yours isn’t try a fanlight over the door or glazed panels within the door itself instead.

And if the internal windows mentioned in the first caption aren’t an option due to structural or budgeting reasons, these window-style mirrors can achieve a very similar effect for a fraction of the cost. Job done.

Do you have a narrow entrance hall? What design ideas have you used? Tell/show us in the Comments below.
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