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Dark Hallway Ideas to Help You Brighten Up Your Hallway

If your hall feels a bit drab, take inspiration from these schemes and perk up your entrance with simple decorating tricks

Houzz Contributor. I’m a London-based journalist with years of experience writing… More

Hallway feeling a little gloomy? You’re not alone. Hallways are notoriously tricky beasts to decorate. In Victorian and other period homes they’re often narrow corridors that lack natural lighting, while in many modern homes they’re not much better. And if you’re not vigilant, they can easily become an unattractive dumping ground for shoes, bags and post.

But there’s no reason you can’t give your hallway the same attention you lavish on the rest of your home. It’s the first place visitors see, and can set the mood and tone for your entire house. It’s also a great place to have some fun and hang interesting artworks or wallpaper. If your hallway is on the dark side, here are some ideas for brightening it up and making a great first impression.

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Ramp up your runner
A bright stair runner can be a cool way to detract attention from a narrow or gloomy hall. This striped number looks lovely next to the crisp white paintwork on the stairs, banister and walls. The canary yellow table, blue painting and brollies add further hits of cheering colour.

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Stay minimal
If your hall is super-skinny, stick to the basics, as in this pared-back space. Wooden flooring and recessed ceiling spots are neat and unobtrusive, while a lack of fussy picture rails or high skirting boards contributes to the impression of a calm, ordered home. Finally, a vintage painting and wooden chairs add a dab of character to stop it feeling bland.

Discover more contemporary hallways

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Curate a mini exhibition
Fill your hall’s walls with interesting artworks and personal photos for a bright gallery feel. In this bright space, a length of fabric stretched over a canvas frame provides extra colour and interest, and the classic white backdrop stops things feeling cluttered. Top marks for the red lampshade, too.

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Spread a little sunshine
In this upstairs hall, a skylight lets sunlight flow into what would have been a dark landing. It’s not a quick fix, but consider asking your builder whether it’s possible. Other solutions are ‘sun tunnels’, which funnel light into gloomy spots.

It’s not just the skylight that lifts this space, though: luxe purple carpet just on the stairs is a smart way to introduce colour without it becoming overwhelming. I also love the bright yellow print.

Find out other ways a skylight could transform your home

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Hang interesting wallpaper
Hallways can be great places to hang unusual wallpaper and express yourself, especially if you don’t want to take the risk elsewhere. This beautiful tree design instantly lifts the hall and stairwell.

Check out the Houzz Shop for a huge range of wallpapers

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Fit a glazed front door
With a solid front door, this hall might have been dreary. But glass panels and a small window above ensure it gets plenty of natural light. The sky-blue and red paint on the under-stairs cupboard brightens things further.

Find more beautiful front doors to browse through

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Layer brilliant white
The woodwork in this landing and hallway has been painted brilliant white for maximum brightness. The seaside-y tongue and groove gives a more characterful finish than bare plaster would, while the picture frames up the white factor.

Tip Choose interior doors with glass panels to allow extra light to filter into the hall even when they’re closed.

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Lay terrific tiles
Encaustic tiles always look great in period homes – their ornate designs add a pretty note and detract from any darkness. These fabulous modern updates on a classic give this hallway the wow factor. The original-style stained glass in the front door, meanwhile, is another way to add colour and light.

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Style it like a living area
The bookcase here isn’t just handy for storage – it also adds a homely, lived-in feel that makes it seem less like a hall, more like a living space – and less noticeably dark. Judicious use of spotlights and pale wood flooring also add crucial lightness.

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Double your mirrors
Using mirrors is an obvious trick in any dark zone. In this windowless corridor, two mirrors hung opposite one another double the dose of reflected light and space. It also means the chic wooden panelling and flooring doesn’t feel oppressive. Recessed spots that wash the floor with light also help to lift the space.

Check out these alternative ways to use mirrors creatively

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Up the glam factor
Don’t automatically assume you should paint dark spaces white. In fact, a dramatic shade can make a snug area sing. Here dark, gunmetal grey walls add glamour and sophistication, while the owners have brightened things with a neon mirror and faux flowers. The result: any lack of light is completely forgotten.

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Future-proof your lighting
At first glance, this hall has all the classic ingredients: wall mirror, slim console table, lamp and picture group. But it’s the clever LED lights tucked away in the ceiling that really brighten it up, while the intricate runner adds pattern and detail.

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Be a beacon of light
Team several points of light for the illusion of a brighter-than-average space. Here, a glass table with shiny metal edges, a large mirror and a variety of lighting, including wall candles, a ceiling lantern and spots, have a glowing effect. Also take note of the pale floor tiles.

TELL US…
Have you managed to brighten up a dark hallway? Share your tips and photos in the Comments below.
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