Hallway ideas – stylish ways to create a welcoming first impression

Jennifer Ebert
·7-min read
 Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Find the perfect hallway ideas for your home isn't always easy, but it should be.

From the first space any guest sees to the circulation zones between rooms, all the hallways in your home demand serious design attention.

Besides often being overlooked, they’re also cursed with limited light and no natural focal point, so you need some solid interiors know-how to transform them into artful spaces. As well as looking inviting in its own right, a hallway should set the tone for the rest of your home. Move it up on your decorating agenda: it’s a place to be bold and show your personality. 

From interior details to inventive suggestions for storage, be inspired by these design-led ideas for entrances, hallways and landings.

  • See: Home ideas – the ultimate guide to interior design at home

Hallway decorating ideas

When decorating our homes, it’s all too easy to forget the hallway; after all, it’s not as if we spend much time in there. 

But there are so many reasons for making the effort – it’s the first thing that family and friends see when they come round and it can make you feel relaxed and happy after a hard day. 

Whether you go for something fun and colorful or calm and soothing, here  are some ideas to get you started.

1. Enhance storage potential 

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

It’s the first place you – and visitors – see when they arrive at your home but it’s also a magnet for everyone’s 'stuff' – tidy it up with a few key buys and keep the  everyday essentials close at hand. 

Most hallways are narrow so keep all your storage along one run of wall. A high peg rail can be home to a variety of items, and keeps stuff off surfaces. Or, if space allow, a row of built-in cabinetry is a neat and tidy alternative. 

2. Go big with color and pattern

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

The hallway is the perfect space for experimentation, and has it is often the smallest, least used room, you can take a playful decorating stance. 

Whether emblazoned on silk and velvet, or hinted at it muted flooring, this striking chevron motif gives this scheme a refreshing graphic edge. Here, striped wallpaper is hung vertically and horizontally to give the impression of panelling.

3. Lead the eye with a runner

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Whatever the size of your entrance hall, there’s a way to make an impact. 

Traditional hallways in period homes are often narrow, so look at ways of deceiving the eye. Consider using a floor runner to lead the eye towards a vista and try leaving internal doors leading off of the hall open to increase a sense of space. 

A hall also offers the opportunity to be brave with color, particularly with soft furnishings that can be easily changed. Here, an eye-catching runner and wall hanging lend vibrancy without overwhelming.

4. Play with pattern

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Pack a punch with a well-chosen stair runner that reflects your personality. 

Areas of the home that that we pass through rather than live in, such as a  cloakroom or hallway, can be the perfect opportunity for the more tame among us to try out the trend. Setting a print carpet against a backdrop of low-key décor can also have a rather pretty, boho look, as seen here. 

Everything else in this hallway scheme has been left neutral so that the carpet is the focus as you walk into the house. This is a look that's effective, but simple to achieve, as it doesn't involve elaborate decorating everywhere else. 

It's worth noting that the stairs have been painted white, compared with the dark-wood floors, to let the pattern stand out.

5. Create interest with objects

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Set the tone the moment you walk through the door with a strong  symmetrical arrangement, such as this collection of woven African baskets displayed on a French bistro table. 

The earthy colors of the baskets harmonize with the frames of the botanical print and the amber-colored walls; a fabulous chandelier completes the effect.

6. Decorate with your favorite color

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Give this often-overlooked space a little bit of love with the addition color.

Here, saturated shades of cobalt, malachite and verdigris combine with botanical motifs to bring natural depth and earthiness to interiors. A low-hung pendant is a great way to add emphasis to the furniture below.

‘When introducing color, it’s best to avoid too many different shades; the choice of one hue for wall and floor treatments can be very effective,’ advises interior designer, Tara Bernerd. 

7. Create the right mood with lighting

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Planning a scheme with no, or few, windows, hall lighting is critical. 

Try to include ambient or background lighting; tasking lighting for areas such as a post table; and accent lighting to pick out features, such as a mirror or doorway.

This hall includes LED spotlights, a table lamp and fireplace, for good measure. 

8. Add interest with wallpaper

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

To add interest to a long, narrow hallway, create a focal point at the far end with a panel of feature wallpaper or a statement artwork. 

‘This will lead the eye down the length of the space and makes a confident statement,’ says Claire Vallis, designer director, Harlequin Group.

In this scheme, we celebrate the resurgence of rich, bold prints by showing them off in a neutral, pared-back setting for an easy-to-live-with look. 

9. Blend in

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

When creating a scheme, view your hallway as an integral part of your home. 

Try to ensure the decoration is in harmony with any rooms leading off it, as well as with the stairway, balustrades and landing (if visible), and also that paint colors and wallpapers do not clash. 

10. Consider scale, light and color

Hallway ideas
Hallway ideas

Remember that lighter colors give the appearance of more space, while darker tones will bring the room in, resulting in a cozier, more intimate feeling. 

Similarly, a wallpaper with large motif will introduce a sense of drama, while a smaller design will help to make the hallway appear more spacious.   

‘Hard-wearing paints or tough, wipeable wall covering are best for particularly busy areas, says Claire Vallis. ‘This is more important in family homes.’ 

See: Smart panelling ideas for walls that bring warmth and interest

What is the best color to paint a hallway?

Remember that lighter colors give the appearance of more space, while darker tones will bring the room in, resulting in a cozier, more intimate feeling. Similarly, a wallpaper with a large motif will introduce a sense of drama, while a smaller design will help to make the hallway appear more spacious.

With no, or few, windows, hall lighting is critical. As with most schemes, the key is to layer different sources. Try to include ambient or background lighting; task lighting for areas such as a post table; and accent lighting to pick out features, such as a mirror or doorway.

How do you make a hallway more interesting?

Whether it’s the first space your guests see or a route between rooms, a hallway merits serious design attention.

Winning schemes pay attention to wall and floor treatments, mood and storage – whether concealed or statement, fit plenty to ensure that it doesn’t become a glorified dumping ground.

The hallway is usually the first area of your home that visitors encounter and, as such, should be a reflection of your taste and personality. You can go flamboyant or pared back: nothing is off limits as long as the scheme is in tune with the rest of your home and not a one-off statement that competes with other rooms.