6 Ways to Decorate Your Hallway Like a Pro

Updated 06/11/19
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Tessa Nuestadt; DESIGN: Sara Tramp for Emily Henderson 

Perhaps one of the most underrated areas of the home, the humble hallway still deserves your attention when it comes time to decorate. Yes, you may only quickly brush past the narrow space on your way to seemingly more important areas like the kitchen or living room. However, it's still a space that you undoubtedly utilize day in and day out, and with a bit of decoration, it could quickly become a star feature in your home.

Because it's already such a small space, it doesn't take much to spruce up a hallway. All you need is the right lighting and a few key pieces of décor, including things like wall mirrors, framed art, and console tables.

If you're still not sure where to start, keep reading to glean some helpful advice on how to decorate a hallway from interior designer Alexander Doherty. His tips will have you transforming your home's hallways from boring and unnoticed to stylish and bursting with personality.

Consider the Dimensions

The first thing to do before you can begin decorating your hallway is to take stock of how much space you really have to work with, as this will lead the rest of the design process. "Consider how wide or narrow your hallway is to determine where you should place your focus," Doherty says. After all, you wouldn't want to buy a console table only to find it doesn't leave an adequate amount of space for foot traffic in the hall.

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Play with Depth

For instance, if you're working with a narrow hallway, the designer says you should focus on the floor or ceiling to draw the eye from the front entryway into the home. "An elegant checkered floor pattern is perfect for fooling the eye into seeing depth while still keeping it a welcoming, traditional space," he notes. Additionally, bold colors can help to draw the eye through the space, according to Doherty. "For me, the success of a great hallway lies in the wonderful colors. You never want a space to be too harmonious," the designer says.

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Keep It Cohesive

"The hallway is an ideal transitional space," according to Doherty. "By adding focal points of interest, you can make your hallway a more dynamic space that feels cohesive with the rest of the home," he adds. These points of interest could include anything from a textured runner rug or dramatic light fixture to a thoughtfully curated gallery wall. These elements are all interesting and eye-catching without distracting from the rest of your home's style.

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Play with Décor

While it might not seem like it, there are plenty of ways to incorporate décor into a hallway, even if it's on the narrow side. "Mirrors, benches, consoles, artwork, runners, table lamps, and wall sconces are common décor items that work best in hallways," Doherty says. Not only are these pieces aesthetically pleasing, but they also serve a purpose.

Mirrors can brighten a hallway and even make it appear larger than it really is, a glass fixture can give a space a vintage-inspired look, and console tables can elongate a space, according to Doherty. He also likes to mix old and new elements to give a hallway character.

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Create a Vignette

Decorating a simple console table with small pieces like table lamps, vases, and bowls or hanging a wall mirror and sconces can work to create what Doherty refers to as vignettes. "I often try to create small vignettes in the hallway to make it feel more transitional," the designer explains. Think: small seating areas, gallery walls, or collectibles on display.

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Get the Lighting Right

According to Doherty, a common mistake that people make when decorating a hallway is forgetting that the space lacks natural light. That's why finding good lighting that fits the scale of the hallway is important.

"While overhead lighting is often used for hallways, I would rather have 50 table lamps, especially in hallways with low ceilings," the designer admits. He suggests using a variety of table lamp heights to create dimension and visual interest if you have the space for a console table. Otherwise, you may have no other choice but to rely on overhead lighting.

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