Turn a short or narrow hallway into a functional, style-packed space with tips that make it seem larger than it really is.
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A small, narrow hallway doesn't have to be a bland pathway to your home's living areas. Although often overlooked, hallways provide an opportunity to introduce extra style, storage, or function between rooms, even if the space is tight. These small hallway decorating ideas will help you give it some character of its own. Learn how to trick the eye into thinking a hallway is longer, wider, or taller than it really is with these clever tips.

living room liquor cabinet round mirror with lamp
Credit: Laurey Glenn

1. Use a mirror to make a small hallway look larger.

Adding a mirror is an easy way to make a small hallway feel more spacious. Because it reflects light, the mirror can make a cramped or dark space feel larger and more open. Hang one at the end of a short hallway or along one side of a narrow one to visually expand the space.

entryway with bench and floor-to-ceiling shelving
Credit: Helen Norman

2. Brighten a small hallway with plenty of lighting.

Good lighting is key to making a small hallway feel intentionally designed instead of overlooked. Line a small hallway with stylish light fixtures that offer plenty of brightness. Since floor space is limited, opt for wall sconces or ceiling-mounted fixtures over floor or table lamps.

blue and white wallpaper
Credit: Kim Cornelison

3. Make your hallway a focal point.

Small hallways are the perfect spot to take a risk with a bold decorating choice. Because the area is small and not used as a living space, a vibrant patterned wallpaper or dramatic paint color isn't likely to overwhelm. For a less permanent update, lay down a colorful rug or hang a piece of large-scale art to transform a small hallway into a stylish destination.

modern Scandinavian-style entry hooks hats concrete floors storage
Credit: Edmund Barr

4. Turn a small hallway into a functional entry.

If your entryway consists of only a small hallway, employ a few design tricks to maximize the space. Boost organization with a small console or table that can offer hidden storage and serve as a dropzone for keys, purses, and more inside the door. A row of hooks above can hold hats, jackets, and scarves. Make sure to mount the hooks high enough that hanging items won't drag on the tabletop.

Mini Farmhouse Makeovers hallway
Credit: Jeff Herr

5. Create a message center.

Another way to take advantage of a hallway's length is to run a strip of a dry-erase board or a chalkboard along the wall for family members to write messages. This small hallway idea doesn't even require hanging anything; chalkboard paint makes the job easy. Sliding barn doors are another useful solution in tight halls since the door won't block floor space when open.

runner hallway wood
Credit: Blaine Moats

6. Choose space-efficient furniture.

If the idea of squeezing furniture into a small hallway has you skeptical, try a narrow console table. It provides extra storage and a landing spot for a few daily essentials like keys and wallets. Keep any accent pieces simple, like this vase, so it doesn't feel too crowded.

wallpaper hallway wood décor
Credit: Dana Gallagher

7. Pull the focus upward.

Draw the eye to the sky with a pattern or even a colorfully painted ceiling. Choose a wallpaper with a vertically inclined pattern if you want your ceilings to appear taller. Painting the hallway ceiling a bold color also works to instantly draw attention upward. If you choose to frame photos or art against a patterned wall, be sure to choose neutral, matching frames so they don't clash with the pattern.

Comments (2)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
November 14, 2018
I never thought of closing off an upper stairway, but it's a GREAT idea for energy efficiency if the upstairs space isn't used regularly. Doors on basement doors are the norm. Why not doors for second or third floors?! Hello energy savings!
Better Homes & Gardens Member
September 29, 2018
The hallway shown here is actually quite large, compared to the one in my apartment: walls are 99" floor is 53"X41". There are entries to 3 rooms a linen closet a fuse box and heater vents. If you can show me a way to add storage and/or decor, you will be my hero for life! Happy Fall!!raf