Our Best Small-Hallway Decorating Ideas

Don't let square footage hold you back.

gallery wall stair landing

Eric Roth

Limited square footage doesn't necessarily mean minimal design. When it comes to decorating a small hallway, don't be intimidated by a narrow layout or inconveniently positioned doors. You can add plenty of style and personality to even the smallest of spaces with our collection of decorating ideas for small hallways, including personalized gallery walls, unique lighting, unexpected stair risers, and bold patterned wallpaper. Whether you want to go bold with a bright splash of color or you prefer a neutral color palette, there's something for every style and budget.

01 of 08

Let There Be Light

entryway hallway with painted door

Brian McWeeney

This narrow hallway proves that you don't need lots of square footage to express your personality. One or two design elements are enough to add a wow factor, and good lighting has the power to transform a space. If your hallway lacks wall space, consider installing an overhead fixture. An eye-catching sculptural pendant light draws attention, adds a decorative element, and creates a sense of height. A vertical green stripe on this front door further emphasizes the room's height and adds a playful pop of color.

02 of 08

Floor-to-Ceiling Shiplap

farmhouse hallway

Jay Wilde

White floor-to-ceiling shiplap adds a subtle design detail to this farmhouse-style hallway. The white walls make the space look larger and help draw the eye to William Morris wallpaper in the nearby powder room. A simple black bench pops against the white walls and a small picture ledge holds layered frames without cluttering the limited space.

03 of 08

More Is More

gallery wall stair landing

Eric Roth

An eclectic art collection fills this small hallway with color and character. The floor-to-ceiling gallery wall includes modern and traditional pieces, landscapes and abstracts, and frames of different colors and sizes for a collected look. Don't be afraid to hang artwork in an organic fashion—mix small and large frames, hang things above the door, or fill the entire wall for a "more is more" hallway. A display stand holds a modern sculpture, creating a museum-like feel, while a woven runner rug keeps it casual.

04 of 08

Wallpaper for the Win

green wallpapered hallway

Dana Gallagher

If you have a narrow hallway that's not big enough to accommodate a piece of furniture but you're looking to add interest, wallpaper is an excellent option. Floor-to-ceiling wallpaper featuring a green and white trellis pattern completely transforms this small hallway. When using a large-scale pattern, keep the artwork simple. Here, a triptych with plain white frames is the perfect finishing touch.

05 of 08

Pop of Color

clipboard gallery wall

Jeff Herr

A vintage red barn door packs a design punch in this small but mighty hallway. It serves both a practical purpose, separating the staircase and first floor, and adds an unexpected splash of color. Clipboards hung along the staircase wall stand in for picture frames. They're a fun take on a traditional gallery wall that makes switching out photographs or artwork super easy.

06 of 08

Hang a Gallery Wall

gallery wall with a green bench

Werner Straube

A gallery wall filled with family memories adds charm and a personal touch to this small hallway. White frames create a cohesive look, while a variety of sizes and shapes and the addition of family monograms add visual interest. A rustic green bench adds a pop of color and is the perfect choice to fill the narrow space. A few patterned throw pillows and a blue paisley runner fill the nook with cozy warmth.

07 of 08

Decorate Stair Risers

printed stairs

Edmund Barr

When it comes to decorating a staircase in a small hallway, think outside the box by painting stair risers. This sophisticated hallway features an elegant console table and two oversize abstract paintings. Black-and-white stripes and bamboo motifs on the risers coordinate with the artwork's neutral color palette. Use decals, peel-and-stick wallpaper, or stenciled or hand-painted designs to update risers.

08 of 08

Add a Picture Ledge

hallway gallery wall

John Granen

An assortment of black-and-white photographs propped on a picture ledge decorate this small hallway. White wainscoting adds architectural character below. Both the wainscoting and a floating shelf serve as display space for the layered frames, providing a gallery wall alternative. Elegant sconces break up all the straight lines and add cozy, ambient lighting.

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