I have always had trouble with hallways. Most of the time you feel trapped in a dark tunnel and can't really look at what's hanging on the walls because you can't stand back far enough. And then there are those wide hallways that feel like a useless waste of space, and always feel like furniture gets in the way or looks awkward. We have a long hallway that branches in three directions, and I'm still not 100% satisfied with how it feels. Before I was married I had a small apartment in Dallas that didn't have hallways, it was nice. Before we purchased our home we lived in a small 60s ranch home with one of those tunnel hallways that had low ceilings. Why did they design homes to not only have narrow tunnel hallways, but they dropped the ceilings down lower than the rest of the home?
Depending on what type of hallways you have there are several things you can do to improve these spaces in your homes. Hallways can be both beautiful and functional. It just takes some creativity, and working with what you already have.
Here is a "tunnel hallway" that has the annoying ceiling drop, but it's less obvious. The empty walls help tremendously, giving the illusion of a wider passage space. White walls and doors also contribute to making this space brighter. The hallway is filled with natural light because of a window somewhere down the next hallway. Keep the doors open if the rooms are bright, they will help brighten a dark hallway.
Another beautiful white hallway. This hallway is wide enough to allow for artwork, but notice that the art is framed in white frames. Also, the bright lighting fixture at the end of hallway creates depth and draws the eyes upwards making the ceilings feel taller.
Narrow hallways with windows on one side are wonderful, because you get the benefit of the natural light. The colorful runner warms the space and the gallery wall framed with museum lights makes the gallery feel intentional, important, sophisticated. Also, notice that the door at the end of the hallway is open. This brings more light into the hallway and gives the illusion of a larger space.
Another half window/half wall hallway, which has lovely natural light. The ceiling in painted lighter than the floors which makes the space feel taller. Matching consecutive light fixtures also gives the space more depth.
The styling at the end of a hallway can make a huge difference. Here you have a small table, artwork, artifacts, a runner, and a light fixture. This vignette creates a beautiful transition into the rest of the home.
While this hallway is narrow, the long runner and use of natural light helps to open the space. The table does create a narrow passing space, but the mirror above it helps to brighten the space. If you have a office off of your hallway consider adding French doors. French doors allow light to move in and out of a room.
A beautiful wide hallway, which can be just as difficult to style. The matching black frames in both sections create nice movement or continuation. The table narrows the space in one direction and the lanterns narrow the space in the opposite direction; this alternation invites the eyes into the open room at the end of hallway.
This hallway appears to have a large entryway space that likely narrows inward towards the rest of the home. Having a gallery wall at the very front of a home is a lovely way of drawing guests in and immediately giving them something to talk about. The chairs provide a space to plop purses and coats down.
Installing a bookshelf at the end of a hallway or where a hallway turns is brilliant. Not only do the books add color pops, but the shelves add storage to a small home. With a full bookshelf you don't need to worry as much about hanging art and photos on the walls.
A textured wall, like brick or wood, is a great way to break up a boring hallway. The brick doesn't need any artwork, especially with the bench seating and plants below. The opposite wall beautifully showcases artwork. Imagine coming down the hall and seeing the brick textured wall from a distance, surely it's lovely. If you have a tunnel hallway that can be seen from your living space consider texture or wallpaper (below).
Wallpaper in the hallway is a lovely idea. It frames off the spaces outside of hallway and adds movement and texture to an otherwise boring passageway. With the right wallpaper you don't need to worry about hanging artwork.
Hallways don't have to be a headache. Get creative with them, and always keep natural light in mind. With darker floors keep the walls bright white, if you have windows, keep the blinds up or the shades drawn. If your hallways are completely dark maybe skylights are an option, or possibly converting a bright bedroom into an office with French doors. Add accent floors through the halls or wallpaper. Give your hallways personality, it will improve the feel of your entire home.