How to Manage a Narrow Hallway

Hallways are arguably one of the most difficult areas of the home to make interior design decisions for, so take a look at our top tips for tackling yours.

Hallways are arguably one of the most difficult areas of the home to make interior design decisions for, as they’re often just by-products of other rooms and so frequently awkwardly or narrowly shaped. Yet you probably use your hallway often – even if it’s just to dart through swiftly on your way out of the house, or to take a couple of breaths when you walk in after a long day. There’s lots that can be done with hallways with a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking… so read on for our favourite hall design ideas.
A hallway with clever storage solution

Get clever with reflection

Hanging a mirror along a hallway wall helps open up a narrow space by giving the illusion of a wider or longer room. It can be hung either directly opposite the front door to reflect natural light as it opens or along a side wall to fake a sense of depth. It’s also a handy practical tool to have near your home’s entrance, for last minute outfit and hair checks on the way out.

Extend the ceiling height with smart paint tricks

A narrow hallway can be made to feel taller and more characterful by painting a bold colour up to waist (ish) height, with something lighter or whiter above it. This breaks up the solid hue of a wall and creates an optical illusion of height perspective, framing the space and making it seem taller than it actually is. Keep the ceiling above white and with a matte finish – painting it too dark or too detailed will only drop it back down.


Although you may need supplies such as shoes, coats, hats and gloves in your hallway, you don’t want them all out at once – because aside from physically taking up lots of room, they also give the impression of clutter. Small furniture pieces such as a bench, shoe rack or hooks hung on a wall can provide places to keep things while not compromising on design… just don’t let it all hit the point where you have reams and reams of coats balanced up in piles! If you have a wall-mounted horizontal radiator in your hall, mount hooks above it for an easy hack to dry your wet items once you’re in from the cold.

Immerse the hall in colour

You can give the impression of a wider hall and more open-plan layout even where it doesn’t exist but incorporating it into the colour schemes of the rooms that people flow to from it. Linking the rooms with colour by following them through into the hall in blocks or even all the way through makes the hallway feel by its nature an extension of other, well-designed, living spaces.

Add a slimline rug

Eyes should not immediately be drawn to the floor in the case of wanting to extend it, but you can create interest by adding a slimline rug. If measured correctly, free space should flow between the edges of the rug and the walls and/or any furniture along them. This will help the space feel more curated in its aesthetics and give the impression of more length along the floor.
A hallway with gallery

Line up art in a gallery wall

Gallery walls are one of interior design’s hottest trends and make for interesting, bold designs in even the plainest of rooms. Lining up a gallery wall with framed prints, posters and photos in a horizontal line lengthens the wall. Hang pieces at eye level to immediately grab focus and elongate the wall. The art can be mixed pieces or matched for this effect.
Clever storage under the stairs

Stack up storage

If you need to keep storage in a hallway, stack it up vertically. Using wall space rather than floor space can help create height toward a ceiling. Storage units can be stacked or purchase purpose-built to fit the available space best. Keep storage units thin and not too bold or dark in colour to avoid over-powering the design.

Conceal wall-mounted radiators

One of the biggest trends in interior design right now is radiator covers – hastened in their popularity by the likes of influencers such as Mrs Hinch and Stacey Soloman. While these can help conceal wall-mounted radiators anywhere in the home without limiting their heating capabilities, they can also help provide a sense of length to a narrow hall. It also gives a shelf for ornaments to be displayed; and can be a practical help in keeping keys, gloves and to-do lists close to the door, too.

Hang shelves high

Installing floating shelves higher than you might usually frees up wall space below, giving the impression of more open space. These, again, can be used for ornamental purposes or for the storage of items that you may need to grab when using the hallway. Don’t place them too high though, or you won’t be able to see what’s on them or use them properly.

Add a bench

There’s nothing worse than trying to leave the house in a hurry and finding the whole family suddenly taking up the room trying to pull shoes on, locate stray gloves and pick up keys. Instead, laying a slimline bench along a wall gives somewhere for people to sit and can present a storage space for shoes underneath. It looks great, too!

Make a focus

The gaze is usually immediately drawn to a point in a room upon entry, and if it is something that seems far away, the hall will look to be long. Placing an interesting table or chunky bench toward the far end of the hallway (the end at which is furthest away from where you would normally enter it) draws the attention away from the immediate surroundings; making the narrow hall appear longer.
Hallways are so often ignored and underrated, yet you probably walk through yours many times a day. Don’t forego style because of space – embrace it, work with it, and enjoy it!

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