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How to make a narrow hallway appear wider

First impressions count - and this extends to your home. You may want to give your hallway the wow factor - it is, after all, the first thing guests see when they enter your home - but find it’s narrow and feels cramped. This shouldn’t stop you from creating a vibrant, welcoming space that reflects your personal style and provides plenty of function. With our expert advice, you can make your narrow hallway appear wider by making the best use of whatever space you have.

Slim natural oak console table in neutral hallway

How to make a narrow hallway look wider

Follow these six steps and you’ll find a once drab room of your home has been transformed into a space that’ll instantly impress your guests.

1. Paint your walls in neutral colours

Neutral Hallway

We recommend starting your hallway design planning by thinking about the walls. What colour should you paint your hallway? A neutral colour scheme will be best, with various shades of white doing the job of providing a backdrop of light and space, and getting the most out of any natural light sources, even if they are around corners in adjacent rooms. If you do have a lovely window, make use of it. Ensure it allows lots of light to stream in and, if you have a windowsill, use it for a couple of houseplants or some framed photos to add flair.

2. Consider diagonals or vertical stripes for any runners

Neutrality on the floor also enhances a feeling of light and space. This is also potentially the most high traffic area of the home, too, especially as you may be treading dirty shoes, buggies, bikes and more in and out of this space. Consequently, wood, stone and tile are really practical choices for this area as, unlike carpet, it’s much more difficult for dirt to show up and much easier to clean.

For focusing on colour, diagonal patterned tiles make floors look wider. You can also try using long, bold runners to elongate your hallway. Your floorboards or stone will still be underneath, and it will be easier to maintain than wall-to-wall carpet. If you want to go for stripes, remember that vertical stripes on floors lengthen your hallway, whereas horizontal stripes shorten it.

3. Paint your ceiling a light colour

Ceilings also shouldn’t be neglected. Is yours an alcove? Maybe it’s painted a muddy shade? As with walls and floors, light colours on your ceiling are the way to go to prevent a cave-like feeling. A couple of table lamps and a few wall sconces may work if the hallway isn’t too narrow but overhead statement lighting fixtures are a much better bet, so hang a pendant lamp that emits lots of light.

4. Give your front door a lick of paint

Narrow rustic oak hallway console table

Maybe you live in a historic property and your front door is a feature of your home - highlight this in your hallway. Keep ornamentation around it minimal and invest in upkeep - does it need a fresh lick of paint? This will make all the difference to prevent it from looking dingy and unattractive. If you have a modern door, consider using window film instead of curtains. This is a great option as it’s private, pocket-friendly and lets in lots of light.

In terms of inside the hallway itself, avoid furniture or decoration that divide the hallway into segments - you want to create an open, flowing feeling. If you have a door ar the far end of the hallway, paint it a slightly darker shade to the rest of the walls to create a central, bullseye-like target that you see as soon as you open your front door; this will give a feeling of continuation.

5. Use mirrors to create the illusion of space

It’s no secret that mirrors are amazing for creating the illusion of space when it is lacking. It’s also great for bouncing light around a room. In a narrow hallway, they can be a beautiful feature - and are also useful for checking your hair before you head out.

6. Don't over-decorate!

The worst thing you could do to a narrow hallway is put too much in it. Keep it minimalist and clutter free. Use floating shelves if necessary to add interest but, as a general rule, avoid putting things on both sides of the wall as this will only have negative effects on your hallway. Many stylish homes affix ceiling-to-floor bookcases along one side of the wall and this is their only decor - perfect for the bookworm in your home, but be careful you don’t add too many dark colours this way.

What is a good colour to paint a narrow hallway?

If you’re wondering what colours make a hallway look wider, we’d always go for brighter neutrals to prevent a tunnel-like effect, such as creams, ivories, soft greys, seagreens or any other hues of these kind of tones. But this doesn’t mean your hallway has to be a colourless void - it’s just best you inject colour in a more focused way, such as with houseplants, accessories or your paintwork.

Slim oak hallway console table

Painted walls are best for busy, narrow homes: they can be retouched if walls get scuffed and marked by everyday use. Yet, printed wallpaper is back in fashion; pick a subtle pattern if you’re opting for it or consider wallpapering only half a wall, a single feature wall somewhere or a board-and-batten or wainscoting effect. In the opposite manner to floors, horizontal stripes on your walls accentuate the length of your hallway whereas vertical stripes make it appear cramped.

How to decorate a narrow hallway

Your stairs can be a really beautiful feature of your hallway - even if their bones aren’t particularly ornate or interesting. Create a stairway to heaven by colouring the steps themselves for visual contrast, fitting a runner on the steps to add depth or hanging plants on your bannister for a fresh look that draws the eye upward.

Painted console table in narrow hallway

Underneath your stairs in the perfect place for a storage nook. Either build cabinets for a cupboard under the stairs, else clear the area and make room for hooks and pegs to hang up coats and jackets. Underneath, invest in shoe storage to create a spot for the kids to get ready in before they head out to school.

Narrow hallway furniture ideas

What do you put in a narrow hallway? You won’t have room for many pieces so make sure they serve at least dual purpose. It’s time to clear cutter and invest in practical storage solutions.

1.Slim, tall chest of drawers

Slim, tall chests of drawers come in the form of tallboys. Their narrow frame takes storage up instead of out and are perfect for filling in empty corners of your home while providing ample room for storing all the excess clutter that materialises in a busy home.

Bookcases are also a good option as they come in both tall and short sizes and are built to last. Especially narrow hallways will benefit from the tall option as, like the tallboy, they take storage up instead of out. Alternatively, short bookcases provide extra surface space - perfect for placing a bowl for keys or providing a home for post.

2. Blanket box or bench

Our range of benches are really versatile. Strong and sturdy, they can be placed in your hallway to provide an elevated seating area to put on shoes. They also have room for storage underneath: why not invest in some attractive baskets that you can make a feature of? They’ll slot in perfectly. Plus, when required, they can be easily transported to your dining room to make extra seats at your table.

Alternatively, you could use a blanket box for a flexible storage option. Store chunky coats in warmer months or maybe objects like balls and rackets that you’ll need as you leave your home. Place some comfy cushions on top of it and it can double up as a seat.

3. Coat racks

Hallway furniture for coats and shoes

Full of character and a really unique product, our customers love our hallway stands. They’re also fitted with a bench made up of plenty of shoe storage. Made to dress up, there are hooks with enough room for all the family’s coats and jackets as well as space above for even more storage.

4. Choose units with drawers

Drawers are always useful in a hallway as they’re the ultimate way to keep organised and give everything a proper place. Almost all of our tallboys, sideboards and console tables have them and, as ever, they’re properly made with dovetail joints.

5. Hallway shoe storage

Like our hallway stands but just the bench, our shoe storages are cubbyholes to prevent shoes from being strewn around the home. This would be ideal for a hallway with a shorter ceiling or against a halfway wall.

6. Hallway units

Corner hallway unit

Many of our ranges have storage cabinets and media storage units and media storage units. They’re compact solutions with an ability to slot in without feeling obtrusive.

7. Narrow hallway tables

Slimline and useful for providing that all-important surface space, our console tables come in a variety of types and sizes. Choose from ones with just drawers or other with drawers and shelves underneath, then use the extra surface area for flower displays or various ornaments.

8. Narrow sideboards

Industrial style narrow hallway table

While we have a huge range of sideboards on offer, a hallway on the smaller side would benefit most from a small sideboard that won’t swallow up your hallway. You’ll find ones in natural oak, rustic oak and in painted and mango varieties and all with drawer and cupboard space for hallway essentials.

9. Hallway chairs

Maybe what your hallway is missing is a chair - especially when there might not be enough room for a shoe storage, blanket box or a bench. Keep one of your spare dining room chair in your hallway for when you need to extend your dining room table else make a statement with one of our beautiful accent chairs or armchairs. Pair either of these options with a side table to make the look feel complete.

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