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Narrow Hallway Ideas: Maximise Space, Light, and Style in Your Entryway

Modern hallway with pictures and wooden floor


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Narrow hallways can feel like an afterthought, a neglected space that simply connects rooms. But fear not! With a few clever design tricks, you can transform your cramped corridor into a functional and stylish space that makes a statement. Here are 10 narrow hallway ideas to maximise your space and create an illusion of grandeur.

Narrow Hallway Ideas: Making the Most of Limited Space

When it comes to narrow hallways, maximising every inch is key. Forget bulky furniture that eats up precious floor space. Instead, consider built-in storage solutions that take advantage of vertical space. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Shallow shelves or cubbies: These are perfect for storing shoes, bags, hats, scarves, and other frequently used items. Install them along one wall, ensuring the depth doesn't protrude too far and impede traffic flow. 

  • Built-in benches with storage: These combine functionality with comfort. Choose a bench with hidden compartments underneath the seat for additional storage. This is a great spot to stash away shoes, winter gear, or even board games.

  • Pegboards: Pegboards offer a versatile storage solution. Use them to hang keys, coats, bags, dog leashes, or even bicycles (with proper wall anchors). Add baskets below the pegboard for additional storage of smaller items.

  • Corner cabinets: Corners in narrow hallways often go unused. Take advantage of this space by installing corner cabinets that offer surprising storage capacity for out-of-season items or cleaning supplies.

Furniture for Narrow Hallway Success

Forget bulky furniture that overwhelms the space! In a narrow hallway, prioritise slim profile pieces that are both functional and stylish. Here are some key pieces to consider:

  • Narrow console tables: These provide a designated drop zone for keys, mail, or even a small vase with flowers. Opt for a table with a sleek metal base and a clear glass top to maintain an airy feel. 

  • Floating shelves: These are a space-saving alternative to console tables. Install them at varying heights for visual interest and display decorative objects, framed photos, or small potted plants.

  • Wall-mounted coat racks: These free up valuable floor space and come in a variety of styles to match your décor. Choose a coat rack with sleek hooks or pegs to avoid bulkiness.

  • Leaning coat stands: A stylish and space-saving option, leaning coat stands offer a place to hang coats, bags, and scarves without permanent installation. Opt for a minimalist design in wood or metal.

  • Narrow benches: These provide a comfortable spot to put on or take off shoes while adding a touch of visual interest. Choose a bench with tapered legs to create a sense of lightness.

Brightening Up Your Hallway: It's All About Light

Lighting plays a crucial role in narrow hallways. Poor lighting can make the space feel even more cramped and uninviting. Here are some tips to brighten up your hallway and create a more inviting atmosphere:

  • Sconces: Wall-mounted sconces provide ample illumination without protruding into the walkway. Choose sconces with upward or downward facing lights to create a warm glow or dramatic effect, respectively. 

  • Flush-mounted fixtures: Recessed lighting is another great option for narrow hallways. These fixtures provide general illumination without taking up any extra space. Consider dimmable options to adjust the mood depending on the occasion.

  • Pendant lights: If your hallway allows for it, a statement pendant light can add a touch of glamour and visual interest. Opt for a pendant with a clear glass shade to avoid blocking light flow. 

  • Skylights and transoms: If you're fortunate enough to have a skylight or transom window in your hallway, maximise natural light by keeping them clear and uncluttered. Consider installing skylight shades that diffuse harsh sunlight while still allowing natural light to filter through. 

Narrow hallway with mirror, lighting and stairs


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Paint Your Way to Spaciousness: Light Colours are Your Ally

Light-coloured paint is your best friend in a narrow hallway. Crisp whites, soft creams, and pale blues reflect light, making the space feel larger and airier. Here are some additional tips for using paint to create an illusion of spaciousness:

  • High Gloss Paint: Opt for high gloss paint on your walls. The glossy finish reflects even more light than flat paint, further enhancing the feeling of spaciousness. 

  • Colour Blocking: Consider colour blocking with a light-coloured paint on the majority of the walls and a slightly darker shade on one accent wall. This can add depth and visual interest to your hallway without making it feel cramped. 

  • Ceiling Colour: Don't forget the ceiling! Paint your ceiling the same light colour as your walls to create a continuous flow of light and visually expand the space.

Wallpaper or Panels? Choosing the Right Way to Dress Up Your Walls

Wallpaper and panels can be a great way to add personality and visual interest to your narrow hallway. However, choose wisely! Busy patterns or overly dark colours will visually shrink the space. Here's a breakdown of both options to help you decide which is right for you:


  • Vertical Stripes: Opt for light-coloured wallpaper with a subtle vertical stripe pattern. The vertical lines will draw the eye upwards, creating an illusion of a higher ceiling and a more spacious hallway.

  • Textured Wallpaper: Consider textured wallpaper with a light, delicate texture like grasscloth or linen. This adds visual interest without overwhelming the space. Opt for neutral tones like beige, white, or a pale grey.

  • Minimalist Patterns: Small, geometric patterns can work if done correctly. Choose a wallpaper with a light background and a sparse pattern in a similar light colour. 


  • Board and Batten: This classic wainscoting style adds architectural detail and texture to your hallway. Paint the panels and the wall above in the same light colour to maintain a sense of spaciousness. Consider adding a chair rail at the top of the panels for an extra touch of elegance.

  • Shiplap: Similar to board and batten, shiplap wall panels add a touch of coastal charm to your hallway. Opt for a painted white shiplap for a bright and airy feel. 

  • Mirrored Panels: Mirrored panels are a great way to reflect light and create the illusion of a wider hallway. However, use them sparingly to avoid a busy or overwhelming look. Consider mirrored panels on one accent wall or alternating them with painted panels for a more balanced effect. 

Focusing on the Doorway: Your Grand Entrance

Your entry door acts as a window to the rest of your home. It's the first impression guests receive, so make it count! Transform your doorway into a focal point that draws the eye in and creates a sense of welcome:

  • Colour Pop: Paint your door a bright and inviting colour that complements your overall décor. A bold red, sunny yellow, or cheerful turquoise can add a pop of personality and create a welcoming entryway.

  • Statement Hardware: Don't underestimate the power of hardware! Upgrade your door knob and hinges to something more stylish. Consider finishes like polished brass, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze to add a touch of elegance.

  • Sidelights and Transoms: If your doorway doesn't have a window, consider adding sidelights or a transom window. This allows natural light to flow into your hallway and creates a more open feel. 

  • Doormat Magic: The right doormat completes the picture. Choose a doormat that's both stylish and functional. Opt for a flat profile mat that won't obstruct the walkway and consider a design that complements your chosen door colour.

Choosing the Perfect Style: Finding Your Hallway's Harmony

When it comes to narrow hallways, a minimalist or Scandinavian aesthetic often works best. Clean lines, uncluttered surfaces, and light woods create a sense of openness and prevent the space from feeling visually cluttered. Here are some additional styles to consider:

  • Modern: Embrace the sleek lines and functionality of modern design. Opt for high-gloss furniture, metallic accents, and minimalist artwork.

  • Industrial: Exposed brick walls, metal pipes, and vintage lighting can add a touch of industrial chic to your hallway. However, keep the overall colour palette light and airy to maintain a sense of spaciousness.

  • Coastal: Bring the beach vibes into your hallway with light, airy colours, woven textures, and natural materials like wicker and sisal. Add nautical touches with seashells, coral, or framed photographs of the ocean.

Narrow hallwau with wooden floor, art gallery and wooden furniture


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Accessorising with Organisation: Less is More

While accessories can add personality to your narrow hallway, go overboard and you'll create clutter. Here are some tips for accessorising strategically:

  • Slim Floating Shelves: These are a great way to display decorative objects or framed artwork without sacrificing valuable floor space. Arrange objects in groups of odd numbers for a more visually appealing display.

  • Gallery Wall: Create a curated gallery wall on one long wall in your hallway. Choose a collection of framed photographs, artwork, or mirrors in similar colours and frames to create a cohesive look.

  • Bowls and Trays: A small bowl on a console table provides a handy catch-all for keys, mail, or loose change. Opt for a decorative bowl that complements your overall décor. Trays can also serve a similar purpose and offer a flat surface for displaying small decorative items.

  • Greenery: Plants add a touch of life and colour to your hallway. However, choose wisely! Opt for small, low-maintenance plants that won't overwhelm the space. Hanging planters or wall-mounted planters are space-saving options for displaying trailing plants or air plants. 

  • Lighting the Way: Don't forget to accessorise with additional lighting if needed. Small table lamps on console tables or strategically placed wall sconces can add warmth and ambiance to your hallway, especially in darker corners.

Rugs that Elongate the Space: Stepping into Style

Rugs can add warmth, define the entryway, and create an illusion of a wider space in a narrow hallway. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect rug:

  • Rectangular Rug with a Vertical Pattern: Choose a long, rectangular rug with a vertical stripe pattern or a subtle geometric pattern that runs the length of the hallway. This will draw the eye upwards and create the illusion of a wider space.

  • Light-Coloured or Neutral Tones: Opt for light-coloured or neutral tones like beige, ivory, or light grey. This will maintain an airy feel and prevent the rug from visually shrinking the space. 

  • Natural Fibres: Natural fibres like jute, sisal, or seagrass offer a durable and stylish option for high-traffic areas like hallways. These natural textures also add a touch of warmth and complement a variety of décor styles.

  • Rug Size: When choosing a rug size, ensure it doesn't overwhelm the space. Ideally, the rug should leave a border of exposed flooring around the edges of the hallway. 

Mirrors, Glorious Mirrors: Reflecting Light and Expanding Space

Mirrors are a true hero in the world of narrow hallway design. Their ability to reflect light and create the illusion of a wider space is a well-known trick, but there's more to consider than simply hanging any mirror you find. Here's how to strategically leverage the power of mirrors in your narrow hallway:

  • Size Matters: Bigger is often better when it comes to mirrors in narrow hallways. A large, strategically placed mirror can dramatically open up the space by reflecting light and doubling the visual footprint of the hallway. Opt for a full-length mirror that stretches from floor to ceiling to maximise its impact.

  • Frame it Up: The frame of your mirror can also play a role in the overall effect. Opt for thin, light-coloured frames that won't visually compete with the mirror itself. Metallic frames can add a touch of glamour, while simple wooden frames offer a more classic look. 

  • Think Beyond the Rectangle: While rectangular mirrors are a popular choice, consider exploring alternative shapes. A round or oval mirror can add a touch of softness and visual interest to your hallway, especially when paired with a rectangular console table.

Modern hallway with mirror and stairs


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Our Final Thoughts

With a little planning and these narrow hallway ideas, you can transform your cramped corridor into a stylish and functional space. Remember, maximise storage, prioritise light colours and clever lighting, and keep furniture slim and streamlined. By incorporating these tips, you can create a welcoming and inviting entryway that sets the tone for the rest of your home.

Need more narrow hallway ideas? Book one of our Interior Design Gurus for a 30-minute video call. Transforming your home into a space you love shouldn't be a daunting task. With HiiGuru you can save time, avoid costly mistakes and bring your goals to life with experts by your side.


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