Do you have a Victorian terrace hallway and are constantly scratching your head about how to make it feel bigger and more inviting?
You aren’t the only one. Victorian terrace houses are renown for their narrow hallways, high ceilings and notoriously dark presence.
Victorian terrace hallways often follow a couple of different layouts. The stairs are either straight in front of you as you open the door, or you enter the hallway and they go off at the side. Each style brings its own difficulties, but even the most narrow of hallways can feel inviting, and welcoming as you step through the front door.
After tackling my own Victorian terrace hallway, I wanted to share some of my top tricks for taking on your own hallway, and some of the best ideas to help you fall in love with the first space you see as you get home.
How Do You Brighten A Victorian Hallway
Victorian hallways are typically narrow which can make them feel dark. The good news is that with some clever styling tricks and careful placement of items, you can help to make a Victorian hallway feel bigger, and brighter.
When it comes to broadening your visual space, mirrors are definitely the best way to do this. They will reflect light, and make even the smallest space feel instantly bigger.
Consider adding one large mirror to the wall at the end of your corridor to expand straight lines.
If you don’t have a wall at the end of your hallway and it instead flows through to the rest of your house, add a mirror to one one of the sides of the hallway, near the entrance.
Arguably, lighting is the most important part of any interior design scheme. It can make or break any room, especially in a narrow hallway.
Generally speaking, the more light there is, the bigger a space looks. Downlights can be a great way to provide task lighting without encroaching into your space, but I personally prefer pendant lights in a hallway to add some real feature lighting. They will also add character, especially important in a Victorian hallway.
Rattan shades are a great type of pendant light for a hallway, they can really help to soften the space and are quite affordable.
Alternatively, track lighting is a good solution for this style problem as it will allow you to custom-target the deepest and darkest corners of the space, and also illuminate art work.
You can also layer a lighting scheme in a narrow hallway with wall lights which will provide soft and subtle levels of light, perfect for creating the right ambience.
Photography and artwork can also help to broaden visual space, but only if executed correctly. Framing on both sides of the hallway will make your walls appear closer together and a little bit claustrophobic, the opposite to what we want to achieve in a small hallway.
Having frames on both sides can work. Having larger pieces steadies the eye and also allows you to enjoy the picture when passing by.
If you are going to use artwork and its valuable, just make sure its going to properly be seen, and is well lit.
A long runner through the centre of the hallway will give the appearance of a longer, more expansive space by giving the areas its own boundary.
Not to mention, it will also add comfort, warmth and interest. Opt for one with light and bright colours to make the most of this trick.
Don’t go too light, or you will see every little scuff and stain!
When it comes to small hallways, the darker the paint, the smaller the space becomes. However, adding artwork to a dark wall will really make it pop and act as a great back drop for anything you want to display.
An alternative to using a bold colour, is to paint the end wall in a contrast paint but in doing so, it will make the corridor appear shorter and pull the wall in towards you.
Hallway Panelling & Mouldings
One key way to give the illusion of more space is to incorporate panelling or mouldings either on the ceiling, walls, skirting boards or architraves.
Adding a door moulding will give the hallway some height and bring added character to the space.
Hallway panelling and mouldings look expensive, but they’re incredibly affordable and can be done quite easily with a spot of DIY.
If you have the space and want the appearance of a wide open hallway or corridor, then it’s important not to have bulky furniture obstructing the visual flow.
Therefore a simple, slim console table with tall legs and minimal design will allow your visuals to flow freely. Or attach a simple wall shelf to keep things off the floor.
Victorian Terrace Hallway Ideas
Bold Stair Runner
One of my favourite Victorian terrace hallway ideas is by adding a bold stair runner. For hallways that greet the stairs as soon as you enter, a stair runner provides instant visual interest, bringing warmth and colour to the space.
Painting the stairs in a contrasting colour with aid the visual endearment. It’s a high traffic area so remember that when making your carpet colour choices as a very light carpet will show every stain and mark.
For me, patterned, mosaic floor tiles are a classic part of a Victorian terrace hallway. They’re a great way to bring some period authenticity back into a Victorian property and they can help to draw the eye as you enter.
There are SO many different types of floor tiles you can go for, from traditional, to modern and bold. If you are choosing to retain other period features, it’s best to keep to a traditional design, something that would have once been in its place.
But, if you’re really lucky, of course you might peel back the existing lino or carpet to discover the real deal!
Half Wall Panelling
Half wall panelling is a nice touch in a Victorian terrace hallway. It lends a traditional look, whilst it can be given a modern twist to suit your home decor scheme.
This type of room paneling adds formality to a wall, it can be painted in your chosen colour and is an inexpensive way to elevate your walls.
DIY Console Table
Where space is a premium in a Victorian terrace hallway, creating a DIY console table with a wall mounted piece of wood suddenly creates a thoughtful place to display items, creating an inviting and warming space.
This is a great solution as you create a space for carefully placed items, yet it doesn’t eat into any of the floor space. This is a really affordable and easy to achieve option.
Two Tone Walls
Up the ante on your walls with a two tonal combination that helps to elevate your space.
Adding a bright white shade above a darker colour instantly draws the eye up as you enter the hallway, immediately giving the illusion of a larger space.
A simple gallery wall with defining frames on a stairway draws the eye as you enter, creating visual interest, and bringing personality to the space.
Different prints and artwork is a seamless way to incorporate other colours into the space too.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects in a Victorian terrace hallway. A feature light will draw the eye and looks sensational hung from an authentic ceiling rose.
It’s a good idea to layer light in a small hallway with additional light sources such as with wall lights or table lights.
Bold Door Colour
Dark colours on walls can make a small hallway feel even smaller, but a bold door colour on the other hand will keep things visually exciting and will contrast perfectly with a neutral interior in the hallway.
This type of contrast will make the hallway space feel much larger than it is.
Of course, adding a mirror is the single most, and easiest trick to make a Victorian terrace hallway feel bigger and more inviting.
A round mirror will soften the space even more, brass tones add a warming and modern touch whilst helping to reflect, disperse and bounce natural light around the room.
Before You Go…
If you have a Victorian terrace house, it may be that you also have a really bijoux terrace garden space to match.
Terrace gardens that have had no work done to them all look the same, unusable, dingy and dark. We set the record straight and proved that you can create a beautiful escape in even the smallest of spaces, check out the below post to see what we did (with before & afters!)…