17 Genius Small Hallway Decorating Ideas For Big Impact

small hallway decorating ideas

Small hallway decorating ideas is among one of the most popular searches on Google when it comes to making the most of narrow dark hallways.

Small hallways are unfortunately an integral part of many older British homes, including our own Victorian terrace hallway.

Plus, all hallways are not made equally. You might have a hallway which literally has a 5m gap between the front door and the stairs, or you may have a very thin and dark hallway.

Whatever the configuration of your small hallway, there are so many styling hacks and decorating tricks that can make that small hallway feel much lighter, brighter and inviting.

So, let’s get stuck in with these 17 small hallway decorating ideas for big impact where space is a premium.

17 Genius Small Hallway Decorating Ideas For Big Impact

1.Use A Plank of Wood Instead of A Console Table or Radiator Cover

If you have a very narrow hallway, you may be torn between wanting to have a small console table or radiator cover to add an area for decoration, yet it eats even more into the space.

If you’re in doubt with a piece of furniture, it probably is too big and you’re trying to make yourself think it looks okay. If it inhibits the flow of traffic in the room in any way, it has to go.

A big piece of furniture in a narrow hallway will make the space feel even smaller. I’m not a personal fan of radiator covers, instead we opted for a wall mounted plank of wood stained to match our beam, it detracts from the radiator, created a place for styling, PLUS it’s made no difference to the space.

The best small hallway decorating hack there is, and it’s so affordable, it probably cost around £20 for this with the black brackets.

small hallway decorating ideas

2. A Long Runner Rug To Draw The Eye In

One of the best small hallway decorating ideas which is affordable and effective is by adding in a long runner rug.

There’s so many benefits of doing this in a hallway, the long length of the rug draws the eye in and make the hallway feel longer than it is. It breaks up the monotony of the flooring, whilst providing character and a soft and inviting welcome to a hallway.

Whatever colours feature in the rug, make sure that the same accent colour is used at least once somewhere else in the hallway as it will help to create a cohesive space.

3. Introduce A Mirror To Bounce Light Around The Room

You’ve probably heard this so many times, but a mirror will instantly make a room feel even brighter and larger.

Mirrors bounce around any available natural light throughout a day, so they can make a hallway feel larger than it is. You only need to place one on a wall to feel the benefits.

If you have a console table or radiator cover, place it above it on the wall. I love a round mirror for a hallway as it brings a beautiful softness to the space.

My top tip? Always go larger in a hallway. A mirror that’s too small in a hallway will feel inferior and make a small hallway feel even smaller.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: Loaf

4. Add Wall Art To ONLY One Wall

Adding artwork to the walls is an absolute must, but there’s some considerations to make in a narrow hallway to avoid the space feeling even smaller.

Use artwork on one side only and place it at a mid to high height so the eye is drawn up. Don’t overload a narrow hallway, a couple pieces is enough to bring in some definition and colour.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @claireakennedy

5. Use A Dado Rail To Draw The Eye Up

A dado rail is a great way to break up the monotony of a singular colour and add a separation of colour in a hallway.

It will bring added visual interest and colour to the space, but by balancing a warm neutral or bright white on the upper half of the wall, it will actually draw the eye up as you enter the hallway, instantly giving the illusion of a much bigger space.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @myvictorianhouselove

6. Pick The Right Colour Scheme

When it comes to small hallways, the darker the paint, the smaller the space becomes.

Neutral paints like white and cream will generally make a space feel lighter, but bright white is not a great choice in a heavy traffic area as it will show every mark, piece of dirt and scuff. 

Opting for whites with yellow or pink based undertones are a better choice as they’ll bring warmth with them too.

Use the same wall colour on your skirting boards, this part is SO important in a narrow hallway. If you start using a different colour on the skirtings in a narrow space, it will make the space feel even smaller and chaotic as your brain is trying to take in the different colours you meet.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @hallway.decor

7. Wall Mounted Storage Units

Where space is a premium, wall mounted storage is your saviour. Whether it’s a console table, or you need some storage for shoes, wall mounted units are typically narrow so they won’t encroach onto your floor space.

Try and find narrow but tall units, as vertical storage will allow you to add more room for storage, whilst not actually affecting the available space you do have.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @_homeofshade

8. Plan Storage Vertically

And of course, when you can, always plan your storage vertically. Whether it’s a bespoke built in which includes a bench, pegs and a shelf or just a shelf and pegs unit, vertical storage is the best solution for a small hallway.

It keeps everything off the floor, and style it correctly, it will draw the eye up and add extra visual interest in the hallway.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @iwona.jar

9. Corner Half Wall Panelling

If you have a very small entrance way, utilise the corner to really get the most out of the space.

Wrap around some half wall panelling for depth and character, with a space to hang coats, dog leads and bags. It’s a very small section, but it adds functional storage options whilst it’s still workable in a small hallway.

This style of storage is perfect for hallways where you instantly meet the stairs as you enter the home.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @allabout_thehome

10. Shelf Styling

Vertical storage is best, and adding a shelf is the best way to add instant visual interest and personality to your hallway.

Shelves serve a decorative purpose and don’t just have to be used for storage. Add your favourite trinkets, a black accent for definition, and a touch of natural foliage for a warm pop of colour.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @jessicashomestyle

11. Glass Lighting For Uninhibited Light

Choosing the right lighting for a small hallway is really important. If you’re opting for a pendant light, choose something with a small drop, and be mindful about materials.

I’m a huge fan of rattan as it lends a lovely softness, yet ultra relaxed and stylish feel to a hallway.

However, glass lighting is a functional and aesthetically pleasing choice, glass lighting will drench a hallway in swathes of beautiful light, yet when it’s switched off it will continue to reflect, disperse and bounce around any available light there is in the hallway.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @mynorthernabode

12. Clever Colour Blocking

Be creative with colour choices in your hallway.

A blanket colour throughout a hallway can feel flat and monotonous, yet introducing some clever colour blocking around a specific feature in your hallway creates a visually endearing space, it’s warm and detracts attention from a space feeling too small.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @style.less.home

13. Colour Drenching

Colour drenching involves wrapping a singular colour around the entire room, woodwork, walls and ceilings. This look can create a really inviting and enveloping feel in a hallway, but be careful with what colour you choose in a small hallway.

Dark colours can make a space feel even smaller as if the room is closing in on you, this is why darker colours like this can be effective in creating a cosy cinema room.

However, neutral colours for colour drenching can create a really inviting, relaxed and warm feel, just don’t go too dark or it defeats the object in a small hallway.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @ray_munn_paints_and_interiors

14. Half Painted Walls

A half painted wall is quite purely a trick to help deliver greater visual interest and colour in a room, whilst the positioning of colours can also help to make a room feel larger than it actually is. 

For example, pairing a darker colour with a bright white or neutral on the upper half, it instantly draws the eye up as you enter the room, making the room feel larger.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @thewalmsleyhomestead

15. Bold, Colourful Front Door

A lot can be said for the power of a bold, colourful front door.

Adding a warm, bold pop of colour to your front door can totally change how your hallway feels.

It will break up the monotony of neutral walls, and it can help to draw the eye in from the opposite end of a hallway.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @claireakennedy

16. Under The Stairs Storage, Literally

If you have really limited space in your hallway, utilising the space underneath the stairs can be a functional and effective way to add additional storage which otherwise wouldn’t be able to exist in the hallway.

I’ve come across this type of solution a couple of times now, such a smart way to create extra storage that you wouldn’t know existed – perfect for storing shoes, dog leads and everything else you need within easy reach.

small hallway decorating ideas
Image credit: @lifeat.jojos

17. A Rustic Beam For Added Visual Interest

In our terrace hallway, we had a white beam which was actually a steel beam which had been boarded and plastered. It was totally experimental, but we added a wood stain to try and give it an authentic, rustic beam look.

By doing this it instantly draws the eye up, giving the illusion of a larger space. Plus, it breaks up the monotony of the all white hallway.

This might not be possible in every hallway, but I would recommend looking at faux beams online and Facebook marketplace for original beams that can be cut down to size.

It won’t suit every interior style, but it’s perfect for modern rustic spaces.

Which of these small hallway decorating ideas is your favourite? If you have any questions about your own small hallway or need some advice, please leave me a comment below and I’ll come straight back!

small hallway decorating ideas

Before You Go…

Looking for even more inspiration for your small, narrow hallway?

I show you the before + afters from my dark and narrow terrace hallway transformation, along with plenty of actionable tips that you can put into action in your own hallway on my below video!

Photo of author


Nicole Sage

Nicole Sage is the founder of Sleek-chic Interiors and is a highly experienced interiors writer and skilled home renovator who has a passion for all things design. She has been featured as an authority at Pinterest, Ideal Home, Daily Mail and in countless other interviews. For 8 years, Nicole has written, observed key interior trends, renovated and undertaken interior short courses at the renown KLC school where she has gained her grounding interior design principles. With a keen eye for detail and a love of creativity, she shares her expertise on the latest interior trends, practical DIY tutorials, and styling inspiration to help others transform their homes into stunning spaces. With a commitment to delivering informative and engaging content, Nicole inspires and empowers readers to explore their own unique sense of style and create beautiful, personalised interiors. Contact her at hello@sleek-chic.co.uk for interiors advice, colour questions and any commentary.

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