11 Hallway Decor Ideas to Elevate Your Space – Real Simple

Hallways tend to be overlooked because they're often narrow and dark. However, hallways are the through-line of a home, connecting and leading you from room to room. Just like your living room, these corridors should reflect your personal style, whether it's modern, timeless, or something in between.
If you're unsure how to decorate a hallway, though, you're not alone. Because of the lack of floor and wall space, it's not always easy to envision how adding details could actually make your hallway feel more open and elegant. To offer up some inspiration, we asked designers to share some of their favorite tricks for decorating hallways. From paint colors to furniture, mirrors to wallpaper, here are their best hallway decor ideas to steal.
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“Rather than thinking of your hallway as a pass-through space, start treating it as an introduction to the main event,” says designer Courtney Sempliner. She says to create a reason to dwell, appreciate and inhabit the space. You can achieve this by adding stunning wallpaper and accent furniture, such as a chair and side table. “A hallway should also be a reflection of what’s to come, whether it’s an entry hallway into the home or a connection between living spaces,” Sempliner explains.
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There’s isn’t much real estate to work within most hallways, but it’s the perfect area to make the floor the focal point. “One of my favorite ways to decorate a long hallway is to use a series of small patterned runners one after each other,” says Designer Reena Ravi, “They really draw the eye down the narrow space and make a huge visual impact,” Ravi recommends using rugs made from durable materials that can withstand heavy foot traffic passing through the hallway.
Narrow hallways can be a design challenge, especially when they lack natural light. However, designer Lucinda Loya uses lighter colors on the wall, making the space more open and less constricted. “For smaller hallways, I like to opt for bone or cream tones,” says Loya, “The colors allow for more opportunity with art, installations, or accessories.”
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Designer Becky Shea says a hallway is a perfect place to display a collection of items that are uniquely you. “Selecting items that subtly hint at your aesthetic in a pared-back manner is quintessential in achieving a look that feels thoughtfully curated,” Shea explains. Shea further says that since the hallway is a connection point between several rooms in your home, layering the right books, candle scents, sculptural elements, and vases helps achieve balance while captivating all your senses.
Great lighting will instantly elevate a space. “Sconces and ceiling light fixtures are also wonderful opportunities to add intrigue,” says interior designer Emma Beryl, “Hallways tend to be dimly lit, so adding beautiful lighting creates a space that is both dynamic and functional.” Beryl also likes to add a high gloss lacquer finish to a hallway ceiling to help bounce more light around.
Using a mirror to open up a small space is a classic designer trick. However, ​​Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo says a hallway is also a great place to make a statement and showcase your style, so go bold. Skip the traditional square or rectangular mirror and go round. “Adding a round mirror is a simple and chic way to add style and create the illusion of added space,” says Lerner.
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“The perfect piece of art can complete any hallway,” says Kirsten Krason, co-founder of House of Jade Interiors. Artwork is the finishing piece that can complete any space. “It can bring in the necessary color, style or focal point needed,” Krason explains, “Art can be pretty pricey.” She suggests sourcing original artwork from Etsy, or consider framing wallpaper or family portraits.
Hallways are a great way to bring style and joy through vibrant, statement art. “Hallways are often painted a neutral color, which is a perfect backdrop for making art pop,” says Kristi Kohut, founder of Hapi Art. She says to embrace color and don’t be afraid to make a statement. “This is a great place to showcase creativity and personality,” says Kohut.
Although most people like to keep things light and airy in a hallway, it’s also a great place to showcase a bold color. Designer Mark Lavender used a bold yellow tone to showcase the lines and height in an arched hallway. “I used Farrow and Ball’s Sudbury Yellow because it’s a nice warm gold tone,” says Lavender.
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Another brilliant narrow hallway idea is to use the wall space for a mural. “Adding a mural is a statement piece and acts as stand-alone artwork,” says Lindsey Jamison, partner and lead designer at Rumor Designs. Jamison further explains that a bold mural attracts the attention that a hallway often needs.
Stairways face similar design challenges as hallways. Interior designer Laura Roberts has a couple of tips that will transform a drab stairway into a stylish and pleasant space in your home. “Think outside of the box when hanging art on your stair walls,” says Roberts, “Instead of traditional artwork, display objects that are meaningful to you.”
Also, stairwells are the perfect space for framed family photos. “To make the arrangement uniform, choose the same frame but in different sizes,” Roberts suggests, “You can also make the space more interesting by adding art or even a piece of furniture at the top of the stairs, paired with a great light fixture.”

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