Narrow hallway ideas – 10 essential design rules for making a long space seem wider

Narrow hallway ideas, essential design rules for long entrance halls and advice for how to make a narrow hallway look wider

Narrow hallway ideas shown in a beige scheme with round gilt-edged table and square footstools.
(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

If you have ever had to look for narrow hallway ideas, then you’ll be more than aware of the tricky task of making it a long hallway look wider than it actually is, while desperately searching for interior designer tricks to make your entryway appear warm and welcoming. 

You’ve probably spent hours trying out different hallway ideas, rearranging furniture, choosing paint colors and deliberating on rug styles in a frenzied attempt to make your small hallway look more spacious, light and airy.

Do not panic – with some clever tricks of the trade, there are in fact multiple small hallway ideas that wall help turn that awkward hall layout into something stylish and sophisticated, so don’t give up just yet.

Narrow hallway ideas 

Give your narrow hallway a much-need update with our curated selection of interior design-approved layouts, hallway paint ideas, lighting inspiration and more.

1. Be fussy with furniture in a narrow hallway

Narrow hallway ideas shown with dark gray walls, a slim console table and abstract wall art.

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

Hallway storage ideas and furniture can be a cumbersome business, especially in a narrow room, so it pays to invest in the best possible solutions. 

One great way to make the most of a smaller hallway is by using multi-functional furniture, like a bench that can be used as a storage unit, console tables with drawers and folding chairs that can be tucked away when you don’t need them. 

Another important pointer is to place large pieces of furniture against walls so the open space in the middle is not broken up. Scale the furniture to fit the size of the room and don’t block walking pathways.

2. Light up a small space

Narrow, white panelled hallway with recessed lights and wall sconces.

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

Light will help to brighten up a narrow hallway instantly, so first and foremost allow any natural light to stream indoors by taking down heavy, dark window treatments

If natural light is non-existent in your corridor, instead look to hallway lighting ideas and have an electrician install statement chandeliers, wall sconces and table lamps for a dose of illumination.

Dark corners can make a hall appear small and cramped, so position a floor or table lamp in a bare corner to visually expand the area, while recessed ceiling lights can illuminate an entire room without eating into the space.

3. Stick to a monochromatic color palette

Narrow hallway ideas with slimline console table, herringbone flooring and monochrome color scheme.

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

Striking, cool and confident, gray and white is always a winning combination when it comes to narrow hallway ideas. Create a perfect balance of the two neutrals, by using equal amounts of each. It will give a bright and fresh look for day, together with a dramatic and tailored look for night. 

Introduce pattern and character with gallery wall ideas, such as these sophisticated framed photographs, and keep the rest of your furniture and accessories plain and understated for a contemporary aesthetic.

4. Hang up a mirror in a small entrance

Narrow hallway ideas with blue walls, red patterned drapes and a mirror.

(Image credit: Mark Bolton / Future)

Not surprisingly, mirrors can make a hall or foyer appear more spacious. Hang a large mirror on a wall opposite a window or very near one to reflect the outdoors, broadening the feel of your room. 

Mirrors reflect both natural and artificial light to make a room brighter during the day – and at night they bounce light deep into the room, making it appear larger. 

5. Use paint to visually enlarge a narrow hallway

Narrow hallway with gray painted bookcase and architectural arch features.

(Image credit: Future)

You can visually widen a long, narrow room by painting a wall at the end a darker color than the other opposite and adjacent walls. The gradation of shade and color of paint on opposing walls can either lengthen distance by using a lighter shade, or shorten a distance with a darker shade. 

Light colors such as creamy white or light gray help to brighten a room, making it appear larger and wider. Plus, you can also paint horizontal stripes on a wall to make a room feel wider, or vertical stripes to make the space feel taller.

6. Play to proportions in a long hallway

Narrow hall ideas with pink and purple patterned runner and artwork.

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

Long hallways rarely feel homely, but there are tricks you can use to zone the space to make it feel far cozier. 

A rug can visually draw together the furniture in a space, giving a room focus and adding comfort. While a focal point that contrasts with the rest of the scheme can be visually interesting, disguising the awkward layout – something like a statement piece of art, console or striking pendant.

7. Display oversized wall art

An example of how to make a narrow hallway look wider, with an antique console and large artwork.

(Image credit: Polly Eltes / Future)

Wall decor ideas that feature too many pictures and other wall hangings tend to make a room feel closed in, so simply hang one large piece of artwork on your wall to make the room feel wider. 

Avoid hanging art too high on the longer wall as it will just highlight the imbalance in the proportions. Instead, choose art that can sit wide but low over the console for example, to bring the eye level down and help make the room seem wider.

8. Use paint to create a focal point

Hallway with orange and white color scheme and a patterned rug.

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

When decorating a small hallway, create a focal point with hallway paint – one area that will draw the eye, so there’s less emphasis on the room’s narrow layout. 

As long as your ceiling is painted in a paler color than your walls, no matter what the color, your ceilings will feel higher, helping a narrow room feel more spacious

9. Pay attention to scale  

Narrow hallway ideas shown in a beige scheme with round gilt-edged table and square footstools.

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

Select furniture pieces that are in proportion to the size of your entrance. Oversized consoles, chairs and entry table decor ideas can make a small hallway feel narrow, while furniture that is the same color as your walls tends to blend into the wall, making it look wider.

Another clever trick is to arrange your furniture at an angle to create a sense of depth to the room – otherwise if you place all furniture against the walls you might end up with a 'bowling alley' look.

10. Keep a narrow space free from clutter

Narrow hallway ideas shown with white walls, wood floor and green stair carpet.

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

If there’s one thing that’s going to create the illusion of more space in a narrow hallway, it’s decluttering.  Make sure you keep your room organized by removing unnecessary items, and your space will instantly feel bigger – and more welcoming.

Try and keep the floor as clear as possible, too, as it’s one of the easiest ways to maintain a sense of spaciousness. Remove any oversized rugs and plants, and factor in hallway shoe storage to ensure footwear doesn't accumulate.

How do you decorate a narrow hallway?

When decorating a narrow hallway, often a less-is-more approach pays dividends, so do start by highlighting the strengths of this small space. 

Many narrow hallways are lacking in light. Try to turn yours into something more than a transitional space – significant changes such as replacing a solid wall with striking Crittall windows will allow light to be borrowed from adjoining rooms, while updating a front door with larger glass panels will illuminate the area. 

Additional tweaks such as a well-planned lighting scheme can be just as impactful. Choose a layered approach, adding subtle dimmable recessed lights and pendants combined with the subtle glow of table lamps. 

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.