Hallway wallpaper ideas are perfect for making a big first impression. When used in the entrance hall, they are one of the first design decisions guests will encounter when they walk through the door, so make them count.
Including wallpaper among your hallway ideas not only helps bring visual interest to transient spaces, they are also a vehicle for showcasing your personality. Occupying only a small part of your home and one that is used for short periods of time, hallways are also the perfect location for those big patterns that might feel overwhelming elsewhere.
‘A hallway or corridor is an ideal environment for decorating with wallpapers,’ says Sarah Macgregor, Design Director for Colefax & Fowler and Jane Churchill. ‘First impressions are important and it is possible to make a welcoming impact with either a handcrafted small scale block print or the warm inviting texture of grasscloth.’
'Don't choose wallpaper in isolation when decorating. I'm a great believer in getting the whole scheme in your hand before you shop. Consider it all simultaneously, advises Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin.
'I love texture on walls – it truly does add a whole other dimension to any room. In my London home I have used fabrics on the hallway walls.
'And just because a wall is papered doesn't mean you can't hang art over it. Kit Kemp, who we collaborated with for her eponymous collection, demonstrates this exuberantly in her schemes. Wallpaper and art combine to add such interesting layers to a hallway.'
Hallway wallpaper ideas
From entrance halls festooned with florals to clever optical illusions that will make compact corridors feel bigger, we’ve put together some stunning hallway wallpaper ideas inspiration and asked the experts to share their top tips.
1. Keep it light and bright
By their very nature, hallways have the unfortunate habit of coming over a tad dark and pokey. If you’re plotting a wallpaper to go with your narrow hallway ideas, keep things light and bright to keep the space feeling as large and airy as possible. In this hallway with a staircase, a pale, faintly patterned blue and white wallpaper is used with white painted woodwork to allow the beautiful dark wooden staircase to really stand out without darkening the whole space.
2. Horizontal lines will make a hallway feel longer
Bringing large scale pattern into a space comes with the opportunity to play a mind trick or two. For small hallway ideas, consider a pattern or texture that will create an optical illusion, making the space feel bigger. Horizontal lines will make a compact space feel longer, drawing the eye down the corridor. These don’t need to be garish or too obvious either – pick a trending grasscloth like in this example to subtly elongate your hallway.
3. Embrace nature
If you love to have a big bunch of flowers greeting guests among your entry table decor ideas, take it one step further and allow nature to wind its way across your walls.
‘What better way to welcome the family home or offer an enticing entrance to guests by extending nature into your home through a floral wall covering in the hallway,’ says Lizzie Deshayes, Co-Founder and Design Director at Fromental. ‘The exuberance and optimism of nature in full bloom lifts the spirits and floral wallpaper adds depth and colour to a sometimes-overlooked space.’
4. Pair with colorful paintwork
Don’t forget about those hallway paint ideas just yet – just because you’re not painting a wall, it doesn’t mean you won’t need them. Contrast can be used effectively to really highlight a hallway wallpaper.
What makes this wallpaper really stand out in this example is the vibrant yellow picked from the wallpaper's motif, and used it on the surrounding trim.
5. Stay in touch with period features
If you’re blessed with a historic home crammed with period features, use your wallpaper to make the most of it. Choose some of your favorite aspects – be it a standout piece of hallway lighting like a chandelier, or a moulded plaster border – and look for wallpapers that accentuate patterns in them. In this beautiful hall space, the pointed arch of the Gothic revival door is mirrored in the pattern of the wallpaper.
6. Go big, bold and beautiful
Your hallway might be small, but there’s no reason why it can’t be mighty. Hallways are actually an excellent home for exuberant, maximalist wallpapers – perfectly placed to make an impact on entrance, but not so big that the pattern eventually overwhelms.
‘A hallway quite often has very little else in it so wallpaper is a way to add interest and bring in color and pattern – in my view the bigger and bolder the better,’ says Beckett. In this hallway, a vibrant floral wallpaper bursts through the open doors, framed and accentuated from this angle by the white paint in the room beyond.
7. Make use of your dado rail
If you’re just about to rip out what you think is an outdated dado rail, hold on a minute. Yes, they are largely defunct in protecting walls from chair backs, but they are still pretty useful in adding visual proportion to a room – exactly what you may need in an awkward hallway.
To make a feature of it, use wallpaper either exclusively below or preferably above the dado rail to create vertical layering. Get your hallway carpet ideas in on the act pattern act too, and use the lower half of the wall for a visual rest.
8. Stamp your personality onto the space
Wallpaper is a great way to stamp your personality all over the room – and with so many patterns, textures and prints available across countless styles, it’s possible to make it as unique as you are. Florals aren’t for everyone, so choose a pattern that communicates your style, from graphic prints to quirky illustrations. In this hallway, a wallpaper bedecked with knotted rope communicates a love of the sea, and a beachy vibe.
9. Travel to another world with a mural
In their very essence, hallways are areas of the home that people travel through – so why not take them somewhere amazing? A corridor’s elongated nature makes it a great canvas for mural wallpapers, allowing the full picture to play out uninterrupted. In this grand hallway, a painted, magical landscape featuring fruit trees, rolling hills, giant lizards and dancing unicorns. The addition of a seat by the entry table creates a spot for guests to sit and admire.
10. Don’t forget the ceiling
Wallpaper isn’t just for walls. Get creative and turn your nook of a hallway into an exciting design moment by extending the wallpaper to the ceiling. In this example, a grey hallway space by the front door is turned into an atmospheric corner by the use of a storm-reminiscent pattern on the walls that hangs overhead too. The ceiling is given emphasis by the use of paneling on the lower half of the wall, nudging the visual interest upwards.
11. Take your staircase to the next level
Many hallway spaces don’t include just one storey, but two. If you have staircase ideas to contend with too, consider how your wallpaper will travel upwards – and even make a feature out of it. In this example, wallpaper is used not on the wall that travels along the side of the staircase, but at the far end. When viewed singularly, the silver birch patterned paper makes the space on each level feel taller – and when viewed altogether the spaces appear to connect and give the impression of a forest growing up through the house.
12. Be on trend with green
Being stuck inside for much of the last couple of years has made us want to bring the outdoors in – as such, green has become a hugely popular hue in interior design. It’s a great choice for modern hallway ideas, and for combining with more traditional, florally inspired wallpaper designs like the one used in this example. To inject some fun and freshness, mix and match different tones of green, including bright accents.
What kind of wallpaper is best for a hallway?
Choosing the best wallpaper for a hallway is really down to what kind of hallway you have. If you have a small hallway, consider using horizontally striped wallpaper to elongate the space by drawing the eye to the end of the passage. Similarly, if you have low ceilings, a pattern with vertical linear direction will help the space feel taller, while light colors will stop the space feeling dark and pokey.
If you’re not too worried about making the most of a compact space, then the best wallpaper is one that shows off your personality. With an entrance hallway, this wallpaper will be the first design choice any guests see when they enter your home, so make sure it’s one that communicates your style effortlessly.
Should I wallpaper a narrow hallway?
Although wallpapering a narrow hallway might seem like a recipe for sensory overload, it is perfectly possible to make it work. Narrow spaces are more likely to collect shadows, so try to keep the space feeling as open and airy as possible with light colored wallpapers. If you’re still worried about the use of pattern feeling overwhelming, consider only using wallpaper on one side of the hallway, and paint the other side, ideally in a pale shade.
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.
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