Hallway lighting ideas – inspirational ways to brighten your hall and stairway

Light up your home's entrance with thoughtful hallway lighting ideas to create a beautiful space in its own right

It's important to consider smart hallway lighting ideas, as it is in effect the first room of your home, so it needs to make the right impression.

So much more than just an entranceway, a hallway can set to the tone for the look and feel of a home. Getting the lighting right will ensure it's an integral part of your home, flowing seamlessly into neighbouring rooms.

From directional spotlights, ambient lamps and task lighting within modern staircase designs, there's a hallway lighting solution to suit all homes.

Hallway lighting ideas

Hallways are often narrow and sometimes lack a focal point, but they create an important first impression and serve to set the decorating scheme for the rest of your home.

Layered lighting effects will add drama to the space and help to draw the eye. Think of your hallway idea as the spine of your home – this is the area from which all the principal rooms, such as the living room and kitchen, lead off from.

1. Set the tone from first impressions

White hallway with yellow pendant and matching wallpaper in living room beyond hallway

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Use clever lighting in your home's entrance to dictate the hallway colour scheme as well as the shades used throughout your home. Or at least the rooms that lead off the hallway.

In this brilliant white hallway space a vibrant yellow pendant shade adds a welcome burst of colour. That colour is then echoed by the striking yellow wallpaper featured in the living room leading on from the hall.

This cohesive use of colour helps to set the tone for a decorating scheme, cleverly creating a flow from one living space to another.

2. Seek natural light where possible

A kitchen view into hallway with skylight and a blue wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Fiona Walker-Arnott)

Where your layout allows look to add windows to bring as much natural light in as possible. This view from the kitchen through to the hallway shows how a compact skylight floods the small hallway space with daylight.

The layout of this detached 1930s five bedroom house allows for the overhead skylight but the same results would work from a small window to the side.

3. Shine a spotlight over an entrance way

White hallway with spotlights immediately over the door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

For functionality, spotlights will always be a winning lighting solution. They provide directional overhead light to make the space below well lit. In a hallway this is a valuable source of light because it means from the moment you step inside the house after dark you can see everything clearly.

Directional light immediately over a door threshold is always good for security, in the respect that the entrance is bright to see visitors on the doorstep, working in conjunction with any outdoor lighting ideas.

4. Go for glam

A hallway with a pink fabric light shade and a pink door

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

You want to make a fabulous first impression on anyone visiting your house, so go for the design most reflective of your personality. A large blush pink tasselled ceiling chandelier will make your hallway a destination in and of itself.

This piece of interiors inspiration marries up really well with high ceilings so is ideal if you have a period home.

In this stylish white hallway the homeowners have gone a step further by painting the door in the same shade of pink to give the colour further visual impact.

5. Balance lighting to change the atmosphere

White hallway with console table with matching silver lamps

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Create balance by mixing alternative light sources. Opt for a strip of spotlights for a galley of light to create a path from one room to another, acting as a purely functional lighting source. Add table lamps in order to create a more cosy and intimate ambience as and when the mood takes you.

Full over head lights are useful when you're still up and about, journeying from one room to another. Once you're settled down for a box set and not really using the hallway as much the softer light can be more fitting to the mood.

6. Make a statement with coordinating colour

Grey hallway with black door and doorframes with original tiled floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

Use colour in a more subtle yet stylish way as an accent throughout the entranceway on all woodwork. Pick the colour up with a central pendant light to create a central point of focus. In this period property the ceiling rose is accentuated beautifully by the contrast of the monochrome colour palette, where black is the dominant colour for highlighting decorative features.

A simple yet captivating black metal light with a bronze coating is more than enough to hold court in this stylish grey hallway. The metal finish echoes the subtle gleam of the satin woodwork to create a uniform look.

7. Illuminate the stairway

Wooden hallway stairs with spotlights

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

In this hallway the homeowners have embraced modern design with a contemporary oak staircase with built-in spotlight lighting. This design feature is ideal for a family home where the steps are easier to navigate, as the lights clearly show the thread and space between each step.

8. Utilise walls for upward and downward lighting

A hallway with wicker wall lights and pink patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Lee)

Consider the space when choosing lighting. With living space at a premium, wall lamps work extremely well. On a separate dimmer circuit, the addition of downlights (or wall lamps) incorporated into this scheme picks out the details on the patterned hallway wallpaper idea, and also highlight the quirky curios and objets d'art on the cabinet below.

Hallway with yellow and black walls with dark wood flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Follow this modern hallway design by using accent down lighting to illuminate a feature wall. Sleek matte black wall lights arch out over the artwork that lines the walls of this stylish hallway. This accent lighting not only highlights the artwork to make it more of a decor feature, it adds a gentle glow along the wall that aids in illuminating the space.

The library-style wall lights are joined by a sphere globe pendant light which drops from the stairway above, to add another design element to enhance the hallway scheme.

10. Add warmth

A hallway console table with black table lamps and a large mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

A pair of table lights on a console or chest of drawers adds a soft ambient glow and ensures a welcoming feel. Keep the look symmetrical for a put-together aesthetic that is pleasing on the eye.

11. Make a statement upon entrance

Grey hallway with statement patterned runner and colourful wall hanging

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Raeside)

The hallway is the perfect place to introduce colour and pattern but also to use statement lighting too. Opt for a standout design that draws the eye upwards, like this black ceiling light. Whether you are looking for keys, giving yourself one final check in the mirror, or perching on stool to put your shoes on, task lighting is ideal for a hall.

12. Light up a narrow space

White hallway with tallboy storage unit

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Raeside)

If you have a narrow hallway, using mini wall lights or a single pendant works really well. But be aware that wall lights with too wide a projection can make the space appear smaller. Make sure wall lights are placed high enough to avoid knocking into as you walk past.

13. Take advantage of architectural details

White hallway with floral chandelier and coats hanging up

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rachael Smith)

Successful lighting is dependent on your hallway's proportions and scale. If you have ample space, be bold and go for a large-scale light, or a cluster of smaller fittings, to create a dramatic statement. Take advantage of high ceilings and experiment with lighting designs that have varied drops, as they will add interest at different levels.

14. Reflect light in a narrow hallway

White hallway with wooden stairs and a black and glass ceiling light

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In a narrow or small hallway you need to create as much light and airiness as possible. An easy way, aside from painting walls in brilliant white to bounce light around, is to embrace glass light fittings to avoid overwhelming the decor.

A simple glass pendant creates an openness that doesn't make the already small space feel restricted or enclosed. Glass also helps the light to stretch further, which also helps to make any compact living space feel more generous.

15. Mix and match your light fixtures

A grey and white hallway with a mirror, statement light and antlers on the wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Woolley)

Combining a range of light sources is a great way to add interest and personality to a space. A pendant will give practical, concentrated lighting, while lamps positioned on a small table or console will cast soft pools of illumination, bringing an inviting warmth to entrance halls.

If the ceiling is low, consider wall lights, which are also ideal for brightening staircases and landings.

How should I light my hallway?

'If you have a long hallway, place ceiling lights at either end. This will showcase the elongated space and naturally invite guests into the rest of the home,' advises Peter Legg, Lead Designer, där lighting (opens in new tab). 'For an elegant, traditional entryway, consider using a hall lantern. Or, if you’re looking for a more modern twist, a single ceiling pendant.'

'Layer your lighting scheme to frame interest areas such as console tables or artwork. Should you be short on space, wall lights will help to draw the eye upwards, giving the impression of higher ceilings.'

'The hallway also serves a functional purpose, so don’t forget to introduce task lighting or brighter bulbs in areas where needed,' Peter advises. 'There’s nothing worse than having to tie your shoelaces in another room because you can’t see them properly in the hallway!'.

Will you be incorporating any of these hallway lighting ideas in your home?

Tamara Kelly

Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.