Well-considered hallway lighting ideas make a huge difference to the entrance of your home. First impressions count, so you want to wow guests with an interesting light fixture that makes a space feel welcoming, but also bright and spacious. From practical spotlights and wall lights to contemporary pendants and warm table lamps that will add ambience, there are so many options for lighting up a hallway.
Hallway ideas are so often overlooked as an awkward space that doesn't need decorating, but it's actually the perfect opportunity to set the tone for the rest of your home. Lighting can also make a narrow hallway look wider when done right, so it's a crucial element to consider.
Hallway lighting ideas
'Narrow or dark hallways will need lifting, and so it’s best to use wall lights that will ‘uplight’ if the space allows,' says Piero De Marchis, director of Detail Lighting. 'Angling ceiling lights onto the walls, or lighting art will also give the impression of a wider space, pushing the walls back.'
'Hallway stairs and landings don’t have to be bright but it is best to use discreet, recessed downlight for a change of direction or change of level,' he says. Providing poor hallway lighting is one of the five common hallway decorating mistakes to avoid, but carefully positioned lighting can turn things around.
1. Add warmth with rattan
Rattan is a popular addition to interiors, offering an on-trend look without having to make a huge home update, or spend a lot of money. It also acts as a great light fixture, adding warmth to a room without overwhelming the space.
A large pendant fixture will make the natural material a focal point, while the weave of the shade still lets plenty of light through. Plus, you can tie the look together with other cane accessories, such as a cabinet to make the best of hallway storage ideas.
2. Stick to sconces
If you're dealing with a narrow hallway, or just want to add interest to your walls, then sconces could be the way to go. It's a clever way of adding dimension to an entryway that will also illuminate a console table.
'Wall sconces or floor lamps can add an aesthetic touch while also providing extra illumination. This also creates layers of light, adding depth to your space,' says Anne Puukko at Superdwell.
You can even match the metal of the sconce to other hardware in a hallway, such as a door knob for an entrance that looks well put-together.
3. Opt for a glass shade
If you're trying to make a narrow hallway look wider and maximise the amount of natural and artificial light, then a glass lampshade will help to brighten a space. Not only is it a modern hallway idea that will make the entrance of your home look super stylish, but it will also elevate the height of a room.
Adding an extra design feature such as wall panelling will help to separate a wall into two halves, making the top half feel airy and spacious.
4. Hang a chandelier
'For an entrance that will leave a lasting impression, a chandelier showcases both luxury and ambience,' says Mary Buchanan, creative director of Laura Ashley Lighting and Mirrors. Hanging a beautiful light fitting has the same effect as putting on some statement jewellery, elevating the whole look. Some high-street homeware stores have affordable options that bring a high-end feel for anyone decorating on a budget.
5. Illuminate with two pendant lights
'As the hallway is the entrance of your home, you want to make sure it's well-lit and creates an inviting atmosphere the minute anyone steps through the door,' advises Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys.
'A hanging pendant light – or two – provides the perfect amount of light for entering guests, brightening up the entrance with an aesthetic statement too.' Look for elegant recycled glass pendants like those above or opt for gorgeous ribbed glass for a hotel vibe.
6. Choose a mid-century design
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.
7. Take advantage of architectural details
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, as well as bringing upstairs and downstairs together.
'Staircases link both rooms and people together,' says Marketa Rypacek, managing director at lighting and furniture brand Industville, 'connecting downstairs and upstairs spaces meaning that effective industrial style lighting can transform the interior corridors of your home and bring the designs together.'
8. Catch the eye with something oversized
'As there is often little room for furniture, hallways can be rather drab. Interesting light fittings are a great way to add drama and interest and set the tone for the rest of your scheme,' says Peter Bowles from Davey Lighting.
'An oversized pendant will add a decorative flourish without compromising the space. If you have space for a small console table, a table lamp adds a note of warmth and welcome.'
9. Let natural light in
Knocking through part of the hallway wall will allow natural light from the front room to flood your entry. Obviously, you'll need to check with a professional before demolishing any walls, but this could be a good alternative option for lighting up your hallway (and enhancing the sense of space in your living room).
10. Add a quirky neon light
Create a talking point with neon lights by the doorway. Not only is it handy for when you're rummaging for your wallet and keys, but it'll also add lots of personality to the space. You could hang it over the doorway or at the opposite end of the hallway to create a soft glow.
11. Choose minimalist globe lights
Globe ceiling lights and pendant lights have been making a return recently, and they're a chic yet practical hallway lighting option if you're tight on space. They diffuse a bright but not harsh light and infuse a space with a minimalist, mid-century feel with their understated silhouette.
12. Use candle light
Create a soft glow and a welcoming scent with some candles arranged on a side table in the hallway. Combine the flickering light of a candle with a table lamp to invite guests in and position in front of a small mirror to reflect the light.
Make sure you always have a stockpile of scented candles at the ready by using home decor discount codes to find premium brands for less.
13. Curate a gallery feel
Follow this modern hallway design by using accent down lighting to illuminate a feature wall. Sleek matte black wall lights hang 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, but it also 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.
14. Reflect light in a narrow hallway
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. Go for glam
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.
16. Set the tone with cohesive colour
Use clever lighting in your home's entrance to dictate the hallway colour scheme as well as the colours used in adjoining rooms. In this brilliant white hallway, a vibrant yellow pendant shade adds a welcome burst of zing, which is echoed by the striking Orla Keily wallpaper featured in the living room leading on from the hall. Cohesive use of colour and pattern will set the tone for an uplifting decorating scheme, creating a sense of flow that draws people in.
17. Seek natural light where possible
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.
18. Shine a spotlight over an entrance way
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.
19. Balance lighting to change the atmosphere
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 overhead 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.
20. Make a statement with black
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.
21. Illuminate the stairway
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 tread and space between each step.
22. Light up a narrow space
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.
23. Mix and match your light fixtures
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.
What's the best lighting for a 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 at där lighting. '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,' advises Peter. 'There’s nothing worse than having to tie your shoelaces in another room because you can’t see them properly in the hallway!'
How can hallway lighting be improved?
Ben Marshall, ceative director of Hudson Valley Lighting Group says you can improve your hallway lighting by thinking about not only the ceiling but also the hallway walls.
'The two together create a dynamic play on light,' he says. Wall sconces highlighting artwork or a side table as well as a pendant light will give you options when it comes to brightness.
How do you light a small hallway?
Dusk Lighting recommends fitting a light that takes multiple bulbs in a small hallway, as this will fill out the space with warm light. 'If you have a low ceiling, choose a flush fitting, so you don't take away from the already limited space.'
What colour light is best for a hallway?
Warm light will always feel more welcoming than cool, so we'd recommend opting for a warm tone as a general rule. But it depends on your hallway, for example, lighting expert Ben Marshall recommends considering the natural light the space receives.
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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.
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