Narrow Hallway Ideas – 14 ways to make the most of an entranceway lacking in space

Compact, restrictive hallways are a common problem in a lot of homes but with these clever narrow hallway ideas, a limited space becomes more practical
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  • Narrow, restrictive hallways are a common problem for a lot of homes but with clever narrow hallway ideas the limited space becomes more practical than problematic.

    Thoughtful styling tips, clever paint tricks and smart storage solutions can make more of a limited entranceway – tapping into its potential to be so much more.

    Narrow hallway ideas to improve small spaces

    ‘We all live busy lives, so adding clever storage to your hallway makes it easier for everyone to make that stress-free dash out of the house,’ says Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Manager at IKEA UK and Ireland. ‘As well as creating an inviting entrance to come home to’.

    ‘When space is tight, you need to get creative with areas of the hallway you might not usually think about,’ advises Simon Glanville, managing director of A Place for Everything.

    He suggests smart hallway ideas hallway storage ideas below, all fine examples of improving a limited hallway space.

    1. Hang a mirror to open up the space

    narrow hallway with numbered stairs slim console table and large mirror

    Image credit: Future/ Lizzie Orme

    Hanging a generous mirror in a hall is a smart aesthetic solution to make more of a narrow hallway space. A mirror works by reflecting light, which opens up the space. It also fakes a sense of depth by extending the wall because it mirrors the view.

    There are a range of hall mirror ideas to choose from depending on your hallway size and decor. But it’s always a very handy addition in any hallway space, so you can carry out a last minute appearance check before you dash out the door!

    2. Elevate the ceiling height with clever painting

    A grey hallway with wood panelling

    Image credit: Rachael Smith

    Try a clever paint trick to make your narrow hallway colour scheme feel more characterful. Choose a colour you love and paint along the length of the hallway but only to your waist level.

    The theory behind painting to waist height in a narrow hallway space is to break up a solid corridor of wall, creating a Trompe-l’œil style optical illusion of interest that can give a different perspective. This smart use of colour frames the space, giving it extra depth and interest.

    3. Keep clutter at bay

    A hallway with black coat and shoe storage unit

    Image credit: IKEA

    Practical hallway shoe storage ideas mean your floor space doesn’t need to be littered with trainers, boots and school shoes. ‘Two-in-one furniture, like the a bench with shoe storage really comes in handy when you want to optimise a small hallway,’ suggests Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Manager at IKEA UK and Ireland.

    ‘Whilst wall-mounted hooks will help you take advantage of the full height of your ceiling. The PINNIG rack (above) with hooks means you can easily make good use of awkward spaces, like the wall surface over your radiator. And a bonus is that your wet clothes dry faster!’

    Buy now: Pinnig Coat Rack, £75, IKEA

    4. Make the space feel bright painted all-white

    A white hallway with a green patterned door curtain

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Paint a narrow hallway in an all-white colour palette to offer a blank canvas, reflecting any natural light that is permitted through windows and front doors.

    Choose the best white paint to suit the light quality. Is it south-facing and bathed in warm natural light or north-facing and cold? The right undertones of white will enhance the warmth, in turn making the space feel brighter and airy.

    5. Adopt an immersive colour scheme

    A hallway painted in Farrow & Ball with bare wooden stairs painted white

    Image credit: Farrow & Ball

    If you’re not looking to decorate with white, the best way to overcome a problem narrow hallway is to make it feel like part of a wider room layout.

    Incorporate the colour scheme from an adjoining downstairs room that leads off the hallway to create a continuity to the flow – in essence preventing the narrow hall from feeling small in comparison to the linking spaces.

    A dark wall colour is a great way to create a cocooning ambient feel for a welcoming entranceway.

    6. Add a decorative rug to dress the floor

    A hallway runner rug on grey tiled flooring next to a shoe rack

    Image credit: IKEA

    Don’t feel like the decor has to be limited just because the space is. A long thin runner can actually help to make the space feel better dressed, making a hallway feel more considered.

    This alternative hallway flooring idea turn helps to make the narrow corridor-like space feel more generous, because you’re highlighting the space rather than glazing over it.

    A decorative runner or rug helps to lift the decor and give the space more of a homely vibe, essential for a welcoming entrance to any home.

    7. Welcome personality with a gallery wall

    A narrow white and grey hallway with stencilled floorboards

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Elevating the ceiling height through clever tricks of the eye is a brilliant way to make a narrow hallway look wider. Hanging pictures at eye level all the way along one wall helps to keep the eye-line focused up, in affect drawing the floor away from the ceiling.

    Use this gallery wall idea along the full length of the narrow corridor space to elongate the wall. Make the artwork of choice treasured family photos to make the space feel more welcoming and cosy, rather than restrictive and soulless.

    8. Stack vertical storage

    Pale blue vertical storage unit in white narrow hallway

    Image credit: Future/ Lizzie Orme

    In small and narrow spaces the key to successful storage is to capitalise on vertical wall space. If you really want to maximise your hallway, a tailor-made unit with built-in shelves and drawers will fill the available space intelligently, and look great too.

    Like this slim but multifunctional storage unit that scales the wall from floor to ceiling, to ensure the storage doesn’t impact on valuable floorspace. Having such plentiful storage also in turn helps to open up a narrow hallway space, alleviating the area from being overrun with shoes strewn on the floor and stray bits and bobs left with nowhere to go.

    9. Illuminate a central point of focus

    A hallway with black and white striped wallpaper black flooring and black pendant lights

    Image credit: IKEA

    If you have a long narrow hallway, use clever hallway lighting ideas well to elongate the space. Centrally placed overhead lights, such as these pendant lights used by IKEA, will cast pools of light one after the other to  naturally invite guests into the rest of the home.

    A central strip of light helps to create a central focus of illumination that highlights and celebrates the narrow space, rather than making it feel limited.

    10. Hide an unattractive radiator

    A narrow grey hallway with radiator cover and mirror

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    Don’t let an unsightly radiator becomes the main focus of a small narrow hallway. An elegant radiator cover hides a multitude of sins and helps to add a polished finish to a space that could easily be overlooked in the style stakes. Plus it provides a handy shelf ledge to keep keys and display photos and flowers – adding a more homely touch to the decor.

    11. Aim high for shelving

    Grey hallway with high shelves and colourful accessories

    Image credit: Future/ Lizzie Orme

    Placing floating shelves and wall-mounted storage units high will naturally free up the space below, to make it feel more open. A high shelf rack is a useful spot for coats and scarves and ensures precious floor space is kept clear.

    ‘Wall or overhead storage solutions – whether that’s floating bookshelves or wall mounted coat racks – will help make your space go further,’ agrees Simon.

    12. Welcome a slim console table

    Grey wood panelling behind a small wooden console table with plants on it

    Image credit: Future / Jo Henderson

    Console tables are a great place to allow family belongings to accumulate, with drawers to hide away all those delivery menus and loose change.

    Opt for a slim design, especially in narrow, corridor-style spaces to preserve a sense of openness. Wicker baskets placed at the side or underneath are a useful place for hiding away other knick-knacks.

    13.  Make storage multipurpose

    A white hallway with mirror wall cabinet

    Image credit: A Place For Everything

    Adding a mirror and handy storage at the same time is a win-win, as shown in this white hallway. ‘Multifunctional storage is also a clever way to store items without sacrificing the decor of the room,’ says  Simon Glanville, managing director of A Place for Everything.

    ‘A mirror can add a lovely touch to a narrow hallway and can double up as a box for shoes or bags.

    Buy now: Hallway Storage Mirror, £85, A Place For Everything

    14. Go slimline with furniture choices

    Shoe storage in hallway to declutter

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    Avoid overcrowding a narrow hallway with bulky furniture pieces that feel uncomfortably big within the tight space.

    ‘Another space-saver is slimline furniture,’ Simon agrees. ‘Storage that is chic but also space saving will help you utilise the space in your hall without getting in the way.’ A concealed shoe rack is perfect – space-saving but provides practical storage.

    How can I improve my narrow hallway?

    The easiest way to improve a narrow hallway is to clear the clutter – remove surplus shoes, coats and outerwear that can comfortably live elsewhere. Space is precious in a narrow hallway, meaning smart storage is essential.

    Look for savvy storage solutions that are slimline to avoid taking up valuable spaces. Also look for multipurpose storage solutions that work harder to make the space more practical.

    What colour should I paint my narrow hallway?

    A failsafe colour to paint a narrow hallway will always be white. This light neutral creates a sense of space by bouncing light around the small space. Lighter wall colours reflect more light, a great quality when in small or light deprived spaces such as hallways.

    Having said that if the space already feels small and enclosed it can sometimes benefit from a dark colour. On all walls and woodwork bold colour cocoons the space – leaning into the fact it’s small and cosy. A brooding dark charcoal grey hallway or even navy can actually be very sophisticated and create a stylish entrance.

    The key to decorating with dark colours is to be sure everything matches. Ensure storage units are in the same colour palette to prevent them leaping out and jarring – overwhelming the limited space.

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