Simple Ideas For Decorating Hallways

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Out of any space of your home, the hallways are some of the toughest areas to decorate. But never fear; they are not impossible. That narrow space doesn’t need much to come alive and set the tone for what comes next (the rest of the house).

Whether you’re just moving in or are simply considering an update, there are things you can do, from simple to elaborate, to add just the right touch to this sometimes awkward area.

Five Tips for Decorating Your Hallway

  1. Let the location determine the design. Is the hallway in question in the entry to your home or somewhere else? An entryway serves a specific purpose: it welcomes guests into your home and leads them to the main part of the house. It’s also preview of what’s to come. A hall that leads to bedrooms can be decorated more simply.
  2. Integrate the design with adjoining rooms. The style and color of the hallway should coordinate with the rooms it connects. It doesn’t have to match, however. A hall can be used as a transition from one room to the next, bridging two different designs, or it can be a continuation of a look, helping it to flow between spaces.
  3. Don’t forget the view. Whether you’ve been walking down it all your life or are still getting acquainted with it post-move, stand on one end of the hall and look down it. What do you see? Whether the hall ends in a new room or wall, mind that view. You’ll get a better, more complete look if your design includes a great focal point at the end of the hallway. Remember that it works both ways, so make sure to check out the view from the other end as well.
  4. Consider the function. Keep in mind that people have to walk through this space, so you have to leave enough room for them to pass. Two feet is the general recommendation for an average-sized person. Avoid tables, hooks or other items that may encroach on that clearance.
  5. Don’t be afraid. Have fun with the decor in this space. There is plenty of opportunity to be creative using paint, wall art and area rugs. Your hallway doesn’t have to be plain or boring.

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Creative Ideas for Hallway Décor

  • For a Long Hallway: Make the most of a long hallway by tacking up strips of wood horizontally along the walls. Finish the strips in a contrasting tone to make them pop. This will guide the eye from one end of the hall to the other. You can hang pictures on top of the strips, but make sure they are large enough to span at least two of them. In other words, don’t hang artwork in between strips—unless you’re leaving a lot of space between them.
  • For a Wide Hallway: You can narrow a wide hallway by adding furniture to it—like a console table—or by hanging a set of curtain panels at each entryway. Swag the panels back to frame the view at the other end. If the hall is very wide, you could even put a round table in the very center, provided you leave about two feet on either side for people to walk by.
  • For an Entryway: If you have just moved into a new home, tackle this hallway’s décor once you’ve decided on an overall home style. The entryway is the first impression guests will get of your home; decorate it akin to the rest of the house. Keep it simple, warm and inviting while providing a place to remove outerwear and other items. A table, area rug and adequate lighting may be all that are necessary.
  • For a Dead-End Hallway: If your hallway ends in a wall, you have a several options for making things interesting. You could hang a large mirror there or paint it in a darker color than the other walls. Another option is using a stencil to create a color-coordinated pattern. Wallpaper will also work well here.
  • For Any Hallway: Personalize the space with a gallery of family photos. Use similar frames, with or without mats, to create harmony in the design. You can scatter photos throughout the gallery or group them together by color or by subject. Keep photos toward the center of the wall—not too high or too low. A good rule of thumb is to keep the center of gallery at about eye level (60” to 66”). From there, you can use your imagination to create a look that works for your hallway.

These ideas are just the beginning. As with any interior decorating project, engage your imagination and inject your personality into the design to create a great-looking hallway. And it helps to remember that less can be more, especially with a relatively small space like this. Not every hall needs décor. Sometimes just some wainscoting or a coat of paint and good lighting will be all that’s required. Follow your instincts; if it feels finished, it’s finished.

This article was written by Megan Gordon for MyMove.com, an online resource for moving information, products and coupons.

Last Updated: June 12, 2012
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