Narrow hallway

16 March, 2016
Hello, I am looking for some ideas on how to decorate this entrance hallway. Would really appreciate your suggestions! Thank you

Comments (37)

  • PRO
    Mr Buckley Interiors Ltd

    Hi there,

    What kind of style or look are you wanting to achieve?

    From a practical point of view it might be nice to have a mirror and somewhere to put your keys when you enter the house, but it looks like you may have a place for coats further in the hall, so that might be a good spot for those, but it really depends on what you're wanting to get out of it!

    Lightening the floor colour and changing the light shade might help bring more life to it.

    Give me some more details and I'd be happy to assist...


  • mbj0
    Thanks for your message! I want to brighten it up if possible. A mirror is a great idea but I am not sure where to put it (there is a tall radiator opposite the coats area), any suggestions on that would really help. I'm less keen on changing the floor as it continues into the other rooms, but very open to doing something with the walls. I do like the lights as they match the stained glass on the door but they aren't very bright
  • mbj0
    Hit submit too quickly! So I am torn on lights. I generally like contemporary style but given the door/floor/lights I think traditional may work better in this case. Thank you!
  • sam irwin
    Something like this maybe. White panelling could also look lovely but probably pricey. Also a carpet runner in light colour would look lovely. A large rectangle mirror would work well and a narrow floating shelf below the mirror for pictures and for the keys etc
  • PRO
    Mr Buckley Interiors Ltd
    Getting a good size mirror in toward the door would be best for getting more light in, just make sure you leave enough space so the door doesn't open onto it, or let it get in the way if walking into the hall way. I'd look at fixing it directly into the wall, one hanging on a cord might lean into the room too much and create an obstacle.

    You could also look at changing the bulb in the light fitting. Led bulbs and halogens run at different colour temperatures resulting in different types of light. Maybe try a few different bulbs.
  • mbj0
    I'm sold on adding a mirror, runner and trying new bulbs!

    Re mirror, should this go on the left or right wall (as seen when walking into the property)? The front door opens onto the right wall so the mirror can go up just past where door opens. Or right next to the door on left hand side. (Am I overthinking this?!). Would just a mirror with no other wall hangings look odd?
  • mbj0
    Re runner, any thoughts on which shops I should be looking at? I just look at ikea and John Lewis and neither had a very good range!

    Thank you both so much!
  • PRO
    Mr Buckley Interiors Ltd
    I'd have the mirror on the left hand side, so when you open the door the mirror isn't getting in the way. A slim shelf underneath could be good for keys.

    I'd suggest getting some art on the walls, in keeping with your door window and lamp shade, or maybe just the colours if the rest of the house is contemporary. I'd try and keep it in scale with the mirror too.

    Painting a geometric pattern onto the hall floor could be a cheap but very impactful idea!
  • mbj0
    I do like the painting the floor idea but not sure I am brave enough to go there - I might try to find a runner with a colourful pattern though! The mirror will be going up on the left once I have found it (and some artwork to match it in colour and scale!). Thank you for all your help!
  • Rambler

    Painted white/off white is good but personally I would remove the dado rails & not use a runner as this just elongates the hall. Also if having a wooden floor it should be laid sideways to create a feeling of width. If there is a door at the other end of the hall it would be good to remove the door frame & replace with as wide an arch as possible. I totally agree about having a largish mirror, possibly two on opposite walls. One near the the front door & one near the other end of the hall. For reasons of security probably best not have have a rows of keys by the front door. Too much artwork will also narrow the hall. Good luck!

  • Jo DP

    Mirror, yes. Rectangular, No. The mirror should not elongate the hall anymore & should play with the shapes. A taller Arched mirror, as wide as possible will add height & scale & should hang perhaps opposite the first doorway on the left where you have already, hung something.

    That will then reflect something when that door is open & bounce light around & add another aspect to the hall. For example, if there was an alcove in that room, through the door, or a painting on the wall that could be reflected when that door is open, it adds dimension & interest. A mirror should Reflect !

  • sam irwin
    Try websites such as gumtree, adverts for mirrors ... Bought a lovely mosaic mirror for 25 e. Try John Lewis and debenhams for carpet runners or your local carpet shop can have great selections. I like the idea of a runner as it will add interest to your narrow hall. Embrace the space you've been given and go with it.
  • mmmyoung

    We also have a long narrow hall in a new house we are buying. Our plan is to put in doors like yours but with two frosted glass panels at the top to improve the light, lots of small and medium sized mirrors of different shapes down one side to bounce the light around and several recessed down lighters in the ceiling. White walls. I just feel that the more light I can get in will improve the situation!

  • hcordell

    This is very narrow and high so I would like to suggest that you consider the period of the house/flat and learn from their approach. Re the dado rail, the purpose of these is to separate the wall finishes. Even if you don't want to put the old tough wallpaper and gloss on the lower part there is a newer tough paint available that looks like matt emulsion but can be washed. Narrow halls like this are likely to get scuffed a lot, especially if there are children in the family. The second trick is to use a picture rail, the space above the picture rail and the ceiling are painted the same colour, normally white; this will bring the ceiling down and make it look less narrow. The walls at each level can be painted in the same shade and the dado rail and picture rail can be painted in the wall colour so they don't stand out. I have done this twice in an en-suite bathroom created out of a tall narrow passage and now in the hall of a late victorian flat. The lowered ceiling effect has definitely made the hall look wider, the dado rails had been removed by previous owners so they are not essential but given how narrow this is the tough paint might be a godsend.

  • barbarainlondon

    Both our neighbours and I have removed that first door and plastered it over as I assume that goes into your living room which may have been knocked through?

    Our neighbours created a long narrow rectangular cut out through the wall into the living room approx. 5.5 ft up and about 12 inches tall. It's glazed so you don't get noise from the living room, only light. And it's so high, you can't look into the living room unless you are 6ft+ tall.

    The light into your hallway is terrible in these pics. It might be the time of day, or the weather but are there trees or shrubs outside which could be trimmed back?

    Generally, I'd speak to a lighting specialist about what can be achieved within your budget.

    Removing the dado is likely to be costly due to damage to the plaster. You could look at light panelling below it and use gloss paint to reflect light. It's practical for a narrow hallway too which in my experience takes a lot of punishment due to bikes and other random stuff banging up against the lower levels.

  • moorlikeit

    I agree with barbara_brannon and others who have cautioned against removing the dado rail. There are very good reasons why this is a bad idea. First the larger expanse of plain wall will make the high ceiling look higher, which will also make the hallway look narrower. Removing a dado will leave a mark that is incredibly difficult to disguise with either paint or wallpaper; you would end up re-skimming the plaster so altogether an expensive idea that will gain you nothing. Personally I would be inclined to treat the above and below dado areas
    differently either with paint colours or wallpaper or a combination. Finally it is one of the "characterful features" always mentioned in estate agents' blurb so a selling point when you move on.

    The floor planks are as they should be: across the width but I think a lovely colourful runner as suggested by several people is an excellent idea; it will focus attention away from the walls and up the hallway. It might work rather well to replace the upper door panels with glass (plain, frosted or etched - etched are more expensive but beautifully sparkly) on the door at the end of the hall. This would once again focus interest away from the walls.

    A well-placed and interesting mirror is certainly a good bet but I think a shelf would just make it feel cramped.

    A lightshade that throws a pattern on the walls would create interest without encroaching on the limited space. I have never used decals but, if any appeal to you, they do not project from the wall and could add pattern/colour/interest.

    Good luck with your project. Lovely front door by the way.

  • eimearallen
    paint or change flooring to a lighter colour maybe?
  • Vanadis Ward
    This may sound a bit radical but might you be brave enough to mirror tile a whole wall to effectively double the space? I've bought hundreds of them from IKEA - yes, cheap but if it's not to your taste, you haven't wasted either much time or money. I did this in a tiny bathroom then did very wide stripes in orange and a pearlescent cream. Well, I loved it and got shedloads of compliments - even from my mother, (necessitating a lie-down in a darkened room). :)
  • Sylvia Timoney
    get a beutiful bright light fitting and as others have said along mirror or even a piece of art with a glass in to reflect.a beautiful taupe matt paint to give a warm backdrop .floor is lovely and grounds the room.dontake ogg the dado itwill ruin the balance of heiheight and width..
  • Vivian Lord
    You could always try a gallery wall along the length of the wall. Because the space is so long and narrow, your eye is drawn right to the end of the hallway. It would make sense to have a point of interest along this length to draw your eye through the space, which would actually distract from how long and narrow the space is!
  • PRO
    Staging to Sell

    We have a long narrow hall too (as well as a long narrow landing). When I redecorated last year I kept the colour warm but neutral. I agree with what most people are saying about a mirror. We have a radiator cabinet with a huge mirror over it and on the opposite wall we have a group of brightly coloured pictures to add character. I like your dado rail as it breaks up the expanse of wall and the floor adds depth.

  • johunt
    Change the light- I know you like it but..... Choose something bigger that will make a statement. Have wonderful high ceiling so make it a feature. Paint white with contrasting woodwork like farrow and ball hard wick white which looks great in your era of house. Brighten the floor with a runner, maybe sisal for hard wear with a coloured edging to match the woodwork. And yes, a mirror!
  • mbj0
    Thanks all! I will take a look at lighting alternatives. Not so keen on any rewiring work but will see if there are alternatives to replace existing fittings. My preference is to keep the dado too, it's hard to tell in the pictures but it adds some interest to the space. Thank you all for suggestions - lots of food for thought!
  • amw122
    this reminds me very much of my last house except where the door at side was, there was an archway opening up to a wider area with doors to two rooms. I had a dado rail put up and it improved it quite a bit. before it just showed up as a huge expanse of wall with no personality. I used anaglypta panels on the bottom half with an art deco pattern and that took the plainness away. I would bring in some curvy bits to soften the look a bit whether it was mirrors or frames
  • pannacotta

    The door at the end of the hall (into the kitchen I am guessing?) doesn't look original.

    How about swapping it for a reclaimed Victorian door with stained glass panels, like the painted one in this link? That would let lots more light into the hall and would tie in well with the front door which is a great feature.


    It look as if there is a lot of light in the far end from your photos, is that right?

    I agree about the light fittings, I would change them for large glass fittings, perhaps chandeliers to catch the eye and bounce light around. Or something like this if you prefer a simpler look


    Keep the dado.

    Some useful advice here re colours/paint etc.


  • amw122

    I think that sounds a nice idea, with features like that, you wouldn't much else.

  • pannacotta

    One other thing, can you centralise the light by the coats, so it lines up with the door and the other fitting? It looks a bit odd, off centre.

  • pomegranatejuice

    we have a similar hallway, although there is bend between the front and back room and then a back extension kitchen; the front door faces north. We have been through several incarnations regarding light. starting outside, we have a porch light, which helps to light the hall at night (if we use the override switch). the colours are portland pale above dado, and their darker shade below. woodwork Portland Pale too (eggshell)I would recommend leaving the dado in , it breaks up the tall wall and I am always hitting the walls with shopping and stuff and it is easier to paint over anglypta and it doesn't show the scuffs. All the paint is matt or eggshell, including skirtings/dado, so nothing jumps out at you it all recedes. we have a long mirror on the front part wall and a squarer one of the back so we get bounced light. Mirrors match and come from habitat. The door at the end of the hall is small glass pannelled to get the south light coming to the front of the house. The lighting is recessed into the ceiling and supplemented with pendant. We had the attic done and had a dome put in the top floor which floods light down into the first and ground floor. BTW it has taken us 20 years or so of trial and error..................... top photo from front, bottom photo from centre to back of hall

  • pomegranatejuice

    I forgot to say about the floor. I am known as the practical/pragmatic and non-aesthetic person in the house (not totally true of course). Hallways take the hardest wear in the house so anything that can be swept /mopped/wiped as and when necessary. Runners slide, curl up, need hoovering, stop roller skates/trolleys/walking sticks etc and in my view are a health and safety hazard and always get rolled up in any case........so avoid. We had a well cut behind the front door and had a door mat cut in, it catches the worst of detritus and most people when they see a mat, wipe their feet; it goes wall to wall.

  • Jayk

    Put as much mirror as you can afford on both walls next to the front door - coming down the hall as far as the first internal door? Retain the dado rail and put the mirrors above and below it perhaps matching the height to the top of the front door. The different reflections would be amazing and would certainly make the space feel a lot lot bigger. Maybe another similar mirror on one wall further down the hall as well (to bounce light into the darker areas. You can buy mirror in custom sizes economically.

    Although it may sound a bit mad I think you could then go for very dark walls with some bright modern artwork. The colours will pop and the reflected light and colours from the stained glass in your front door will astound...

  • Jayk

    Another thought. You can hang pictures over mirrored surfaces. Looks good. There are systems like "Locator" which are a modern take on picture rails and can be painted so are very discrete.

  • croftendhouse

    Is it possible to build INTO the wall to make a narrow shelf? If so, you could put downlighters into it to highlight a colourful painting(s) or a mirror, and use the shallow shelf for keys and smaller items.

  • soozmacrae

    The best thing to do is change the light. A five light or more chandelier would look fabulous.

  • Katie Kinloch
    Personally, for a light shade I would go for one of the large, round folded paper lantern types. I like the idea of having a gallery wall and the idea of a mirror. If you can't find the perfect mirror how about hanging several small mirrors together - you would be able to control the exact size and shape of the feature. As for the floor - I actually like it. How about painting the ceiling an interesting colour?
  • PRO
    Elena Romanova Interiors

    Hi what an exciting project to have! I might say something that sounds counter-intuitive but actually works (apologies if someone has mentioned it already - in this case, I side with them). Very often there is not much point fighting the lack of light in places that don't get a lot of light. And narrow hallways are a prime example. Go with it, embrace it and make the space dramatic and cocooning by painting it a deep colour. You don't spend that much time there and all other spaces are going to look vast in comparison!

    Good luck!

  • PRO
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  • Jean Moffat
    The wall behind the door could be mirrored all the way along and above the dado rail only. This will lighten the passageway hugely and make the space look double in size. A couple of narrow glass shelves on either side of the internal door will be a useful place for keys etc.

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