How to Design and Plan the Perfect Hallway

Modern hallway with spotlights

How to design a hallway

The hallway is the first space you, your guests and – if selling’s on the agenda – potential buyers see when the front door’s opened, so give your hallway design a style boost. We have all the ideas to decorate your hallway that you'll need.

Based on our interior design experience, here are 7 modern hallway ideas that are sure to impress your guests.

1. Create storage in your hallway

Hallways are an important storage area in most homes, so start by planning in stash space. To avoid the scattering of discarded footwear, think benches – handy because they provide a place to sit for taking shoes off and on as well as storage inside – or floorstanding or wall-hanging racks smart enough either to stay on show, or that can help maximise space in an under-stairs cupboard.

Make sure there’s a place for coats to hang, too. If you have little ones, wall racks at a height they can use as well as at adult level will allow you to make more of the available area.

2. Hallway window dressings

If you have a window in the hallway, you’re likely to want to dress it for privacy but without blocking light. You’ll also want a treatment that isn’t bulky, restricting the circulation space when you’re trying to get everyone in and out of the house.

Naturally, we would suggest plantation shutters – but it is because they will meet the brief as well as looking chic.

3. Hallway lighting solutions

Hallways often miss out on daylight because they don’t have a window at all, and the light coming through the glazing of the front door is limited. Artificial lighting that illuminates the whole space is a must-have, and if your space is long and narrow, don’t rely on a single pendant.


Hallway spotlights are a great way to boost your space, while you can supplement this with softer lighting. Table lamps will create a welcoming atmosphere, but if your space is too small to fit furniture, you can get the same effect with wall-hung lights.

Modern hallway with grey cupboards

4. Flooring for long hallways

Lay hall flooring that looks good but isn’t suitable for so-called high traffic areas at your peril. Carpet fans – you still can, but check the label before you buy to be sure your favourite is compatible with a hall, and step away from the palest of colourways. Never considered a patterned hallway design? It can bring personality to the space and won’t have you vacuuming all the time.

Alternatively, flooring you can wipe clean could prove a stress-free and stylish option. You might be lucky enough to find original tiles under the carpet in a Victorian home, while new versions can make an elegant feature. Porcelain or stone tiles or good quality vinyl are also practical choices. Like the idea of wooden floorboards? You’ll need to be strict about using doormats so grit doesn’t scratch the surface.

5. Hallway wall colour ideas

Be practical when it comes to decorating hall walls, too. In a family home, and especially if your hallway is a corridor, they’re likely to get scuffed, making paint in a washable finish a sensible buy.

Panelling can be a sound choice, giving a hallway an upmarket twist or a country-style makeover if you go for tongue and groove up to dado height, as well as proving hard wearing. This is a great small hallway idea, as it will protect your walls, while adding a touch of class.

In homes where marks and scuffs aren’t a worry, do consider wallpaper for decorative impact. In light-starved areas, a pale background means you can have pattern but retain the reflective properties of light colour on the walls.

Black and wood modern hallway

6. Link to other rooms

Think like a designer when it comes to choosing the colour scheme for your hallway. Incorporating hues you’ve used in the rooms beyond will create pleasing visual harmony. If you’ve opted for dark wall colour in a linked living space, this doesn’t oblige you to make a windowless hall gloomy by reusing the shade on the hall walls, though. Instead, pick up the colour for lampshades or artwork you put in the hall, or in a wallpaper motif.

7. Hallway home decor finishing touches

OK, your hallway’s storage-packed, family-proof, easy clean and (subtly) co-ordinated with the rooms that flow from it: now it’s time to get accessorising. A console table is slim enough for displaying decorative pieces and, if there’s not even room for that, hang a shelf for them. Even a shelf won’t fit? Use the walls for adding decorative detail in pictures or paintings, or try a statement pendant lampshade.