Design Tips for Dark Hallways


Dark hallways often feel long and foreboding -- walking down them isn't a pleasant journey. These dimly-lit passageways may contribute to accidents that involve guests tripping, bumping into things or even falling down. But you can easily transform your dingy hallway into a bright, vibrant space by using suitable colors, brightening up the space with illumination and minimizing clutter.


  • Cover the hallway walls and ceiling in a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the dark space. Lighter paint colors -- whites, creams, beiges, icy blues -- tend to reflect light, making a hallway appear larger and brighter. Satin and semi-gloss paint finishes are shiny, having a greater capacity for reflecting more light. Paint the wall at the end of the hallway a slightly darker shade than the walls and ceiling to provide visual interest and a bit more color.


  • Illuminating a hallway with both natural and man-made light is an ideal way to brighten up a dark passage. By taking down window treatments that cover windows, you'll allow natural sunlight into the space, and if privacy is a concern, consider replacing your clear glass with frosted or acid-etched glass panes. If budget permits, consider installing a skylight to help lighten the space. Take advantage of recessed ceiling lights, wall sconces, sparkling chandeliers or graceful pendant lights to add a dramatic effect.

Visual Interest

  • Placing a focal point at the end of the hallway creates a visual destination for your guests -- a large piece of colorful artwork spotlighted by a gallery light or a rich, colorful tapestry. You might also consider hanging similar artwork groupings in hallways with wider passages. Positioning a large mirror on the wall at the end of the hallway is ideal for reflecting light and brightening a space. A hall runner laid over wood floors imparts texture, color and warmth to a hallway.


  • Furniture placed in a dark hallway adds function and aesthetic appeal. Avoid placing heavy, cumbersome furniture here, and opt for lightweight, petite, multi-functional ones instead. Storage benches provide a place to keep backpacks, school books, mittens and scarves, while providing a place to sit and put on shoes. Placing a small console table in the hallway accommodates keys, wallets, purses and a small desk lamp. A hall tree supplies a convenient place to hang jackets and hats, as well as a space for storing umbrellas.

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