London terrace houses are notorious for their narrow hallways. And with 32% of us in the UK living in semi-detached housing and 26% in terrace houses, it's a problem the majority of us have to deal with.
To make the most of what you've got, it's a good idea to stick to a pale colour scheme on walls and floors to create a light and bright feeling. You can always inject colour and personality with art, flowers and personal bits and bobs. However, if you're really in love with duck blue or a dark and sophisticated palette, then try balancing it out by dividing the walls in half and painting the top half of the wall a white or light tone so your hallway doesn't turn into a cave.
Apart from the general guiding principle of trying to open the hallway up and amplify light, there are a few tricks you can employ and furniture choices you can make which will get the most out of your small hallway.
These 7 ideas will help you gain max value from your hallway and design a space that’s beautiful, functional and welcoming.
Our hallway tidy with mirror
A mirror is the number one must in a hallway and in this case, the bigger the better. Mirrors create the illusion of space where there isn't any, so are definitely your best friend in a narrow hallway. They are best positioned on a wall where they can reflect as much natural light as possible. If you have a long corridor, see if you can position the mirror to reflect light from one of the windows in the room off the corridor. It takes a bit of strategy and might require a mirror in the that other room to reflect light from the window over into the hallway mirror. But it will be worth the effort.
You can go for any shape or size that you can comfortably do in your hallway. Generally round mirrors look great with hallway stands as they offset a table really well. Rectangular mirrors are great for a full length height and can be teamed with a few wall hooks for some simple storage or part of hallway tidy. Check out our Pinterest and Instagram for some inspiration.
Supplement mirrors with ample lighting for dark mornings and evenings. Long corridor style hallways will often need a combination of lighting from bright overhead downlights and cosy table lamps to create atmosphere.
Since light is at a premium in narrow hallways, you want to avoid any clunky storage solutions that obstruct it. While cupboards, shoe cabinets and clothes racks are highly functional, sometimes they can significantly compromise the light as well as space in a narrow hallway.
Baskets are a wonderful way of providing less obtrusive storage. They make practical solutions for winter gloves and scarves, or even a few pairs of shoes. And are at perfect child height too if you have little ones.
You can also hang smaller baskets from peg rails or wall hooks for anything from keys to sports equipment.
Choose organic materials to inject some natural texture and warmth.
A basket is a simple, unobtrusive storage solution.
3. Multi-functional furniture
In narrow hallways, you need purpose-made furniture that is built specifically skinny. It should be multi-functional - both able to make the space more beautiful as well as functional. There should be a surface to display some design items or flowers and have some kind of storage solution, like drawers or pegs so you can tuck away clutter.
For a grand entrance, or to make a statement, a narrow hallway stand or console table are great, multi-functional alternatives.
Our plywood hallway stand is a mulit-functional solution for a narrow hallway
Alternatively, if your hallway is small or non-existent, rather than long and narrow, try a hallway tidy or even a floating bedside table. A small surface just enough for a lamp, some mail and a drawer to tuck away your keys and phone could be all you need to create a defined entry space.
4. Small furniture
Think furniture will take up too much precious space, then go super small. Like U shelves. They're only 65cm. Still too big? Large box shelves are only 27cm. Or mix and match different shelves and heights.
Hello Haus' drawing attention with our U Shelves
A couple of shelves provide mini-storage, or you can use them to create a design focus for your narrow hallway. Take your guests' attention away from the lack of space by creating distractions with shelves adorned with favourite bits and bobs or plants and amp up the personal touches with a gallery wall.
If you have stairs, make sure you have a storage solution under the stairs. When space is tight in the hallway, investing in cabinetry under the stairs will make life a whole lot easier. Where possible, have drawers or shelves that you can pull out so you can see what you've got. Or at least if you have fixed cabinets, make sure they are well lit so you can find what they need quickly on those mornings you're running late!
5. No furniture
The truth is you don't even need furniture to make the most of your small hallway. If you want to keep the space as open as possible, try some coat hooks or pegs to provide a bit of storage without taking up any space.
Our two toned hooks are strong enough for winter coats
Hooks are a really flexible solution. While small hooks can be great for little items like keys or scarves, there are plenty of sturdier hooks or a rack of pegs that can take more weight and be suitable for winter coats. You could also hang some sturdy wooden hangers and you have an instant mini clothes rack!
Hang bags and baskets from hooks. Image credit: Pernille Enoch at Femina
You also don't necessarily need a drawer or shelf to store bits and pieces like wallets, phones, makeup or cards. You can hang small baskets or pouches from the hooks that can hold the little things. Easy!
4. Highs and lows
Sometimes hallways crave a little distraction. If you can create some hype in your hallway that attracts some attention, you can take the focus away from the space being cramped.
How do you do it?
Play some visual tricks that will draw the eye. You can create visual distractions by adding interest at different heights - ceiling and floor - which will make you forget about the narrowness of the space.
So think about ceiling lights and go for some eye catching lamps that will draw your eye up. Think through what other distractions you could create. For example, if you have a Victorian property, there might be ceiling roses or cornices you could make a feature of. Or try adding a high picture rail.
If you also add interest along the floor, then your eye will be drawn up and down, rather than side to side. Think about flooring. You could make a striking feature of flooring with tile patterns, glossy floorboards or an amazing rug.
Whatever you do, if you work with the strategy to create visual interest high and low in the space, it will help you forget how small your hallway is.
6. Radiator covers
Most British hallways have an additional space eater in their narrow hallways - the radiator. When space is already at a premium, there is nothing more annoying than an eyesore radiator taking up room.
There's not much you can do about it, especially if you're renting, but an easy solution is to cover it up!
Our hallway stands are only 25cm deep and built to cover radiators
With a narrow, purpose-built piece of furniture, like the plywood hallway stand, there's still room to create a cosy entrance and some storage, even though there's a radiator in the way.
Besides a vase of flowers, we don't tend to think of putting plants in the hallway. But with the biophilic trend of bringing the outside in and strengthening our connection to nature for our overall wellbeing, what better way to relax as soon as you walk through the door than seeing some green.
Think about the possibilities of potted plants and where you could put them. You could make use of window sills and standing planters. Line them up on U shelves or display tiny cacti or succulents in box shelves. You could even hang plants from wall hooks. Go for low maintenance varieties that don't need a lot of light.
You can also use greenery as a focal point to distract from the narrow dimensions of a hallway. Place plants up high or at floor level, to draw the eye up and down as discussed earlier. Another visual trick if you have a long hallway, is to put a striking plant at the end which will draw the eye and bring the end 'closer' visually, counteracting the feeling of narrow depth.
Small hallways are annoying, but really common, so take heart in the fact you're not alone with this one!
And we've got your back with a range of solutions specifically designed for small hallways. Open your hallway up with a mirror, infuse visual interest to distract from the scarcity of space and make smart use of storage solutions whether its a stand or a hook, to breathe life and personality into little hallways and turn them into a space you're proud of!