8 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Your Underutilized Hallway Space

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Sara Watson

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on September 3, 2021

Hallways can often feel like wasted square footage — a conduit from here to there without the time or space to pause. But it doesn’t have to be like that! In fact, even the most narrow hallway presents an opportunity to add a little beauty and plenty of function. We spoke with Havenly designer Vivian Torres on how to maximize a hallway’s potential. These narrow hallway ideas will have you rethinking that blank space to see it more as a blank canvas. Here are 8 ways to make the most of this oft-forgotten space.

Start with a space-friendly foundation

Narrow hallways call for slim yet stylish pieces. Vivian suggests investing in an anchoring piece, like this sleek, clean-lined white console table. At only 11 inches deep, it’s narrow enough to fit a small space yet deep enough to accommodate decor items — and the sled-style base provides a flexible space underneath for storage or extra seating. “With this piece (or a similar table) in place as the foundation for your hallway decor, let the design fun begin,” Vivian says.

narrow hallway console

Design Strategically

When it comes to narrow hallways ideas, be sure to keep key design strategies in mind so as not to overwhelm a small space. That means opting for multifunctional pieces whenever possible. “Store small items like books or blankets in a basket underneath the console table,” Vivian suggests. You can also add a small stool underneath the table: “It adds a layered look that can be pulled out for extra seating when needed.”

Vivian also recommends adding a lamp to brighten up what’s typically a dark area of any house. Similarly, one of the best narrow hallway ideas is to play with vertical space. “This can visually expand a space and provide more creative styling opportunities,” Vivian says. Her top tips? Stagger art pieces one above the other to draw the eye upward, and place objects on top of books for an elevated (literally!) vignette.

Add softness through textiles

“Fabrics add warmth and character to any space in need of some TLC,” Vivian says. For a hallway, she likes adding a pillow or blanket in a basket or on top of a stool. By placing opposing textures next to each other, you’ll create contrast — key for making a space look balanced and chic. For example, cluster a ridged wooden stool and a rattan basket together, then drape a blanket just so.

Bring the outdoors in

Just as Vivian suggests adding a lamp to add life to the space, her next narrow hallway idea is all about greenery (even faux!). “Greenery makes spaces feel more grounded and connected to the freshness of the outdoors,” she explains. An easy way to achieve this look is by filling a simple glass vase with tall olive branches. Earth-tone accents and wood-based materials can allude to the outdoors, too.

Go translucent

Transparent accents and acrylic furniture work well in a narrow area because they create the illusion of space. Bonus: the material is very chic and often used in high-end designs, Vivian says. Acrylic nesting benches, glass or crystal accents, and clear decorative boxes all help achieve this ultra-stylish look.

Employ pattern

“Pattern is one of the easiest ways to create a dynamic design,” Vivian says. While you may think it’s best to avoid repeating patterns in a small space like a narrow hallway, the opposite is actually true. By leaning into a repetitive print, you can add a sense of tailored sophistication to a space. A few ideas: place a striped rug along the hallway, then find decorative boxes or small objects with similar patterns to continue the theme. You can also look for books and artwork with complementary motifs (dots and geometric shapes play well with stripes) to round out the design.

Add a pop of color (and personality)

Sure, we talked about translucent and transparent items. But a lackluster hallway will definitely benefit from a pop of color. Greenery may just do the trick, but for a bit more dimension, try adding a photograph or artwork with colorful hues, or incorporate metallic accents for added visual flair and fun. You can also add color — and charm — through your own collectibles. “Use what you already have to create arrangements that showcase your personality and interests,” Vivian suggests.

When in doubt, think themes

Themes can make a space feel cohesive — not cheesy! The key is to avoid interpreting a theme too literally. “Gather books that relate to the same category, like travel or fashion, and find decorative objects that speak to the concept,” Vivian says. “Then, weave in a couple of general decor elements that are unrelated, like florals or candles, so it feels more editorial.

Havenly designers can help you tackle even the trickiest small spaces. Ready to get started?

Words by Sara Watson