Your Reading List

Hallway of possibilities

When it comes to painting your home’s hallways, do you have tunnel vision? You’re not alone, according to leading Canadian paint brand CIL Paints.

“The No. 1 question we receive from people across the country is how to paint a hallway,” says Alison Goldman, marketing communications manager for CIL Paints. “Hallways are often a neglected area of the home and the last space to be given any colour consideration, yet they have great potential and are simple to beautify with a little paint and planning.”

For starters, it’s important to take into account the size of the space being painted and its visual relationship to surrounding rooms, Goldman said. “As with any other room in the house, the amount of lighting in the area is also an important consideration, especially because hallways tend to be tunnel-like,” she explains.

Goldman provides this easy three-step guide to choosing the right paint colour for the job:

1. Create colour illusions. Use colour to correct odd-shaped spaces, such as a hallway that is long and narrow. Paint the long walls a lighter colour and the far, short wall a darker colour to compress the space. To make a narrow hallway look larger, paint the ceiling a very dark colour, which creates the feeling of the walls being higher. Another way to create the effect of more volume in a hallway is to paint architectural details such as door frames, window frames, mouldings and trim the same shade as the walls. If you’re looking to add height to a closed-in space, a crisp white ceiling will do the trick.

2. Co-ordinate with adjacent rooms. If the hallway has fixed openings to other rooms, choose paint colours that co-ordinate throughout the area to give the space visual flow. Rooms off the hallway that have doors that can be closed, offer more colour freedom. The general rule of thumb when it comes to painting small spaces is to use light, neutral colours like beige, grey or white to make the space look larger. Playing it safe with neutral colours also helps brighten up the area and ensure the hallway co-ordinates with adjoining rooms.

3. Deck the walls with creativity. For hallways that can withstand more vibrant colour, yellow is an enduring favourite, ranging from mellow tones to bright, cheery shades. Go for blue-based grey if the space gets some natural light and rose-based grey to add warmth. Icy pink or a pale green give the hallway a shabby chic touch, while antique whites and creams lend a classic look. More dramatic colours like red, brown and even black — framed by light-coloured trim — can be used to create a stunning space. Keep in mind that since walls in the hallway are close together, the colour will appear more intense than it would in other rooms.

“No matter what colour you choose for your hallways, it’s critical to use the right paint product since hallways are high-traffic areas that take a lot of abuse,” Goldman says, explaining that highly durable, washable paints are recommended. “We pass through our home’s hallways likely more than any other space in the house, so we might as well ensure we enjoy the view for a long time to come,” says Goldman. “With these easy guidelines, transforming a hallway from drab to fab is as easy as 1-2-3.”

Other ways to lighten and brighten

Adding light-reflecting mirrors in a hallway will brighten and visually expand a small space. Painting a dark entry or closet door in a foyer will lighten things up as well. Consider mirrored doors for hall closets to visually open up a tight space. Adding a light-coloured hallway runner over dark flooring will also give the space an open and airy feel.

Keep the hallway free of obstacles and protruding accessories that may hinder traffic flow. Create a little dazzle by installing a light fixture like a chandelier.

Turn your sallow halls into hallowed halls with a quick update.

About the author


Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba.

Connie Oliver's recent articles



Stories from our other publications