8 Ways to Turn a Ho-Hum Hallway into Something that Makes You Happy

When it comes to decorating our homes, we often pour all our time and energy (and dollars) into the spaces most used. Our living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens are full blown reflections of who we are, and how we want to express ourselves. But we forget about the smaller spaces that can potentially pack a big punch. Hallways get us from here to there and back again. They're connectors, separators, and oftentimes a place to wait a beat or two. Let's give a little love to these areas where we can take some design risks and make some bold choices with color and decor. They might even become the conversation starters we never knew we needed.

1. Go for a Gallery

A row of black and white prints showcased in an light filled hallway
credit: Studio McGee

You've got a stack of your favorite family photos, or maybe even some snaps from trips you've taken over the years, and would love to display them. As Shea McGee from Studio McGee can attest, a hallway can be the perfect space for a gallery wall. Use matching frame styles or colors to create a design element. Turn your photos into black and white for a striking monochrome effect. You can do it without spending a lot of money, but it'll still look like a million bucks.

2. Pick a Random Runner

A triplet of runners in an Amagansett beach house.
credit: Chango

We often have to go practical (and functional) when it comes to area rugs in the rest of our house. Especially when it comes to kids and pets … and guests that we love to have over who might occasionally spill the wine. Runners are a smaller commitment and bigger opportunity to choose something unexpected or elegant. Try putting a group of smaller ones together like the team at Change & Co. laid out in this Amagansett, New York home.

3. Mix and Match Textures

We are crushing hard on this look created by architectural and interior designer Katie Hackworth for a cute ice cream shop. Mix up your walls with a variety of textures to create a hallway that's an experience every time you pass on through. Acid-stained concrete floors, painted bricks, wallpaper, and bold paint together? Why not? Go forth and go for it.

4. Take a Look at What’s Underfoot

Cement tile add an elegant and modern surprise.
credit: Zia Tile

If you have wood floors throughout your house, we say to interrupt the flow (in a good way) by using tile in a hall space. From cement to terracotta to mosaic, the look packs an oh wow punch in a space where you might need to up the oomph factor.

5. Ponder a Pendant

This hallway gets a bit grander with a dramatic pendant.
credit: Chango

Hallways are sometimes dark interior nooks without windows or skylights that need some help lightening up. Or perhaps they are awash in natural light in your home, but could still use some decorative lighting. Either way, you'll never go wrong by picking a pendant that's got a lot of personality, like the Change & Co. team did for this family-friendly modern home. You may even get people stopping in their tracks for a nice pause of appreciation.

6. Feed Your Curiosity for Color

A vibrant blue hallway.
credit: Sklar Design

So, maybe most of your home is neutral, maybe it's not. But it's always fun to go bold with paint color in smaller spaces. And fun is good, right? (Just ask Amy Sklar, who designed this festive Los Feliz, CA home.) It's nice to hang art on something other than a white wall, but it's also super nice to not have to hang a thing when you've painted your halls a color that stands out all on its own.

7. A Place to Hang

Hats and umbrellas and shopping bags, oh my. Instead of storing these items out of view in closets, why not hang your favorites on a stylish set of hooks? Easy access for sure, but also a fun way to display what may be a vintage hat collection, some baskets for the farmers' market, or your everyday bags and scarves. Designer Amber Lewis expertly shows how it's done in her client's Ojai home.

8. Why Not Some Wallpaper?

Wallpaper and bold colored doors brighten this hallway.
credit: Skylar Design

For those commitment-phobes among us (we know you're out there), wallpaper seems like something you'll regret the moment you're done hanging it. Oh, and putting it up is more than a chore. Hallways are often small enough to let your creative side come through with some paper that caught your eye. Plus, you can get removable rolls in super chic patterns. A fun weekend project and an even more fun result. Bonus round if you paint your doors and molding to match your pattern like this home in Alta Dena, California designed by Amy Sklar.

Let's Go Shopping

No matter what you decide, it's all about showing your hallway some love. Here's some places to shop for some hallway happiness:

Granada Tile: Where to find floor tile that will stand up to foot traffic and make a bold style statement.

AllModern: From eclectic to elegant, AllModern has a plethora of runners in styles and sizes that are perfect for hallways.

Lumens: For that perfect pendant light, Lumens has lots of looks in a broad price range.

Behr: You've decided to make a bold decision ... with color. Take a look at some choices online before you go to the paint store.

Wayfair: Hats and hooks a plenty at Wayfair, in every shape or material you'd imagined and then some.

Walls Need Love: When wallpaper is what you want, and you may change your mind down the road. A great selection of removable rolls.

Target: From tiny to poster size, Target has frames for all your favorites.


Siobhan Murphy

Siobhan Murphy

As an Emmy Award winning creative director, writer and producer I have worked on content for brands like Disney, BravoTV, TBS, Universal, E! and MTV. But I mostly love rearranging furniture and repotting plants at home.