With hallway colour schemes, you generally have two options. You can a) embrace the lack of natural light and go dark and moody, or b) employ paler, more reflective tones to brighten things up. We’d err on the side of moody as it can make the rooms leading on from the hall feel more spacious, but the choice is all yours...
The ideal hallway invites you to take off your shoes, hang up your coat, and exhale in the comfort of being home. And colour plays a huge role in creating the right space for you. Do you want muted, soothing shades to welcome you in after your long commute, or would you prefer it to feel more energetic with statement colours and pattern? Would you like it to be warm and cocooning or crisp and clean?
Hallway colour schemes to inspire
Be inspired by our pick of the best hallway ideas when it comes to colour schemes. And once you’ve decided on the kind of first impression you want to create with your hallway colour ideas, there are some practical steps you can take so you’re not touching up chipped paint a year down the line.
‘Hallways are by their nature intensely high traffic areas and so a durable washable matt paint is always a smart choice,’ says interior designer Shanade McAllister-Fisher (opens in new tab). ‘Dulux easy-care is perfect for neutral colours but I would tend to choose Farrow & Ball estate emulsion or Little Greene Intelligent matt emulsion when using colour as they offer a richer depth of colour.'
1. Combine monochrome patterns with sky blue
Find a black and white patterned wallpaper you love and use that as the envelope of your hallway, adding colour and texture with storage baskets and a slim side table. This modern floral pattern reminds us a little of Moroccan tiles and would work as a lovely backdrop for splashes of bright blues, pinks, oranges and greens in a 70s boho scheme. The uplifting sky blue of the front door here demonstrates this beautifully, elevating the space and giving it plenty of character.
2. Wipe the slate clean with all white everything
Keep things simple with some timeless white hallway ideas. Give all walls and woodwork a fresh lick of the best white paint for a look that's clean, modern and bright. You could also use a matt finish halfway up the wall and a gloss finish on the top to create an interesting textural contrast, all while sticking with basic white. As this room shows, white doesn't have to be boring and makes this downstairs loo look intriguing.
3. Hone in on deep blues
Choose a fresh teal or a perennially popular navy for your walls and floors, and then layer on accessories in similar tones. Install shoe storage onto the wall painted in dark blue and add a handy shelf on top for displaying decor. Incorporate planters, a rug, a wall mirror and vases in keeping with the blue theme to create a cohesive look that hangs together. Accent colours of yellow or orange will inject energy into the space and break things up.
4. Embrace bursts of fiery red
Make a statement with a daring hallway colour idea, like this rich red hallway with red and white checkerboard floors. ‘This year people are making bolder colour choices in their homes, and you cannot get any bolder than bright, hot, dramatic red,’ says Annie Sloan (opens in new tab).
‘Use this statement shade in hallways and landings – short bursts of fiery reds work fabulously here and you’ll certainly intrigue the postman with your bold colour choice. Contrast red with mellow and luxurious chocolate browns.’
5. Envelope the space with colour drenching
Put the white paint away and go for one wrap-around colour for woodwork, walls and even the ceiling. This will draw attention away from the edges and make the space feel larger.
‘Colour drenching, especially when using darker brave colours, works best in small spaces like hallway or corridor,’ says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown (opens in new tab). ‘By enveloping a small space in a colour, the focus shifts from noticing the size of that space to just appreciation of the shades that surround us.’
6. Indulge with opulent tones
To create a luxurious feel in your hallway, Amanda Telford from CTD Tiles (opens in new tab) recommends going for opulent dark tones from ceiling to floor. ‘Incorporate moodier colours through materials such as paint, wallpaper and tiles. ‘To add intrigue, choose tiles with a touch of pattern,’ Amanda suggests.
7. Take it upstairs with patterned wallpaper
If you generally prefer neutrals but want to add some interest, why not make a feature of the wall that leads upstairs? The staircase is a transitional space; it's not somewhere we tend to sit in for hours as we do in the living room. So you can afford to be more playful and daring with your hallway colour ideas without worrying that you'll go off it. Blue wallpaper with a white palm-leafed print here really brightens up an otherwise neutral scheme.
8. Reflect on metallic designs with hints of gold
If you’re going down the brighten-it-up route, why not try a wallpaper that has some hints of metallic in it? ‘Consider a lighter paint or wallpaper, such as I Love Wallpaper’s Venice Industrial Metallic wallpaper (opens in new tab),’ says Chelsea Clark. ‘This will illuminate and create a feeling of space.' Hallway mirror ideas will also prevent a space from feeling cramped.
'If you want to incorporate a pattern, avoid small print repeats as these can further shrink the space,' adds Chelsea. 'Opt for a pattern that brings warmth, personality and light to ensure a welcoming entrance.’
9. Choose green to soothe the soul
Paint halfway up your walls in pale, minty green, taking it over the skirting boards and doorframes to create contrast. This calming green and white hallway colour scheme is really stylish and considered, blurring the boundary between your indoor and outdoor space. Thanks to its associations with nature, green is always a safe bet if you want to create a space that feels safe and soothing.
10. Be bold with colour combinations
To make that 'wow' first impression the key is to be brave with colour combinations and even pattern. As this stunning hallway proves, an accent pop of sunshine yellow looks striking when paired with black.
To keep the look focused try using the accent colours purely on woodwork within the hallway, keeping the main mains in a neutral shade.
A patterned floor works well for combining a paint colour scheme, plus a patterned hallway flooring idea is ideal as it shows up less dirt than a block colour solution.
11. Take an accent colour to waist height
An ideal way to use colour in a hallway, especially good as a small hallway idea, is to use a heavier accent colour on the lower portion of the wall leaving the top in a bright white. Balancing the use of colours helps to prevent the space from feeling overwhelmed by the stronger of the two colours.
Painting along the hallway but only to waist level frames the space, breaking up a solid corridor of wall. By doing so you're creating a Trompe-l'œil effect that can give a different perspective, making the space feel bigger and the ceilings higher.
12. Showcase the stairs
An imaginative staircase idea can do wonders to transform a hallway in an instant. Liven up a white hallway with the addition of an accent colour painted on the stairs.
Less is so much more with this modern approach to a hallway colour scheme. Go for any colour you love, painting it on staircase risers and drawing attention to them with brilliant white treads and backdrop.
13. Pick out the woodwork in contrasting colours
There are those that say never paint the original woodwork on a stairway but we say when it looks this good, why not?
Picking out the woodwork on a staircase in a bold contrast colour is a great way to modernise your hallway scheme. In this stylish hallway a black wood stain makes the banisters and spindles stand out for all the right reasons.
Going one step further, the design team at Dulux have introduced softer accent colours on the stairs, which works beautifully in the space.
14. Mix and match complementary colours
Use your hallway as a place to experiment with complimentary colours. This colourful hallway scheme has boldly mixed coral pink with a teal blue – opposite colours on the colour wheel – and it works so well.
The pink tone of the paper is matched with a runner to add an element of coordination, allowing the blue painted sideboard to really stand out. Proving how well opposites attract, as far as colour is concerned.
15. Create a refreshing blue entrance
Traditionally homes have small and narrow hallways, often lacking space and light. So select a shade such as Dulux's White Mist to open it up. With a clean slate to work with, you’re then free to add a unique flourish, which is where painting the ceiling, the door, its surrounds and a stripe down one wall comes in.
Dulux's soft blue Mineral Mist keeps things fresh and conjures up a subtle coastal theme in the process. Both of these shades are taken from Dulux's Easycare Washable & Tough range. This paint is more likely to withstand scuffs and marks, which in a high-traffic area like a hallway, is a huge advantage.
16. Welcome ambience with moody tones
Brooding dark walls are becoming more and more popular in the modern home. It's often a misconception that dark can make a room feel smaller, which can be the case. But more often than not it creates a sense of space by almost pushing the walls out.
It also depends on the light. If your hallway has a great source of natural light it can totally take a dark wall colour.
To prevent the dark walls feeling too overwhelming pair with white painted woodwork, bleached wood furniture and light accessories such as this simple hallway lighting idea.
17. Opt for on-trend shades of calming grey
A calming, soft grey shade will offer a timeless look. Create a restful feel with dove grey hallway ideas by using two shades on the wall for contrast. Helen Ashmore, Head of Design at Laura Ashley (opens in new tab) agrees that dove grey is a perfect choice for a hallway. 'This neutral shade features an underlying hint of red, that will add some warmth to your colour scheme.
'Break up your hallway by creating an architectural feature such as a drop picture rail or a mid-dado rail so you can add depth of colour with a stronger shade. To create tonal variation within the scheme, add a lighter more subtle tone on the main part of the wall.'
Lighten the look with white or cream furniture and glass accessories. It’s incredibly versatile, too. Look for shades that have subtle hints of blue or pink, and dress them using luxe metallics or natural textures.
18. Make an impact with purple
Create a comforting, cosy vibe with beautiful rich tones, such as the berry colour on this panelled wall. This look is super snug and wintery, with a draft-excluding curtain that will keep your home wonderfully warm. But the blue and white leaf-print curtain makes it more than suitable for the sunniest of seasons, too.
19. Introduce fun and friendly accents
Create a hallway that can change with you, using a versatile mix of colour, pattern and hard-working furniture that’s easy to live with, and reflects your personality.
This vibrant look uses a clever hallway shoe storage idea and is all about mixing up colour. Use fabrics featuring multicoloured prints as a starting point and you’ll have more flexibility when you want to update the accent tones in the future.
If you want to up the glamour, add more jewel tones, such as turquoise blue, hot fuchsia pink and deep emerald green, to your palette for a more luxurious feel.
20. Decorate with duck egg blue
This new modern rustic style takes elements of traditional country looks, but gives them a smarter edge that suits any home. Think chic without the shabby! Swap the floral-patterned wallpapers of classic country style for crisp, painted walls and matching woodwork for a simple streamlined backdrop.
Duck egg is a great colour choice for a feature wall. Perfect for clutter-lovers, duck egg's calming effect will offset busyness if you like to have a lot of stuff on show.
21. Choose sun-bleached simplicity
Bring the beach home by mixing weathered coastal colours, unfussy reclaimed-wood furniture and characterful seaside motifs for a look that will relax you as soon as you walk through the front door. Lighten the look by mixing in painted furniture in a classic country style. Avoid bold blues in favour of soft stone, sand, pebble-grey and shell pink.
22. Hang captivating artwork
Choose a large-scale artwork and hang it in your hallway for an easy way to add character to your hallway colour scheme. Pick something you love, as you will inevitably see it a lot while moving throughout your home.
Black and white designs are good choices, but you could also go for something super colourful if you prefer a lively look. Consider your wall paint and how it will best show off your picture – the brilliant white walls here look fantastic, and really show off the blue details.
23. Welcome hints of natural green
Get back to nature with beautiful botanical shades and motifs in your hallway. Even a soft hint of green on the walls adds impact when looking to create a serene and welcoming space.
If you have period features, put them centre stage with pared-back hallway colour schemes. Or you could use a different paint colour to highlight features such as dado-height panelling or skirting boards.
Try using a richly patterned hallway wallpaper idea or paint in recesses, nooks, just above the dado rail or even on stair risers. Add an assortment of green furniture artworks and accessories to enhance the accent colour.
24. Live au naturel
Let nature take centre stage, the way it definitely does in this hallway, which is packed with natural elements, from the colour palette to the natural materials in the wooden floor and stone wall.
The large window is a big bonus for nature lovers, too, offering views far beyond the confines of the hallway and letting the light flood in. We love the sea-life-inspired artwork, too.
25. Uplift with daffodil yellow
Let the sunshine in with corn-field yellows and rustic woods – all inspired by nature’s best. Light up a gloomy under stairs space with a butter-yellow wall covering featuring super-sized foliage – the perfect spot for a clever hallway storage idea like the one shown above.
26. Introduce colour through accessories
Thishallwaywas the first opportunity for this home owner to take in her chosen jungle theme. She took inspiration from natural textures and raw materials and slowly but surely, this neutral colour split wall became a stylish gallery wall full of memories and treasures.
Do you feel inspired by these hallway colour schemes? Happy decorating!
What colour is best to paint a hallway?
'Whether you’re looking to emphasise just one feature of your hallway or wanting to transform the entire space, choosing a lighter palette is a great option as it often creates the illusion of natural light in dark and cavernous areas,' advises Charlotte Radford, Senior Product Manager at Valspar (opens in new tab).
Charlotte says a dark hallway isn't always a bad feature, and that dark navy blue can create a calming space for greeting guests. 'Painting with a mid-sheen will also create a light-enhancing effect in your hallway, as these finishes will naturally reflect any light present in the space,' she adds. 'It’s important to remember, however, that these more reflective sheens can accentuate any blemishes on your walls, so make sure you are working on perfectly smooth surfaces.'
What colours brighten a hallway?
Chelsea Clark from I Love Wallpaper comments that many households opt for a neutral colour palette as this ensures often dark and narrow spaces feel light and airy. ‘For those wanting to add a little personality, injecting light and mid-tone shades of pink, blue, yellow and green will instantly add an uplifting and mood-boosting feel to any space,’ she says.
Should hallways be lighter or darker?
‘I love a dark hallway,’ comments interior designer Shanade. ‘Many don’t have windows or natural light so why not embrace this and create drama with shades of rich deep colours?