The basics of corridor design

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
Laurel Interiors, Gurooji Designs Gurooji Designs Modern corridor, hallway & stairs
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Corridors are an important part of the home which should not be neglected even though we only pass by them quickly. Hallways offer many opportunities to make the home more interesting by displaying art or photos on the wall, store things and also create a pleasant passage to the main living room or rooms of the house. Highlighting focal points, playing with lighting and framing and dividing are also some other ways to design the hallway. Some hallways are part of the entrance of the home, and therefore will give guests the first impression of your home. Whereas other corridors may be leading to the bedrooms in the house and be more of a personal space. Corridors should be decorated accordingly depending on where exactly they are situated in the house.

1. Emphasise a focal point

A long hallway can be visually shortened by emphasising a focal point. This involves forcing the eyes to a statement piece so as to distract the viewer from spanning the hallway's length. The focal point should ideally be placed at the end of the hallway at the back wall so that the corridor pushes you forward and rewards your senses as you advance. One simple way to create a focal point is to place a large statue on a cabinet and highlight it with some lamps and a mirror, as pictured here.

2. Draw attention to the vertical space

A long mirror that reaches to the ceiling from the floor can help distract the eye from noticing the narrow, cramped up width of a hallway. It is even more effective if the mirror has vertical lines which travel upwards as pictured here. The pendant lamps hanging down from the ceiling also help to make this strategy more effective. For more inspiration, here are 9 ideas to decorate the corridor.

3. Draw the focus to the ceiling

Drawing the focus to the ceiling by decorating it extensively will distract eyes from spanning a hallway’s length. A fake ceiling with intricate designs or a mural on the ceiling can help to draw the attention upwards. Chandeliers and pendant lamps can also help to highlight the ceiling. For more ideas, please refer to our article titled what ceiling designs should I use for my home.

4. Use mirrors

Due to the light-reflecting qualities of mirrors, they can make any space seem larger and more spacious. Try placing a series of repeating pattern of mirrors with the same shape, but different sizes to create a more interesting effect, as pictured here. For more ideas, please also read our article titled how to incorporate mirrors into interior design

5. Create a gallery effect

A gallery effect can be created by placing several small framed pieces together in an arrangement. The pieces can either be lined up in a straight row or arranged to form a certain pattern. This could also be a great opportunity to show off your collectibles, as pictured here. Use framed boxes in a single colour to create continuity in the design and to achieve a gallery effect. This will also add a rich texture and depth with 3D effects to the corridor wall. When it comes to wall decoration, we always tend to think in terms of 2 dimensional art such as photos and paintings, but as you can see here there are other ways to think of wall decorations as well.

6. Dress up the walls

One of the easiest ways to decorate a long hallway wall is to use wall paneling, wallpaper or murals. For example, the shiny wall paneling here with wave-like horizontal lines has a reflective quality and a unique pattern which makes the corridor seem wider and more spacious.

For wall paint, we highly recommend using warm colours as they tend to draw the eyes forward. However, if you prefer cool colours, it's best to choose a bright colour so it doesn't recede visually. High-gloss paint is another bright option which also offers reflective qualities which will make the hallway seem larger.

7. Scale it right

Artwork and pictures on the wall should be scaled according to the size of the hallway. The general rule of thumb is small pictures for small corridors, and it's best to keep the other decorations like plants small as well. Ideally, large posters and art prints are better for larger corridors because they provide space to stand back a bit from the poster and appreciate it in full view. Another general rule of thumb is regarding placing pictures and artwork at eye level or slightly lower. The standard eye level is roughly 62 inches. For more inspiration, here are some impressive corridors to add style to your home.

8. Divide the wall into different areas

This design strategy works better if there is a shelf or some plants dividing the wall along the hallway as pictured here. For example, groupings of pictures that match can create one section and a larger poster on the wall could create another section, and each section of the wall should be treated like a separate wall. This type of design helps to frame and divide a long hallway which never seems to end. 

Another option is to separate the hallway with a curtain. The best way to do this is to install a ceiling-mounted curtain rod in a place where it won't be in the way of doors and openings. We highly recommend picking a single curtain panel which is two to three times the width of the hallway.

9. Add horizontal lines

In order to make a long narrow corridor wider and shorter, distracting and manipulating the eye is key. When we walk through a long hallway, our eyes tends to follow its length, making the space seem even more narrow than it is. However there are ways our eyes can be redirected to diminish that railroad effect. 

For very narrow hallways, we recommend adding horizontal lines along the walls to make it seem wider and more spacious. The horizontal lines don't necessarily have to be geometrical and well-divided as pictured here, they can also be organic and wave-like.

We hope you've been inspired by the design ideas for hallways here. For more articles like these, have a look at 18 welcoming entrances for Indian homes.

What else would you like to know about corridor design? 

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