Hallway Design Fundamentals
Often overlooked and taken for granted, hallways represent a missed opportunity for many. They are an important workhorse in a home and provide great design possibilities, like showcasing artwork, collections or emphasizing focal points.
Whether wide or narrow, your hall can be used to take advantage of shapes, details and color to bring more pleasure to your home. Here are a few design fundamentals to get you started:
By creating a focal point at the end of a hallway, it encourages you to continue onward and provides a reward for those who proceed. For example, the focal point can be an archway framing the scene into the next room, or a nice piece of art hung at the end of a hallway. The focal point works together with the design of the rest of the hallway for the highest impact.
Widths and Heights
U.S. standards require a minimum 36-inch-wide hallway in most cases. Wider halls, like a 48-inch width, is considered generous and can accommodate narrow furnishings and larger scaled details. To incorporate larger furniture, a width of 54 to 72 inches is best.
Standard ceiling height is 8 feet, but most prefer ceilings of at least 9 feet. Anything greater than that allows for more significant design opportunities.
Whether your home design is more modern or traditional, hallways are great places for built-in cupboards, cabinets or shelves. Built-ins also help a narrow hall feel larger because of the storage or display capabilities they provide.
Framing and Details
Have a long hallway that seems to go on forever? Framing and dividing it into more acceptable proportions with cased arches might be something to consider. Cased arches add interest and complexity to an otherwise humdrum space. With just a little bit of knowledge on casework, this effect can be added to the simplest of homes.
Art and Photo Gallery
A fun place to create your own art gallery, hallways are ideal for showcasing collections of smaller-sized pieces. Larger, oversized art is generally placed in large rooms and best viewed from a distance.
Depending on your setup, you’ll want to hang each piece of art so that its center is around eye level, between 57 and 62 inches.
Similarly, displaying a personal collection in a hallway is a perfect way to show it off. The narrow space focuses passersby and adds significance to the items being showcased. Just be sure to keep the minimum 36-inch width requirement in the hall to stay up to code.
Choose light fixtures that complement your architecture and are scaled appropriately for your circumstances. Lighting is great for injecting some character in a more neutral space. Remember, you’ll need at least 84 inches for head clearance.