How to make a narrow Victorian hallway look lighter

How to make a narrow Victorian hallway look lighter

Dark hallways are a common problem in certain styles of buildings, but your approach to decorating can help.

While many modern homes have quite open plan layouts, with wider hallways and plenty of windows to let in the light, older homes - especially those built in the Victorian era - often have longer, narrower hallways.

The Victorians produced some beautiful architecture and interior details, with ceiling roses, architraves, feature fireplaces and sash windows all popular additions from the time: if you live in a Victorian Home and have these original features, you are very lucky!

One of the most common styles of Victorian homes is the terraced house, with a single living room window at the front and a door that opens into a long hallway with the kitchen at the back. These hallways can sometimes feel a little gloomy as they don’t feature a window for natural sunshine, but there are tips and tricks to bringing a bit of light in.

Top tips for achieving a light, bright hallway

Opt for a light paint colour

It may seem obvious and we do love a dark dramatic colour in a hallway but if there is no window, lighter colours can help lift the ambience a little.

There’s no need to be old-fashioned in the palette, pink is a very popular colour this season and with lots of lovely chalky pastel colours in our new range, you can go pale and still bring a contemporary feel to the space.

Use the same paint colour on your skirting boards to make the walls seem higher – although Victorian ceilings are usually nice and high! – and opt for an equally pale or white colour on that ceiling.

For busy hallways we would suggest using an Eggshell as this will give you more durability from scuffs and scrapes.

Choose your floor carefully

Patterned tiles look brilliant in period hallways but opting for a uniform surface can actually give the impression of length. Pale tiles or white wooden floorboards will lift the floorspace while a darker wood or tile will bring the eye down and draw it towards to the door at the end.

Use your doors

Consider glass in your interior doors – you can do this while still being loyal to the period style of the property, by removing the panels within the wooden doors and replacing with frosted glass. This way privacy is still provided, but the natural light in the rooms spills out into the hallway.

Similarly, the front door can include panels and the window panel above the front door can allow light in.

Choose lighting carefully

Opt for a modern take on a candelabra style or go all out modern for a brilliant juxtaposition. Choose the same lights on the landing and at the top of the stairs – this will draw the eyes up and use all the space.

Clever use of art

Use art along the wall to draw the eye down the hall to the kitchen area. Keep that door open if possible, to flood the area with light and show more room.

Think about storage 

You might not have understairs storage in a Victorian terraced house, but a pile of shoes is never a good look: opt for narrow console tables and clever shoe storage that is designed for small spaces – they can fit plush to the wall and keep as much space clear as possible.

It's time to make the most of that hallway!

With a few simple tweaks and touches, a narrow, dark hallway can easily be lifted and be a focal, vital part of a home, not just a passage from one space to the next. 

Enjoy your home and happy decorating!