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curved timber console with marble top for small entry hallway decorating

Fab and Functional: 13 Clever (and Easy) Ways to Decorate a Long Entry Hallway

This post is going to show you how to decorate a long entry hallway without it feeling cluttered; a challenge we tackle all the time for clients in our work as interior designers.

We’ll pack the post with loads of visual inspiration for you too, and give you some tips on how to lay out the various ideas discussed below. Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.

By the end of this post your long hallway is going to be a great place to pass through. From the moment you walk in the front door it’s going to be a warm welcome, with many a divine focal point and loads of visual interest. Let’s dive right in!

The hero image in this post comes via forbes.

pottery barn curved timber console table in hallway
via pottery barn

1. A Console Table Inside the Front Door

A sleek console table inside the front door is going to tick off both form and function. It’ll look great, but also allow you to dump your everyday essentials when you come home.

You want the depth of the console table to be as small as possible though if the space is narrow. I’m talking under 40cm or 16 inches in depth. If you have a wider hallway to play with, feel free to go larger.

A great idea if you can find one is to choose a console or hall table with rounded edges, not sharp corners. This will prevent you from knocking yourself on it all the time, plus it’ll appear less dominant.

Another fab option in a narrow space would be to wall-mount a table top (rectangle, but curved is even better) inside the door, so there are no legs to contend with at all. This will free up much-needed floor space.

globewest black entry table with patterned front and large round black mirror above it

2. A Large Mirror Above the Console

Many long entry hallways are not blessed with natural light. Some might have a little peeking through glass in or next to the front door, and so you have to find ways to combat the darkness. A mirror is an easy way to do this.

Mirrors bounce light around any room and create a sense of space, and in a cramped entrance hall they’re a godsend. Install one above your console table, but ensure it has a thin frame. You don’t want embellishments here (steer clear of ornate frames). It’s all about reducing the visual bulk.

Again, if the hallway is long but not actually narrow, you can go for a mirror with some more detail to it. But in a cosier entry zone, minimal profiles are always more successful.

roby small white console table with two drawers for small entryway hallway
via temple & webster

3. Entryway Decor

You definitely want to deck out your console table with decorative items. After all, it’s the first thing guests see when they come over, so have some fun here.

That said, you want to (once again) approach this with a less-is-more mentality. It’s the perfect spot to pack in as much personality as you wish to, but make sure it’s in smaller doses. I like to include a dish for keys, a photo frame, a bunch of flowers and a candle.

Basically you want pieces that give a nice first impression of your home. And of course they should speak to the design style of the rest of your home. But they shouldn’t be so big they branch outside the edges of your console table.

mirror and wall hook storage system for small entry hallway
a great idea via umbra

4. Hooks for Coats and Jackets

Be it a large or small entryway, a coat rack is a nice practical solution, you just need to be careful where you mount it. You want to break up the hallway into sections; you’re essentially zoning a really long walkway. So don’t put it directly next to your console table.

Ideally you’ll install your coat rack on a wall opposite the console table, but further down the hall. You want it to have a logical relationship to the console table in the entry, but not be on top of it.

Think of it like a journey. You come in your front door, pop down keys on the console table, and then take a some more steps to where your coat rack is. Then your jacket and scarf comes off.

Storage units that hold shoes might work here too, but I would do one or the other. A storage unit and a coat rack in the one long entry hallway is overkill.

long white hallway with brass pendant lights and tiled floor
via chris loves julia

5. Pendant Lights Down The Hall

I don’t recommend a table lamp on a console table inside the front door when it’s a smaller space you’re working with. You can do it in a wide entry, but in a smaller hallway area where there’s not much space, I’m all about overhead light fixtures.

A table lamp in a small area like this creates too much visual chaos with the chord running the the powerpoint, and the lampshade protruding into the zone.

You’re better off illuminating a dark hallway with one pendant light inside the front door, and then a number of other pendants running down the hallway as you move toward the back of the home.

Not only is it the best way to reduce the dark feel in the long hallway, but it’s the perfect opportunity to play with some eclectic style; choose lights with some personality instead of just a boring flush mount.

male head painting in white and navy hallway with black and white tiles
via real stone and tile

6. Statement Piece of Art

There’s no better way to decorate a long entry hallway than with a great piece of art. It gives you a reason to stop and admire something as you walk through it. A hallway is often just thought of as a high traffic thoroughfare, but it doesn’t have to be.

You don’t even have to stop at just one piece of art. You could, instead, purchase a trio of artworks and create an art gallery feel as you travel down the hall.

Artworks without thick frames is a good idea if the hall is narrow. You always want minimal profiles on anything you’re bringing into the space. It doesn’t matter if the artworks feature lighter colours or darker ones, they’ll look great as long as the frame is thin.

Heres a list of the best places to get affordable art online from.

hallway with wall sconce light above artwork and indoor plant
via bless’er house

7. Wall Sconces

If you’re not keen on the idea of decorative overhead lights running down your hallway, you could instead place some wall sconces above artworks you hang on the wall.

You just want to ensure you choose wall sconces with a small depth so they don’t protrude out into the hallway too much. The last thing you want is the feeling that you have to move aside to dodge large lights as you walk down the hallway.

Of course, if it’s a wide hallway you’re working with the sconces can be larger as there’s enough space to accommodate them. The image above features a large sconce but it works because it’s at the end of the ball.

In a smaller, narrow hallway, always go for a light that sits fairly close to the wall.

nine grid of black and white framed photos gallery wall above upholstered bench seat in entryway

8. A Gallery Wall of Family Photos

A long entry hallway is the first space people see when they come to your house. And so I always tell my design clients to ensure it’s a zone that reflects who lives in the home. With that in mind, a gallery wall of photos is a really nice idea.

This will not only, once again, give you a reason to stop as you walk through the hallway, but it also allows you to cherish some family memories.

Showcasing family members on your walls like this can take your hallway from a neglected space to a fantastic place to experience, so don’t be afraid to install a neat nine-grid of photos (as seen above) that celebrate your life.

Here’s our top tips on creating a gallery wall at home.

transitional floor runner in long narrow hallway decoratign light oak hardwood floors
via miss amara

9. A Long Runner

Hallways are high traffic areas that can get real noisy real quick. If you have wood floors it’s a nice idea to roll out a long runner. It’ll make a huge difference in reducing noise but it’ll also make your small space hallway feel warm and inviting. 

Choose a runner in a durable material, in a bold colour or something more subdued (it doesn’t matter – the choice is yours!), and enjoy the personality it brings to your floors.

If you can’t find a runner the exact length of your hallway, don’t worry. You can buy a larger one and have it cut down. It doesn’t take too much time to organise something like this. And if you’re on a budget, there’s no reason why you couldn’t place a few smaller runners in the hall side-by-side.

decorating a long narrow hallway with runner and bench seat
via the spruce

10. A Seating Area

It’s fair to say that you’d need a pretty massive hallway to fit every single idea presented in this post into. So you want to pick just a few to make your hallway the perfect place to be in.

One idea that’ll make the space feel cosy, if you can fit it in, is a bench seat. You can build it into the wall of your hallway if you have the room, or just place in a freestanding bench seat.

Here’s our roundup of amazing bench seats for your hallway.

You could even incorporate some smart storage solutions by purchasing a bench seat with a lift-lid. This is sure to get some serious use if you have young kids who need somewhere to throw their school bags and shoes.

small long hallway with grey wainscoting and black and white photos
via homes and gardens

11. Wallpaper, Paint, Wainscoting

I’m not a big advocate for covering small spaces in bold wallpaper unless it’s a zone like a powder room where you’re leaning into the dark moody vibe. 

You can do wallpaper or a paint colour in your entryway or hallway, or course, but I’d recommend you take it a few shades darker than the living spaces in your home so you create a cohesive look.

For example, if you have one wall that starts in your entryway space and runs all the way down to the back of the home, you could do just that wall in a textured wallpaper to add warmth and depth.

I’d keep it in a fairly neutral colour though so that it doesn’t feel like the wall is yelling at you.

Wainscoting is also a great way to add impact to a long narrow hallway without encroaching on the footprint of the space.

black frame glass door in long hallway with oak floors
via houzz

12. Glass Internal Doors

Another amazing way to decorate a long entry hallway is the glass internal door. 

This idea is great for more expansive hallways that feel like they go on forever. Adding in a transparent door at some point along the journey down the hallway breaks up the long walk and can also help with sound proofing certain zones.

Above is a great example of a metal frame glass door that looks great from a decorative perspective, but also works to zone the hallway. I’d not recommend a solid timber door for a long narrow hallway, but something you can see through is a winning idea.

long hallway with hall runner and skylight

13. Skylights

Last but not least on our roundup is to transform your long narrow entry hallway into a much brighter zone thanks to the installation of one or more skylights.

This is obviously less decorative (more construction-based) and is going to cost you a few thousand dollars to incorporate into your hallway, but it could be well worth the investment.

Install one, two, three or even more if the hallway allows for it. You’ll have to get a professional out of course, and this will only work for single storey homes for the most part. But boy do they make a big difference.

Do you feel you now know how to decorate a long entry hallway at your place? Or perhaps you’ve already tried a few. Shout out in the comments below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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LET’S GET DECORATING!

I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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