Giving a narrow hallway a wider illusion

The more light there is, the bigger any space looks.  PHOTO/

What you need to know:

  • A small corridor gives the home a general feeling of being cramped. However, with a few tricks  it can be made to look more spacious.

Hallways are getting smaller and smaller as property developers try to optimise the scanty acreage available. A small or narrow corridor gives the home a general feeling of being cramped. However, with a few tricks a narrow hallway can be made to look spacious than it actually is. 

Play with paint

Paint is a central part of design and can make or break the general outlook of a space. In the case of making a hallway look wider, Adrian Obonyo, an interior designer at Concept MacFaj says the ideal paint colour choices are light colours. “Do not get stuck with just working with white as there are other options such as cream, orange, and yellow as these also make a dark space look brighter,” he suggests.
Obonyo adds that to create an illusion of a wider and longer corridor, one could paint the end of the corridor a darker colour than the other walls. 

“Another option, in regards to a wider room is to paint the corridor with horizontal strips. However, if one is looking to get the feel of a higher space, then vertical stripes come in handy,” Obonyo says. 

Work with molding
Seeing that the narrow hallway is with us and there is no point of breaking walls, one could work with molding.

“Molding can be applied to the ceiling, on the wall or both and works well to give an illusion of the hallway having more space. The secret is in the details of the molding which gives the space an exotic and definitive look. This work of art also adds beauty to the area,” Ibrahim Muwonge, a construction contractor shares.

Incorporate mirrors

Seen mirrors in pharmacies and design studios? The main reason for their existence is their ability to give pseudo space extension. That illusion can also be introduced to the hallway to achieve ‘increment’ in size. 

“These reflect light and as it bounces off them makes the eye think the place is bigger than it actually is. You could work with a few large ones or several small ones to achieve the bigger look. While the default mirrors are of common shapes such as round, rectangular and square, you do not have to limit yourself to those as you can adopt other shapes. That could be a 3-D mirror or the split mirrors that make up a shape, those with designs on the sides and those akin to a blob. These will also add spice to the corridor,” Obonyo says.

Add storage space

Inasmuch as this corridor is narrow, it can help one get some more storage space. That could come in form of cubbies which could help store shoes, more so those that are commonly used such as school shoes during the school term as well school bags. 

“The only requirement is to ensure that the storage space is narrow in width yet span a large space in an effort to offer as much space as possible. You could also add a sitting space to make the space even more cosy,” Irene Mirembe, an interior designer shares. Whatever storage ideas you incorporate in your hallway, be it cubbies or a moveable storage unit, it should be to the wall yet serve multiple functions while avoiding clutter. 


One of the downsides of a narrow corridor is poor lighting thus the need for illumination. Therefore, if the bright colours are not doing enough or you simply need more lighting, installing some bulbs in the hallway will do the space a lot of good.

“The more light there is, the bigger any space looks. To avoid the hustle that comes with individual bulb installation, you could work with track light. This kind of lighting also allows to focus on different positions because the bulbs have the possibility of changing position to suit your liking” Mirembe says.

Add a runner

Just like a table runner brings order to the table, a runner in a narrow corridor creates boundaries. “Ensure that it is long so it does not leave part of the corridor uncovered. The other thing to consider is that you opt for runners with bright and light colours for more brightness to the space,” Mirembe shares.

Avoid clutter

While all the above ideas are great, the best and simplest to make a narrow corridor look big is to get rid of clutter. 

“See to it that any unnecessary items such as shoes, umbrellas, furniture are not in the corridor. Oversized plants should also be removed while the storage space added to the corridor must be kept neat to avoid spill over,” Mirembe advises.

Use artwork

Artwork will surely add beauty to a space. That said, in the case of a narrow corridor, beauty takes the back seat for arrangement. For a wider feel, Adrian Obonyo advises homeowners to desist from putting art pieces on both walls of the corridor.

“Art on both walls of the corridor will make it feel closed in. Therefore, choose one side, to display the art while the other remains black. Additionally, do not hang the pieces too high on high walls as that brings about imbalance in the space. Rather, hang them at eye level as that will satisfy the agenda of making the corridor seem wider,”  he says.


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