3 Things Making Your Hallways Feel So Much Smaller, According to Some Very Wise Real Estate Agents

published Apr 2, 2021
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Hallways weren’t designed to host parties of 10. Still, a quick trip from your living room to the bathroom shouldn’t make you feel like the walls are closing in. While cramped feelings in a hallway can usually be chalked up to the tightness of the space, the feeling can be intensified with the wrong choices in decor.

Are your design decisions making your hallway feel smaller than it is? Two real estate agents revealed the three things they say make hallways appear unreasonably tiny. 

The Wrong Paint Color

The color on the walls of your hallway may very well be the reason it’s appearing to be excessively narrow. 

“If you’re using darker colors, you’re going to typically make your home feel smaller,” says Drew Laughlin, managing broker and vice president of Realty Ohio Real Estate in Columbus, Ohio. 

Dark shades, like deep blues, greens, and black tend to absorb light, closing off the feel of the room. 

“Lighter, neutral, and brighter tones and mirrors make a room deceivingly larger,” says Sung Park, a buyer specialist for The West Experience Real Estate Group in Modesto, California. 

Shades like white, cream, and gray open up a space, especially with the added bonus of natural lighting. In addition to wall colors, Laughlin advises homeowners to take floors into consideration, too.

“If you want the room to feel bigger, you want the floor to ‘go’ in the same way that you’re looking,” he says. “If you have anything going in the opposite direction, that will make a room feel smaller.” For example? Runner rugs that span the length of the hallway lead the eye forward, making the hallway feel a touch larger.

Too Much Furniture

When it comes to furniture, your hallway is the place where less is more, according to real estate experts. 

“If you have a rug, one of those end tables, pictures, and mirror – too much will make it feel small,” Laughlin says. Instead, the expert advises homeowners to settle on a few of the decorations they prefer.

“Be minimal in your design,” Park agrees. Go for one or two accents, rather than all the pieces you can fit.

Less-Than-Ideal Lighting

Light and shadows are key to deceiving the eye. Photographers manipulate lighting in order to achieve the image that they want, and homeowners should do the same in small spaces like hallways.

“The type of lighting you have in the hallway may make it brighter,” Park says. “Anything dark makes it seem smaller and cramped.”

A lack of natural light is a common reason for a hallway to feel small, according to Laughlin, especially if you don’t have any windows or the existing windows are being covered up, he says.

For those without access to outside lighting in their hallways, Park emphasizes investing in quality artificial lights. He has a personal preference for warmer-toned lights, but says that overall, the color of light comes down to personal preference. “There are some people who don’t like warm tones or daylight, fluorescent tones. Everyone has their own opinions,” he says. No matter the shade, as long as light is flooding the space, a hallway will feel airier.