Before and After: A “Dark Cave” Hallway Gets a Modern, Stylish Refresh

published Jul 17, 2021
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Although hallways and entryways are meant for passing through, they definitely shouldn’t be passed over when it comes to style.

Because they’re relatively small and narrow, they make for great spaces to experiment with high-end, bold (often expensive) materials. In other words, if you’re wondering where to put that fancy wall treatment, glam lighting, or vintage mirror, try the hallway. It won’t take much material to cover the space, and it might get the most foot traffic of any area in your home.

Colorado-based homeowner Caitlin Kelley ( says transforming the hallway in her 1950s ranch made a positive impact on every room connected to the hall. (Talk about getting the most for your money!)

Before, her hallway felt like “a dark cave,” she says. The dark doors and walls — which weren’t in great shape, Caitlin adds — closed in the space. But a few simple swaps made the whole space brighter.

First, she sanded down the doors, painted them, and swapped the round gold doorknobs for a sleek black option from Schlage.

Then she added trim and board and batten to the walls “to give some dimension” and painted them a coastal blueish grayish green. (Benjamin Moore’s Half Moon Crest). The upper part of the walls, trim, and ceiling were all given a fresh coat of white paint.

And a modern two-bulb chandelier from Etsy helped finish off the space, in addition to Caitlin’s Facebook Marketplace-found mirror from before — another great trick for making a dark space brighter.

The end result is much more light and cheery than the dim pass-through Caitlin had before. “It feels like a much lighter and happier space now,” Caitlin says. Not bad for a hallway!