Home Projects

Before and After: A Bright, Botanical Redo Modernizes a Dim Hallway

published May 3, 2022
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Before: white ceiling with round hanging light
Credit: Michael Schwebel

Long and dark hallways are the stuff nightmares and horror films are made of — and unfortunately, they can be a common part of non-haunted apartments and houses, too. If your hallway is, like homeowner Michael Schwebel describes, “eerily quiet and drab even during a bright day,” check out these six little tricks home stagers use to zhuzh up the long and narrow spaces, and see Michael’s total transformation below for some major brightening inspiration.

Credit: Michael Schwebel

Michael says this colorless hallway was “the central spine” of this rowhome, necessary to pass through to get to the main rooms in the house. “But it was such an unwelcoming space, and we wanted to change that,” he says.

“We had to have our old roof repaired, so we started to think, ‘How could we bring some light into this space?” Michael explains. He had always wondered about busting through the ceiling (and the non-used attic apace above) and adding a skylight, so the roof repair felt like the perfect time to make it happen.

Credit: Michael Schwebel

The process took a few months of professional work. “Apparently, roofers can only work on the roof (and not inside your house) and contractors have to finish the skylights from the inside as they’re legally the only ones that can do that,” Michael says. “It was kind of a chicken-and-egg thing.”

Also, due to supply chain backups, it took about three months after ordering the skylight windows for them to arrive. Michael says when the steps were ironed out and the windows arrived, the process itself was fairly simple. “It actually came together seamlessly,” he says.

Credit: Michael Schwebel

Once the professional work was complete, Michael hung the greenery in the space as well as a new glass-and-gold light fixture. His advice for creating a plant wall? Don’t actually let the planters touch the wall, he says, because it can cause moisture problems down the line due to watering. Michael advises using rubber bumpers to keep his pots from directly touching the wall. (And one of his favorite elements of his projects is that he’s managed to keep all of his plants alive on a two-times-per-month watering schedule!)

Credit: Michael Schwebel

“We love the bright sun and plants and tropical jungle alleyway feeling walking to the bedroom or the office,” Michael says. “My favorite is around noon each day, if I happen to be home, I walk through this lit-up vault draped with vines and plants and green.”