How to Make a Long Hallway Look Shorter

Hallways conduct energy from the hallway to the rest of the house, according to the feng shui perspective.
Hall runners add color and texture to break up a long hallway.Hall runners add color and texture to break up a long hallway.
If hallways seem narrow, long and lackluster, the motivation to journey down them is stifled. Creating the illusion of a shorter, brighter hallway can spark curiosity, propelling you to venture down the hallway to other rooms in the house.

Step 1

Remove clutter from the hallway to make it safer and give you a "clean slate" to work with. Take down wall hangings and clear away furniture, accessories and window treatments.

Step 2

Patch nail holes and other wall blemishes with a spackle compound. Apply a paint primer over the walls and ceiling. Cover the side walls and ceiling with a fresh coat of light-colored paint, such as white, beige, taupe or cream. Paint the shorter wall at the end of the hallway with a naturally advancing color, such as red or yellow, which will make side walls appear shorter. Painting wide (12 to 15 inches) vertical stripes on the side walls of the hallway in alternating whites, beiges, creams or taupes will create the illusion of a shorter hallway.

Step 3

Position a small console or bench at the end of the hallway to create an interesting focal point, giving the walkway an "end." Hang a large picture above the furniture to "cozy up" the long passageway. Set a decorative vase of fresh flowers and a small lamp atop the console, adding color, warmth and texture.

Step 4

Break up the sides of the hallway by hanging artwork collections or groupings of black-and-white framed photographs with similar subject matter, such as nature, buildings or people. This will divide the walls into small sections, making the hallway appear shorter. If the hallway is narrow, hang the arrangements on only one side of the walkway.

Step 5

Install track lighting to spotlight art collections or photograph groupings, creating visual interest and separating the long walls with bursts of intense light.

Step 6

Deck hallway windows with sheer, lightweight curtains to allow natural light to brighten the hallway while breaking up the long hallway with soft texture to make it appear shorter.

Step 7

Lay a colorful hall runner on a wood floor to add comfort, color and warmth to the passageway, helping to visually shorten the extended hallway.

Things You Will Need

  • Wall patching compound
  • Paint primer
  • Interior latex paint
  • Painting supplies
  • Console or bench
  • Vase of fresh flowers
  • Table lamp
  • Artwork
  • Picture hanging supplies
  • Track lighting
  • Sheer curtains
  • Hall runner


  • Open a window or door, allowing for fresh-air ventilation, before painting the walls and ceiling.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.