Lighting a hallway: tips and ideas to get your lights spot on

Lighting a hallway takes some planner, so we have broken it all down for you to make it super simple in our guide...

Lighting a hallway
(Image credit: Ikea)

How do you light the whole hallway space?

MEK suspension lights, 326 each, Karman

(Image credit: Karman)

The ambient light for a hallway could be provided by a pendant light hung from the ceiling. Remember, though, that it’s there to light up the whole space, rather than leaving some parts of the entranceway in shadow. Dark areas will make a hall feel smaller than it really is, and inhibit easy circulation through the space. 

If a single pendant isn’t going to cut it, think about hanging a series of them down a long narrow hallway just as you might over a dining table or kitchen island. As well as providing even light, they’ll make an appealing and contemporary feature.

Alternatively, a single pendant can be combined with wall lights to provide adequate background light for the whole space.

When lighting a hallway it’s worth considering dimmers so you can soften the ambient hall light when you want. A bright hallway seen from other living spaces that are lit in a more subdued fashion in the evening can be overbearing.

Lighting a hallway with spotlights

(Image credit: John Cullen Lighting)
  • The layer of lighting that you add to enable you to achieve a goal, or boost illumination in very specific areas is just as important in a hall as elsewhere in your home. Consider adding in low level wall lights that will brighten the floor area to enable everyone to move comfortably through the space. 
  • These are also worth considering for lighting the staircase, where they can illuminate each step to make going up and downstairs safer. 
  • Bear in mind, too, that while functional, these lights do a decorative job as they wash light over the floor, so they can be well worth investing in.
  • If you need to check your do and your lippy as you leave the house, wall lights either side of a mirror will give you good light without shadows for accurate last minute adjustments.

hallway lighting

(Image credit: Nest)

How to choose the right accent lighting for hallways

Cattelan Italia Zoom lights, £470 each, IQ Furniture

Cattelan Italia Zoom lights, £470 each, IQ Furniture

(Image credit: IQ Furniture)
  • This is the hallway lighting that’s going to play the largest role in making your hallway stylish and decoratively interesting rather than just a space to pass through. You could choose spotlights you can angle to highlight a feature such as artwork you’ve hung, or a mirror.
  • If the walls of the hall are painted in a pale shade, the light from them will also reflect back into the space to make it seem larger than it really is.
  • Try downlights to wash light, er, down, transforming a plain wall into an attractive part of the hall. 
  • Alternatively, look for attractive wall light fittings that will focus light both up and down the wall to create eye-catching light and shade patterns. 

an elegant hallway with tree wallpaper, bright blue storage and chandeliers

(Image credit: Matt Cant)
  • For an elegant effect, opt for wall lamps with drum shades that’ll throw light evenly both upwards and down. 
  • Uplights can also put the focus on art that’s hung on the wall of a hallway.
  • A table lamp can add a soft pool of light to show off a display of decorative accessories. 
  • For a super-smart look, place a matching pair either end of a slim piece of hall furniture, or use just one for a more casual – but still stylish – look. 
Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.