23 paint colour schemes for hallways

Refresh your hallway and create a fabulous first impression with our inspiring paint colour ideas for hallways

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We often overlook the hallway when it comes to putting in design elbow grease. But they're not just thoroughfares to be painted white and forgotten, how you design your hallway and in particular its colour scheme, can provide an important link to the rooms that lead off them. This is particularly important as they're the first room in our homes that guests see.

What's more, hallways are usually long, narrow, poorly lit spaces that need all the help they can get to shine. So why not liven up this crucial space with our hallway paint ideas? Whether you feel like experimenting or are after a classic look, there is something here for everyone.

Starting your hallway from scratch? Have a read through our guide to designing a hallway too. 

1. Use paint colours to change proportions

Putting a dark colour on a wall makes it advance visually; lighter ones make it recede. So, the trick in this hallway, with the darker wall at the far end and lighter walls around it, has been to make it feel squarer. Other clever tricks? The use of the same paler colour on the ceilings and woodwork, including the door, makes the hallway feel less busy, and therefore more spacious, too. 

As for the colour, mauves and purples are distinctive, yet welcoming. Perfect for a hallway, in other words.

Wooded Solace (pale colour) and Blackberry Bush, both by Dulux. 

Not sure what colour to pick? Use our guide to choosing the right colours for every room in your home for expert advice.

Dulux ColourFutures™ 2018_Heart Wood Home_Heart Wood, Wooded Solace, Blackberry Bush

(Image: © Dulux)

2. Use warm sunny paint colours in your hallway

One thing is certain about hallways, and it is that they almost always get very little natural daylight. Neutral shades are a tried and tested way to combat this problem, but why not go a step further and cheer up your hallway with a sunny shade? Keep it contemporary with no fuss accessories and neutral colour accents.

The glorious Golden Sands shown here has a warm tone that will remind you of summery days, even in the depth of winter. Shown here paired with Heart Wood. Both Dulux.

For more tips on decorating a dark or north-facing room have a read of our feature. 

Dulux Golden Sands and Heart Wood

(Image: © Dulux)

3. Experiment with bold contrasts

A pairing of intense shades is guaranteed to elevate your hallway from the most forgettable space in the house to statement interior. Don’t be afraid of bold shades – it’s all about making sure that they harmonise, which you can ensure by picking tones that can compete equally. Use the darker colour on the lower half of the wall to keep the hallway feeling as spacious as possible.

Take inspiration from this example, in Midnight Navy and Scottish Pine by Crown Paints. Check out our guide to using a colour wheel for interior design and colour scheming if you want more advice on how to use bolder paint colours in your hallway. 

Midnight Navy and Scottish Pine

(Image: © Crown Paints)

4. Create a warm welcome with peachy pastels 

If going for a bold clash isn’t your thing, you can still experiment with contrasting shades and colour blocking, all the while keeping things safely neutral with an off-white scheme and nearly matching tones. Want a contemporary feel? Introduce warm, peachy pinks into your hallway; they look fab matched with white paintwork and richly-grained mid-tone wood. 

In this hallway, delicate blush shades Step Inside and Warm Welcome, both Crown, break up the walls nicely without screaming for attention. We have loads more advice on how to colour block if you want to recreate this look in your hallway.

Warm Welcome and Step Inside

(Image: © Crown Paints)

5. Get maximum effect from your favourite colour

Since hallways tend to be, for the most part, pretty much unfurnished spaces, there is little to worry about in terms of paint colours clashing with furniture. So, this is the place to really indulge in a colour you love, by putting it on walls, woodwork and even radiators. Perfect for making a small space feel larger, this trick will work in both contemporary and traditional homes. 

We love this dusty turquoise Monday Blues from Crown Paints. 

Monday Blues

(Image: © Crown Paints)

6. Create an accent with a line

You can add even more interest to a two-tone hallway by painting a sleek black line just over the dado rail. Combined with the grey-pink paint pairing, the black creates an effortlessly smart finish here, and picks out the black of the floor tiles and lamp base, neatly tying the colour scheme together. 

The colours used here are Temple, Monument, and New Black, all from Paint & Paper Library.

Paint & Paper Library Temple, Monument, New Black

(Image: © Paint and Paper Library)

7. Add character to a hallway with a deep grey shade

Hallways should not be painted dark colours, right? Well, it all depends on the shade. While painting your hallway black will only really work in homes with lofty ceilings, a strong, deep shade of grey can lend hallways in even modern, more compact homes a classy, manor house-style look. Accent with colourful paintings and decorative pieces for an eclectic feel, and keep the ceiling white to bounce light around. 

This hallway (and the one at the top of the page) is in Farrow & Ball’s bestselling lead grey shade Down Pipe

Find out which paints are Farrow & Ball's best selling shades of the moment.

Farrow & Ball Down Pipe

(Image: © Farrow & Ball)

8. Paint a door frame in a contrasting shade

Who says door frames, woodwork and doors (for that matter) have to be white? You can give a contemporary hallway a modern feel and a traditional home a period feel by using the same neat paint trick: painting woodwork in a darker, contrasting shade. A quick way to freshen up an already neutral space, it's a practical move, too, especially if you have kids or pets who leave their grimy marks as they pass. 

This hallway is painted in Strong White, while the door frame is accented with Down Pipe, both from Farrow & Ball. 

Use our guide to painting a door to ensure your paintwork is up to scratch.

Strong White and Down Pipe

(Image: © Farrow & Ball)

9. Pick pastels for a busy hallway

If your hallway is a higgledy piggledy warren of doors, stairs and corners, then a great hallway paint ideas is to pick a pale pastel shade to make it look light, bright – and restful. For a country-style look, match it with delicate whitewashed furniture and delicate accessories; for a contemporary appeal, match it with blonde wood. 

This hallway is decorated in Bone China Blue from Little Greene. 

Love pastels? We've got plenty more pastel decorating ideas

Little Greene Bone China Blue Mid

(Image: © Little Greene)

10. Go easy with a rich cream shade

There is nothing quite like a creamy paint colour for an instantly inviting effect. But, more than that, it's so easy to update – simply swap out accessories, such as table lamps or rugs to update your colour scheme, without picking up a paintbrush.  

Our pick of the bunch are the smooth Clay Mid and Clay Pale, both from Little Greene. 

Clay Mid and Clay Pale, Little Greene

(Image: © Little Greene)

11. Discover the optical effects of green in a hallway

Green is the most relaxing of colours, making it perfect for a busy family hallway. Lighter shades also work wonders at visually expanding small spaces, especially when paired with a bright white shade. In this hallway, a gentle sage colour opposite white walls creates depth and an impression of space, plus it links neatly to the colour scheme of the room beyond. 

The shades used are Almost Sage and Blank Canvas, both by Crown Paints. 

Crown Almost Sage and Blank Canvas

(Image: © Crown Paints)

12. Explore multiple shades of the same colour

Using darker and lighter tones of the same colour creates focus in a space. So, just as you might highlight a fireplace wall in a living room by painting it a different colour to those of the rest of the room, you can achieve a similar effect in a hallway. Why not start by painting the wall behind a console table to draw attention to that, or the one at the far end of the hallway on which you've hung a gallery of pictures? The contrasting accent in this hallway makes the space feel contemporary and lifts the pale scheme into a sunnier one.

Walls here are in Woad and Grey Stone, with skirting and door frame painted in Sunlight. All from Little Greene. 

Woad, Grey Stone, Sunlight by iIttle Greene

(Image: © Little Greene)

13. Go for an eclectic mix of paint colours

If you are feeling really adventurous, and your home's (generous) proportions can accommodate a bold, contrasting scheme, why not use the hallway to really explore the potential of unusual colour combinations? If you are confident in your understanding of colour, go for it, but perhaps keep the bold clashes to upstairs, and ground the scheme with a deep, neutral shade for woodwork and doors. 

The shades used here are Cape Red and Mid Azure Green, with the far door in Trumpet, all from Little Greene. 

Cape Red and Mid Azure Green

(Image: © Little Greene)

14. Red is not off-limits

Red is a bold choice for a hallway paint, but it can work really well if you choose a sophisticated, mid-tone shade, and match it with more muted colours for doors, floors and woodwork. 

This smooth crimson is Radicchio from Farrow & Ball. 

Farrow & Ball Radicchio

(Image: © Farrow & Ball)

15. Don’t under-estimate versatile off-whites

An off-white shade is a failsafe option for hallways, guaranteed to make the space look fresh, light and spacious. Off-whites come in an almost endless variety of subtle undertones, so there is still plenty of room for creating individual style and variation if you use more than one tone. 

We like Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite, a sophisticated off-white with a slight green undertone. 

Hallway with red carpet painted in Farrow & Ball Ammonite

(Image: © Farrow & Ball)

16. Choose a contrasting tone for the woodwork

If your hallway has attractive woodwork, you might like to make a feature of it rather than concentrating on the walls. Pick your colour carefully – woodwork tends to look good in natural shades rather than anything too bright. Bear in mind, too, that a dark shade on woodwork only will still make a big impact on the natural light in the space.

hallway with grey scheme by carpetright

(Image: © Carpetright)

17. Paint the staircase

A great hallway paint idea, and one that adds a ton of character is to paint the staircase. It's a look that can suit both contemporary and period properties, particularly country-style spaces, plus it's a good budget alternative to carpet.

Find out how to paint a staircase and get inspiration in our dedicated feature.

Hallway with painted floor and staircse and gallery wall in Vanessa Arbuthnott's converted cow barn

(Image: © Brent Darby)

18. Create a family noticeboard with blackboard paint

If you're a parent to young kids who like to doodle on the walls anyway (we've all been there), or if you've got teens who need a little help with organisation, a wall painted with blackboard paint is a clever idea. Use our guide to painting a chalkboard wall for how tos and ideas.

Hallway with blackboard paint, by Kreis Design

(Image: © Kreis Design)

19. Paint wall panelling for bags of character

Wall panelling is a practical choice for a hallway because it'll take all the knocks and scuffs that a plain painted wall or wallpaper won't. Choose a deeper shade of paint for a low-maintenance look, and be sure to pick a paint with a wipeable finish.

For wall panel know how and design ideas, see our guide.

Hallway with natural flooring

(Image: © Kersaint Cobb)

20. Paint hallway storage to blend away

If you're building in hallway storage, however large or small, painting it the same colour as the wall it sits on will help it visually recede, giving you a smarter finish. Pick a light, neutral shade for a space-enhancing finish.

bespoke painted bootroom with fitted cupboards, storage bench and coat hooks by artichoke

(Image: © Artichoke)

21. Paint the inside of the front door

We are all very focused on the colour of our front doors, but don't neglect what it looks like on the inside! Painting the inside of your front door could be all you need to add a subtle splash of colour to your hallway – and you are really easily DIY it on the cheap. Use our guide to painting a door to get your finish spot on.

We love how this sage green (for something similar try Farrow & Ball Breakfast Room Green) looks with the bold floor tiles from Ca'Pietra

Sage painted door in a hallway with bold geometric tiles

(Image: © Modern Harlequin )

22. CHOOSE A CLASSIC MONOCHROME DESIGN SCHEME

You can't go wrong with a black and white hallway design – it's simple and elegant. With a monochrome scheme in a hallway, we say, the more white the better and just add touches of black here and there, as hallways tend to be darker spaces anyway and you don't want to enhance that by getting too happy with the black paint. Unless you like dark and atmospheric interiors, then by all means go ahead.  

Try painting the banisters and using accessories to add in the darker hues but keep walls and floors light. 

Black and white hallway with red floor tiles

This monochrome look is made even more striking by the red floor tiles by Ca'Pietra

(Image: © Ca Pietra)

23. Contrast your hallway paint colours with other rooms

When choosing the best paint for your hallway consider the colours of the rooms that lead off the space, especially if you want to go bold. In this hallway, below the dado rail has been painted in a dark navy blue, to contrast with the pink room beyond. Love it.

You could of course always paint your hallway in the same colour as the rest of your downstairs rooms if you want a more cohesive look. In this hallway, going for the same all over colour, draws you to the end room, making the space seem longer. Painting the door in a darker colour adds just enough contrast and breaks up the lighter blue. 

Blue hallways with geometric tiles and yellow statement chair

We love how the Ca'Pietra patterned floor tiles in this hallway tie together the whole colour scheme 

(Image: © Ca Pietra)

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