Little Greene's creative director shares her clever painting trick to make narrow hallways feel lighter

Have you been neglecting painting this important area?

Hallway painting trick
(Image credit: Future)

When painting a home, we tend to focus on the walls more than any other area - but look up and you’ll see you might have been missing an area this whole time.

Hallways, by their very nature, aren't areas you spend much time in, but as they are often the first thing guests may see when visiting, getting them right is key.

Painted hallway ceilings are not only bang on trend, but they can add so much to an area in terms of the spatial feel of a hallway, how light sits in the space and the overall cool factor.

We show you how to use this ceiling hallway painting trick to give your home a new lease of life and make even the pokiest of hallways feel light and airy.

Hallway painting trick

Photography/Paul Raeside

(Image credit: Future)

Colourblocking is a go-to move of a modern home. Perhaps you’ve worked this in with furniture, decor or paint on the walls, but really up the ante on this contemporary vibe by including the ceiling into your hallway design. 

‘Don’t forget about the ceiling – it is often painted white out of habit but this has a big impact on the way that the hallway will feel,’ advises Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene. ‘To create a focal point to draw the eye, paint the ceiling a contrasting colour to the walls.’

Hallway painting trick

Photography/Alexander James

(Image credit: Future)

Ruth also notes that some hallways, particularly in period homes, may have overly high feeling ceilings, and so you can use this trick to your advantage. ‘To lower the hallway ceiling and create a more intimate setting, simply extend the shade on the ceiling down to the dado rail to draw the eye downwards,’ she says.

Try not to go too primary with these colour choices. The two shades pared together will have a lot of impact as they are, so look to secondary colours and pastel hues. For the biggest impact, use the ‘safer’ shade on the hallway walls and the more dramatic choice on the ceiling. Not only will the eye draw upwards immediately, but you’ll have room to play with this bold shade through soft accessories beneath.

Hallway painting trick

Photography/Paul Raeside

(Image credit: Future)

Another way to approach painting a hallway ceiling is to create a holistic scheme. 

‘For the illusion of space, simply paint the walls and ceiling in the same shade to extend the walls upwards,’ says Ruth. This works particularly well in narrow hallways that may be lacking in natural light.’

Both light and dark tones work well here, and you’ll be surprised how even darker shades still feel spacious when painted all over. 

Do, however, consider the lighting of your hallway. While an all-over charcoal or mossy green room may look marvellous with mood lighting, perhaps this will feel too harsh if there's a window providing natural light. Or if there's no natural light, you could consider painting everything a lit and airy neutral to enhance whatever light is found.