If you live in older home like I do, dark hallways are something you learn to live with. Most older homes -- that is, home built before the 1950s -- relied on weak utility bulbs to light up the passageways between the main part of the house and bedrooms. Very old homes (such as mine) never had lights to begin with, relying instead on natural lighting during the day and candlelight by night.
Whatever the reason for the dark hall in your home, there's a number of strategies you can try to lighten and brighten up that space.
Restore the original hall floor plan. Halls in older homes were originally designed to take advantage of natural lighting coming from elsewhere in the house. If your hall seems unusually dark, it's possible that the walls were altered in some way. One way to brighten up a dark hall is to "undo" a remodeling that may have closed off natural light.
Common hall remodels that I've seen in older homes include these light blocking mistakes:
--Installing a closet at the end of a hall where once was a window
--Replacing above-door transom windows with a solid wall
--Filling in arches or half walls for privacy
--Lowering doorways to reduce heat bills
--Removal of glass skylights
--Replacing a glass paneled door with a solid door
If remodeling your hall doesn't fit into your budget, the following tips will also work.
Repaint with semi gloss. Light-colored paints make a room seem larger, brighter and cheerier. If your hall is painted in dark colors, consider repainting in a light colored semi-gloss to reflect existing light instead of absorbing it. Off whites, light greens or blue, pale oranges, and yellow are just a few color choices that will brighten up a dark hall.
Hang light-colored wallpaper. Since the hallway in my home was made of bumpy old plaster, we opted to use textured wallpaper instead of paint. The baseboards, doors, and ceiling were trimmed out in a semigloss eggshell paint which also helped brighten up the space.
There are all types of wallpaper available which can work wonders in lightening and brightening a dark hall. Vertical stripes, reflective foils, pale florals and small geometric prints are just a few ideas of wallpaper patterns that look great in a dark hall.
Remove dark furnishings and dark wall decor. Another simple strategy for lightening a hall is to take a critical look at the type of decor on the walls. Darkly colored wall decor including contemporary metals and woods can quickly overwhelm a small, poorly lit hall. A better way to decorate is with a few well-chosen art prints to make the space seem taller, cleaner, and less cluttered.
Switch out the light fixture. If your hall is beyond help, it may be time to consider a little electrical work. Having the hall ceiling wired for new light fixtures is cheaper than you might think, and will make a huge difference in improving the looks and safety as well.
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