Put your corridors to work as storage, seating, or gallery space with these ideas.

Hallways don’t just have to be connective space—they can serve a multitude of functions despite the challenges that their long, narrow proportions present. Below, find a practical guide to making hallways that aren’t just for passing through.

1. Install Shelving

Installing wood shelves in this nook in a hallway adds visual interest that breaks up the hallway's length, and provides storage for books and other vignettes.

Installing wood shelves in this nook in a hallway adds visual interest that breaks up the hallway’s length, and provides storage for books and other vignettes.

Nicole Franzen

Custom millwork and cabinetry can be a great way to add storage while keeping the hallway looking clean, neat, and bright. Cut-outs in the doors instead of knobs or cabinet handles ensure that hardware doesn't take up any extra space in the narrow corridor.

Custom millwork and cabinetry can be a great way to add storage while keeping the hallway looking clean, neat, and bright. Cut-outs in the doors instead of knobs or cabinet handles ensure that hardware doesn’t take up any extra space in the narrow corridor.

Photo: Josh Partee

2. Hang Artwork

Installing artwork in a hallway is a great way to create drama in a small, narrow space; textured pieces like this one work particularly well because viewers can get very close.

Installing artwork in a hallway is a great way to create drama in a small, narrow space; textured pieces like this one work particularly well because viewers can get very close. 

Benjamin Benschneider

Artwork can also bring balance to a space, acting as a counterpoint to closets and doors, and introducing color schemes that play throughout the rest of the home.

Artwork can also bring balance to a space, acting as a counterpoint to closets and doors, and introducing color schemes that play throughout the rest of the home.

Photo: Casey Dunn

3. Add Seating

Placing seating in a hallway or corridor might sound counterintuitive. However, adding seating— in particular a piece that takes advantage of the length and narrowness of a hallway, like a bench—is particularly well-suited because it works as a waiting nook.

Placing seating in a hallway or corridor might sound counterintuitive. However, adding seating— in particular a piece that takes advantage of the length and narrowness of a hallway, like a bench—is particularly well-suited because it works as a waiting nook.

Andrey Avdeenko

A bench in a hallway can also provide a moment of respite, encouraging new perspectives and rhythms within a residence, even if it's just a pause to look out a window or into another room.

A bench in a hallway can also provide a moment of respite, encouraging new perspectives and rhythms within a residence, even if it’s just a pause to look out a window or into another room.

​Andrew Giammarco​



4. Turn it Into a Library

You may think that a library has to be its own room, but books can be stored and read just about anywhere. Lining a hallway with books turns it into a library that you’ll walk through, and be inspired by, every day. Cabinets below provide extra storage and even a place to sit and read.

You may think that a library has to be its own room, but books can be stored and read just about anywhere. Lining a hallway with books turns it into a library that you’ll walk through, and be inspired by, every day. Cabinets below provide extra storage and even a place to sit and read. 

Photo: Tiia Ettala

Creating a library along a staircase out of open shelving means that the books can be accessed from both the staircase and the stair hall on the other side.

Creating a library along a staircase out of open shelving means that the books can be accessed from both the staircase and the stair hall on the other side.

Photo: Pia Ulin

5. Install Hooks

Wall space in a hallway can easily be activated by a series of hooks for hats, coats, or scarves. If the hallway is particularly visible, you may hang items in an artful way, so that there's a mixture of aesthetic cohesion and functionality.

Wall space in a hallway can easily be activated by a series of hooks for hats, coats, or scarves. If the hallway is particularly visible, you may hang items in an artful way, so that there’s a mixture of aesthetic cohesion and functionality.

Photo: Airbnb

Colorful, scattered coat hooks by the architect-designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster create a functional, eye-catching wall that works well whether the hooks are used for hanging or just for decoration.

Colorful, scattered coat hooks by the architect-designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster create a functional, eye-catching wall that works well whether the hooks are used for hanging or just for decoration.

Doublespace Photography

6. Create a Drop-Off Station 

An entrance hallway is the first space you enter in a home, but it can also serve the very important function of acting as a drop-off station or mudroom for keys, shoes, and coats.

An entrance hallway is the first space you enter in a home, but it can also serve the very important function of acting as a drop-off station or mudroom for keys, shoes, and coats.

Photo: Eirik Johnson

A drop-off station can consist of anything, from nothing more than a narrow shelf with a mirror above it, to a series of hooks with seating, storage, and plants.

A drop-off station can consist of anything, from nothing more than a narrow shelf with a mirror above it, to a series of hooks with seating, storage, and plants.

Photo: Room & Board

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