10 hallway lighting ideas to brighten this important space

Your hallway is the gateway to your home, so it’s important to create a feel that’s both warm and practical. Here’s how to get the balance just right.

Your hallway is more than just a space for storing coats. It’s both the entry and exit point to your abode and somewhere that sets the mood for how the rest of your home feels. But with the space often lacking an abundance of natural light, how do you ensure your lighting is both functional and welcoming?  After all, no-one wants to trip over shoes and bags because of inadequate illumination.

Should you be using feature lighting or keeping it purely practical? Do you need spotlights to lead the way or is the moody glow of a table lamp enough to get by? We’ve delved deep into the world of hallway lighting to bring you 10 bright ideas.

hallway painted in white with grey runner on stairs and spotlightsCredit: Tile Mountain
Lighting your hallway needs to be both practical and pretty

How much light do you need in a hallway?

According to the experts at lighting company Pooky, there’s a formula for working out how many lumens you need in the space. For those who are unsure, a lumen is the measure of visible light emitted from a lamp or light source – so the higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light.

Pooky proposes the following formula:

  • Multiply the length and width of the hallway to get the square footage (for example, a hallway measuring 12ft x 4ft (3.66m x 1.22m) will have a total area of 48 square feet (4.46 sqm).
  • Determine the “foot candle”, which refers to how many lumens are required per square foot. As a general guide, a hallway will require around 5-10 foot candles.
  • Multiply the square footage of the room by the foot candle to get the number of lumens you will need to light your hallway.
  • For example, in a room measuring 48 square feet, the total number of lumens required will be 48 x 5-10 = 240-480 lumens.

“Of course, this is only a baseline,” suggests the team at Pooky. “As well as the basic number of lumens, you need to consider other factors when lighting a hallway, including the height and proportions of the space, the decor, and the kind of atmosphere you’re looking to create.

“You want your hallway to feel as open and inviting as possible, and some beautiful and strategically placed lighting can make all the difference to the sense of space. The style of lighting you choose will also help to determine the overall feeling of the space.”


1. Frame your entrance

Define your doorway with matching wall lights

oak front door with wall lights either sideCredit: Ted Todd
Showcase your front door with wall lights that frame the space

If the main feature of your hallway is a beautiful door, make this your lighting focal point and add matching wall lights either side of the door frame. Match the finish of the lights to your switches (in this case brass) and ensure all other lights, such as table lamps, follow suit.

Even if there’s more natural light – such as in this scheme, which has glazed panels either side of the front door – don’t forget that when it gets dark outside, you’ll need a little extra help. Simple spots or a flush-fitting glass ceiling light will provide sufficient light without detracting from the overall look.

Featured product

Isaac Wall Light Antique Brass Glass, Cotterell & Co

RRP: £79

Isaac Wall Light Antique Brass Glass, Cotterell & Co

2. Reflect at every opportunity

Add mirrors opposite lighting for maximum refraction

hallway with circular mirror positioned opposite low hanging black pendant lightCredit: Arteriors
Make the most of mirrors to increase the light

For a narrower hallway, where there’s less opportunity for natural light, follow the advice of Helen Pett, design ambassador for furniture company Arteriors. Pett says that in a hallway you should “incorporate a mixture of sconces, lamps and overhead fixtures – whether that be from a singular statement chandelier or multiple pendants. Combinations will offer pools of illumination throughout, rather than harsh lighting from a single, central source.”

Additional interior design tricks to make the most of your space include:

  1. Hanging mirrors opposite all light sources – both natural and artificial – to increase the overall sense of light.
  2. Painting the wall in a lighter colour.
  3. Using tall floor lamps in dark corners.

3. Shine a light on seating

Use a pair of pendants for a balanced approach

hallway with built in bench seat and lights hanging aboveCredit: Iliv
Match pendants to spotlight a seating area

If your hallway benefits from a glut of glazing, it allows you to focus more on the aesthetics than the essentials when it comes to your lighting scheme.

In this lovely hallway with a seating area, designers have illuminated the space with matching pendant lights. They continue the matching theme by using a set of prints to frame the window and pairs of cushions in the same pretty fabrics to adorn the padded bench seat.

Simple pastel colours also help to keep the scheme light and fresh. “Hallways benefit from being decorated with a concise palette to create a calm space,” says Helen Shaw, director of international marketing paint company Benjamin Moore.

“The classical choice is to keep the colour scheme light and bright. This works well in spaces that are more compact.”

4. Pack a colourful punch

Create cohesion through a shared colour scheme

table lamp with red shade in hallway with red wallpaper and chairCredit: Pooky
Use a shared pop of red to create a united interior scheme

For a hallway lighting idea that leaves your guests in no doubt about the joyful dopamine decor they are about to enjoy, pick a bold primary colour from your scheme and use it on the shade of a hallway table lamp.

As well as acting as a signpost for your style, the warm red tones used in this design will provide a wonderful low-level glow at night.

It’s also a great illustration of a  single design choice that pulls a whole look together. The colour of the lamp speaks to the hallway runner at floor level, the picture up above, the flower to the right and teases the colour of the wallpaper and the chair in the room beyond, giving a hint of the delights to come.

Featured product

Rastrick Table Lamp, Pooky

RRP: From £145

Rastrick Table Lamp, Pooky

Love the panelling in this hallway design? Check out our bedroom wall-panelling ideas for more inspiration.

5. Add natural light

Install a rooflight and replace the need for a ceiling lamp

Use natural light whenever possibleCredit: Carpetright
Use natural light whenever possible

Even if natural light abounds in your hallway, don’t shy away from adding even more. While you may already have a plethora of windows, if your hallway has a low sloping roof and is not overlooked, you can add a rooflight.

The addition of just one simple glazed panel can reduce the need for ceiling lights. It will bring in more natural light during the day and add a dramatic night-time view on departure.

But as the UK daylight can be a little unreliable, be sure to still add atmosphere to your scheme with some high-level wall lights. “Discreet and atmospheric, wall lights take precious little space and can provide a decorative flourish,” says Pett – and we agree.

The lights in this scheme will cast a lovely glow down the wall when it gets dark and add warmth to this chic Scandinavian-inspired grey and white design.

Featured product

Ultra Striped Carpet, Carpetright

RRP: £24.49 per sqm

Ultra Striped Carpet, Carpetright

Wondering what carpet works best to help lighten a hallway?

Like me, you may have fallen a little in love with the subtle stripes of this grey and white striped carpet. We asked Punam Chada, carpet buyer at Carpetright, for her top tips.

“Carpet is a practical and stylish solution for brightening the hallway in your home,” she says. “From rugs through to runners, you can find a solution that works.

“Although there has been a move towards bolder colours, beige and neutral flooring remain at the heart of most homes,” she adds. “Using these tones in a small, dark hallway can help make the most of natural light, ensuring the space feels bright, airy and spacious while adding an elegance and sophistication.”

6. Hang low-level pendants

Create a cosy corner

hallway with low hanging pendant lightsCredit: Industville
Use longer flex on pendant lights for a cosy effect

If you prefer to embrace the cosy feel of a darker hallway, the current trend for wall panelling is a great addition to your entrance area. Paint skirting boards and panelling in a darker colour but keep the painted area above it light. After all, you don’t want it so dark that people leave with the wrong coat and shoes.

To keep the overall look even more intimate, use low-hanging pendant lights either side of a mirror so that they create a subtly lit corner and ensure that when you look in the mirror, you can still see yourself.

Featured product

Orlando Tinted Glass Flask Pendant, Industville

RRP: £89

Orlando Tinted Glass Flask Pendant, Industville

Hankering after coat hooks?

If the arrival of autumn means you suddenly need somewhere to hang your coats and you have your eye on the Eames-inspired design in this image, read our guide to the best coat hooks for a clutter-free hallway.

7. Shine with sconces

Make a statement with unusual design choices

Add a unique design for a characterful hallway lighting schemeCredit: Jim Lawrence
Add a unique design for a characterful hallway lighting scheme

Although the hallway is a high-traffic area in terms of the number of people flowing through, it’s rarely somewhere you stay for any length of time. From an interiors point of view, it’s therefore an opportunity to be bolder in your choice of hallway lighting, as you are unlikely to tire of it anytime soon.

Although pendants can often be dramatic, if your ceiling is a little lower then sconces such as this shell-like design can be used instead to great effect.

“While hallways can help to set the tone and look for the rest of your home by ensuring there is a seamless flow from one floor (or room) to the next,” says Sheena Lawrence, co-director at lighting company Jim Lawrence, “they also offer an opportunity to make a statement.”

If you have a long corridor-style hallway and are wondering where to fit your wall lights, Lawrence tells us: “A general rule of thumb is to position them about 250cm to 300cms or between eight feet and 10 feet apart. The top of the wall light should be at eye level so that you are not looking directly into the bulb.”

Featured product

Scallop Wall Light in Antiqued Brass, Jim Lawrence

RRP: £108.53

Scallop Wall Light in Antiqued Brass, Jim Lawrence

8. Light all levels

Have a grander entrance? Layering is essential

grand hallway with wall, ceiling and accent lightingCredit: Rebecca Hughes Interiors
Add different types of lighting to an imposing entrance

If your hallway speaks volumes in terms of stature and size, it’s essential to get the amount of lighting just right. Too little and it will lack character, too much and it will seem like a tourist attraction.

We love how this hallway has completely nailed the brief. The use of gallery-style lighting to showcase artwork, table lamps for a comforting glow, lights placed in archways and uplighters in dark corners make this hallway a masterclass in layered lighting.

Nicola Bouchard, owner of MooBoo Home, explains: “Good lighting in a hallway can be transformative. You need to take into account the size of the space, the height of the ceiling, the decor in place, style (modern/rustic or classic) and whether you need it lighting brightly, for mood, or indeed both.”

We’d say this scheme leaves no box unticked.

9. Step in style

Don’t forget to light at floor level

hallway with low level spotlights on wall just above stair treadsCredit: Stone and Ceramic Warehouse
Add low level spots to showcase your stairs

Although your hallway is the entrance to your home, it’s also the gateway to other locations, including upstairs.

So instead of just relying on ceiling or wall lights to help guide the way, use a series of LED lights placed close to the stair treads. They’ll not only look eye-catching throughout the day, but will be a great safety measure when the nights get darker. Casting a light along the tread could help to prevent potential falls – especially if your staircase design favours a more modern trend for open treads.

Finish the look with sleek glass balustrades to allow natural light and the light from the recessed LEDS to shine through.

10. Curate your console

Light up your treasures with a table lamp

Illuminate your artworkCredit: Industville
Illuminate your artwork

A perfect partner to most hallways – however large or small – the console table is an item of furniture we regularly see in entrances. Available in most sizes and shapes, it’s a great option for placing hallway lighting.

“You can’t beat a hallway console with a gorgeous lamp and lampshade,” says furniture and lighting company Cotterell and Co. “This low-level, softer lighting will make the house feel incredibly warm in the evenings.”

It’s also the perfect opportunity to showcase artwork and display small treasures.

As the perfect finishing touch, why not greet guests with a welcoming fragrance from a scented candle or diffuser leaving you safe in the knowledge that the warm, cosy glow will send them safely on their way at the end of the day.

Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her


Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

Away from work, Sarah fills her Pinterest boards with more ideas, dreams of where to travel, takes photographs and loves being by the sea. She has two sons and if she absorbed everything they said would also be a football expert. The fact is she is often more interested in the colour and design of the kit – but don’t tell them that.

  • linkedin