6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space

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By Kate Reggev
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.

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.

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. 

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.

Shop the Look
Knoll Barcelona Couch
Knoll Barcelona Couch
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Couch (1930) was added to his Barcelona Collection in the year following the introduction of the Chair and Stool.
Menu Afteroom Coat Hanger
Menu Afteroom Coat Hanger
Inspired by the same design philosophy which pivots around simplicity and honesty within the Afteroom series, the Afteroom Coat Hanger also draws its references from Bauhaus and Modernism.
Crate & Barrel Origami Wall Shelf
Crate & Barrel Origami Wall Shelf
With its unique zigzag design, Crate & Barrel's Origami Wall Shelf will reshape the way you think about storage. Pinewood and iron construction makes it strong enough to hold and display favorite books and toys.




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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.