How to make a hallway appear wider

gardenbugDecember 4, 2011

Hi Everyone,

I purchased a new single-wide manufactured home. It has a long narrow hallway. Does anyone have any professional ideas on how I can make this hallway not look so much like a bowling alley?

My bedroom is at the end of the hall way. I was thinking of putting in etched glass doors on the bedroom, instead of the plain solid door it currently has. The walls are an off white, a very light pattern that looks watermarked, so you really don't notice the pattern. The flooring is linoleum and is beige, cream and brown marble look. I am planning to add a runner in the hallway but I'm wondering if 2 runners would break it up making it less long than one long runner? I am also going to put a large mirror on the wall opposite the window. I'm thinking of one with a espresso colored frame. What kind of a pattern should I be looking for in the way of a runner? I was thinking of a (burlap color) runner with a black border. What do y'all think? Thanks soooo much.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think if you can see through the etched glass at all, the hallway will seem even longer. The solid door in my opinion is better, perhaps painting it a bold color would help. A single runner is a good idea, it will break up the hallway. Two runners imo will only emphasize the length of the hall. I like runner you have in mind with the bold black order. You didnt say how long or wide your hallway is, so not sure if this idea will work for you but instead of a rectangular runner would a more square shaped rug fit. It would de-emphazie the length. I also have a long hallway and had a runner, but when I changed area rugs to a more square one it made my hallway look shorter. I like the idea of the mirror with black frame. Other than that I wouldnt put anything else on the wall as it makes the hallway look more narrrow imo. Can you post a picture?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 6:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A runner with horizontal (side to side) stripes will help make the hallway seem shorter and perhaps wider. Alternatively if you don't like stripes a runner with a large pattern (floral or leaf, for instance) will create interest and divert the eye from the length of the hall. A runner with a black border running lengthwise will make it seem longer. Choose a runner that is as wide as possible - don't get a 27" one, get a 36" at least or do wall-to-wall.

I agree that a glass door will increase the length of the hallway as one will be able to see to the back wall of the bedroom.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Personally, I would add color with an oriental runner but the design you choose should be based on your decor style. Also, depending on the length of your hall and location of side doors, I would probably use two rugs, vs one long one, to break up the area.

Hanging a mirror on the wall may make the hall appear more narrow and keep in mind that you don't want to feel like you're always dodging the mirror as you walk by it. If you decided to hang anything, use a shallow frame and hang it as closely to the wall as possible.

I once lived in a single-wide and I know how narrow those halls can be. I hope that since then they've gotten a little wider!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cadence, I lived in an old single-wide trailer with a long hall while we were building our house and loved it for the way it made the whole (tiny in our case) place feel so large. Our master was truly in another part of the house, far away from the living room, and our eyes had to adjust to long focus whenever we glanced down there (good!). All a way of saying I wouldn't try to make it look even an inch shorter, just pleasant to look and walk down. I truly now consider that long hall a very valuable asset, something our trailer had that compactly built tract homes don't--to their deficit.

Of course, have a nice termination of the long view, however you do it. Etched glass doors could be very nice (pattern?), both for prettiness and because they'd suggest yet more beyond in an inviting way a blank door never could. You might also do something similar with the window. An area of diffuse light connecting the sunnier main living areas and a sunny, or maybe shadowy, bedroom at each end would also enhance the experience of transition between spaces and offer yet another mood.

I'm serious about loving what our hall did for that MH. I love our house now, but now that I've lived in a SW mobile I've fantasized about someday building a smaller, single-story home with 2 or 3 single-wide-trailer-shape wings (played with in various configurations). Probably the only way we could afford construction that expensive would BE with trailers, but having tried it the door's at least ajar on that possibility now as far as I'm concerned. When I get tired of stairs and want to live much more inexpensively.

Regarding making your hall feel wider--or perhaps just not so noticeably narrow--agree with avoiding contrasting elements on either side, which would just emphasize their position, or anything that would stick out. If you need contrast, maybe on the floor? How about textured carpet tiles set diagonally for a subtle pattern of diagonal lines suggesting more width? And comfort. There are some good-looking, even elegant ones out there, and you could lay them yourself.

Also, I just literally yesterday saw a Candace Olsen rerun with a hall that's probably narrower than yours leading into an expensive condo. She put wall decals, big shiny snowflakey sort of things (didn't look closely at them) on one side. The wall was light and so were the decals, but the shimmer of them against the matte wall seemed to suggest some depth as well as provide decoration. That sort of thing might be a way extend what you do with the glass doors to the walls.

Have fun with your new home.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 2:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wouldn't hang anything on the walls, keep the area uncluttered as much as possible. I think if you try to make the hall a gallery, it will be too cramped and awkward for proper viewing of artwork and the like. For interest, you can add architectural elements to the walls such as nice trim. Otherwise let your rug(s) be the decorating element that claims the space. Try to wash the side walls with light as much as possible using directional lighting - maybe some tract lighting. Alternate and stagger the beams of light between the two walls. I think two shorter rugs would be better than one long one. Or use one rug, but limit it's length.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, thank you so much everyone for all your replies and awesome suggestions. Just thought I'd post images of my hallway. I hope they aren't too dark. The hallway is 34" wide and 18'long. I only measured the length by the side opposite the window, since that is how long I would expect to place the runner. I have also include a pic of the flooring.
I hope this will provide an 'idea' of what I'm dealing with. The pics are hopefully not too dark. Thanks everyone, I really do appreciate all your thoughts on this.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 5:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow - 18-ft really is long! I think covering the entire 34-in. width would make the hall look wider than leaving a border. It could be fun to do stripes or patchwork from Flor (see link below). For more effort, but less money, you could do something similar from carpet remnants sewn together. (Carpet store don't charge much to stitch together and finish pieces).

I could also see 34-in. square carpet remnants laid on the diagonal, for an interesting harlequin look. But I think the linoleum pattern would probably compete a lot -- hence the idea of covering it completely.

If you keep the bedroom door closed, the hallway will seem shorter. Your suggestion of etched door would work, so long as you can't really see through them. Alternatively, it could look great to hang some artwork on that door, to give a focus to the end of the hallway.

You could also add interest to the hallway by playing with lighting. For example, if the overhead light was pierced metal, it could cast an interesting light pattern onto the ceiling/walls. Or you could put up a track light, and alternate the wall areas that receive light - left, then right, then left. Hhhhmmm... may make you think you're on a long march! But you get the idea... Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Flor Tiles

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Geez.......that looks nothing like the single-wide I lived in! :~)

The fact your flooring is already on the diagonal is a huge advantage and I don't think I'd add anything more than a brighter entry rug. Overall, the hallway looks very nice and I think the only thing I'd play with is the door to your bedroom and maybe add some color to the walls (can they be painted?) Also, definitely maximize the lighting wherever possible.
Sorry ladies, I can't see track lighting in such a narrow hallway.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's excellent that your current flooring is on the diagonal.

I see you have an exterior door to the left. I would buy a practical rug for that door and then find another complimentary rug for the hallway in the forefront of your photo. I would not put another rug in the hallway on the other side of the exterior door.

I'm not sure if your bedroom is painted a different color or not, but either way it would be better if the walls in that room were different enough from the hall to define the spaces better. You could paint the front door something cheerful to brighten the space and to break up the wall.


It looks like there is a laundry area to the right. You could paint the end of the hall a cheerful color and carry that paint color into the laundry area to define that space.

Whatever you do make sure that all the colors work well together.

I think that the frames of the pictures to the left of the photo are too dark. The frames would look better if they were in the golden color of your trim. I think they look great there it's just the frames that bother me.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not so fast annz. Take a look at some of these hallways.

Here is a link that might be useful: Track lighting in Hallways

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the idea of the track lighting. Do I have to hire an electrician? Can I do this myself? When you turn right at the end of the hallway, there is a washer & dryer there. The bathroom is next to that.

This is a brand new home so I really don't want to start painting the walls just yet. However, I would really consider painting one wall back there.

I would say my the rest of my houme has a traditional/modern look to it.

Theresa, I never gave it a thought that the dark frames didn't work? hmmm- Maybe use maple colored frames to match the woodwork. I would like to know everyone else's thoughts on this. Picture frame colors.

Thanks again everyone for all your help. I love all your ideas.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lol, I have no problem with those lights theresa. But.....notice the height in most of the rooms in the link then look at the height cadence has. It all depends on how much headroom she has to work with.

I vote to keep the black frames.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 10:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

IMO the black frames work very well especially since I see other black accents in your home. Frames to match the woodwork would be boring IMO.

Do you really need a runner in the hall? I think the diagonal flooring works as well as anything to mitigate the long hallway.

If you do use a mirror please ensure it's placed where the reflection is something pleasant and attach securely. A 34" wide hallway doesn't give much space especially if one is carrying anything.

While track lighting would give you much better directional lighting if your ceilings are less than 8' and the track lighting hangs down 12" or more it might not work. Do some research and measure to be sure.

IMO the easiest way to decorate your hallway would be to paint a color but not sure if you want to do that in a new home.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think with the diagonal floor and that nice window, it's a fine hallway as is.

If that room in the forefront is an office, you could put a window into the wall between that room and the hallway. You could actually install a fake window if you didn't want to see into that room.

I lived in a single wide for a while. I LOVED it. And I had a long hall but I liked that too. I think the biggest bang for your buck will be more lighting. There is nothing wrong with a long hall, as long as it isn't dark!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cadence, I also think your current floor doesn't need to be covered up; the diagonal lines are great. Here's what I suggest: I wouldn't put track lighting. I think it would make your hall look too tunnel-like. How about a lighter rug at the exterior door, and then a harmonizing light rug at the front of the hall, as theresa suggested? And if that room to the right is an office and you don't need privacy there, how about going even further with cindyloo's idea and taking out that first section of office wall? That would give you an open floor plan and reduce the length of your hall a great deal. I see you have an electrical outlet and a thermostat there so for sure you'd need an electrician, and maybe it isn't possible, but it would take care of your hall problem in one stroke. I like the idea of an etched glass door at the end of the hall too if you can't see through it. But you wouldn't need to do anything else, IMO, if you shortened the wall on the right side. You could put French doors there if you don't want the totally open feel. And your office couldn't look like mine, of course, a sea of papers! Good luck. I hope you'll post "after" pics, whatever you do.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 7:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You're right annz, there may not be enough ceiling height. I have track lighting that projects from my ceiling a total of 5.5 inches. I have standard 8 foot ceilings. It looks like candence's ceiling may be in the 7 foot range.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 8:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just measured...ceiling to floor: 7'4" Very good guess theresa.

susanka: Funny, regarding removing the wall and putting in french doors, I had already mentioned that to my dh. Don't kid yourself about the 'sea of papers' lol.

luckygal: When you look out the window, you'll see a large deck with a white aluminum canopy cover. I have hanging baskets that you would see in the mirror in the (summer) of course.

Regarding the etched glass door I'm thinking about. I was thinking of hanging those wide wooden slat blinds on the bedroom side, for added privacy.

I think this forum is great to meet such a terrific bunch of ladies. I wish I could invite you all over for coffee. I was feeling really 'stuck' before and now I have so many creative ideas. Y'all got me thinking of the many possibilities. Thanks soooo much!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah, cadence, I even have tides!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think one color in the hall would give it a better appearance. While I HATE painting natural woodwork, I think an off white trim with a soft nice neutral cream wall would give it a softer look. The trim around the doors sticks out and draws attention to every entry. If you don't want to paint the trim, how about going slightly darker on the hall walls, so the white and trim color is softer looking. You could pick up on a light color in the floors to match blend with the natural trim. I love the color of the floor, I think your hallway has lots of potential to look great with the right paint.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I completely agree with gk said -- the less contrast the better, IMO. The trim could accent rather than delineate, and you don't want a dark border cutting into the width of the floor, so do something that goes all the way out to the edges of the hall. Blend and extend. Not *bland* and extend, but blend - -- there's a difference : ) Tone on tone or tones that share intensity and basic underpinnings (e.g. don't use a primary color next to a greyed out pastel) will lead your eye interestingly around the hall, rather than harsh contrasts making it come to a screeching halt every few feet. Does that give a conceptual framework for the specific suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmmmm..Since this is a brand new home and the woodwork is the same throughout the house, I'm a little hesitant about changing out the woodwork and start painting the walls. I think your ideas are awesome but I think I will have to wait until it really needs some major changes. My dh would flip. lol. Maybe in a year or so I might be ready to do make some of these changes. At least for now, I can put this idea on the back burner until I'm ready. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 3:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Coffee would be nice. We could talk about fixing up trailers because I actually managed to forget yesterday that we bought a little SWMH in Florida for vacations last winter. Built in 1962 but decorated a la 1970s Minnesota, and the Herculon upholstery's all in great condition. Good, because there's no money right now to do anything. Donating 40 years of the former owners' vacationer-fun flea market finds to Good Will did give it a whole new look, tho. :)

Cadence, is privacy for the MBRM a big consideration? We're empty-nesters and were and are almost the only ones to walk down to the back. But maybe people use your back door a lot? You do only see the side table from the front unless you walk down there, so I was actually going to suggest centering it in the doorway as part of creating a view into the room. Also, would you be at all interested in leaving the MBRM window curtains open in the daytime--for free but powerful decoration? People are always attracted to light, and that and designing the side table wall for a view would make the hall inviting because its termination is inviting. For privacy behind the glass, tho, how about a nice drape to pull over?

The hall in our extra-tiny trailer isn't so long, but walls here, as well as everywhere else, are cheap fake-groove paneling covered with genuine wood veneer in an attractive dark red-honey grain. That is to say, dark, but it's not dreary because the MBRM at the end has windows on 3 sides. Actually nobody notices the hall much at all--I think--because attention goes directly to the glimpse of the bright, sunny room at the end.

Whatever. I do love the idea of opening up the office. A friend had actually suggested we do that for our 2nd "bedroom" in the Florida place since it's way too small and dark for us to ever want to be in there as is, but we're holding off now as it will give privacy for one visitor, whoever is least prone to claustrophobia.

I agree your floor does look nice as is and happily has that widening diagonal grid. No accident, no doubt. Ours has dark moss green plush carpet, also in unfortunately and amazingly good condition. We have to look out the windows to confirm we're still in subtropical coastal Florida, not slipped in a space warp to Middle America 1975.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I understand about not wanting to painting all the trim. Thats why I suggested painting the walls to soften the look. Justify it to your husband that builder paint never lasts or hold up too well. If its just a hallway, a gallon of paint could be less than $20 to transform the hall....leave the trim as it is. Coffee was a great color suggestion. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Front door color advice
I am buying a new front door (textured steel) to replace...
Kitchen window help, please
The kitchen puzzle pieces are falling into place! I...
Wet Bars - Are they 'out'?
We are considering installing a wet bar during our...
Annie D. & others -- Should I say goodbye to my crystal chandelier?
I'm redecorating my dining room and am doing British...
My anniversary gift
Got a new piece of furniture the other day. Well sort...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™