Paint color has a powerful effect on a room. It can make a room seem more spacious or cramped. It can give the impression of raising or lowering the ceilings. And it can brighten or darken a space. These things are especially important when thinking about the best paint colors for small hallways.
That said, paint can look different depending on the lighting in the room, so if the room doesn’t have any windows (or very few), it’ll need some type of artificial light, which can also affect the look of the paint color. Small hallways are usually tight, cramped areas of the home that don’t have much natural light from windows or doors. Instead, they rely on artificial light from lamps or light fixtures.
For example, if you use incandescent light bulbs in your hallway, which have a warm, yellow-amber glow, red, orange and yellow paint colors will be more vivid. Your blues, grays and greens, on the other hand, will be muted.
The good thing about artificial lighting is you can change it depending on how it makes your paint color look. If you don’t like the effect it has on hallway walls, you can switch to a light bulb that has the opposite effect.
What Are The Best Paint Colors for Small Hallways?
Because hallways are usually dark and small, we recommend choosing paint colors that will both brighten it and make it feel larger.
If your hallway light fixtures use incandescent light bulbs, try one of these color choices:
- Candlelit Beige: This color from PPG is a pale, bright, sun-soaked shade of white with a dandelion undertone.
- Ancestral: With a dusty rose undertone, this shade is a midtone, neutral, raspberry chocolate purple.
- Tea Time: This shade is a midtone, neutral, dusty pink with a chocolate undertone.
- Coral Silk: Want something with a little more flair? This color is a saturated, pure, autumnal orange with a pumpkin spice undertone.
- Atrium White: For a classic color, try this pale, gray, cosmetic white with a sandy undertone.
If your hallway light fixtures use fluorescent light bulbs, they pair well with blue and green paint colors because they’re flat and cool. Try one of these shades:
- Winter’s Breath: This is a soft, neutral, arctic blue with a twilight undertone.
- Magic Wand: Bring some color to your small hallway with a light, subdued, baby blue. It has an indigo undertone.
- Pine Whisper: This is a midtone, neutral, verdant green with a teal undertone.
- Silver Service: If you like gray shades, consider this midtone, warm, monarch gray with an indigo undertone.
- Lettuce Alone: Spice up your hallway with a midtone, bright, chartreuse green that has an electric green undertone.
- Chilled Mint: For a softer green, try a soft, pure, granny smith green with a grassy undertone.
Halogens resemble natural lighting from the sun, so you can follow natural light guidelines for those. Here are some great paint colors if your hallway light fixtures use halogen bulbs:
- Lotus Petal: This is a pale, neutral, peachy orange with a brown undertone.
- Olive Sprig: For a subtle green, choose this midtone, neutral, lush green with an organic green undertone. It’s also PPG’s 2022 Color of the Year.
- Peace: This paint color is a midtone, gray, orchid blue with a violet undertone.
Paint Sheen for Small Hallways
Whatever you do, don’t forget about your paint sheen, which can have a major impact on the look of your hallway. Paint sheen reflects light and can also affect how the color looks.
Sheen is also important for the upkeep of your walls. Hallways are usually tight, high traffic areas. Often people carry things down hallways such as clothes baskets, vacuums, or other items that easily ding and dent the walls. The right paint sheen can help hide those imperfections.
Flat paint is best for hiding drywall imperfections. You can easily incorporate it over a mark or scuff to blend it with the rest of the painted wall. Flat sheens also absorb light and won’t shine back at you.
Eggshell is slightly more durable but can also be touched up or wiped down with a damp cloth. An eggshell will show a little more shine and will give you about half the amount of reflection of light that a flat will.
A satin on the walls will actually reflect light back at you and show brighter. Satin paint can’t be touched up without showing the spots as brighter and newer. It’s the most durable paint sheen — you can wipe it with a wet rag and non-abrasive, mild soap.
Lastly, make sure your professional interior painters also paint the ceiling in your hallway a lighter color than the walls. This will make the ceiling look higher (which also makes the space feel bigger).
Remember: Paint is powerful, even in a small space like a hallway. Stick to lighter colors, which can make rooms look more spacious. For small rooms like hallways, choose lighter colors like gray, white, beige, tan, or pastels.