Victorian hallway ideas to use

Victorian terraced houses are notorious for their dark narrow hallways and steep staircases. Back then, hallways were vital as guests first entered the house and were welcomed.

A typical hallway had a “Minton” tiled floor, often in color and rich patterns to impress and be practical at the same time.

So given the facts decorating a narrow Victorian terrace hallway can be challenging. Still, with creativity and clever design techniques, you can transform this often-overlooked space into a stunning entrance that sets the tone for your entire home.

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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Without maximizing the space by removing the adjacent wall with the front room, what’s left is a clever tricks with statement decor pieces highlighting the architectural features where even the smallest hallways can become functional and aesthetically pleasing.


  • if removing walls isn’t a solution, then rearranging the furniture understairs spacechoosing a suitable color scheme, and incorporating vintage accents can all help maximize space in a narrow hallway.
  • mirrors and wall shelves are efficient storage solutions that can also create an illusion of depth and make the area look larger than it is.
  • hanging a gallery wall or installing statement wallpaper can add personality and visual interest to any victorian hallway.
  • the right lighting fixtures are crucial for creating ambiance.

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Typical Victorian terrace hallway

Victorian terraced houses are notorious for their narrow hallways. Known as 2-up-2-down, they have long and narrow internal layouts, including the entrance, hallway, and staircase, in 75% of all built houses in the UK.

standard terrace house hallway dark and dingy

On the smaller end-terraced houses are ~ 680 sq. ft, and on the large end, 1,020 sq. ft.
The Local Government Act of 1858 is stated that 

Terraced houses are long and narrow properties; despite their width often, they can bring over 2,000 sq. ft.

The example below shows the yellow ground-level hallway and the red upper floor’s landing and hallway. The property has been recently renovated and extended at the rear to benefit the kitchen diner, with the wall at the two front rooms removed. 

Part of the hallway is divided and re-used into WC and Utility room accessible via the Kitchen. All this makes the most of the hallway. 

On average, the width of a terraced house varies depending on the location and period but a large percentage of the houses for sale measure 4.4 to 4.7m. 

narrow victorian terrace hallway example
narrow victorian terrace hallway example

The house seen previously underwent a renovation, as depicted in the image above. With careful planning, terraced houses can serve as ideal homes for families or professionals.

In the original layout, the hallway was typically a wasted space that people only passed through to get to their destination. It was long and narrow, with little practical use.

narrow victorian terrace hallway before renovation
narrow victorian terrace hallway before renovation

The second example below is a terraced property with a similar layout without interior improvements.

Given that the rooms are so divided and small, the hallway on both levels occupies too much space, a perfect example calling for improvements.

narrow victorian terrace average sized hallway example
narrow victorian terrace average sized hallway example

Ideas for Maximizing A Victorian Hallway

To maximize the space in the narrow hallway and entrance, consider the following when re-designing:

  1. Changing the layout
  2. Utilizing understairs space
  3. Selecting the suitable color scheme and lighting
  4. Adding wall shelves and mirrors
  5. Keeping no clutter
  6. Taking advantage of verticals
  7. Using multifunctional furniture

Changing The Layout

Maximizing space in a narrow Victorian terrace hallway begins with rethinking the layout. By rearranging your entrance design, you can create an illusion of added space and depth, enhancing your hallway’s flow and aesthetic appeal.

For instance, consider placing furniture as a slim wardrobe, console, bench, or shelves against walls to open up walking areas or remove unnecessary pieces altogether.

Depending on the type of hallway and its width, there can be more than one area for the furniture, not incl. under the stairs. In some cases, if the budget allows it, the understairs can even be used as an office.

furniture for a narrow hallway
furniture for a narrow hallway

Incorporate natural light maximization into your new layout by strategically positioning mirrors opposite windows for optimal light reflection throughout the area.

hallway area after renovation becomes open space with double sided storage

Assess how adjoining rooms may be contributing to a cramped feel – creating an open sitting room layout can greatly improve the perception of hallway dimensions.

Utilizing Understair Space

If the house is on the small end, an understairs home office is a perfect feat.

Utilizing understairs space effectively can work wonders in maximizing the available area within the corridor of any house, especially a terraced one.

under stair home office

This often-overlooked spot offers a substantial potential for implementing clever storage ideas and enhancing overall functionality.

For example, consider installing pull-out drawers or custom-built shelves to house shoes, books, or other frequently used items.

In addition to practicality, incorporating understairs storage solutions can also provide a unique opportunity to potential buyers in the future.

Choosing The Right Color Scheme And Lighting

Selecting the ideal color scheme and lighting maximizes space within a narrow hallway.

Considering that these spaces are often dark, opting for an all-white palette can instantly brighten up the area, giving it a more open and welcoming feel.

black and white hallway office
black and white hallway office

When deciding between different lighting fixtures for your narrow hallway, consider their functionality and design impact.

Strategically placed wall sconces or LED strip lights can draw attention to specific architectural features such as cornicing or dado rails while indirectly offering illumination to showcase your choice of wall paint or statement wallpaper effectively.

unusual warm color pallet ideas for hallways (Dusted Fondant - Dulux)
unusual warm color pallet ideas for hallways (Dusted Fondant - Dulux)

Incorporating bold door colors into your design is another effective way to add visual interest without sacrificing valuable space. 

Utilizing Mirrors And Wall Shelves

Mirrors and wall shelves can be excellent tools for maximizing space in a narrow Victorian terrace hallway. Mirrors, especially when placed strategically, can create the illusion of depth and make the area look larger than it is.

long narrow hallway decorating ideas
long narrow hallway decorating ideas

Wall shelves are an efficient storage solution without taking up precious floor space. 

They provide an opportunity to display decorative accents such as vintage vases or photo frames while creating vertical storage that otherwise would not exist in tight quarters.

mirrors on walls in a hallway with warm color tones
mirrors on walls in a hallway with warm color tones

By utilizing these design tricks and other tips from our blog outline, interior designers can transform a cramped hall into a sophisticated entryway that maximizes every inch of space available.

Incorporating Vintage Accents

To add character and warmth to a narrow Victorian terrace hallway, incorporating vintage accents is an excellent way to create a beautiful and timeless space.

Vintage pieces such as an antique mirror or a restored wooden console table can make fantastic statement pieces while also providing functional storage solutions.

Vintage-inspired wall sconces or chandeliers can create an elegant ambiance while illuminating the hallway. Incorporating vintage rugs or tapestries will help add texture, color, and softness to the space creating a cozy atmosphere.

Statement Wall Decor

Create visual interest with statement wall decor by hanging a gallery wall, installing statement wallpaper or adding a unique piece of furniture; choose the right lighting fixtures to highlight your selection.

Hanging A Gallery Wall

One of the best ways to add personality and visual interest to a narrow Victorian terrace hallway is by hanging a gallery wall. Here are some tips for creating an eye-catching display:

  • Choose the right location: The ideal spot for a gallery wall is usually a long, uninterrupted stretch of wall space. In a narrow hallway, this might mean choosing one of the longer walls or even the ceiling if you have high ceilings.
  • Pick your pictures: When selecting pictures for your gallery wall, consider choosing artwork that complements the color scheme and style of your hallway. You can choose anything from family photos to small pieces of art and prints.
  • Create a cohesive arrangement: It’s important to create a cohesive arrangement when hanging your pictures. This means choosing frames that complement each other and arranging them in a visually pleasing way. Consider using templates or mock-ups before hanging to get it right.
  • Hang at eye level: As mentioned in [IMPORTANT FACTS], pictures should be hung at eye level with their midpoint around 57-60 inches from the floor. This rule helps ensure that everyone can enjoy the artwork on display.
  • Mix it up: Don’t be afraid to mix up frame sizes, shapes, and colors to create more visual interest in your gallery accent wall. For example, try mixing black and white frames with brightly colored ones or varying sizes.

Overall, hanging a gallery wall is an excellent way to add personality and character to any narrow Victorian terrace hallway while also making use of space that may not otherwise be utilized.

Installing Statement Wallpaper

Installing statement wallpaper is an excellent way to add a pop of color and personality to any narrow Victorian terrace hallway. When selecting the perfect wallpaper, consider choosing bold geometric patterns or vibrant floral designs that will make a statement while also providing visual interest.

Alternatively, you can opt for textured wallpapers such as metallic, grasscloth, or cork-based ones for added drama.

When installing statement wallpaper in your hallway space, ensure that it complements the room’s overall decor scheme. You might choose to match your new wallpaper with existing furniture or accent pieces like rugs and curtains.

It’s also important to keep lighting considerations in mind when choosing your paper – if you have limited natural light sources in your hallway space, consider lighter colors or metallic embellishments that will reflect artificial light and brighten up the room.

Adding A Statement Piece Of Furniture

Adding a statement piece of furniture is one of the most effective ways to create drama and make a statement in a Victorian terrace hallway. A beautiful, eye-catching piece can be the space’s focal point and uplift its interior design scheme.

When choosing a statement piece, consider the rest of the hallway’s decorations and colors to ensure it complements rather than clashes with them. For instance, if you have vintage accents throughout your decor, choose something that matches this style.

On the other hand, if your color palette leans modern and minimalist, go for sleeker lines and simpler shapes for your furniture choice.

By thoughtfully considering what type of dramatic effect you want to accomplish in your narrow Victorian terrace hallway space before selecting what kind of furniture will provide this visually stunning centerpiece element, you’ll be able to achieve just about any decorative outcome imaginable!

Choosing The Right Lighting Fixtures

Lighting is a crucial aspect of any room’s design and can significantly impact the ambiance of a space. In a narrow Victorian terrace hallway, it becomes even more important to choose the right lighting fixtures that maximize the space without overwhelming it.

One tip is to layer light in small hallways with additional light sources such as wall lights or table lamps. You can also install floor lights in corners and use furniture against walls to create focal points for lighting.

To achieve an inviting atmosphere in a narrow Victorian terrace hallway, you must select lighting fixtures that are both functional and stylish. For example, ceiling fixtures like chandeliers or pendant lamps can provide adequate overhead light while adding some personality to the space.

Wall sconces are another great choice, especially if you have artwork or decorative items on display that require accent lighting from above or below.

Adding Personality To The Space

Add some personality to your narrow Victorian terrace hallway by incorporating indoor plants, a stylish runner rug, and creating vertical storage space. These simple yet effective decor ideas can transform your hallway into a stunning and functional space that reflects your unique style.

Adding Indoor Plants

Adding indoor plants is an excellent way to breathe life and personality into a narrow Victorian terrace hallway. Here are some ways to add greenery to the space:

  • Analyze the space: Before adding plants, understand the lighting conditions and temperature of the hallway to select plants that will thrive.
  • Hanging plants: Hang trailing plants from ceiling hooks or install a macrame plant hanger for an eye-catching display.
  • Freestanding potted plants: Place potted plants on top of a console table or along the wall for a natural element in the decor.
  • Wall-mounted planter: Add vertical greenery by installing a wall-mounted planter for succulents or herbs.
  • Artificial plants: For those who lack time or are worried about maintenance, artificial plants can still offer the decorative benefits of live plants.

Not only do indoor plants add aesthetics to the narrow hallways, but they also come with various benefits such as improving air quality, creating a calming atmosphere, and reducing stress levels. Additionally, incorporating natural elements in modern interior design is increasingly popular among homeowners who want to bring relaxation into their living spaces while also enhancing their home decor.

Installing A Runner Rug

Adding a runner rug is a simple yet effective way to add personality and character to your narrow Victorian terrace hallway. It also brings warmth, softness, and practicality to high traffic areas.

When choosing a runner rug, you need to consider the area’s color scheme and decor as it should complement rather than clash with the surroundings.

Another consideration when choosing a runner rug is functionality. Non-slip flooring options are essential in preventing slips and falls, especially in households with children or elderly individuals.

Additionally, runners made of durable materials such as wool or polypropylene can withstand heavy foot traffic without showing wear and tear quickly.

Creating Vertical Storage Space

Vertical storage solutions are a fantastic way to maximize space and add personality to a narrow Victorian terrace hallway. Installing wall shelveshanging hooks for coats and bags, or even repurposing an old ladder can all create much-needed storage without taking up valuable floor space.

Another vertical storage option that adds style as well as functionality is adding floating shelves which can be used to showcase decorative items such as vases of flowers or souvenirs from travels.

Architectural Features

Make use of the unique architectural features in your narrow Victorian terrace hallway, such as cornicing or dado rails, and highlight them with contrasting colors or lighting.

Making Use Of Cornicing Or Dado Rails

Architectural features such as cornicing or dado rails can greatly enhance a narrow Victorian terrace hallway by adding decorative detail and character to the space.

These heritage features are popularly made of plaster or timber and come in varying styles, from ornate and intricate to modern and unfussy.

Cornicing is particularly striking around the edge of the ceiling, while dado rails can be used to draw attention to artwork or statement wallpaper on the lower half of walls.

Painting In A Contrasting Color

Using a contrasting color is a great way to add depth and interest to a narrow Victorian terrace hallway. For example, you can paint the walls above the dado rail in a pale blue shade and go for an elegant navy blue below.

This combination mimics the effect of striped wallpaper but creates more openness in the space. You can also choose complementary colors that flow from room to room creating a cohesive look throughout.

To create even more of an impact, consider adding statement wall decor alongside your painted accent wall. 

A popular trend right now is hanging a gallery wall with framed artwork or photos that showcase your personality through design, alternatively installing statement wallpaper behind sleek furniture can give your corridor extra character.

Highlighting With Lighting

When it comes to decorating a narrow Victorian terrace hallway, lighting can make all the difference. A feature light can draw the eye and create a sensational look in this space.

Decorative lighting can be used not only to brighten up larger areas such as hallways or staircases but also to highlight interesting features such as art or architectural details.

For example, if there is a beautiful piece of artwork hanging on the wall, using an art light will bring attention to it and create a stunning focal point in the hallway.


Regular cleaning and upkeep are fundamental to maintaining the beauty of a narrow Victorian terrace hallway. From fixing chipped paint or wallpaper to adding seasonal decor, keeping up with maintenance will ensure that your hallway always looks its best.

Regular Cleaning

Maintaining a clean and tidy hallway is crucial in enhancing the look and feel of your narrow Victorian terrace. Here are some tips on how to keep your entrance hall in top condition:

  • Dust surfaces regularly with a microfiber cloth to prevent buildup.
  • Vacuum or sweep the floor once a week, paying extra attention to high traffic areas.
  • Remove scuffs and stains promptly using appropriate cleaning products.
  • Clean rugs and carpets thoroughly at least twice a year.
  • Wipe down mirrors and other reflective surfaces with glass cleaner to keep them streak– free.
  • Keep clutter at bay by organizing shoes, coats, and other items in designated storage spaces.

By incorporating regular cleaning into your hallway maintenance routine, you can ensure that your historic architecture remains preserved for years to come while also creating an inviting entrance that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

Restoring existing Victorian ceramic tiles

For those with existing Victorian, ceramic, or other tile floors that have built up dirt, stains, and residue over time, Lithofin KF Tile Restorer can be used as part of regular cleaning and maintenance.

A bottle of tile restorer on a narrow Victorian terrace hallway.
A bottle of tile restorer on a narrow Victorian terrace hallway.

Reviews mention using it successfully on tiles over 100 years old as well as newer porcelain tiles, restoring them to a like-new condition. It removes the dirt and stains without damaging the tiles themselves.

Multiple reviewers advise wearing gloves for protection when using the chemical cleaner concentrate and stiff wooden hand brush, plastics get damaged. 

Overall it receives positive feedback for its ability to thoroughly clean tile and grout that has been neglected for long periods, at a fraction of the cost of professional restoration services. Periodic use helps maintain vibrant colors and prevent the accumulation of stains over years of use.

A tiled floor with a pattern of squares and triangles in a narrow hallway.A geometric pattern adorns the tiled floor of a Victorian terrace hallway.

Periodically applying the tile restorer, allowing it to penetrate for 15-20 minutes, scrubbing with a stiff brush, and rinsing thoroughly can help lift years of grime. This maintenance can restore vibrancy and color to tiles that have become dull or dingy with regular use and traffic.

Be sure to take proper safety precautions when using this chemical product and provide adequate ventilation. Using Lithofin KF Tile Restorer every 6-12 months as part of floor care and cleaning can help preserve the beauty of intricate, decorative tile while removing stubborn stains.

Fixing Chipped Paint Or Wallpaper

Maintaining the look of your Victorian terrace hallway is crucial in ensuring that it retains its charm and appeal. Over time, you may notice chipped paint or wallpaper that needs fixing to keep it looking beautiful.

Regularly inspecting your walls for chips and scratches can help identify areas requiring a touch-up. When repairing chipped paint, match the existing color as closely as possible to maintain a seamless finish.

Refinishing wooden floors and floorboards can give them new life and elevate the aesthetic of your narrow hallway without taking up too much space.

If there is only dirt or a thin layer of paint on top of the wood surface, sanding them down using 24 grit sandpaper could do wonders for their appearance while keeping their distinct character intact.

Adding Seasonal Decor

When adding seasonal decor to a narrow Victorian terrace hallway, it is essential to consider the space constraints and maintenance required.

For example, opt for vertical accents like festive wreaths or hanging ornaments instead of bulky decorations that take up valuable floor space.

Winter hallway decorating ideas

For those with narrow Victorian-style hallways, incorporating some winter décor can help create a cozy atmosphere. Consider stringing tasteful fairy lights along the staircase bannister and walls to add a warm glow in the windowless space. Drape a fresh evergreen garland along the railings or entryways to infuse seasonal botanicals.

Use vacant walls for framed Christmas artwork, leaning into classic motifs or modern graphic prints.

See if there’s room on a console table or built-in shelving to decorate with frosted pine cones, white candles, or winter greenery. The goal is complementing the old-world architecture with new elements that provide seasonal cheer. 

Stay mindful of clutter in an already narrow space – focus on a few elevated accents to warmup the aesthetics while maintaining clean lines. 

People will still need to easily pass through, so keep decor sparse and concentrated near the sides or ends of the hall. With some creativity, even the most quintessential Victorian terraced hallway can feel refreshed for wintertime celebrations.

A drawing of a narrow hallway with an archway.
A drawing of a narrow hallway with an archway.

In terms of maintenance, ensure decorations are securely fastened and won’t fall or obstruct pathways. Be mindful of any potential fire hazards with electrical decorations and use them sparingly.

Additionally, consider using natural elements like pinecones and greenery that can easily be composted after the season.