How to make the most of a narrow hallway

Narrow hallway and stairs - Andrew Boyd for Heart Home

// Photograph by Andrew Boyd for Heart Home

If you have an entrance hall with a grand, sweeping staircase or even one with room for a table or a chair, then this post is not for you. If, however, you, like me, have to wade through a sea of coats, bags and shoes just to circulate your house then read on!

One of the things I was most excited about when we moved to our house is that the front door opens into a hallway with stairs. How grand! I don’t at all take this luxury for granted. However, the hallway is narrow and between the front door opening space, the stairs and a massive radiator it doesn’t leave a lot of options for storage. And storage is what my hallway definitely needs.


Shelves can usually be put up in even the smallest of entrance spaces and, particularly when combined with a mirror like in the hallway above, can give the impression of the space being bigger than it really is. They also work well above or below hooks where space is tight and you want to define an entrance storage area in another room.

Hooks and hat racks

Metropolitan Line luggage rack large

Behind the door is often a good place to squeeze in a few hooks. If I had the budget I’d definitely have one of these reclaimed Metropolitan line luggage racks to remind me of the days spent shaking about on the old trains. If you have stairs in to your home, you may not have the space to hang coats right next to the door but what about on the wall at the top of the stairs? Or perhaps there’s a bit of space elsewhere that can be a designated space for just-worn coats and shoes?

Shoe storage

IKEA PS 2012 Bench with shoe storage IKEA

When you don’t have a lot of floor space, shoe storage can be tricky. One of the best I’ve found is this very narrow bench with shoe storage underneath which can be lined up side by side or placed on top of eachother. It wouldn’t work in my house but I think it would look great in the right space, particularly if your front door opens in to your living area. I’m imagining this bench with an upholstered cushion, a few old hooks to the side and an umbrella casually hooked over the back.

Something beautiful

Grey smoked glass light shade - House Doctor

Just because your entrance is small and functional doesn’t mean it can’t be a little bit beautiful too. Add something you love – a runner or a picture or a light – and it will make you smile every time you come home. My hallway still has a bare bulb with a ceiling rose dangling from when the bathroom leaked all over it and I know that a lovely shade (like this smoked grey glass one from House Doctor) will make a big difference.

2 thoughts on “How to make the most of a narrow hallway

    1. Hey Tom
      Welcome to paint chart joy 🙂 I love IKEA – I always think their shoe storage like the ‘hemnes’ ones look great but am a bit disappointed how few shoes you can put in them for the price! Glad you like the shelves.

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