Decorate the Upstairs Hallway

Upstairs HallwayQuestion:

Hi Style Studio,

After living in our home for 13 years I FINALLY got motivated to decorate our upstairs hallway. I recently pulled down a chair rail and wallpaper from the walls and have been painstakingly filling and patching cracks in the plaster. I have a few ideas what I would like in this space, but I need some overall help with color and furnishing choices.

Yesterday I ordered 2 rugs from Ballard Designs for the hallway – the Avery Rug in a 3′ x 5′ size for the top of the stairway and another Avery Rug in 2’6″ x 8′ for the longer hallway portion. I would like a small console table between the doors on the hallway portion to hold a lamp(s). This wall has the only electrical socket so the lamp must go along that wall. Even though we have an overhead light fixture in this space I really would like to add some warmer lighting from a lamp.

Upstairs HallwayMy big question is what to put at the top of the stairway and/or in front of the window. A small occasional table with a chair? A bookshelf? A cabinet? Another idea that I have for the hallway is to use the wall space to display a collection of family photos. I would like to start the display on the stairway wall and include more photos on the walls in the hallway. Oh, one last question. What color to paint the walls???

Thank you for any help you can provide.



Dear Susan,

After 13 years, you must be thrilled to finally decorate your hallway. We think we have some great suggestions to help you make some decisions. Hallways are difficult because all other rooms lead off of it, which is why we chose a neutral wall color that should blend with everything – Sherwin Williams Macadamia (SW6142) is a rich taupe-beige that should compliment the Avery Rugs you are ordering. At the top of the stairwell, we feel that a small vignette including our Dorchester 2-Seat Bench in Rubbed Black with 2 to 3 Black Cafe Shelves hung above with selected family photos in like frames would provide a warm welcome at the top of the stairs. Our Matignon Silk Checked Panel in Natural hung on a black decorative rod (close to the ceiling) tied back to the left should complete the look.

The Benedetta Console in Rubbed Black is our choice for a hallway console. You can place another collection of photos on the lower shelf keeping the hallway from looking too cluttered. Placing a Set of 2 Corsaire Table Lamps on either end of the console and perhaps our Enchanted II Print centered above the console would look fabulous.

A hallway should be a welcoming space with personality and style, and we think you are well on your way to accomplishing just that. Naturally, we would love photos of the finished area so that we can post them on Style Studio. Please let us know how you feel about our suggestions. We love the feedback. We feel finishing your long-awaited project will be a very rewarding experience and will add additional value to your home.

The Style Studio Team

Posted 10/21/09

Upstairs Hallway

Featured Products:
1 Avery Rug
2 Dorchester 2-Seat Bench
3 Cafe Shelves
4 Matignon Silk Checked Panel
5 Benedetta Console
6 Set of 2 Corsaire Table Lamps
7 Enchanted II Print


Dear Style Studio Team,

Thank you!!!! I’m so excited that you chose my decorating dilemna! I was pretty anxious to get going on my project so I’ve already painted the walls. I chose a Benjamin Moore color called Lighthouse Landing. It’s a neutral color like you suggested although I believe it might be a little lighter than the Sherwin Williams Macadamia. I really like the idea for shelves at the top of the stairway with the bench beneath. My daughter’s bedroom door is right at the top of the stairs (to the right) and I’m sure she would enjoy a spot to rest items that she needs to take with her. I had been leaning toward a tall bookshelf in this spot but wasn’t sure about what to display on the lower shelves. Your solution solves my dilemna. The curtain panel pulled to one side is also a wonderful suggestion. I’m not sure I like the bold checked panel you suggested but I will take a look at other fabrics in your collection.

In addition to already painting I also satisfied my anxiousness to decorate and purchased a small console table at a local store. I went with a single small lamp on the table with a deep red shade to pick up the color from the rugs. By the way, the rugs arrived and I LOVE them!! As you suggested I plan on hanging a print above the console table. The one you suggested is quite appealing.

I would like to thank you again for the time you took to consider my decorating project and really appreciate the thoughtful suggestions you gave me. I will use them to complete the hallway and then move my focus on to my next project….the master bedroom!!


How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Sonia Burford

    October 16, 2020

    Iv a dilemma which I cannot find the answer to online. I’m trying to decorate my hall.
    It is both long and dark and to make matters worse; it runs across the front door. ( 90 degree angle.).
    So it’s about 10ft to the left of the door with two bedroom doors off it;
    and 10 ft to the right of the door, with two more bedrooms and a bathroom off it. The stairs are directly opposite the front door.
    So to put it bluntly. There’s a lot of doors, not a lot of wall space and no “end wall” which I could focus on to decorate.
    I am a minimalist, but would still like to
    Decorate it as a cohesive design.
    When ever I look on line all I find is
    Long dark hallways. But they always have a focus wall. To put a mirror or a console table/lamp etc.
    As my hall runs at right angles and the first thing you see is the stairs. I am at my wits-end.
    Please help.
    Many thanks.

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      January 8, 2021

      Hi Sonia,
      We have a team of free interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  2. Reply

    Shirley W.

    August 15, 2010

    I love this site. I enjoy reading the questions and answers and looking at all the images and seeing how it relates to my living spaces.

  3. Reply

    CNA Training

    May 7, 2010

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!