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How do you brighten a hallway without windows?

Dark and gloomy hallways without natural lighting can make a home feel closed in and uninviting. However, there are several effective ways to brighten up windowless hallways to create a more open, cheerful vibe in your home. With some strategic lighting choices, reflective surfaces, and decor, you can transform those dim corridors into bright and welcoming spaces.

Use Plenty of Lighting

The key to brightening any windowless space is plenty of lighting. Since you don’t have natural light to rely on, you’ll need to ensure adequate artificial lighting. Here are some lighting strategies to illuminate a dark hallway:

  • Install recessed ceiling lights. Recessed can lights spaced every 4-6 feet down the hallway will cast light evenly over the space.
  • Use pendant lights. Hanging pendant lights over the hallway will provide direct illumination you can adjust and direct.
  • Add sconces. Wall sconces spaced a few feet apart down the hall will throw light across the walls and floor.
  • Use floor lamps. Stylish floor lamps in corners can provide soft uplighting.
  • Accent with picture lights. Picture lights above artwork or decorative wall hangings provides both task lighting and accent lighting.

Choose bulbs with a high lumen output (at least 2000 lumens) and color temperature between 3000-5000K to mimic natural daylight. Dimmable bulbs allow you to control the ambiance. Place lights strategically to avoid overly bright or dim spots down the hall.

Incorporate Reflective Surfaces

Since you don’t have sunlight to brighten the space, you can use reflective surfaces to maximize the artificial lighting you add. Here are some ways to incorporate reflective materials down a dark hallway:

  • Paint the walls white. White or very light paint colors will make the hallway appear brighter and more open.
  • Use mirrored accents. A large mirror or mirrored wall art at the end of the hallway will reflect light back down the corridor.
  • Add metallics. Metallic finishes on light fixtures, furniture, or decor accessories will bounce light around.
  • Install glossy flooring. Polished wood, tile, or laminate flooring will reflect light better than carpet.

Avoid using dark paint colors or fabrics, which will absorb light. Focus on light, bright, shiny surfaces to maximize illumination.

Choose Bright Decor

The decor you choose for an interior hallway also impacts how light and bright it feels. Here are some tips for decor that will make a windowless hall more cheerful and inviting:

  • Hang artworks. Paintings, prints, photos in white mats and frames will decorate the walls and reflect light.
  • Use area rugs. Pale or patterned area rugs down the center of the hall can brighten up the floor space.
  • Add plants. Houseplants and fresh greenery bring life to the hallway.
  • Arrange accessories. Candles, vases, baskets in light colors make nice hall table decor.
  • Focus on neutrals. Stick to light neutral hues like white, beige, gray for paint and furnishings.

Avoid hanging dark drapes at the end of the hallway, as those will create a gloomy, cavelike effect. Light, bright decor creates an uplifting ambiance.

Install Skylights or Tubular Daylighting

For a more dramatic solution, you can bring natural light into a dark windowless hallway by installing skylights or tubular skylights. Here’s an overview of these two great options:


Skylights are essentially windows set into the roof or ceiling that allow daylight to filter into the home’s interior rooms and spaces. There are a few types of skylights to consider:

  • Fixed skylights don’t open but provide constant daylight.
  • Ventilating skylights open to provide ventilation.
  • Tubular skylights pipe light through shafts from roof to ceiling.

Skylights should be positioned down the center of the hallway ceiling where they can flood the corridor with natural light. Make sure to space multiple skylights evenly to avoid overly bright and dark spots.

Tubular Daylighting Devices

Tubular daylighting devices (TDDs) work similarly to tubular skylights but are easier to install as they don’t penetrate the roof. TDDs use rounds disks mounted on the roof that capture daylight and send it down reflective tubes to the ceiling fixture inside.

TDDs are a great option for dark interior hallways, as you can install several down the hall to evenly distribute natural light. The tubes can bend around corners and obstacles in the attic space.

With skylights or TDDs, up to 75% of the daylight outside can be transferred inside, making once-gloomy spaces feel bright and cheerful. Just be sure to complement them with artificial lighting for nighttime illumination.

Consider Wallpaper or Murals

An eye-catching wallpaper or mural is another creative way to brighten up a boring windowless hallway. Here are some ideas:

  • Scenic wallpaper – Transporting landscapes give the illusion of windows.
  • Sky and cloud murals – Painted skies feel uplifting and airy.
  • Trellis prints – Crisscrossing trellis patterns feel open and lively.
  • Nature scenes – Serene forest, mountain, or beach scenes bring life.
  • Geometric designs – Bold geometric shapes feel modern and cheerful.

Aim for prints in light, bright colors like sunny yellow or sky blue. You can wallpaper a whole accent wall or just inside wall niches for impact. Adding wallpaper is an affordable way to inject color, visual interest, and brightness.

Illuminate with Color

Color can have a big impact on how light and bright a hallway appears. Cool tones like blues, greens and purples will make a hallway feel more closed in, while warm paint shades like yellows, peach, and pinks will make it appear more bright and cheerful. Here are some tips for using color creatively:

  • Paint an accent wall in a sunny yellow or soft peach.
  • Stencil a pattern in light blue or lavender down the hall.
  • Choose area rugs with pops of coral, mint, or sky blue.
  • Paint ceiling beams or crown molding in a whimsical color.
  • Display artworks in colorful frames to add pops of brightness.

Aim for lighter shades rather than deep bold hues. Soft pastels, sunny yellows, misty blues, and muted corals will all make a hallway feel brighter and more welcoming.

Maximize Views at Hallway Ends

Take advantage of any views you have at the end of the hallway to make it feel more open and airy. Here are some tips:

  • Frame a pretty outdoor view with large windows or French doors.
  • Hang a mirror to reflect a nice indoor view down the hallway.
  • Decorate the end wall with scenic photography or artwork.
  • Showcase houseplants on stands to connect indoor and outdoor.
  • Position comfortable seating at the end to draw the eye.

Drawing attention to an appealing view will make the hallway feel less closed in. You can also use decorative screens or railings to frame the view without blocking light and visibility.

Add Architectural Interest

Making architectural changes is a big project but can dramatically enhance a boring hallway. Consider these ideas:

  • Raise the ceiling height for an airier feel.
  • Add architectural arches or wide entryways.
  • Create a focal point with a domed ceiling.
  • Widen the hallway space if possible.
  • Add architectural columns or pilasters.
  • Change the hall layout to be less boxy and enclosed.

Even just opening up the hallway corners or adding decorative trim molding can make the space feel less tight and confined. Changing the architecture can take more work but offers dramatic results.


With strategic lighting, reflective surfaces, bright decor, skylights or tubular daylighting, wallpaper, pops of color, and enhanced architecture, you can successfully transform a gloomy, windowless hallway into a bright and inviting passage. The right lighting is key, but creatively incorporating brightness through color, art, mirrors, and views can make a big impact. With a little DIY dedication, you can change those dreary, dark halls into happy places flooded with light.