When decorating, it's easy to spend most of the time focusing on the individual rooms while forgetting about the well-traveled areas like hallways and stairs that connect the rooms. It's easy to make hallways and stairs just as attractive as the rest of the home, starting with paint. Just as a creative coat of paint can be the base for a beautiful room, the same is true for the often-overlooked halls and stairs.
Create a Theme
Plan ahead and select a set of vacation photos, holiday snaps, vintage posters or other artwork to line the hallway or stairs with. When the photos are assembled, sit down with paint chips and figure out what would tie the theme together. Select a colour that brings up memories of the photos or artwork in the theme; use dark green as a background for photos of a trip to the tropics or pale, ice blue behind photos of an Alaskan vacation.
Pick Something Different
Hallways and stairs are small areas, which makes them well suited to experimenting. If there are colours that had hit the chopping block when it came to rooms, re-examine those colours. Bold, bright colours can make a small area come to life, and painting a hallway bright orange doesn't have the same investment that painting an entire room an off colour does. Bright colours can also make a small area seem larger, so consider bright orange, a sunny yellow, or even a bright purple.
Use the Color Wheel
The colour wheel is designed to show what colours complement each other. When placed next to each other, those on opposite sides of the colour wheel bring out the best and the brightest in each other. The small space of the hallway and stairs makes them ideal to experiment with colour wheel colours. Try alternating vertical stripes or a horizontal division with a border running down the middle. At the same time, non-traditional colours can be chosen, but take into consideration the colours of the rooms at either end.
Don't Forget the Ceiling
Another way to take full advantage of the relatively confined spaces of a hallway is to forget about the traditional white or eggshell ceilings and splash some colour above. Light or dark paint makes the biggest statement, and can either complement or contrast the paint of the walls. Stairs are a particularly good place to experiment with ceiling colours, especially since people are already looking up as they head in that direction.