Illuminate your style with hallway lighting

Many people make the mistake of treating their hallways as wasted space, when really they provide the perfect opportunity to really strut your interior decorating stuff. This is especially true of your hallway walls, which are a -- perhaps intimidatingly -- large blank slate for you to express your amateur design expertise on. Paint a mural. Create a frame mosaic of family photos. Hang a series of art prints. Put up wainscoting. It's completely up to you and your stylistic preferences.

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Once you've got the walls taken care of, you can pick out the other key elements of your hallway decor.

Hallway Runners

An ornate hallway rug, runner or other mat is an excellent way to maximize the dimensions of your hallway and give it a touch of color and class. Hallways are high-traffic areas, however, so expect your floor covering to take a lot of wear and tear, and when deciding how much you're going to spend, be reasonable in your expectations regarding how long the runner will likely last before it starts to look well-traveled.

Hallway Benches

You should only attempt to place a bench in a very wide hallway; no one wants to have to walk around a piece of furniture when they're going down the hall. If you do have the room for it, a hallway bench can be a great opportunity to get a bit more storage space in an attractive package -- you might even consider pairing a bench at one end of a hallway with cabinet laundry hampers at the other end.

Hallway Lighting

Track lighting works splendidly to illuminate the hallway itself, but you may also need lighting that's more tailored to the way in which you've decorated it. One good example of the need for lighting that is complementary to the decor is if you hang valuable paintings -- valuable for monetary or sentimental reasons -- on your hallway walls. A few strategically placed accent lights, and your hallway has suddenly taken on the subtle sophistication of an art gallery.

If you have an especially high-ceilinged hallway, you can also look to a drop-down chandelier as a source of hallway lighting.