Light and color make space more inviting, less confining Design: Use a warm and sunny palette, patterned floor runner and, if the ceiling is high enough, a hanging fixture.

July 07, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

We have a narrow and dark hallway. Can you tell us how to make it seem wider and brighter? We'd also like to add decorative interest so that guests will view the hall as something more than just a passageway between rooms.

Color and lighting are obvious elements that make a setting look brighter and less confining. And to give your hallway a more interesting appearance, you should add an attractive pattern or two while also introducing a focal point.

A pier mirror or a short cabinet with a tall mirror are two options-- assuming that the ceiling is more than 8 feet tall and that the hall isn't especially long. A mirror of the sort shown in the photo will certainly fill the role of focal point. It will also create an illusion of greater width and length.

This is a reproduction Thai mirror manufactured by Milling Road, the company that also made the Korean-style chest. Such a combination would make an excellent focal point in a narrow hallway. These pieces are not as heavy-looking as a single tall cabinet.

Mirrors always brighten an interior, and that effect can be enhanced by suspending a decorative lighting fixture a foot or two below the ceiling. The lowest part of such a fixture must be at least 7 feet above the floor -- anything lower and you'll be risking injuries or at least be producing an uncomfortable sensation in your taller guests and family members.

Alternately, you could install recessed down lights. Be sure to weigh that possibility carefully, however, since this type of lighting may well cast shadows on the walls and ceiling, thus undercutting your effort to make the hallway look brighter.

Pattern can be introduced in the form of a runner on the floor. A geometric design would produce an interesting effect.

Unless you're an accomplished colorist, you may wish to play it zTC safe by selecting from a warm and sunny palette. High-gloss yellow, peach and carnation red are all dependable choices for brightening a windowless space.

Pub Date: 7/07/96

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