Best Paint Color for Dark Hallways

Hallways are considered one of the more expansive transition spaces in a home, and they typically have less provision for windows since most halls are between functional rooms. The less natural light and inner location equate to dark spaces. There is a need for strategic artificial lighting and selecting the best paint color for dark hallways to make them an inviting part of the interior design. 

different hallway designs with no windows

In this article, we have curated the best paint colors for dark hallways. 

What Colors Brighten a Dark Hallway?

Colors with Higher LRV Values: An effective way to brighten a hallway is to use light and bright colors. You can select the degree of brightness of a color or tone by its LRV or Light Reflectance Value. Colors that have an LRV value higher than 50 are considered bright shades.

From the many colors available today, finding the right color contrast can be challenging as their shades or hues can be closely similar at first glance. You can always check the LRV value of paints and other materials through their material specifications. 

Also, choosing between two light colors can be challenging. For instance, Benjamin Moore’s Palest Pistachio 2122-60 has an LRV of 84.74, while Silken Mist 1619 is 74.02. By knowing the LRV values, you are sure that while the paint color has a blue-green undertone, it is lighter than the off-white or pale-yellow paint color. 

dimly lit hallway inside modern house with no window

Cool Tones Make a Space Feel Lighter: Because cool colors have shorter wavelengths, they appear to recede compared to warmer colors. This makes the cooler tones effective in making a dark and narrow hallway feel more spacious, preventing narrow hallways from feeling claustrophobic or confining.

Cool colors that include violet or purple, green, and blue are perfect options if you’re not into white or cream color schemes. Some colors include neutrals with cool undertones like off-white, cream, or gray. 

A popular color paint today is gray colors with blue or purple undertones. A good example is Sherwin Williams’ SW 7666 Fleur de Sel. The calming color has blue-green undertones with a high LRV of 72. The cool tone has that icy quality, making it a perfect hallway paint color for your wall if you live in a warm or hot place. 

Colors with Higher Value: Aside from LRV values, the higher the value, or in other words, if it is closer to white, it has that brighter quality as it reflects light while not retaining much heat. That is why colors that have white content or appear paler seem to look brighter than other colors. 

What Is The Best Neutral?

hallway area with wood flooring and beige walls

Warm and Soft Whites: White is a popular hallway paint color because it has the highest LRV value among all of the colors. The LRV value of white is 100 percent, which means when painted on the walls of this space, whether with natural or artificial hallway lighting fixtures, you can fully utilize the surface to bounce off and distribute light throughout the room. If you plan to create a picture gallery along your hallway, then a cool and expansive white is the perfect option. 

Beige and Gray Combination: Dubbed greige due to the combination of the two most used neutrals, the greige color tone gives a balanced quality between cool and warm colors.

Since it has a darker tone, the greige won’t show dirt as easily as the white color. However, it has a bright quality, like white. Because it has that warm undertone, greige won’t look dull or stale. Most greige paints have an LRV of 55 to 70, so you still need to choose a brighter green color. 

Light Beige: As a popular base color, the neutral color is no stranger to backdrop elements such as colors for hallway flooring or walling. This makes light beige one of the best paint colors for dark hallways, as you can combine it with other tones easily. Moreover, beige, cream and other similar shades are popularly used in other functional areas because of their cozy and welcoming quality.

A warm and welcoming color tone is a suitable choice if it’s a hallway leading to the social or public spaces or a hallway. If you’re aiming to add color contrast, you can always create an accent wall to break the monotony of each color palette. 

What Color Should Be Used To Paint A Hallway With No Window?

Balboa Mist OC 27

Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist OC-27 

LRV: 65.53 

Undertone: Soft Purple 

At first glance, you’ll find Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist’s color is more grayish in tone and has that soft undertone of purple, giving it that cool quality. Layered lighting with contrasting warm illuminance can make an interesting contemporary hallway. 

Chantilly Lace OC-65

Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Chantilly Lace OC-65

LRV: 92.2 

Undertone: Green and Yellow

The almost white tone offers a blue tinge thanks to the green and yellow undertones. The paint color is perfect for darker hallways as the reflection is at a maximum. In addition, you get a cool tone that, as mentioned, recedes in view. Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Chantilly Lace showcases the hallway’s clean and modern atmosphere. 

Main and entrance hallways usually create the first impressions as to the charm and livableness of a home. – House Design, Construction and Equipment, John Matthew Gries, ‎James Ford

Compared to the more popular Sherwin Williams’ White Dove OC-17, which has an 85.38, BM Balboa Charity Lace has a 92.2 LRV, which means it is almost white. You can add sectional or feature walls with contrasting colors to create interest in certain items or parts in your hallways.  


White Dove OC-17

Sherwin Williams’ White Dove OC-17

LRV: 85.38

Misty 6232

Sherwin Williams’ 6232 Misty

LRV: 64 

Undertones: Blue 

Under the blue family, BM Misty 6232 looks great with wood materials, especially with reddish brown hues. The cool nature of the paint color gives a youthful and fresh quality to a hallway.

With good lighting, you’ll find the soft and light blue tone works well with hallways that lack windows, as it brings the natural color of the sky indoors. If you want that blue and green undertone, an alternative to SW 2632 Misty is SW 6246 North Star. 

Edgecomb Gray HC 173

Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray HC 173

LRV: 64

Undertones: Soft Green 

If you’re looking for a welcoming and traditional color scheme, BM Edgecomb Gray HC 173 is one of the best paint colors for dark hallways. You can use the tone for social spaces as well as continuing the color through the hallways.

This creates a clean and continuous color scheme. White is a good complementary color for the paint since it is used all throughout the home.

See more related content in our article about small hallway light fixtures on this page.

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