Here’s a great indoor project this winter: update or improve your hall lighting to make your hallway brighter, safer or simply more attractive.

When we design or purchase a home, we check out important features such as room size, the home’s location and its bones or structure. It’s so easy to overlook outdated and poorly placed light fixtures, especially beyond the kitchen and living areas.

This winter, when you can do less outside, take a look at the projects you’ve put off inside. And start with those old brass fixtures in your hallway. We’ve got a few ideas for what’s hot in hall and foyer lighting and some factors to consider.

Function first

The first thing to consider is whether your current lighting scheme is working for you in terms of appearance and safety. For example, if you’re lighting stairs, consider universal design strategies, such as LED-lighted rails, step lighting or recessed figures to light stairs and risers. Add motion activation if you want to save energy or avoid all-night glows outside the kids’ open doors.

For any hallway, be sure you have fixtures placed at least every eight to ten feet. You can place your fixtures on the ceiling, along the wall or have recessed, lower wall lights. Just be careful using wall lights in narrow halls or ceiling lights in low ceiling areas and be sure that every hallway stairway has a light switch at each end.

Consider the situation

If your hallway is narrow, light can make it appear larger and less confining. Again, keep it off the walls and use a flush mounted fixture, especially for a short and narrow hall. Choose a style that matches your décor, trim or accent choices. For example, go glam with crystal fixtures for a formal hall, add sconces for subtle light, or choose an industrial mount for a more austere and clean feel.

If the hall is narrow, but the ceiling is plenty high, it can make the hallway feel even more narrow. Choose a few long pendant lights or small chandeliers. Be sure to choose a narrow style and hang them high enough to clear heads, but low enough to balance the high ceiling.

Accent the positive

If you have a family photo gallery or prized artwork along your hallway wall, light it up at night. With some well-placed track or recessed lighting, you can spotlight your art and provide plenty of light to navigate the hallway. LED track lighting can be attractive, with tracks that swirl or mount flush and several globe sizes, types and finishes. Their flexibility allows you to light floor, wall on both sides, any area you want to highlight along your hallway.

What’s new?

Of course, nothing says your hallway lights have to come from the ceiling. You can walk over them if you like by choosing uplighting. It’s a bold and dramatic look, especially perfect if you have plants, windows or other accents. With recessed lights or small uplights low along walls or stairs, you can combine function, drama and an updated look. Uplighting encourages movement and provides enough lamination to safely light the way. Place the lights along a textured wall for an even more dramatic look.

Try the latest in LED technology in a compact hallway. Called organic LED, or OLED, the new technology flattens LED glow into a dimmer source of light, typically in a square or rectangle. Once OLED really takes off, it sounds like the perfect solution for small, narrow areas such as hallways.

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