Best paint color for dark hallway that isn’t white

Finding the perfect paint color for dark hallways can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you’re trying to avoid the default choice of white.

Dark and narrow hallways have the potential to feel gloomy and unwelcoming, so it’s important to choose a paint color that can brighten up the space while still adding visual interest and character.

Luckily, there are plenty of amazing non-white paint options available that can transform the mood in your dark hallway and make it a focal point in your home.

When selecting a paint color for dark hallways, designers often recommend opting for neutrals such as taupe, gray, or cream.

These shades not only add warmth and depth to the space but also create an inviting atmosphere for family and guests.

In addition to neutrals, some other popular paint colors for dark hallways include Pelt by Farrow & Ball, a moody plum tone, and Behr Equilibrium, which offers a balance between light and dark shades.

Exploring various paint color options for dark hallways can be an exciting and creative process.

By testing out different shades and considering the overall atmosphere you’d like to create in the space, you’re sure to find the perfect hue that brings life and style to even the darkest and narrowest of hallways.

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15 Best Paint Colors For A Dark Hallway (That Aren’t White)

Best green paint colors for dark hallway


  1. Sherwin Williams: Rainwashed (SW6211) – This sage green color has a calming and organic feel that embraces nature and brings brightness to darker areas.
  2. Benjamin Moore: Saybrook Sage (HC-114) – A soft and airy green that enriches dark hallways without overpowering the space.
  3. Farrow & Ball: Bancha (No. 298) – Named after Japanese tea leaves, this warm green is perfect for creating a sophisticated, harmonious atmosphere.
Best blue paints for dark hallway


  1. Sherwin Williams: Languid Blue (SW6226) – A peaceful and serene blue that makes a hallway feel more spacious and inviting.
  2. Benjamin Moore: Windy Sky (1639) – This ethereal blue adds a refreshing touch and opens up the space in dark hallways.
  3. Farrow & Ball: Parma Gray (No. 27) – Despite the name, this elegant blue shade is perfect for adding a tranquil and timeless backdrop to any hallway.
Best gray paint for dark hallway


  1. Sherwin Williams: Passive (SW7064) – This versatile light gray color with a hint of blue undertones adds a polished, contemporary feel to dark hallways.
  2. Benjamin Moore: Classic Gray (OC-23) – This subtle gray shade works beautifully to bring a sense of balance and warmth into a dark hallway.
  3. Farrow & Ball: Cornforth White (No. 228) – Contrary to its name, this timeless gray is calming and versatile, making it a go-to option for dark hallways.
Best yellow paint colors for dark hallways


  1. Sherwin Williams: Sunrise (SW 6668) – A lively warm yellow that instantly adds a cheerful vibe and brightens up a dark space.
  2. Benjamin Moore: Hawthorne Yellow (HC-4) – This sunny yellow color brings warmth and positive energy, turning the hallway into a more inviting space.
  3. Farrow & Ball: Babouche (No. 223) – This bold, rich golden yellow is perfect for adding a statement presence in a dark hallway without being overwhelming.
Best purple and pink paint for dark hallways

Purples and Pinks

  1. Sherwin Williams: Veiled Violet (SW 6268) – This soft lavender delivers a beautifully calming and subtle touch of color to dark hallways.
  2. Benjamin Moore: Mauve Desert (2113-50) – This lovely pink-toned purple adds a touch of femininity and depth to dark hallway spaces.
  3. Farrow & Ball: Calamine (No. 230) – A delicate pink with a light touch of grey.

Understanding Hallway Lighting

Natural Light

Hallway lighting plays a significant role in selecting the best paint color for a dark hallway.

When considering natural light, it’s important to assess the amount of sunlight that enters the space through windows or other openings.

For hallways with ample natural light, a more neutral or muted color may work well, as it will absorb and reflect the light, making the space appear more luminous.

In contrast, for hallways with limited natural light, opt for shades that will brighten the area and create a more inviting atmosphere.

Artificial Light

In addition to natural light, the artificial light provided by light fixtures should also be considered when choosing paint colors for dark hallways.

The type, intensity, and color of artificial lighting can significantly impact the appearance of a paint color.

Selecting paint colors that complement your artificial light sources will create an attractive and balanced appearance in your hallway.

A general guideline is to choose warm-toned paint colors for areas with warm lighting, such as incandescent or halogen bulbs, and cool-toned colors for spaces with cooler, energy-efficient LED or fluorescent lights.

Remember to take note of the position of your light fixtures, as the direction of the light can create shadows and influence how the paint color appears.

For example, lights that illuminate from above may highlight the ceiling and upper part of walls, while floor lamps will cast light on the lower part of walls.

Both scenarios should be considered when deciding on the appropriate paint color for your dark hallway.

Color Theory for Dark Hallways

Contrast and Balance

When selecting the best paint colors for dark hallways, it’s important to consider the principles of contrast and balance.

By choosing colors with appropriate contrast, you can accentuate specific features in the hallway, such as trim, doors, or artwork.

This can help to create a balanced and visually appealing space.

For instance, a lighter shade of paint on the walls can make darker trim stand out, while a darker hue can create a striking contrast with lighter doors or artwork.

Some popular paint colors that provide a balanced contrast and aren’t white include:

Warm and Cool Undertones

Warm undertones, such as reds, oranges, and yellows, can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Another factor to consider when selecting paint colors for dark hallways is the undertone of the color.

On the other hand, cool undertones, such as blues, greens, and purples, can bring a sense of calm and tranquility to a dark hallway.

Remember to consider the specific features in your dark hallway, such as trim and doors, when selecting a paint color.

By selecting a color with the appropriate contrast and undertone, you can create a visually appealing and balanced space that feels welcoming and bright.

Popular Paint Brands and Colors

When choosing the best paint colors for dark hallways that aren’t white, it is important to consider popular paint brands and their top-rated colors.

In this section, we will explore some of the highly recommended colors from renowned paint brands like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Farrow & Ball.

Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore is a reputable paint brand known for its high-quality products and a wide range of color options.

Some of the top paint colors for dark hallways from Benjamin Moore are:

  • Edgecomb Gray HC-173: This color is a soft, warm gray that brings a touch of warmth and sophistication to your hallway without being too overpowering.
  • Stonington Gray HC-170: Another beautiful gray shade, Stonington Gray is a neutral choice that provides a sense of balance and tranquility.
  • Swiss Coffee OC-45: This off-white color is perfect for those looking for a non-white alternative, adding a subtle warmth and brightness.
  • Lychee AF-40: A soft, pale pink hue that can add a delicate and elegant touch to your dark hallway.
  • Silken Pine 2144-50: This peaceful pale green hue brings a soft, soothing vibe to any space, making it an ideal choice for dark hallways.


Sherwin-Williams is another trusted paint brand with an extensive collection of inspiring paint colors.

Some popular hallway colors from Sherwin-Williams include:

  • Pure White SW 7005: Not quite white, this almost off-white color provides a clean and bright background for your hallway.
  • Rock Candy SW 6231: A subtle, cool gray tone, Rock Candy is perfect for creating a serene, calming atmosphere.
  • Clean Slate SW 9621: This versatile neutral color can add depth and sophistication to any dark hallway.
  • Alabaster SW 7008: A warm off-white, Alabaster complements various home styles and works well for most hallways and entryways.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball is a premium paint brand well-known for its rich, luxurious paint colors. To brighten up a dark hallway, consider these Farrow & Ball options:

  • Slipper Satin: A soft, warm neutral color that adds a touch of elegance to any space.
  • Cornforth White: This sophisticated, warm gray tone adds a welcoming atmosphere to dark hallways.
  • Cabbage White: A classic versatile non-white option for those looking to brighten up a hallway while keeping the space light and airy.
  • Eddy: An ever-popular choice, Eddy offers a sense of balance and tranquility to your dark hallway.
  • Peignoir: A timeless, romantic color, created by giving the softest pink a touch of grey.

Remember to consult with an interior designer or paint specialist to determine which paint colors will work best in your specific dark hallway.

Personal preferences and existing home décor can also influence your choice.

With the right paint color, you can transform a gloomy, dark hallway into a warm, inviting, and visually appealing area of your home.

Paint Finishes for Dark Hallways

When choosing the best paint color for a dark hallway, it’s essential to also consider the paint finish.

The right finish can enhance the color and overall appearance, making the hallway look brighter and more inviting.

In general, there are three paint finishes that are often recommended for dark hallways: satin, eggshell, and semi-gloss.

Satin finish is a popular choice for dark hallways, as it offers a soft and velvety appearance.

This finish has a moderate level of sheen, which helps reflect some light, creating a more vibrant look.

Satin is also quite durable and easy to clean, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas.

Eggshell finish, on the other hand, has a slightly lower sheen than satin.

It provides a smooth, subtle glow that can make the paint color appear warmer and more inviting.

This finish is also a good option for darker hallways, as it can help disguise uneven surfaces and imperfections, thanks to its slightly matte appearance.

Semi-gloss finish is another suitable option for dark hallways.

This finish has a higher level of sheen compared to satin and eggshell, which means it can reflect more light and create a brighter look.

Semi-gloss paint is also durable and easy to clean, making it an excellent choice for areas that may experience more wear and tear.

When selecting a paint color, it’s a good idea to obtain paint swatches and test them in the hallway to see how the color and finish combination appears in the space.

This will help ensure the chosen paint will create the desired effect and enhance the hallway’s overall look.

Additional Ways to Brighten a Dark Hallway

Flooring and Rugs

When it comes to brightening a dark hallway, don’t forget the importance of flooring.

Choose light-colored flooring options, such as pale hardwood or light-colored tiles, to help reflect light and create a brighter space.

Adding a colorful or patterned runner can also make a significant difference in the overall appearance of the hallway.

Not only does it add visual interest, but it also increases the sense of depth and dimension.

Ceiling and Trim

A simple yet effective way to brighten a dark hallway is by paying attention to the ceiling and trim.

Choose a light neutral color for both the ceiling and trim, which can help create a more open and airy feeling.

Additionally, adding crown molding or other decorative trim can draw the eye upwards, creating a sense of height and spaciousness in the hallway.

Wall Decor and Accents

Finally, consider using wall decor and accents to further enhance the appearance of a dark hallway.

An accent wall, for example, can provide a pop of color or pattern that contrasts nicely with the lighter paint colors recommended for dark hallways.

Stylish doors with glass panels or decorative details can also help break up long stretches of wall and add visual interest.

To make the hallway even brighter, install artificial light fixtures, such as sconces or track lighting, and strategically place mirrors to reflect natural light and create a sense of depth.

Additionally, hanging artwork or decorative items on the walls can bring personality and life to the space.

Always keep in mind the importance of testing paint samples in the hallway itself, as light conditions can significantly affect how colors appear on the wall.

This way, you’ll be able to make the best choices to create a welcoming and bright hallway in your home.

Selecting the Perfect Paint Color

Consulting with Interior Designers

A friendly approach to finding the ideal paint color for a dark hallway is consulting with interior designers.

They have an extensive knowledge of paint colors and can offer valuable insights tailored to your specific taste and the layout of your hallway.

For instance, they might suggest opting for shades like Creamy SW 7012, Swiss Coffee, or Lychee.

These non-white colors can give your hallway a cozy and inviting atmosphere while brightening up the space at the same time.

Additionally, interior designers can help the owner find a color option that complements existing decor and paint in adjacent rooms.

In some cases, they may even recommend a paint color with a hint of blush to enhance and elevate the overall aesthetics.

Testing Paint Samples

Once you have a few paint colors in mind, it’s important to test them in the actual hallway.

Since colors can appear differently depending on lighting conditions and surrounding elements, you should try out paint samples before committing to a particular shade.

One practical and mess-free way to test paint colors is using peel-and-stick paint samples. I recommend using Samplize.

These can be easily applied to the wall and removed without causing any damage.

By observing the samples at various times of the day and under different lighting conditions, you’ll be able to better assess which color works best in your specific situation.

Remember to consider the existing trim, flooring, and adjacent room colors when evaluating the paint samples.

This will help ensure a cohesive and harmonious color scheme throughout your home.

Ultimately, the goal is to find a paint color that enhances the atmosphere, brightens the dark hallway, and showcases your personal style.


In conclusion, there are various paint color options that can effectively brighten up dark hallways without resorting to white.

Selecting a paint color with warmer undertones, such as beige or light gray, can create a cozy atmosphere in the hallway.

On the other hand, cooler colors like shades of blue or green can give a sense of freshness and airiness in the space.

It’s important to strike a balance between the two depending on personal preferences and the overall aesthetic of the home.

Ultimately, choosing the best paint color for a dark hallway will depend on the individual’s taste and what works best with the home’s architectural features and decor.

The key is to experiment with swatches before committing to a final decision and get inspiration from the various options listed above.

With the right color choice, a dark hallway can transform from a dull and unwelcoming space into a bright and inviting area that adds character and warmth to any home.

These are the best paint colors for dark hallways that aren’t white. Check them out to learn how to brighten your dark hallway.

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