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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Decorating Tips for Narrow Passages

Friday, May 20, 2016

Narrow long passages or hallways can be hard to decorate since people need the space to walk through without bumping into anything. Do you have a long passageway through one room to the next? Are you always wondering what to do to give that area some life?

If you are building a new house that will have a long passageway, include features with interest like a stone wall instead of sheetrock.  

Native Texas limestone was used to build the fireplace in the living room on the other side of this wall in the kitchen. By adding limestone on the back of the fireplace, this long walkway from the entry through the kitchen is a focal point of interest in the kitchen. 

If you have an existing house, look into the new thin stones that can be applied to a wall much like thin tiles. While this wall is the real thing, stone-like tiles can add a similar look to an existing wall. 

Can you feel the French essence created by the limestones? Native stones are used in buildings in the Provence area of France and are one of the ways to replicate a French look in any house. Stones used with massive wooden posts and exposed wooden ceiling rafters add even more rustic French country farmhouse design. 

Another thing to consider in a new house plan is to include shelves along narrow passageways. This shelf works well for a variety of seasonal displays throughout the year. At Christmas, fresh greens surround Santa plates. For Fall, a collection of candles and rustic lanterns add a soft glow when darkness comes so early. My favorite set of hand-thrown pottery featuring Spring-like flowers, vines, and a hummingbird add a Spring through Summer light and airy look. 

For large gatherings when table space is at a premium with little room for centerpieces and other decorations, this high shelf is perfect for those centerpiece flowers and decorations that add so much to parties. 

It is high enough on the wall that people passing by do not catch objects on the shelf with their arms, coats, purses, or other things they are carrying. Being out of the way of little fingers of children and swishing tails of pets protects fragile collectibles and glass items. 

Instead of a gallery wall filled with several small prints, hang one large print to make a big impact in a narrow passageway. Since this passageway is formed by one wall and a kitchen island, the stone wall is totally visible above the kitchen island. That allows people in the kitchen to see this large print from wherever they are in the kitchen. 

People passing through the kitchen are routed away from the working area of the kitchen by this long passageway which keeps both traffic flowing and dinner preparation progressing without interference from traffic. The added bonus is the wall is a major feature in the house instead of being a dull, lifeless narrow passage just to get from the entry to rooms surrounding the kitchen. 

One of my friends built a wall of bookcases along the narrow passage hallway that connects all the bedrooms in her house. The books are easy to reach for a night-time bed story and are all in one location, but the bookshelves are only about one-foot deep and do not take much space. The shelves are also a great spot for displaying a treasured collection. Adding bookshelves to a narrow hallway or passage is a brilliant idea I wish I had seen before building.  

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So, here are four ideas to turn lifeless long passages into focal points of interest. 
  1. Use stone to add interest.
  2. Include a high shelf for decorating purposes.
  3. Hang one large print for a big impact.
  4. Build bookcases to house a collection of books or other collectibles. 
How do you decorate long narrow passages in your house?
Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined




  1. Gorgeous. And your blue touches are a surprise at every nook and cranny!

  2. Stunning!

    When I finally stopped myself from admiring the beams and the stone, I focused on the shelf. It's brilliant and adds so much to the space.

  3. Judith, I love the beams in your home! And the limestone! We have 14 foot ceilings in our great room, and I wish that was one of things that we would've done. Maybe some day I'll figure something out, but in the meantime, I'm going to continue to drool over yours:D Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Oh I love the look of the limestone. We so appreciate you joining the Thoughts of Home on Thursday gathering. May you have a delightfully lovely weekend.

  5. Your home is amazing! You obviously thought of everything when you were building it and I always love seeing peeks around the house.

    Thank you for joining Thoughts of Home. :)

  6. Judith- I love it when you share glimpses of your beautiful home.
    Your tips are spot on.
    The large print is lovely and of course I love it because of the soft blues and white.

    Happy TOHOT,

  7. Your home is lovely Judith, with the rich beams and I am always taken by the lovely light that shines in.
    Thank you for sharing this with us at TOHOT.
    Today is the kick off for the second garden party, hope to see you link up.

  8. Gorgeous home filled with light and charm! Count me among the limestone fans who have posted previously. I also agree with adding one large print for impact. I'm guilty of assembling a really cluttered wall and want to get away from that (if I can)! :-)

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  9. That shelf is a great place for displays! I know you enjoy styling it for the seasons.


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