If your entrance hall to your home is not the brightest area in the house, you need to steer clear of dark and imposing colours which may cause it to create a gloomy impression of your home - especially if you intend to sell it anytime soon.
In order to brighten up the dark hallway, consider trying to use clever tricks to create light. Of course, electricity can provide this in the evenings but won't bring natural light in during the day. Think about placing a large mirror on the stairs - this might reflect light from your landing (which may have a window) or rooms upstairs.
The colour of the walls will then also need to create light. Dulux do a very nice paint called Light and Space (in a range of nice colours) which has light-reflecting particles in it - think extra glow, not glittering walls! Keep the walls either a bright cream, apple green or cornflower blue which will prevent gloom from setting in.
Other tips for enhancing the entrance to your home is to invest in the following:
1. A decent welcoming doormat - the thicker and more luxurious the better, as it encourages people to wipe their feet!
2. A light-coloured rug. Open up yet more light in the space with a neutral rug to streamline the entrance hall.
3. A hatstand or coat hooks. Again, to encourage visitors to deposit their outerwear in the hall and to not leave it looking bare.
4. Plants. Buy a tall plant which will create texture and colour in the hall without drowning out the light. Of course, if it needs a lot of sunlight perhaps don't put it in here!
5. Feature light fitting. Buy a large light fitting which will hang from the ceiling with grandeur - this will stop your hall from being boring and bland. Think light-reflecting - such as a chandelier or plastic interpretation. The more glass in the hall, the more reflective light. But don't go overboard!
Remember that a dark carpet or dark flooring will dim the hallway even more. Swap this for a fresh cream carpet (if you're brave enough) or some light oak or laminate.
Also a dark hallway can be instantly transformed by the addition of a piece of artwork, preferably bright and welcoming, to create an attractive focal point.
Making use of any area in a home is very much based on individual taste. In order to make a dark area light and welcoming you would need to lighten it as much as possible. Using hints of white, cream or magnolia on the walls would help. If there is an area large enough, a large feature mirror would give the illusion of space and reflect light back to you.
Rather than use a light carpet (if it is an entrance hall,this would not be a good idea unless you are the sort of person that asks people to remove their shoes), make a feature with differing shades of light ceramic tiles. This would have a dual use of being hard wearing and easy to keep clean as well as reflect additional light. This would work equally well with an internal hallway and could be a feature of the house. Using light colours does nessesarily not make an area cold if a combination of creams and whites are used well.
If you want to, adding a large artwork on one side of the hallway often does wonders to make the space look interesting and welcoming.
I have a dark hallway to try getting rid of all the stuff on the walls it makes the room feel bigger and lighter and it draws you more to the size of the room rather than the content!