If you have a long, narrow hallway with doors on either side, you know what the “railroad car” effect is. These interior hallways are long, linear corridors that are usually relatively dark except for whatever ceiling fixture sheds some light in the area; they can even be on the dark side on sunny days.
It’s typical to find these types of hallways in older apartments, condos, and even some mid-century homes built before open floor plans became popular. You may think you just have to live with it – but you don’t.
There are cures for the railroad car effect. Here’s how we corrected it in a standard cookie-cutter 1980s condo.
The above “before” photo illustrates the condo’s narrow, dark hallway – the classic railroad car look. My clients wanted a more contemporary, colorful, open feel, so eliminating the railroad car syndrome was a definite must.
After moving the master bedroom doorway two feet from where it was, we widened the hallway and then borrowed space from the second bedroom.
Instead of the standard vanity that had been at the end of the hallway, we designed a floating vanity to give the area a more open look. We then mirrored the walls so that ambient light is reflected from across the condo, adding brightness and visual spaciousness.
If you can’t or don’t want to make all of these changes, choose the ones you prefer – they’ll still make a difference in lightening up the railroad car effect.