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How Wide Should a Hallway Be? (Quick Answers)

While planning your dream building you make every effort so that the project comes out perfectly. From your bedroom to kitchen, even those staircases, everything is designed with much care and calculation. 

So that you don’t have to face any unwanted experiences in the future. 

But while turning their dream into reality through a construction project often people forget to give their attention to the corridor or hallway. Whereas the hallway is a very important part of a building.

No matter you’re designing your home or office, you must make sure the hallways are broad enough since it’s the entryway. That’s why it’s essential to know how wide a corridor should be.

How wide should a hallway be?

A hallway should be at least 36 inches wide. The standard width of a hallway is 42 inches but you can increase the size if there’s enough space. In fact, considering different factors such as building type, decoration, handicap access, etc. a hallway’s width can be expanded up to 60 inches.

The hallway is the first thing people observe while entering a place. Also, the interior decoration depends a lot on the corridors’ design. So it’s important to keep it wider. 

The width of a hallway should be 42 inches wide according to International Residential Codes’ standard measurement. There can be some barely noticeable up and down in the measurement but it should not be narrower than 36 inches. 

We’ve made a list mentioning the proper width of hallways in different buildings and for different purposes. 

In a house: 

The hallway in a house should not be less than 36-inch wide. For a house, the ideal width is considered 42 inches. This width covers a walking space of two, space for some emergency equipment along with a light interior décor.

But if the house is spacious, increasing the width of the hallway up to 50 inches is fine.

For a wheelchair: 

A wheelchair is usually 21 to 32 inches wide. So if one’s designing a hallway keeping handicapped persons in mind the width should be minimum of 36 inches. 

However, to fit another person with the wheel-chaired one, 48 inches wide hallways are perfect. 

In a commercial building:

Commercial places see a lot of people in rush every minute, also there is often the movement of machines and other gadgets. so hallways in such buildings should be broader than residential hallways. For example, 44 inch minimum. 

An upstairs hallway:

An upstairs hallway should be designed following at least 36-inch width. But it’s always recommended to keep the space of a corridor 42-inch-wide.

An office hallway:

Offices are full of busy people thus the corridors must have enough space for moving. Similar to commercial buildings the office hallway too should be at least 44 inches wide. 

An entrance hallway:

The entrance hallway of any place creates a big first impression so it must not feel like a closed tunnel. To make an entrance hallway comfortable for a bunch of people it’s good to make it at least 42 inches wide. 

Thus it gets a place for light furnishing too.

L shaped hallways:

L-shaped hallways need to be designed carefully since they have bends that narrow a particular spot. Keeping such passageways 42 to 48 inches wide is encouraged.

Restaurant hallway:

Restaurant hallways are more or less crowded with food lovers. So as a commercial and busy place, the hallways of restaurants need 42 inches’ width at least.  

What is a good size for a hallway?

A hallway is an entrance way to any place thus it needs to be planned correctly while constructing some place. 

Though hallways in a building are made according to the place’s space and size, maintaining a standard measurement is encouraged for comfort, safety, and appearance.

A good size hallway includes both standard width and height

To make the entering way spacious, equipped, and decorated you have to make it 42 inches wide which is the ideal width. Thus the passage will have enough space for two people to pass through together without feeling tight. 

42-inch-wide hallways also let handicapped people move with their wheelchairs easily.

Since hallways barely have any windows, the short height ceiling only makes them more closed and dark. So to balance the width, the height of a hallway can be 80 to 96 inches long.

How narrow can a hallway be? What is the minimum clear width of a hallway? 

Even in the smallest place, a hallway should not be less than 36 inches wide. Though this width is not the standard measurement and can make many people claustrophobic, it’s the least width one should follow.

Hallways that are narrower than 36 inches can barely provide the comfort of walking through it. 

Thus they are risky while an emergency occurs. 

Also, the width below 36 inches doesn’t allow people with wheelchairs. They only make the whole place confined, dark and suffocating. 

According to the International Residential Code, 36 inches is the minimum width of a hallway if the place doesn’t have enough space. 

This width includes wheelchair accesses, emergency entry, and some first-aid equipment, thus it’s considered the least width one must follow while designing corridors.

Three reasons why hallways need to be a certain width

A hallway might not hold the same importance to you unlike the bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, but it’s an important feature you can’t ignore while looking for comfort and space in a house.

Here we’ve mentioned three reasons that say why hallways need to follow a certain width:

To move comfortably: 

Hallways that are 42 or more wide let people move and walk in easily. Whether it’s an office or a house having a party, there’ll be more people and rush. Wide hallways let them pass with ease.

To provide space for furnishing: 

Who doesn’t want their whole house to be furnished and decorated nicely? Corridors that carry you to the main house feel none less than a tunnel if there’s no scope to add a few furniture or décor items.

Even if you don’t keep fancy things in the corridor side, you at least have to keep someplace for racks or storage. Wide hallways are a must for that space. 

To give access to large items/emergency equipment: 

Hallways that are narrow creates disturbance while it’s an emergency. For the L-shaped ones, it gets more complicated and hard to carry large things around the house through the confined passage. 

Also, sometimes you need to give access to the machine, giant tools in emergency cases, or even a wheelchair to the house. If the hallway is at least in its standard width, moving and carrying these becomes less hard.

Can a narrow hallway be widened?

There is no easy way to widen a hallway after the structure of the house is built. But if you badly need a wider hallway, breaking the walls surrounding it can help in some cases. 

A hallway should be planned properly before starting the construction work. After a house gets its’ frame the hallway measurements can’t be altered. So you cannot add more width to a narrow corridor after that. At least not without harming the other spaces of the house.

An expert builder may add some width in your hallway by breaking the sidewalls of the other rooms but that’s not always possible. Even if some constructor promises to do so, the width will cost you a huge amount of money and time.

However, you can make your hallway look spacious by providing brighter lights, pastel wall colors, and building a high ceiling. 

How wide does a hallway need to be for fire code?

Fire accidents are very common in some areas and they can happen anywhere anytime. That’s why while planning a building it’s a must to follow the ideal measurements to keep your place hazard-free. 

When a building or a room in a house catches fire, the corridors play a vital part to reach the people stuck inside. Firefighters along with their tools need free space here to go inside for handling the accident. 

Also as an emergency exit hallways are used by everyone to get out of the affected place. 

That’s why a hallway needs to be 44 inches wide for fire code. This width is chosen as it includes the space firefighters and rescuers will need to work conveniently. A hallway narrow than 44 inches is riskier since against the fire code. 

Final Thoughts

The standard width of a hallway is 42 inches. Depending on the place and space it can be widened more. However, a hallway should never be less wide than 36 inches. It’s the minimum width which includes a decent walkway, space for wheelchair, gurney, and emergency equipment.