Seeking advice for sprucing up our hallway

Seeking advice for sprucing up our hallway

Every January, I make a list of house projects I want to tackle over the next year.

Rob rolls his eyes when I do this, mostly because we never completely finish the list and end up tackling spur-of-the-moment projects that weren't on it. He thinks (and rightly so) that it's not a great planning tool.

But I make it anyway, because I love making lists and and thinking about house projects. I always add some pie-in-the-sky things, on the off-chance that some might actually happen. Last year, I was thrilled and a little surprised to check off "resurface countertops."

I started 2012 and my list off right by painting my whole bathroom a bright white Jan. 2. I was sick of the navy, because when it's on half your wall, it doesn't make your tiny space feel bigger. The old paint job was also pretty nasty - if you're using using navy against white, especially on trim, use the expensive painter's tape. Anything less is a waste of your time because the paint will leak underneath. The new white paint finally gives my bathroom that finished, high-end feel I've been looking for.

Now that my bathroom feels less like a second-grader painted it, I've turned my attentions to the second item on my list: paint the hallway. I need some advice.

The hallway is small and has four doorways. It's the last bastion of yellow-gold paint that the previous owner used as a neutral and I really dislike. Even the hallway ceiling is yellow. It also lacks natural light and feels sort of like a mustardy cave. I'm going for the opposite feeling - I'd like to to feel airy and open.

Now, the paint colors in the rest of our house are grays and blues, minus of course, the newly bright white bathroom. I'd like to extend that feeling into the hallway. But part of me wants to do something fun and funky with the small space, like an accent wall. (If we didn't have a no-wallpaper treaty, I'd consider using it to create one. But don't even tell Rob I said that.)

Or maybe it's time to revisit the idea of putting a barn door on our hallway wall, to work as a bathroom door. I spent some time obsessing over the idea last year, only to be put off by the cost of the hardware involved. But this tutorial shows how to create a barn door track using things you can buy at a typical hardware store, for less than $100. And here's another, which includes making the door yourself.

Anyone else have ideas about how we can add some personality to the space while making it feel more open and light? (I love the photo I used from Pinterest, although since we don't have vaulted ceilings, I doubt our hallway will ever feel this open.)

Source: Uploaded by user via Samantha on Pinterest


Here is an example of the barn door look I like - I love the idea of painting the door the same color as the wall, so it adds texture but not visual weight.

Source: via Kelsey on Pinterest

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mimisantiques wrote on January 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Dear Meg - I love your white space and your idea for the sliding barn door - first of all, I would like to say that I don't think you have given yourself enough credit - your choosen style is clean, crisp with an elegant flair - right now, white is in - with the ebbs and flows of decorating, you are in vogue to say the least - the airy fleeling you get from the flowing white curtians on the black rods shows you not only have style, but a great eye... Additionally, your wood flooring is simply gorgeous and to be honest, I like the fact that there are many doors within this hallway - they add to the old tyme feeling that only an older home can provide - my suggestion for 'sprucing up' the hallway is to stay with simplicity - because this space is the entry way to your humble resting space, this area should stay as calming as possible as this is your retreat in the evening and the first thing you see when you awake - I personally would not over do this area with too much stuff... Items I would go with would be to stay with the exsisting back drop of black, white, and the beautiful color of your wood floors - here, black and white photo graphs would fit in nicely in black distressed  frames with a mixture of a few distressed white frames - you could go with 5 in a nice alternating display or you could go with as many as you choose - you can use old photos you can pick up at any antique store, or photos of your family - since there are several walls to consider here - I would also suggest that old windows with 4,6 or 8 frames which would also look good here - the old window speaks for itself as a decoration peice - you could then add some small additions to the windows with grapevine and to add a little color, say a cranberry or deep red, or browns with artificial garlands and a few coordinating textiles - you could also put old black and white photographs behind the glass of the old windows...other additions here could be small black and white items such as bird houses, or old wooden boxes and baskets which can be set sideways to also create decorating space for small personal items... you could have a showcase wall with more items showcased and the rest of the walls with items that are complimentary as mentioned above...

I am the owner of Mimi's Antiques in Mahomet and love to decorate - it is my passion - good luck with whatever you decide - I have a feeling you will do just fine... however, if you like my suggestions, you can reach me at and I would love to help assist you in your venture....




Meg Dickinson wrote on January 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm
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Michelle, thank you so much for your compliments and your thoughtful response  - but these are inspiration photos I pulled from Pinterest! Sorry for the confusion.

My actual hallway (which isn't pictured because it really is pretty cave-like) is much less easy on the eyes. I love your suggestions, though. My husband actually made me a mirror from an old window we found in our attic a few years ago - I'll have to use it in the space, once I do something about its yellow paint.

We do have a good foundation of wood floors (although with more narrow planks) but I don't think the curtains would work for the space - we have a dog and a cat, and I wouldn't be able to keep them clean.

Thanks again for your ideas!



prairiegourmet wrote on January 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

Episode 14 of this year's This Old House demonstrated an installation of sliding barn doors using hardware store parts. Here's the link:,,20559587,00.html

I suggest you paint the hallway your bathroom white or get a white with some grey or blue in it to complement the other rooms.  The decorator's trick is not to use a flat paint.  A soft gloss or enamel will reflect light much better.  Then add the mirror as suggested above.  Paint your barn door hardware a glossy black enamel and add other accessories that have reflective materials (i.e. silver tones, faceted glass, etc).  I recently saw some really cute small mirrored occasional tables at TJ Maxx that would also add some light bouncing reflection.  Anyway, you get the picture.  You don't need windows if you use the right type of paint and accessories.


Meg Dickinson wrote on January 16, 2012 at 8:01 am
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Excellent advice - now to convince Rob we need a barn door! Thanks!

DenaS wrote on January 15, 2012 at 12:01 am

I'd vote for pale paint on the hallway, and then for fun stuff that won't stick out into the hallway and catch elbows and stuff, try those wall tattoo things!

They've got everything from garden scenes with birds to geometrics to, basically, anything you can print on vinyl and run through a laser die cutter to make it look like a custom paint pattern.

I think there'd be something kinda cool to be said for a pale-cloud almost-white shade of blue with a flock of birds flying across it to make a space feel kind of subconsciously bigger? I'm thinking about doing something of the sort in my bathroom, whenever I get enough savings and/or time put together to redo the bathroom...

Meg Dickinson wrote on January 16, 2012 at 8:01 am
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Now that's a cool idea - and I bet it wouldn't cause the same fight as wallpapering!