Finding inspiration + hallway redo

I love my husband, but sometimes he’s like a puppy- eager to please but completely in the way without even realizing it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s incredibly helpful with my projects when I need him, but sometimes I’ve got to do things my way! To clarify: “my way” means living with utter upheaval around the house for a few days while I flit from project to project, simultaneously painting, organizing, cleaning, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Oh, and I play music while I work, LOUD. He can’t stand that! But it’s how I work best.

He was out of town this past weekend (and I missed him tons!) so instead of date night and lazy mornings with the hubby I put on my painting clothes and got to work. Our little cottage wasn’t a pretty sight for a few days, but it sure cleaned up nicely! On the agenda was finishing updating the hallway. Our 1970s house has a long, narrow hallway dividing it right down the middle and opening into each room, as well as housing a laundry closet. The hallway has fairly new tile flooring but has been mostly neglected since we moved in 6 months ago.

Here’s what I was working with:

Yeah, pretty sad. Just last week we updated the boob light fixture for some sleek track lighting, but it needed more pizazz. And before I could pick up a paintbrush I needed a plan! I got to thinking, and it went something like this: I’m obsessed with chair rails so that has to fit somewhere, and I figure the existing paneling in the hallway could look more like beadboard and less like paneling if painted in a semigloss white. Our ceilings are lowww (7’4″) so naturally I want to find a way to expand the height of the hallway. Using a chair rail visually “belts” the room at the waist- making it appear shorter- so I have to counterbalance the strong horizontal of the rail with an equally strong vertical. What about… stripes? YES! Using carefully measured stripes would also downplay the paneling above the chair rail, letting the paneling below the rail stand out more as a beadboard (spackling in the grooves- a solution to disguising paneling that I found on trustly google- does not sound appealing at ALL so it’s up to me find a better easier way).

This is what sparked my inspiration:

It is from a home decorated by Jarlath Mellett, a New York interior designer. I found the image via the blog First Time Fancy. Our hallway is already painted grey, so I would only have to buy white paint & the chair rail, super easy, right?

Here’s everything I’ve done to makeover this room so far:

  • Installed new track lighting
  • Installed chair rail
  • Caulked edges of chair rail
  • Painted below chair rail with semigloss white
  • Masked off and painted stripes above chair rail, also in semigloss white
  • Painted (or rather, my sister Mercy painted) a bookshelf for the hallway cubbyhole
  • Accessorized said bookshelf

First the chair rail went up. That step was simple- I measured each wall section and then Mark used his table saw to cut the pieces to size. He also helped me nail the pieces to the wall (we went with 36 inches up the wall- traditionally the chair rail is placed at 1/3 of the height of the room but with our low ceilings that would have looked laughable!) and then I caulked along the edges of the rail. Our hallway looked like this for a few days while I waited for the caulk to dry:

Starting at 7PM on Friday and working until 3AM on Saturday I painted three coats of paint both below the rail and on the stripes. In retrospect, a more expensive paint would probably have had better coverage. This I realized at approximately 11PM while bitterly cursing the ineffectiveness of the second coat. But boy, when I took off the tape, it was allll worth it:) Here’s what we’re living with right now:

(standing in the hall by the kitchen door, looking towards the guest room, studio & hall bath, and laundry closet)

(standing in front of the guest bedroom, looking towards the master bedroom and kitchen doorway)

(still in front of the guest bedroom, turned to the right. This little bit of hallway holds a bookshelf painted in the same blue as the hall bath. The bookshelf is directly in front of the door to my studio)

(I definitely recommend caulking the edges of molding like this, especially when installing over paneling. All the little grooves filled in nicely!)

(this is the view into the hallway from our hall bathroom. Look at how the different lights in the hallway- overhead track and tabletop lamp- make the striped walls look completely different. It’s the exact same white & grey but one wall looks golden and the other pristine, I didn’t notice til I looked at the picture. WEIRD!)

(I decided to mask off 12-inch stripes. Any narrower would have been tedious, and larger stripes would have messed up this particular view. This is standing in the entryway looking straight ahead- isn’t this FABULOUS?)

(my mom is giving me a box of old baby board books she no longer needs at her house- I plan to outfit this bookshelf with “kid things” for when our friends/family bring their offspring over. Right now our home is not very child friendly!)

I can’t even believe how well this little project turned out! There may have been some celebratory 3AM dancing. What can I say? I enjoy my work:) Eventually I’ll come up with something to hang on the hallway walls (I’m thinking a casual arrangement of decorative plates?) but right now I’m enjoying the crisp brightness of my new stripes.

Budget Breakdown:

  • Track lighting kit, Home Depot $29
  • White semigloss interior paint, Lowes $17
  • Painters tape for masking off stripes, Lowes $4
  • Chair rail- 32 feet at $7.46/8 ft piece, Lowes $30
  • Caulking, Ace Hardware $5
  • Nails, rollers & brushes, caulk gun, drop cloth- $0 (had already)

Total: $85 (!!!)

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.



5 thoughts on “Finding inspiration + hallway redo

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