Updating a Hall & Entry Way

When renovating my home – I never thought I needed to “renovate” my hallway. I mean it’s a hallway. It’s such a small space – why bother.  Nevertheless, I said, “What the hell – let’s update the thing.” What I thought would be an easy project – ended up being way more labor and time intensive than I thought possible. A slippery slope is what I like to call this project. First, it was just changing out the light fixtures. Then I said, “I’ll just paint the risers.” Oh and then, “I’ll just paint the banister.” But wait – “we need crown moulding and chair railing and simple wainscoting!” Oh and “wallpaper!” Sure – that shouldn’t take long (eye-roll emoji).

To start, we updated the entry way lighting (and the light at the upstairs landing) by removing the old pendent and replaced it with a new flush mount fixture. I will say I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than changing a lighting fixture. New fixtures come with directions so “doing-it-yourself” is definitely doable. Obviously, the most important part is making sure the electricity to the light you’re working on is OFF. When in doubt contact an electrician.

Next, we painted the risers white. The picture on the left is before and the picture on the right shows the first coat. A total of two coats were applied.

Next, I never thought to paint my banister. But someone once mentioned I should paint it Black using Fine Paints of Europe. Why? They said the banister would come out looking as good as a black grand piano.

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So, I headed to the paint store to pick up the product. After speaking with the associates about the paint – I left empty handed. Why?

  1. It was way, way way more expensive than I anticipated. I needed the primer, the paint and a special brush. Which would run over $100.
  2. I was intimated. The whole process seemed long, hard and dangerous.
    Long – because each coat needed to dry for 24 hours and there was a total of 3 coats needed.
    Hard – because I was told the paint was difficult to apply (and was told that a professional should do it). One professional told me that I had to add thinner to the paint. Another said not to. I was told that dust (or pet hair) can get caught in the paint very easily because it takes so long to dry.
    Dangerous – because the fumes were apparently very strong and I had small kids in the house.So I went home to think about it more. In the end – I said, if my mom and I can renovated a basement – I can paint a god damn banister. So I shipped my kids off to their grandparents house for the weekend and got to work.


Before painting – make sure your area is clean and dust / pet hair free. Using the recommended brush (I mean if you’re going to do it – you might as well do it right) lightly apply the primer to your intended area. Place the brush in a metal can of paint thinner until your next use. Let primer dry for 24 hours.


Using the same brush (pat dry with an old rag prior to using) gently apply paint to the primed surface. I did not add thinner as recommended. The paint slides on very easily. Remember that you’ll have to do another coat so don’t worry about covering all the area perfectly. Let first coat dry for 24 hours. Place the brush back in the paint thinner can until next use. Repeat with second coat. Let dry for another 24 hours.


It really is a wild paint – I’ve never seen anything like it.  The result – is a super shiny, glossy and slick surface. It definitely made a huge difference in the “updating” of the hall and entry way.


Next, we wanted to add crown moulding to the entry area. We did not document this sub-project well enough to give a tutorial. Just know that is can be accomplished if you have a miter saw and nail gun.


Here is a picture of the crown moulding after install and wood putty (but prior to caulk and paint). We also wanted to add a chair rail and simple wainscoting to the walls. You can find out how to do that in our post, How to Install Simple Wainscoting.


Lasty, I wanted wallpaper! Read all about how to hang wallpaper – Here.

But the super quick and probably not helpful version is – cut wallpaper to desired length, apply paste and “book” paper.

Apply first piece to wall (making sure it’s level). Remove air bubbles and wrinkles using a plastic smoothing tool. Cut paper at ceiling, door, wall edges. And wipe excess paste off paper with a clean, damp sponge.

Apply next wallpaper sheet by matching pattern and edges. Repeat steps above. Use a seam roller to press down seams.

I am over the moon about this Hall & Entry Way transformation! Here are a few before / after pics!

Stairway Before and After(ish) (wainscoting is still needed up the stairs)

Upstairs Landing Before and After

Entry way Before & After



One Comment Add yours

  1. Debbie Lester says:

    Wow that looks amazing!!

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