Our New House: Entryway/Stairway

I have been preparing to start working on our front entryway/center hallway/staircase and realized that I had never shared the “before” photos here! Let me show you where we started:


These were the photos on the real estate listing — I like to save these to see how the previous owners used the space. Even though their style was different than mine, they lived here for 16 years, so they know a bit about what works that I may not understand yet. Case in point — very narrow and small scale furniture and use of wall storage, as this hallway is not large. We won’t be using this hallway for storage, however, as we don’t usually come in through the front door (we use the side entry/mudroom instead).

Here is the same space after we moved in, with nothing done to it yet:


I love the classic center hall entryway with the sidelights on either side of the front door and the stairway directly in front. Although this door hardly gets used, it still adds a lot of charm to the house, both inside and out.


There is a doorway on either side of the staircase. One to the living room (above) and the other to the dining room (below).


I can’t wait to add some really statement-making lighting to this space.


I love the classic banister and spindles on the staircase (they continue at the top of the stairs as well). I could do without the hand rail on the wall, but for now, it is important for the babies. Painting it the same color as the wall will help it to disappear, I think.


The runner is actually pretty — it is just very traditional and not in my color scheme. I also never realized how much I hate vacuuming stairs! Lugging our heavy vacuum up and down is not my cup of tea. I am planning to remove this soon and sell it.


Straight back from the front door is a little half bathroom. As you can see, the hallway has a large radiator in it that we will need to work around.


As in the rest of the downstairs, the wood floors have seen better days and will need to be refinished eventually. We plan to tackle that project next year, after all the painting and other messy projects are finished.


Part of me wishes that the closed-off part of the stairway was open, but the other part thinks I could do something great with molding on that wall…


Although the lighting in this hallway isn’t bad, it is kind of underwhelming. Every room needs a dramatic piece of lighting, in my opinion. It’s the best way to make a statement and drive home your other decor choices.


To the right of the half bathroom door in this picture is another door to the living room. Right across from that is the door into the kitchen.

That ugly brown box on the wall is our doorbell! That will be going soon.

IMG_1086The view into the living room and mudroom (above) and into the kitchen (below).


Leia, our redbone coonhound, was very interested in what I was doing that day! She is standing next to our coat/supplies closet under the stairs.


This closet is so functional for us. I had originally thought I might expand the kitchen back into that space and eliminate the closet when we remodel the kitchen, but I can’t imagine losing this storage!


My very first plans for this house were to add wallpaper and molding to this hallway. I loved the look of chinoiserie-style wallpaper in an entrance hall. But, as I started thinking about other rooms, I decided that I would rather have wallpaper in the dining room. I considered doing it in both rooms for a while, which would definitely have that English country house vibe that I love, but I think it would be a little bit too grandma for Steve if I put wallpaper in two adjoining rooms! Now, I plan to use the chinoiserie-style wallpaper above tall wainscoting in the side entryway/mudroom, on the other side of the house.

This hallway is actually really tricky because it adjoins almost every other room on the first floor, plus the upstairs hallway! I know that I want to choose a pale green or blue for the walls that will add some interest to this oft-used space without darkening it, because it is already quite dim. The color I choose has to work well with the blue damask wallpaper in the dining room. I plan to paint the entire staircase (treads, railings, risers) a white or gray, with a contrasting painted runner in a darker color (or all one hue? Black or white or gray? Or everything but the treads and banister in white? I’m kind of stuck!). Whatever I choose to do with the staircase, the color or colors has to work well with the wall color and the wallpaper in the dining room as well. And, it has to look nice with the color that I paint the bottom cabinets in the kitchen, so I have to choose that now (I’m thinking a shade of green or blue for those as well).

Here is some inspiration for the stairs:

All white staircases, all black, all gray, wood banisters, black banisters, all white with black railings, white risers and black treads, all white with colored treads, all white with a carpet runner…. and then we get into the painted runners:

Navy runners, gray runners, black runners, colored runners, plain ones, solid ones with a pinstripe, solid with a trim stripe? And then should the banister always be black? It seems like it’s a good look. But I am having decision fatigue here thinking of how all these moving parts are going to fit together. If anyone has any suggestions, send them my way!!!

As for decor, I want to do some type of gallery up the stairs — family photos or a collection of beautiful mirrors perhaps? I plan to put a narrow, parsons style console table over the radiator with a mirror or piece of art above it, and perhaps a narrow bench next to it, close to the front door.

I would love to hear what you think! Let me know what would look spectacular!


Inspiration photos from House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Domino, Remodelaholic, Fantastic Frank, House & Garden, Frenchy Fancy, Interior Therapy, Take the Side Street, Little Black Door, Salvaged Bliss, Painted Therapy, Jenny Wolf Interiors, and Pinterest.

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