Before and After: A Bright & Budget-Friendly Hallway Refresh

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Natalie Jacob)

We don’t often see hallway/stairway renovations—especially ones as fun as this one. These dingy, mustard stairs — and the dark landing spot at the stairs’ base — are about to get the makeover of a lifetime…

(Image credit: Thaddeus Rombauer)

WOW! That is so incredibly fun and unique! Natalie Jacob of Arsenic Lace has turned a stairway from a functional necessity to a stunning part of her home. I love the juxtaposition of the pink hues against the rich wood and bright white, and the way the plants move up the stairway towards the light.

Here are Natalie’s tips:

If you’re painting your staircase, it is not a quick project. Have the time, patience, and go slow. I painted every other stair so that I could still go up and down them while they were in process of being painted. I let those dry for a few hours and then I painted the rest. Make sure you use painters tape for the side molding and banister. From beginning to end this was a 15-hour project, plus complete drying overnight but was well worth the work and wait.

That is incredibly clever, and something I certainly didn’t think of when I had to paint a stairway!

(Image credit: Natalie Jacob)

Natalie was kind enough to provide budget details, and she obviously got an amazing amount of style from not a lot of dollars!

I did the project over the course of 6 weeks. My original order list for my budget and design plan was $833. By DIYing some elements, like the plant hangers and art, and by using items I already owned, like the baskets and rug, I brought my budget down to $524. A lot of elements in this project are renter-friendly updates, like the paint and removable wallpaper. There was a minor set back with . . . changing the light fixture. Although swapping out a light fixture is usually an easy and renter-friendly update, the wires were old underneath the existing fixture and I had to have an electrician come in to help me get the new light fixture up.

(Image credit: Thaddeus Rombauer)

This is an excellent spot to take photos! The light bounces around so flatteringly, and the stairs themselves create such a poppy backdrop.

The wallpaper and stairs are definitely my favorite part of the “after”. It has completely transformed the space into a bright, colorful, and happy space. Is it weird that I want to hang out on the staircase? The only thing I would have done differently is add one more shade of light pink to the top of the stairs. I had an uneven number of stairs so I wound up painting a few stairs white at the top. It still creates a nice ombre effect and didn’t take away from the impact.

Not weird at all! I like to hang out in my pantry—take joy wherever you can find it.

(Image credit: Natalie Jacob)

This “before” shot shows one of those spots that does the trick, and nothing more. It provides a space for coats, which is a wonderful thing to have, but it’s nothing special.

The hallway is the darkest place in the house and I wanted to brighten it up, plus make a functional and organized landing area. It was dark, messy, and the staircase was dingy. No matter how much I cleaned it the stairs always looked dirty because of the old paint job and brown/yellow color of the stairs.

I have definitely lived in places that never felt clean, no matter how much I cleaned them; it was incredibly frustrating and discouraging. I’m so happy Natalie has a spot that’s so fresh and bright!

(Image credit: Thaddeus Rombauer)

Now that is special! In the same amount of space, there’s now a bench for storage and putting on shoes, hooks for coats and such, and a ton of beauty.

(Image credit: Thaddeus Rombauer)

Every renovation should include a piñata purse!

Thank you Natalie! Be sure to check out her renovation post, which includes resource information, in-progress links, and additional photos!