Before and After: A Blah Beige Hallway Gets an Artsy, Bold Glow-Up Over a Long Weekend

published Aug 21, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Beige bare hallway before
Credit: Erin Derby

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend like Erin Derby — photographer, fine artist, and design enthusiast — on speed dial, you just might end up with a home transformation. She overhauled the hallway of her good friend, Lisa, as a parting gift for a long weekend visit.

Originally, this hall area got zero decorative attention, despite serving as the connection point for most of the home, with no less than five different doorways off of it. “The hallway was a plain space that existed only as a space to pass through,” says Derby. “The owner, Lisa, didn’t even turn on the light in there because she didn’t like the space lit up!” That’s likely because the walls remained that blah shade of beige that tends to come with homes, and the floors, though handsome hardwood, were totally bare. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Derby wanted to tie the entire house together and turn the space into a design moment in its own right but spend as little as possible in the process.  “Most people don’t realize you can make even transitional areas of the home beautiful,” says Derby. “Isn’t it nice when even a hallway or laundry room can stand alone as an attractive space?” 

She also saw an opportunity to go bold in the small space, particularly because the rest of the home’s more reserved in style and neutral in palette. Naturally, that meant turning to color for the walls, specifically Benjamin Moore’s Steep Cliff Gray, a saturated blueish charcoal that provides a nice contrast to the white moldings. “The painting happened in a day, and then there were a lot of hiccups in getting a light fixture to work without doing any rewiring or bringing in an electrician, “ says Derby, who wanted to get rid of the hallway’s recessed can.

Credit: Erin Derby

Though it took multiple trips to the hardware store, Derby finally converted a HomeGoods linen lamp shade (oatmeal-colored versus white to warm the space up) into a chandelier-like pendant, rigging it to the ceiling. “I needed to leave room for air so it didn’t overheat, hang it in a way that was visually appealing, and find a spot light bulb that was to code,” says Derby. “Once that was all installed, the hallway was quite sophisticated looking with the lights on.”