Before and After: This $44 DIY Mural and Light Fixture Makes This Blah Entryway Look Like a Fancy Hotel Lobby

updated Apr 2, 2020
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Every once in a while when I’m scrolling through Instagram, a room or project will literally stop me in my tracks of just glazing over images and mindlessly double-tapping. That happened to me this past weekend, and I thought I’d share what it was because, well, I haven’t felt this inspired to pick up a paint brush in a while.

Take a look at artist and designer Katie Sarokhanian’s entry here, shown in the images both right above and below. There’s nothing wrong with this room in the least—she has nice tiled floors, a beautiful wood door, pretty moldings, and a fair amount of natural light, thanks to nearby windows. I don’t even have a real entryway so to speak, so I’d be perfectly happy with this setup, however plain it might be.

But this room is about to get so much better! While sheltering in place, this mom of five decided to pick up her paintbrush last week and get her creative juices flowing in between caring for her kiddos. The hardest part, she says, is just starting. And so she did, painting a free-form squiggly line and blob mural with leftover black and white paint she had in her storage shed. And the results in her entry foyer are truly stunning.

Now, this isn’t her first mural project, and obviously, she’s made other changes to the space (which we’ll get to) and its surrounding rooms—hello, spiral staircase, cheery mint green paint, and vintage rug! But I love how much decorative impact she was able to make here with simple shapes and the technique of inverting the colors in her freeform pattern. Painted murals are trending big time right now, and I love the way she extended her design right onto the ceiling. You get the same bold effect of wallpaper here for a fraction of the cost, not to mention the ease of potentially changing things up later if you want to.

On her Instagram, she shared some mistakes she made along the way when executing this design. The thing is, this looks super difficult to do, but it might be easier than you think. That’s because it’s totally fine if a shape or section isn’t working. All you have to do is paint right over it. In fact, to get this look, Katie’s best advice ins’t to plan your design at all but to just let it happen. Grab a brush, maybe put on some music, and just start making lines and swirls. You can work in sections and draw things out first with a pencil if you want, but be open to some flux. It’s just paint, after all, and you can always try to get things “right” as many times as you need to.

Now let’s talk about that amazing oversized light fixture, which looks super high end and is all fluted and on trend. You’ll be happy to know that it’s a total MacGuyver move. Katie took a shade from one of her vintage lamps and added a round piece of plexiglass that she ordered from Amazon (and sanded to make opaque) to the bottom of it with leftover putty. The she attached the whole thing to the ceiling “flush mount” over a can light, using metal brackets from her tool box to hold the shade in place at the top. Brilliant.

Let’s look at the finished space one more time for good measure, shall we? Considering the paint was about two quarts-worth and free, the shade was just $20 from a yard sale, and the plexiglass was $24, the whole DIY part of this makeover comes in at a whopping $44 dollars. Those marble pedestals, which look straight out of a Kelly Wearstler hotel lobby, were a $100 Facebook Marketplace score, meaning the whole room was redone for less than $150. Pretty good for such a bold, energetic way to welcome people into your home. It’s a first impression I know I’d love to make, and it’s left me wanting to take on a paint project myself this weekend—and see the rest of Katie’s fantastic home!