Before and After: In Just a Few Days, This “Unusable” Space Became Cozy Central

published Jul 28, 2020
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
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Before: Empty space with gray floors and white walls
Credit: Briana Jones

Old houses come with a lot of charm—and a lot of head-scratching spaces, too. At Briana Jones’s (@brianarosejones) 1922 bungalow, there was a space at the top of the stairs that she really didn’t know what to do with. It wasn’t big enough to turn into a room, but it was bigger than a hallway—it was an awkward amount of space that was tough to fill. “It really didn’t serve any purpose either,” Briana says, calling it “unusable” in its original state. Plus, previous homeowners had painted everything dingy gray, including the wood floors. “The space was very blah and cold,” Briana says. “I really wanted it to feel more welcoming as well as serve a purpose. It isn’t a huge space but it is big enough to add a little storage and coziness.”

Credit: Briana Jones

First up in the cozy-fying process: turning the blah gray floors into something with more oomph. Briana chose black, using porch and floor paint to cover the wood in a few coats. That process took a couple of days, since she had to wait for coats to dry. Fresh white on the walls adds some brightness and contrast to the dark floor.

Next, Briana built a simple wood bench stretching the length of the wall. She made it high enough that she could tuck baskets underneath for practical but still beautiful storage. On either side, she added black vintage-look sconces. Instead of hardwiring them, she fitted each with a battery-powered puck light—instant upscale lighting!

Finally, Briana added pillows, art, and a thrifted wicker shelf that she filled with books and plants. “I love the cozy factor this space brings as I walk upstairs now,” she says. “It’s a lot warmer feeling.” Plus, she didn’t have to spend a lot to make a big difference—a bonus, since this is more of an “extra” space than a prime hangout. As Briana says, “The power of paint and some textures do wonders!”

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