Before and After: This $500 Apartment Entryway Redo Is Maximalism for Clutter Haters

published May 14, 2023
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Entryway with lots of art prints before renovation.

“When you live in an apartment, you really experience every space,” Brooklyn renter Morgan Jones says. It’s true: Living in a small space means you really do see every inch of it regularly, and when some of those inches are more cluttered than you’d like them to be, it can be stressful. That’s what Morgan says it felt like when she passed by her entryway multiple times a day, every day. 

“Our entryway was a space that collected a lot of clutter, from shoes to mail to bags,” Morgan says. “It is also the only space other than our bathroom that doesn’t get any natural light in our apartment, so the space felt especially dark and cluttered.”

Morgan and her fiancé, Christian, wanted to make a change for the better — something that would be coordinated, colorful, and incredibly chic. “I knew that I wanted to make something out of it, but it took a full year-and-a-half of living in our apartment to decide what exactly I wanted to do,” Morgan says. “The space only had a few pieces of art hanging and a console table, so we first moved everything out, went through all the shoes, took the art down, and then Mr. Cleaned the walls to prep them for wallpaper.”

Morgan selected a green floral wallpaper and installed the peel-and-stick rolls mostly all on her own, with Christian helping once or twice in the tedious spots. “It was so much easier than I assumed it would be,” she says. “The most difficult part was lining up the artwork on the wallpaper in the tiny crevices around our front door.”

After wallpapering, Morgan selected furniture and decor for the entryway. “We re-used the table that was there before,” she says. “To elevate it for the space, I found a seamstress on Etsy who was able to make a custom cover for it with scalloped edges, just as I had envisioned!” (Best yet, that table can extend out to be a large dining table for dinner parties — a definite small-space win.) 

Morgan’s irregular-shaped mirror is from Amazon, her wavy silver tray is from Arthur Court, her squiggly coat hook is from Urban Outfitters (but sold out), and you can find a similar mushroom-meets-disco lamp on Amazon or Etsy. “Rather than everything cluttering like it did before, we now have a coat rack for the dog leash and jackets, baskets to organize shoes, and trays to hold the smaller things like keys and sunglasses,” Morgan adds.

Next on her shopping list is a new flush-mount light for the space. “Ceiling lighting really kills me, so I would love to replace the ceiling light,” she says. “I didn’t realize how much the wallpaper would draw the eye up in the space, and now I can’t unsee it! However, it’s been a trickier task, as the door opens very close to it.” 

Morgan says overall, her accessorizing process was a lot of trial and error, of “figuring out the right mix of my maximalist dreams while not creating that cluttered feeling again,” she says. “It was a really fun process nonetheless.” Her project total was about $500.

Morgan’s best decor advice is to go for your biggest design dreams in your smallest spaces. “When you have a vision that is out of your ordinary style, trial it in a small space!” she says. “If you hate it, it’s easy to break down, and if you love it, you will always love visiting that space.” 

And she certainly loves passing by the cozy apartment corner she’s created now. “I love that the space now feels like its own special part of our apartment, and not just a transitional, forgotten space,” she says. “Having this space look and feel the way that it does has motivated me to keep it clean and edited. I love that there is a method to the space now that makes it feel intentional.”