Before and After: Low-Cost DIYs and Bold Design Risks Pay off Big Time in this Hallway Redo

published Jan 8, 2023
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Before: a beige hallway and stairwell with black stairs
Credit: Selene Teitelbaum

A quick way to add a lot of pattern or color to a space is with wallpaper. But some clever DIYers have found creative ways to use paint to create a pattern that looks like wallpaper without actually using any wallpaper.

This previously-shared entryway redo, for instance, features a stenciled black and white linear pattern behind a console table, and here, Selene Teitelbaum’s (@selenebuildsthings) latest hallway project also shows off a cool black and white repeated pattern.

Why would you want to use a stencil and paint as opposed to wallpaper? Two reasons: One, you can customize your color palette this way, and two, you can replicate a pattern more easily on multiple walls without having to buy tons and tons of wallpaper. In Selene’s hallway redo, both factors came into play.

Credit: Selene Teitelbaum

Before her project, the hallway was standard-issue — a neutral palette with not a lot of personality. “I wanted the hallway to be fun, exciting and a little unexpected,” Selene says. “Hallways are often overlooked when it comes to design, and I saw this as an opportunity to take some risks and make some bold design choices.”

Credit: Selene Teitelbaum

“Originally I had wanted to wallpaper the ceiling, but that was cost-prohibitive,” she explains. “I was inspired by another designer who had made faux wallpaper with just paint, so I decided to give this a try.”

Selene started by painting the end of her hallway black to create a bold focal point. Over top the black paint, she created a cool bespoke wallpaper look by drawing on horizontal lines made of vertical dashes using a white paint pen. “Visitors can’t believe that it’s not wallpaper and is actually hand-painted,” she says.

Credit: Selene Teitelbaum

Selene liked her paint pen so much that she decided to create the same effect on the ceiling in inverse colors (black paint pen over white paint) — another flexibility that using paint as opposed to wallpaper allowed her. Her total for the wall and ceiling refresh? About $100.

Credit: Selene Teitelbaum

“Now that everything in the hallway was black and white, I wanted to add a pop of color,” Selene says. She decided to go big with a striking magenta (Pantone’s pick for the 2023 color of the year, by the way). Selene took her same mirror she already had and revamped it with magenta spray paint and gold Rub N Buff. She used the same magenta spray paint on the metal mesh inserts for the doors under the stairs.

Then, she finished off the look by adding picture frame moulding in that same magenta color to the otherwise matte black bathroom and bedroom doors. “I also added a little pop of color on the hinge edge of the doors so that when they’re open you can see it, which is something fun and a little unexpected,” Selene says.

Credit: Selene Teitelbaum

Selene’s best DIY advice is to embrace the fun and unexpected, especially with paint. “Create a space that you love!” she says. “Don’t design your home for the next potential buyer, make it a place you want to live and are proud of and comfortable in. Don’t be afraid to be bold with paint because it is not permanent therefore very low risk. Have fun with your designs and don’t worry about what other people think. If you like it, that’s all that matters.”