A “Very Plain” Entryway’s Cozy Transformation Makes Guests Do a Double Take

published May 17, 2024
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A painted accent wall is sure to liven up a space — whether you’re a more skilled DIYer creating a detailed painted mural or a beginner using painter’s tape to guide a geometric statement wall. 

DIYer Tracey Varndell’s (@fray_at_home) accent wall at the bottom of her home’s main staircase hits the sweet spot: It looks hand-hewn and custom, but is actually doable for a beginner. “I have never hand-painted brick or tile shapes before,” Tracey says of the project. “It was very therapeutic!”

Credit: Fray_at_home
Credit: Fray_at_home

The project started with a vintage mirror. 

Tracey used to have a runner hanging on the wall by the stairs, but that felt too flat, and she wanted to brighten up the space. “This is right in the entryway and the first thing people see,” she explains. The project kicked off with a mid-century modern mirror found at a local antique shop. 

“I knew I wanted it on this wall, as just as you’re going out the door it’s nice to check yourself!” Tracey says. “I didn’t want to hang it straight on a plain wall, so I decided to do a color block. As the process was going along, I then decided to paint a brick shape.” 

Credit: Fray_at_home
Credit: Fray_at_home

The accent wall looks like tile, but it’s actually paint.

Tracey wanted to upgrade the wall because it was “very plain and boring” before, she says, adding that “the color was an old taupe that was painted 20 years ago.” She warmed things up with a terracotta (Split Pink Paint by Little Greene Paint Co.) paint in a tile-like pattern. 

“Many people think it’s tiles!” she says. In fact, Tracey sketched around a long, rectangular tile leftover from another room with a pencil, hand-brushed in the rectangle with her paint, and repeated the pattern. “I wanted them to be uneven, wonky and not uniform …. honest!!!” she writes on Instagram. 

Tracey says she loves the eclectic new look she’s created — mid-century modern plus an “almost Moroccan … earthy vibe with the tiles” — and that it would be easy to replicate this tile look in any room. “It’s so resourceful; I just use leftover paint,” she says. “I’m so pleased with how this turned out. It’s my favorite project in the house so far!”