Before & After: Hallway Makeover

Over the past six months or so, we've been giving a little upgrade to our home's main hallway and we're excited to share the before & after with you today! While it's been 90% done for quite awhile (and I've already shared it extensively on social media), we now finally finished the closet and all of the doors, so we're officially crossing this one off the to-do list.

First, we'll take a trip down memory lane to see where things started. These photos are pretty awful, but I think they were taken our first time seeing the house and at the home inspection.

The hallway is very small, but it's kind of the heart of our house, leading to both bedrooms, the music room, bathroom, living room, and closets. That means a lot of doors, a lot of trim, and in our case, a lot of dark brown wood. Our ultimate goal with our house is that it feels light, bright, and happy. Just changing out the doors and trim alone was going to have a huge visual impact, but we wanted to give it a little personality so it felt like a space with its own identity and not just a pass-through.

When we purchased the house, there was a wall and doorway separating the living room from the hallway and the back of the house. It had wooden slat bifold doors that we kept open all of the time, and eventually just removed. We kept the door frame intact because I had hopes of one day adding glass French doors, but when it came time to start working on the hallway, we realized having this wall and doorway was making our space feel smaller than it needs to be. We ended up ripping out the wall entirely, and like magic, the hallway felt so much more open and even the ceiling felt higher.

Next we ripped out all of the existing hallway door and floor trim. We're slowly doing this throughout the house as we work on each room - you'll notice in the photo above that the living room still has some old trim lingering for now. Then we went through the pretty tedious task of skimcoating the walls. For the most part our walls are in good shape, but some places have divets and weird textures, so we like to make everything feel smooth and uniform. After a few coats of paint (BEHR untinted Ultra Pure White is our go-to), we installed all new trim on the floors and around all six doorways.

If you recall our mid-century inspired door post, and our corresponding collaboration with The Home Depot, we are making all of our interior doors mimic the three window design of our original 1950s front door. We started this with our bedroom door and bifold closet doors, and then applied the same treatment to our bathroom door. With these two already done, we had four more to tackle with this hallway project.

We actually haven't had a door on Nick's music room since we completed that makeover way back in 2016 - we always thought we would install a glass door since it's more of a public space, but we never found one we liked. In the end, we decided to just take out the furring strips and go doorless! We knew we would typically have the door open all the time anyway, so it makes sense to not install a door there. Plus, the music room gets the best sunny spots, so we want our cats to be able to go in there as they please. 😽

The interior doors in our house have been beaten up pretty good and were at some point shortened to accommodate carpet, leaving a huge gap of space at the bottom. We ended up purchasing a new slab door for our guest bedroom and new bifold doors for the coat closet. For our linen closet, we repurposed the same door since it was still in decent shape, and it's a pretty small size so we were fearful we wouldn't have been able to find something standard to fit.

We followed the same process we used previously to add the square boxes to the doors. While this requires a lot of measuring, cutting, gluing, sanding, and careful painting, we absolutely love how they turn out. It transforms a simple slab door into something that looks more custom and adds a touch of personality to our space.

For the linen/toiletry closet, we removed the shelves that were in there previously and installed pine shelves that work better for the space. We actually took out the pine shelves we installed in our bedroom closet and repurposed them to fit the hallway closet. As we've been living with our completed bedroom for the past year or so, we realized how much wasted space was in the bedroom closet. We turned the bedroom closet into my closet and moved all of the linens and extra toiletries to the hallway closet.

For the finishing touches, we added a fluffy white and blue runner, some ceramic bells and wind chimes, and a big 2x2' frame filled with photos from our travels over the past few years. The photos have become one of my favorite items in our home. They're all snaps from my Instagram that I printed from Parabo Press as 4x4" squares. It was tricky to get them into a perfect grid but I am so happy with how it turned out. Sometimes I just stop to look at each photo and remember what it was like to visit each place.

So that's about it! A lot of words to talk about the smallest hallway, but hopefully you don't mind if you made it this far. Let us know what you think in the comments below! I also included sources for everything I could think of, but if I missed something, let me know.

Wall Paint (BEHR Ultra Pure White) - Home Depot
Rug - Target (No longer available - similar)
Bells/Wind Chimes - Target (No longer available)
Hallway Ceiling Light - CB2
Picture Frame - Amazon
Square Photos - Parabo Press
Main Doors - Home Depot
Main Door Knobs - Home Depot
Bifold Doors - Lowe's (Read about how we add trim to our doors here)
Bifold Door Knob - Wayfair
Bookshelves - IKEA (Read about how we installed our bookshelves here)
Living Room Ceiling Light - IKEA (Not available online - similar)

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Sarah & Nick