Hallway tour + update

I’ve been in the process of overhaul updating our apartment. The biggest task to date was updating our hallway, and for the most part, it’s finished! Yay! But there are minor aspects of our hallway that are very much unfinished [light fixtures, artwork etc]. It’s still a work in progress, but the bones of the work are done.

I’ve never shared detailed pictures of our hallway before because it was a hot, embarrassing mess of high gloss yellow paint for 4 years. Over the past few months I’ve sanded and repainted [95% of] the skirting boards and doors in our apartment, with the biggest impact being in our hallway. It’s definitely been a labour of love; slowly updating each door, room and detail at a time. 
To start the tour, our hallway is a reversed ‘L’ shape with our front door located at the heel of the ‘L’. Here’s how it used to look and what I did to bring it up to date … 

In the picture above, I had already painted the front door so you can’t see the glory that was how reflective and yellowed high gloss it was, but trust me, it was awful. 

We were gifted some tattered collapsible paper lantern fixtures in the hallway from the previous tenants. I’m guilty of leaving those up until very recently. The combination of the warm hued bulbs and the lanterns yellowed the hallway even more. At the moment, I’d rather bare bulbs until I find something better. 

The transom window over the living room door had privacy paper stuck to both sides of it, rendering its purpose to provide natural light to the hallway almost completely obsolete. I got sick of it and removed it. The hallway side came off easily enough, but the living room side was a lot more work. It was brittle and was impossible to peel off so I marched to the fridge, grabbed the mayonnaise, brushed a healthy layer onto the window and left it for about a week. It was gross, but the high oil content in the mayonnaise softened the paper and I was able to peel it off. Lady-rage has its benefits. 

As you can see on the right side of the photo above, I still have one door left to paint – the kitchen door. We’ve actually never used this door as there’s another entrance to the kitchen from the living room. In fact, I have shelves against the door as our kitchen is teeny and we need the extra space. I’ll need to take the shelves down to repaint the door, so that will need to wait for a rainy day. And trust me when I say this door was the least yellow of the doors. 

My efforts to de-IKEA our place has been pointless as of late, especially since I discovered IKEA’s new eketanga frames. And planera glasses while I’m at it. I just can’t not. I hung up two frames over the storage heater in the hallway and I’m quite happy with how well this little nook looks. 

Oh I do like our front door before and after. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and makes all the hours of sanding worth it. I took all the hardware off of each door in our apartment while repainting it and gave it a good clean. And when a simple clean wasn’t enough, I had to sandpaper the old paint off. 
The Pendleton Cowichan [aka, The Dude’s] Cardigan I painted a couple of years ago is still going strong. It has also found home in an IKEA eketanga frame. It rests on the small floating shelf in our hallway, which is home to our change jar, a couple of trays for sunglasses and I thought it only too appropriate to use a tumbler glass to store our keys, taking pride of place within reach of The Dude’s cardigan.  

I took these before pictures in March of 2014, so it only took me a year to get my act together and tackle the hallway. C’est la vie. Here you can see just how delightfully glossy the hallway was. It was like having your very own distorted hall of mirrors, except on 9 doors. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least. 

I am completely and utterly guilty of conforming to what I like to call ‘landlord walls‘; hanging your pictures on your landlords existing hooks in stead of starting over. Our hallway looked like the above for about 4 years. I really wasn’t pleased with it, but it was better than nothing, right? Actually, no, it wasn’t. Nothing would be a lot better. 

It was a sad attempt at a gallery wall. When I repainted the hallway I stripped everything back so I could start over. I’d prefer to have 2 or 3 bigger pieces of art along the main wall to make it feel less cluttered. I’m just really indecicive these days as to what to hang. I quickly added a few things for our visiting guests, but have since taken them down.

I swapped the existing bulbs to IKEA’s opal globe ledare bulbs to add a neutral and less-yellow light to the hallway. I am however really stuck with what light fixtures to use. I tried tumbler shades, but I’m thinking wire shades spray painted in Montana ‘winegum’ would be more punchy while not too restrictive on light. 

A final little cheeky and unexpected update I made to our hallway was painting the haggard wood behind each strike plate. While the hardware was removed, being cleaned, and the door frame repainted, I decided hey, you know what would look neat? If I painted that butchered bit of wood! So I did. I originally was going to paint the strike plate innards red, but I thought that might look a bit morbid; like it was the guts of the door frame or something. So black it was.

It’s not a change that people stop and notice, but I think it really streamlines the doorways and makes them seem a little more modern, personal and less ‘rental’. It cost me next to nothing to do as I used a small tube of black acrylic paint I’ve had laying around for years.

Well I hope that little tour wasn’t too tedious for you! Once I have some form of shades for the hall lights and a bit of artwork up, I’ll share some proper finished hallway pictures. But for the moment, albeit the changes are small, our hallway feels more mature and dare I say sophisticated! If you’ve cracked the code on good [and affordable] hallway lighting, I’d love to hear more. Or artwork! I am clueless. 

In case you missed it – you can read my tips for painting doors and skirting boards here!

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  1. April 15, 2015 / 12:46

    I've seen it in real life – I feel privileged! It really is a huge clean fresh change from the yellow gloss of before (and I love that reflection of you in the yellow before picture of the hallway!)
    Funny enough, I don't even remember seeing bare lightbulbs when we were there. And looking at these pictures, the Ikea bulbs you're using look like they're meant to be exposed like that – they actually look quite stylish in the hall. I wouldn't have realised they needed a shade! (Maybe I'm just dense??)
    I look forward to seeing the artwork and lighting choices!
    Maria xx

    • April 16, 2015 / 14:33

      Not dense at all! I'm becoming partial to the bare bulbs the more I leave them like that. I tried two different types of shades but tore them down immediately because they looked like pinholes in the long narrow hallway. I'd say they'll end up staying bare! The pretty, round IKEA bulbs seem to be the answer to my problems.

    • April 17, 2015 / 17:55

      p.s. Didn't think anyone would notice me being an idiot in the mirror 😀

  2. April 15, 2015 / 19:10

    Everything she said *points up* – it's amazing to see the before and after (in real life!!), so much crisper and cleaner and like Maria, I didn't even realise those lightbulbs needed bulbs! I reckon they are meant to be seen 🙂 xxx

    • April 16, 2015 / 14:50

      Haha, you'd be right! I think they're entirely meant to be seen. There's a few aspects of design that I am clueless at, and light fixtures would be one of them. I literally can't even. So I won't even in the hallway. xx

  3. MissKimberlina
    April 15, 2015 / 20:56

    Awesome, taking notes, going to let my hallway have it soon!

    • April 16, 2015 / 15:34

      Thank you Kim! I hope you share a few pictures online so I can creep / follow your progress.

  4. April 18, 2015 / 01:45

    Mayo!!! You're a freakin genius. Brilliant. I never would have thought of that. Also, the crisp white is so great. It makes the floor look brand new. I can't get over the transformation. Oh, and clever trick with the black paint. Love.

    • April 18, 2015 / 19:18

      The new white paint really brings our apartment up to date, I think at least. We lived here for 4 years before I painted it, and it seriously has made it feel like a new apartment. I can't tell you how much it wrecked my head! Haha! And the mayo tip – I've used that one a good few times without fail.

    • April 18, 2015 / 19:29

      I have never heard of it before. So, you just use it to remove sticky stuff? Labels, etc?
      Also, I spy Alex in the bathroom mirror!

    • April 18, 2015 / 19:36

      Yes! Literally anything that has left an unsavoury stickiness and won't come off*. Just lather it in mayo, leave it for a while and boom.

      *Yeesh. I will forever have the mind of a 12 year old boy.