Cheerful Entry for $524
A forlorn foyer goes from eyesore to eye-catching with a welcome infusion of color and pattern
The stair treads were painted a matte mustard yellow that never looked clean, despite frequent scrubbing. The risers, railing, and newel post were a dingy white.
There aren’t many design problems a fresh paint color—or five—can’t fix. Just ask Natalie Jacob, whose 1921 Jersey City, NJ, rowhouse had plenty of light everywhere except in the windowless front entry.
A playful paint job on the front stairs instantly changes the whole vibe of the house. Leaf-print wallpaper and sleek storage pieces further modernize the space.
To brighten the space, Natalie decided to give the stairs an ombré paint treatment. She bought semigloss porch enamel in four shades of pink—a favorite color—then mixed up a fifth by blending two together. After applying a coat of primer to both treads and risers, she painted every three steps a different color, with the most saturated shade at the bottom and the lightest at the top, brightened by a skylight. She followed up by giving the staircase’s remaining woodwork a clean coat of white paint that she had on hand.
With the space feeling fresher, Natalie created an accent wall with an airy botanical wallpaper that echoes colors and patterns elsewhere in her home. A boot bench, a coatrack, and storage baskets form a dedicated drop spot, while a brass light fixture and hanging planters add personality. Now the entry makes a better first impression. “Painting the stairs was the best decision I ever made,” says Natalie, who blogs at Arsenic Lace. “It’s crazy what some paint will do!”
$45 for a coatrack
$69 for a bench
The Project Tally
Prepped the stairs with primer already on hand, then painted the steps using four quarts of porch and patio paint in shades of pink, from ballet slipper to warm coral $50
Refreshed the stair railing and newel post with a coat of leftover white paint $0
Installed a new, more modern brass light fixture $100
Hung botanical-print wallpaper to create an accent wall $250
Added a slim bench, wall-mount coatrack, and storage baskets to corral odds and ends $114
Borrowed a rug from another room in the house $0
Made four DIY hanging planters from twine and small white pots $10