DIY, Entries

DIY Freestyle Painted Walls: An Entry Transformation for Under $50

We have a small, awkward entryway in our 1930’s home.  I’m grateful to have an entry, but because of how it’s accessed from the home it is a bottleneck of our two dogs battling with us for space in greeting visitors combined with us shouting “Watch the cat!”  The lower half of the walls are covered in beadboard and I’ve always wanted to wallpaper above it but I can’t commit to both the price and a pattern.  The floor is a baby blue porcelain tile that I would never have picked out, but it’s something that needs to stay for budget reasons.  The entry flooring is low on my fixer upper list.

I’ve been looking for some budget friendly ideas for this room and started thinking about doing a freestyle painted wall.  It took me about 15 minutes to realize that this is something that I could think and think about and never do.  When I realize things like that, I have a terrible compulsion to do them, especially when they’re cheap.   If you are someone who wants to be talked into something, invite me over and I will convince you that the time is now and you would be a fool not to do whatever it is you are kind of sort of thinking about doing.   It is both a good quality of mine and an irritating quality of mine depending on the day and who you ask.

Here are some images that pushed me over the edge:

paint painted wall kelly wearstler
Kelly Wearstler’s stairwell from over ten years ago – my finger is on the pulse… (Photo source)
gold handprinted entry
These gold, hand-painted circles are pretty awesome. (Photo Source)
hand painted bathroom walls
Fun black and white, hand-painted squiggles. (Photo Source)

If you’re a normal person, you might think, yeah, that’s kind of cool – maybe I could do that.  If you’re me, and you’re home alone for a few nights, you crank up CNN (this is sad, but true), grab a can of paint you happen to have around (I used leftover paint from that $20 pink thrift store dresser you see in the foreground below) and just go for it.  This is a famous technique I call the Lazy and Impulsive Method, or LIM for short.

diy freestyle
I know what you’re thinking – this looks like someone had Don Lemon on in the background and a free can of paint…and you are correct.

It looked even scarier at night when I finished.  I realized as I was doing this I needed to paint the trim and beadboard a color besides white.  For this color selection I actually took my time and carefully made a selection.  I do take my time on some things!  A few years ago I painted the ceiling here blue.  No one noticed or cared.  Now, I need to paint it back to the off-white it once was so that the room looks a little more pulled together.

diy freestyle painted walls
The pets clearly like it.  

I used Tate Olive by Benjamin Moore for the bead board and trim.  I like this color so much that I’m going to use it to paint our back stairwell.

diy entry paint
I think that a black and white vintage style hex floor would look fantastic here when I’m ready to do it.

Once you start something in a room, other things occur to you to change.  I’m going to keep an eye out for a vintage rug in browns to try to tone down the blue floor – this rug is an inexpensive Target rug.  I still need to paint the ceiling white and the back of the front door needs to be painted.  Starting projects like this is easy and fun, it’s the finishing that will get you.  The benefit to living in an older home on a budget is that you realize you will never get all of your projects done so things undone don’t bother you as much as they might in a new build.  Or, that’s what I tell myself.

graffiti walls
The little triangle of blue ceiling showing in this photo really bothers me. Next weekend’s job!

Dave’s mom gave us this beautiful, antique desk and bookshelf and I had it in the basement.  I brought it up to give the graffiti-walled entry some gravitas.  Plus, our home is over-flowing with books right now (blessings of hosting a book podcast) and it’s nice to have a place to put them!

graffiti inspired entry
I like the energy of the freestyle paint – it’s a small space that no one ever really lingers in and the graffiti-esque walls kind of work!

Just keep a steady arm – think bold and go for it.  Another thing I told myself before I started was – you can ALWAYS re-paint it.  If you’re a little nervous about starting, you could just pencil in where you want to paint or try a little practice “swings” on cardboard.  I thought about penciling it in first, but then decided to just go for it.

I kept the brushstrokes visible so that the edges aren’t hard or finished looking.  If that’s not your thing, think about the black and white bathroom from earlier in the post and use a smaller brush so that your edges are more polished.

Cat in entry
The cat, moments after escaping, rolling in the dirt, being re-captured and dusted off. We are holding him against his will.  Every day with us is a trial he must endure.
diy painted entry
Almost “done”! I think it could have looked even better if I had patience and selected a paler coral for the freestyle painting. I’ve thought about going back over it with a softer color but I’m going to get rid of the blue on the ceiling first to see how much that helps.

The blue in the floor is slightly problematic, but, it’s just not in the budget this year.  If you come to visit me you’ll notice the walls first followed by the pets, followed by us – you probably won’t even notice the floor.  When you operate on a budget, some things become less important by necessity.  I do feel proud of the budget friendly transformation – it’s not quite done, but it’s almost there and I spent less than $50.  Thank you to Kelly Wearstler for the idea….who knew she could be budget friendly?  I know this look isn’t for everyone, but maybe some aspect of it is – take another look at the gold circles in the earlier images.  It doesn’t have to be bold – you could do this in a tone on tone way that would be more sophisticated.

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”  Mandy Hale




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