6 and 1/2 tips to makeover a room with paint!

see MORE

 so, if you know anything about me, you know how much i love to transform a space – be it with rearranging furniture around or adding a coat of paint. simply put, i’m a big believer in making your home space yours and a reflection of who you are. and while we’ve been in our current apartment for well over two years now and have really worked to make each room, from the bedrooms to the kitchen to the living spaces, match our family’s spirit and mood and feel, we had never paid much attention to our long apartment hallway. and pretty much every day since moving in, it’s bothered me. our long, long hallway is the first thing i see upon opening the front door. it’s also the last thing i see when leaving. and while i’ve attempted to try to bring our personalities into it a bit with some photos hanging and a brighter-colored rug, i still never really loved it. the white walls in such a high trafficked space would also tend to show every little finger print from my five little cuties, and i felt like i was frequently scrubbing the walls half way down or touching them up with paint since the white coloring often showcased the dirt in a rather prominent way.

a few months back, i mentioned to josh in passing that if we were ever feeling up to taking on a home project, i really wanted to consider doing something with the long hallway. from there, we both agreed that the best bang for your buck when it comes to updating a space, as well as one of the best ways to transform a space and make it representative of who you are, was simply a paint option. and from there, a paint project i’ve never been more happy with was born!

sharing some tips below when it comes to painting a space, and also many many photos. we partnered with HGTV HOME® by Sherwin-Williams on this project, who we have worked with before in the past and loved. we chose a few samples from their 2020 Color Collection of the Year, Simply Blissful. Since they’ve already done an exceptional job in finding colors and tones that complement one another, you can use several colors in the collection and make a great combination that is right for you and your space without worrying about the colors going together. 

tip 1: don’t forget the hall!

like i mentioned above, the hall is a room too! and it needs some TLC just like your bedroom, living room and kitchen.

tip 2: choose the right color!

if you haven’t heard, we have 5 kids and they are pretty young. while i absolutely love their imaginations and creativity, sometimes their artistry leaves the playroom and they set up a new installation in the hallway of the apartment. i get it, it’s a hot venue! but even as the older ones have grown and learned crayons are best on paper, the hallway tends to be a landing strip 24/7 since it’s the most highly trafficked area in our apartment. a runway for boxes, strollers, wagons, and for us – even bikes. the poor walls take a beating. so josh and i knew we wanted to go dark with the color when we started talking paint options. but dark is tricky because you don’t want it to be blah or suck the life out of everything. finding the right color can feel overwhelming though because there are a million shades to choose from for home renovation projects like this. but one of the things i love most about the team over at HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams is how they have taken the guesswork out of finding the right colors with their designer inspired Color Collections. The 2020 Color Collection of the year, Simply Blissful, is comprised of 10 colors, and all 10 go together so you can mix and match with confidence. we looked at a few sample options, but we both gravitated towards their Blue Endeavour (HGSW1451) (love that it feels a bit sophisticated and rich in depth) and then used their Fundamental White (HGSW4001) color for the ceiling (will talk more about this one in a later tip!)

tip 3: get paint samples!

you have to get paint samples and try out colors in your own home. how a paint looks on your wall, in your space, with your lights, and your moldings and floors is a unique combination that you can’t really get a feel for from a paint chip or especially online where different computer, tablet, and phone screens will each show the same color in a different way, sometimes with a slight difference, sometimes with a huge difference. samples are just a few dollars to buy and so very worth it before you invest in an entire gallon of paint. do it! throw them up on the wall. put a couple of colors next to each other, put the white next to them too. leave them up for a full 24 hour period to see how you feel about the colors at different times of the day with different light and when you’re in different moods.

tip 4: lights!

colors look different in different lighting. be careful when looking at your samples at home to pay attention to what lighting you have going on and what kind of lighting you plan on using in your space. have you ever noticed at a hardware store, the paint swatches are all lined up on a wall with super bright, super white light on them? this light is 5000K (that’s kelvin) temperature white light that is supposed to be like daylight or sunlight. in our home, we really like using lights that have adjustable temperature and intensity, that can be different yellows and whites and that are also dimmable. sooooo during the morning we tend to do bright white lights to get energized and wake up, in the middle of the day, we add a little yellow so it’s not so intense and a little more comfortable especially since we work from home and need to concentrate more, and then finally in the evening, we turn down the lights a little and use warmer yellow colors. it’s a lot like a lot of our phones can do automatically now! (you can use light bulbs that you can sync to an app on your phone so you can control the level and intensity of the coloring.) anyway! remember that lighting is super important when renovating and creating a space and choosing paint colors.

tip 5: paint the ceiling, moldings, doors, and/or floors!

just go for it! this can make the biggest and best difference. it’s amazing how much these colors and materials matter. although a side note is that if you’re renting- ask permission if you’re going to be painting floors or moldings! the general rule of thumb when it comes to rental units is it’s okay to paint the walls so long as you’re fine with painting them back to white when your lease ends. it’s never held me back from painting, and then i can even hire someone to help me paint them white again when we leave. it’s so worth it in my opinion to make your space yours, even if you’ll only be there a year or two. a year or two is a long time!

tip 5.5

white is a color too! just because you are planning on leaving the ceiling or moldings or doors white, doesn’t mean you should leave it the white that your landlord or builder or previous homeowner decided on. since there are huge differences between whites out there, the white you use needs to be the right white. yes, our ceiling was already “white” but it was a rather dull white and Fundamental White (HGSW4001)  from the curated Simply Blissful Color Collectionfrom HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams was the right bright white we needed to compliment the Blue Endeavour (HGSW1451)  we used on the walls.

tip 6: make things fit!

our hallway transformed with the paint and then adding a colorful rug that was the right length really helped pull the space together afterward. small details like a rug can go a long way! our last rug wasn’t long enough to fill the entire length of the hall way, which made the hall look shorter and unfinished in a way. now the hall looks long and full!

when we started painting, we noticed an old cut telephone cord pasted into our ceiling from years ago. since it wasn’t connected on either end, we removed it so we could get an even line as we painted. josh got such a kick out of this cord though, bless his heart!

like i mentioned before, we did a little paint test with some samples from the Color Collection to ensure we knew which one worked best with our space and lighting in different times of the day.

a simple tip we did backwards– paint the ceiling first! we did the walls first and ceiling second and it just made for an extra step with the clean up. you live and learn!

it’s tricky to show off the blue just right in these photos but this photo of the door does it best i think! i really really love that we included the door. i told josh after that this transformation makes me feel like an adult! something about the color and this door being so sleek and sophisticated just makes me feel grown up.

and here’s a close up of the rug we bought to replace the older one. josh actually found this rug after doing some research and i was initially hesitant before we ordered because of the pink and purple-ness of this combo but once we rolled it out, i got so excited! we debated hanging a gallery wall up on one side of the hallway, but we’ve decided we actually like the walls being bare and blue.

have you ever used paint to transform a space? thank you to HGTV HOME® by Sherwin-Williams for sponsoring this blog post!

  1. Olya

    I love it!!! ❤️ The color and the bare walls that you opted for. The rug brings in another lever of grown up :)

  2. agnes

    I love your choice of colors! your appartment is gorgeous. You have 5 children, honestly YOU are a grown up to me, even if you’re younger!!

  3. Christy

    Beautiful color! Do you mind sharing the rug source?

  4. Sarah

    Love it! Julia from Chris Loves Julia says it best when she says that white won’t make a dark room brighter. Sometimes dark is the best way to go. Especially to hide the dirt!

  5. Jenny

    Paint is my absolute favorite for transforming a space. I’m also a big fan of painting the ceilings and walls the same color. I’ve done that with the trim slightly darker and it’s gorgeous!

  6. stephanie

    I recently bought a very old home in the N Georgia mountains that needed updating. The previous owners were in the 90s and hadnt touched the home in decades.I spent a good month testing colors which was a challenge, so many windows and trees that had to be taken into account. Finally went with Creamy by Sherwin Williams and Cotton Balls by Benjamin Moore for the trim/crown moldings. It looks incredible, very clean and classy.

    Got to say Im not keen on the color you went with for your hallway. Looks a bit like a back exit for a night club. Probably look better with a white ceiling and ivory door. It is a great color but a bold move for a hallway.

  7. Louisa Ehrlich

    I just painted my bedroom shamrock green (much darker when it dries!) and I included the ceiling. such a transformation!

  8. Jessie

    You should do a home tour! Love all your colours!

  9. Britta Schmolling

    That looks awesome! I love it! Great shade of grey!
    Applause from Hamburg, Germany

  10. LD

    Can you post a full house tour? I can’t figure out the layout of your apartment!

  11. nicole

    love this space! Could you share a source for the new rug?

    • josh


  12. Morgan

    Beautiful! Love the color choice! This is so inspiring and making me remember just a coat of paint can really transform a space! Also, love the rug! Where is it from?

  13. Jess.

    Love it! When I first saw the side-by-side where you had painted the *front* door blue, I thought you had painted the *wood* door blue, and had a mini heart attack, thinking your landlord was going to be so mad at you!!! :o

    I like the way you said “the right bright white.” Looks great, and amen to filthy white paint in long hallways (that serve as rooms) with kids in the city.

  14. Elise

    I also love that the dark color and cozy feeling in your hallway will make your rooms seem that much brighter and bigger by contrast.

    I think it would also make a good color for a bedroom.

    Just a note on entries: I loved in the book Home Sweet Maison the tradition the French have of putting a few things in the entry that are telling of a few things about the people who live there. It’s like really being welcomed into your home and your life as people come in.

  15. Lilly

    Can you please share the rug source? Thank you!

    • josh


  16. Birgit Putteman

    Love it! our hallway is a dark grey. It makes me feel so chique ;)