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Enter at your own risk

Wednesday, March 6

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Kel sent me a photo of her entryway along with a plea for help. It's definitely got potential, but in its current form - it's maybe not QUITE the look she's going for.
My first instinct was to paint out all of that wood trim (or at least the panelling). A crisp white would look so fresh and gorgeous - whether paired with white walls or a different colour of paint up top. This was Kel's first instinct as well (and I'm sure for most of you guys) but due to various reasons, it has to stay wood for now. Sigh.
By Jenna Sue Designs
After wracking my brain for alternatives, here are the options I've come up with:

WOOD INSERTS. This could be mean nice solid wood inserts stained to match the existing battens (which could work well in the long-term), or even thin wood panelling, provided it could be stained the existing colour. That way - at least the panelling is all consistent and doesn't give a weird, disjointed striped effect. Obviously, the photo below is of a bedroom - but the panelling is absolutely stunning and it gives you an idea of how dramatic and elegant this entry could look.
By Ljiljana Gazevic
DARK PAINT. Another option would be to paint the inserts a dark colour to match the stain. This would be much easier to execute but could get tricky, as the paint would have to be very similar to the stain on the wood - but you could try out little testers until you found the right shade. Another caveat with this option is that when you look closely, it's pretty obvious that it's not wood. BUT, it would get rid of the chaotic feeling of the existing panelling. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a photo to represent what I mean, but if Kel tried this option and didn't like it - it would be easy to cover it up with one of the alternatives.

CHALKBOARD PAINT. This one might be a little out there for some people, but I think that chalkboard paint (or a matte blackish grey paint) could actually give a really fun schoolhouse-ish vibe! Pair it with a brightly coloured rug and some fun art, and you've got a lively and whimsical entry. Plus, it's a place to jot down reminders before you leave the house ;) The photos below, although not of panelling, are to give you a sense of how wood can look next to chalkboard paint. (First image: Shaleah Soliven; Second image: Nikki Camprara)
GRASSCLOTH WALLPAPER. This option has a slightly tropical feel. Grasscloth is beautiful these days and papering the inner panels with a neutral grasscloth could make the existing battens look intentional. My preference is for the cool-toned look of the grasscloth on the left - but if this is the successful route, samples should be brought into the hallway to see how they look with the existing trim. (First image:via House of Fifty; Second image: via Sean Karns Photography)
As for other elements of the room, the light fixture is already being replaced with one that looks like this:

A nice runner, some art, a bench or chair to sit on, and possibly some hooks on the other side of the hallway would round out the look. I'll be back next Wednesday with some specific decorating options for the paneling alternative Kel likes best!


  1. Enter at your own risk INDEED! I love all these ideas. Thank you for trying to save my ugly zebra hallway. Seriously, it hurts like a hangover. This will definitely get me through until the day when Boyfriend can be persuaded to give up the painful wood wainscoting. Ugh. I'm loving the idea of the wood paneling...the hallway doesn't get much light so I might go with the grasscloth - never even thought of that. Oh, you're good :)

    Kel xo

  2. Love the wood inserts idea! I wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Liebster award! Here's the link:


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