We have big plans for our home’s entryway. We’ve been talking about these plans for years. Is now the time? We’re sharing what’s been on our minds and asking for your input!
If you were to consider an over arching paint theme in our home, it would be this: Large spaces are white and bright, whereas smaller rooms and off-shoots are moodier. Like our reading nook, above! And our bedroom, of course. Oh, and the guest room. And I can’t forget about our pink bathroom!
It’s safe to say that while we prefer simplicity in the main areas of our home – Benjamin Moore’s Intense White is seen throughout our living and dining rooms, kitchen, workshop and Lucy’s nursery! – we’re not afraid of mixing in a (little) risk. I like to think that the bolder paint choices in our home are still a neutral; deep greys and blush pinks are equivalent to a pair of my favorite blue jeans, I say.
But there is still one area in our home that Scott and I have brainstormed to no end, and that’s our entryway! Moons ago, we painted it a soft silvery grey, Sterling by BEHR. It’s fine. Personally, it leans too blue for my taste, when my intention was for a true, pure grey (what does that even mean, really?). Below, you can really see the blue undertones when compared to the warmer hue of our living room walls:
White + Bright or Dark + Moody?
So. We’ve been noodling on these ideas for a long time (years, probably!), and we’re ready to dive in! If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I love our entryway. It may be my favorite ‘room’ in the whole house (seriously!), because so much love and thought has been poured into over the years. Like, who remembers this? And now we’re ready to tie up the final loose strings. But here’s the thing, we’re torn between two ideas: white + bright or dark + moody?
A case for white + bright | Ever since painting our front door black last fall, I’ve been wanting to do the same to our coat closet door, which is currently navy. Sometimes a subtle step in a new direction is all it takes to ease the DIY itch and make all the difference. We wonder, what if we painted the closet door black, too, and carried Benjamin Moore’s Intense White (or maybe 1-2 steps darker on the paint swatch) into the entryway, up the stairs, and onto the second floor landing? Cohesive? Yes. Safe? Yup.
A case for dark + moody | If I were to blindly choose a color without ever testing a single swatch, my gut is telling me: Kendall Charcoal. It’s the color we painted our guest room, below, after which, we refreshed our reading nook! It’s a good color. Warm, comfortable, strong. (Wait, am I describing the perfect man, or?) It’ll bring the drama, and I love that.
If we were to go the moody route, we wouldn’t stop at the walls. We’d also paint the small patches of ceiling! And then we’d probably paint the closet door white. Or black. Ack, this is why we haven’t made our move yet – there are too many options, and I think they’d all work!
To Panel or Not to Panel?
Finally, we’re asking ourselves: To panel or not to panel? One of the first things I envisioned doing this to home was to add chunky wainscoting around the entryway and up the staircase. You know I love a good wall treatment (see Exhibit A, B and C), but I’m wondering if it’s really necessary? And you better believe that my mom-heart wants nothing more than to display family photos above the wall panelling, too.
Simplicity is Best
In the end, we still prefer a minimal look, so we’re being mindful of the marble basketweave tile, which already lends a big splash of pattern. Even our neutral stair runner plays a great supporting role. But with a new wall color comes the domino effect of painting the closet door (black? white?), and gosh, I might as well change up the shoe cabinet while we’re doing it. If you give a mouse a cookie and all.
Let’s Do a Poll!
What would you do?[poll id=”39151″]
I can already smell the fresh paint. Guys, we are craving a good DIY project right now, and this fits the bill. Let’s hear what you think!
PS: You can see the progression of our entryway right here, all the way back to the very first photo tour of this home. She has come a long way (baby).
A compromise – dark panelling and light walls?
I totally agree! You get the best of both worlds, and have all the trim bright and white, too! And family (and pet!) photos above the paneling would really elevate that space even more. I know it will look awesome, no matter what you pick. You two are miracle workers, and I’m looking forward to watching this transformation over the next few weeks!
If you did the paneling, how would that reflect your color choice? Paint the paneling, paints the walls? Such a difficult decision, I can see why you’ve been considering this for so long!
The paneling would be white no matter what, so it would certainly help to break up a darker paint color. But on the other hand, it would add some dimension to a light color!
Dark and Moody and beautiful for sure !! It’ll go so well with the stair runner ! Couldn’t the coat closet door be the same kendall color ? And then a cool new or vintage shoe cabinet ? It would put an emphasis on the beautiful tile
We have a similar entry in our Chicago home. When we bought it this Fall, it was a dark mossy green. I loved the color personally but it just made the space feel so cramped. We recently went with BM White Dove and I honestly think the lighter color makes it feel more welcoming.
Oooh good to know!
Maybe white + bright paint with paneling and a black closet door?
I think you should paint the walls white, closet door black, then do a wall of photographs all the way up the stairs. And maybe add a little something like a wooden stool or small bench next to the steps by the closet and a couple plants.
That could be a happy medium! The photos are key. :)
This…exactly what I was thinking. Keep it white and bright. No molding. Less is more in this case. Pictures up the stairs would be fantastic. Wish I were in Chicago, I have a perfect little wooden bench for that spot. I too, would paint the closet door black.
I agree with Danielle. Think about how you want to feel when you enter your house. If you paint the walls dark, the space will be dark. I want light and bright when I enter my home. And I would paint it the same colour as the rest of the main spaces–why mess with what is obviously already a great choice? Sometimes boring isn’t really boring, it’s bright, cohesive and “you”.
I voted for dark and moulding BUT where do you stop? You almost have to carry it all the way up the stairs, right? and then upstairs hallway.. do you want that dark, too? ACK! I can see why this is such a dilemma!
Yeah, it would go up to the second floor landing (we don’t technically have a hallway).
Any house I’ve entered with a dark entry gives me the sads. The contrast as my eyes adjust from outdoor bright light to an in indoor space leaves me also feeling briefly disoriented. I’m a HUGE feeler, and I would FEEL that dark space as not the one I’d want when I first enter. I love the moody spaces in other areas, but you don’t see those until after you have been in the home and made the transition. I guess for me I dont want to make a transition from outside to inside in a dark moody space. I also would not want to be sitting in the living room and a dark moody space at my front door. From a security stand point, Would feel the need to have lots of lights on in that corner. I like the concept of it, but not the functionality for real life. Again, it’s all about feeling and I know that’s highly personal.
This is such an interesting way to think about it!! Thank you so much, Susan.
That is a really good point! I did just vote moody, but I think this hits the nail on the head. Coming from outside it would be disorienting!
I rehab a lot of houses as an interior painter, so I have the experience of walking into unfamiliar living spaces maybe more than the average person?
If you panel/white too
Closet door black
I think if you paint entry dark it will feel like you are entering a cave
I would do dark paneling and white walls. It would look gorgeous and add drama but still be cohesive.
Could you do a dark paneling with the white above? Thinking the paneling would end 12″-18″ below the top door molding? I feel like that would create a “warm hug” type feeling while still being bright up top to not feel like a cave. I definitely feel like paneling gives you a great place to display photos vs just floating on the wall. Those personal displays will also help make it such an inviting space. Who doesn’t wanted to be greeted by a smiling Lucy or CC?
**I’m talking about the closet door molding…I forgot the entry door went much higher.
Oooh, I like this idea! YOU GUYS. You’re making this so hard, haha. Love your feedback!
First off, thanks so much for keeping up with your posts. Makes my days brighter for sure! Now for my thoughts: what about adding a bannister to the closet side of the stairs. I am sure this is an entirely a different direction than you were thinking, but I am guessing it is when you all are sitting on the sofa watching TV that makes you want to change things? I think it would offer great sight lines sitting in the LR and when you come into the home. If you were to go that direction first, maybe later you could play around with painting the stair wall darker or as one suggested, a family photo/art gallery. With your talents, I bet whatever you do will be stunning.
Thank you, Holly! We’re doing everything in our power to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible around here. We’ve definitely considered extending the banister on the closet side of the staircase, but love how open it feels without one. All of these great ideas are making this harder!
Doesn’t code require you to have a banister for the bottom part of the stairs?
It’s will vary by city/state, but we have a railing on the right side of the staircase that is reachable from the third step. We’ve toyed with the idea of adding a railing, time will tell.
White panelling to keep it light, Kendall Charcoal above to keep it cozy with white framed family photos to really make them pop, with a black closet door to match the front. :) Don’t choose, do it all!!! Goodness knows we could all use a good before and after right now. Also YES to paneling. No matter which direction you go.
I just really, REALLY love the blue closet door. So I’m going to have to go mourn the possibility of losing that for a minute before I can think about a change. (And would I really lose it if it still lives on in photos?)
We’ve loved them too, but after 7 years we’re ready for a change that feels more like ‘us’. The photos will live on forever though!
You could put some paneling just in the entry way if you did some on either side of the door and extend it over to where the stairs start. That might define the area better and give it some character. It might be tricky to run paneling up the stairs because of intersecting with the window at the top. Hard to tell from the photo. It could be fake paneling, too, where you just define with strips of wood, but not whole panels of wood.
I love the idea of paneling, and I love anything painted black, but after reading the comments and much deliberation this morning :) I think I’m voting for option 5 – paneling, but dark, with white above and the closet door in black. I think all dark (including the ceiling) would be too much, but paneling on the lower portion would both ground the space and keep some brightness, AND it would speak to your bedroom’s color scheme as well.
Final answer. I think.
Quietly hoping you keep the Navy closet door. I love the richness it brings to the otherwise fresh, clean and airy room. Especially a fan of the contrast it brings to the wood and gold accents because they’re (sort of) opposites on the color wheel. It’s so colorful without being loud. But I also know that when you change it then THAT will be my new favorite ????
I say dark and moody. I think it’ll look great! You can decide then if it needs paneling after the fact, since it will be white no matter what. It’s just paint, right?
Are white or dark the only options? What happened to medium tones and colors :(. Also, I vote for paneling & a banister.
We might go a couple shades darker on the paint swatch from Intense White for a little dimension – if we go that route!
I like the idea of a split with the paneling. Between a dark and light with simple panelling. Your home is and older home, I imagine it had some paneling when it was built. Plus, the entry was the “Showplace” so a nice tile and a nice wainscoting could be a nod to that.
I picked white and bright but only if you’re painting your other door black to bring in some moody.
If we go with white, that door is going black, no doubt!
I have to make a case to keep the Navy closet door. I love it so! More navy all day.
We looooove navy! But alas, it’s time for a change.
I’m gonna go a bit off the rocker and say, white and bright on the walls and a dark paneling on the ceiling, dark doors. It will give it some interest, make the beautiful light fixture pop and will maybe balance all worlds?
Daniel started an entry-way-make-over movement!!!
Haha! It must have been in my subconscious!
I love the contrast between your front door and the light tile and walls. However, I wondered if there was a case for creating a strong line up the stairs with dark paneling. I think it would really anchor the space and allow for some beautiful contrast between the dark trim (baseboard, paneling and casings) and your tile. However, with the adjacent living room trim it begs the question of where to terminate the dark trim. I think I am going to vote in favor of keeping everything light and bright with paneling painted to match your trim and then painting the closet door to match the front door. It’s totally personal, but I usually prefer darker tones down low to anchor a space rather than sitting above.
I can’t answer the survey, one big unknown. What kind of sun exposure does the entryway get? If it faces north then definitely no to the dark walls. I think it would make the space dark and gloomy not warm and inviting.
I’m also leaning no to the paneling. It’s a small space with a lot going on Front door, closet door, stairway, doorway and the patterned tile.
Just my two cents. In the end you live there and you need to do what makes you happy ????
These are all the reasons we can’t make up our minds, argh!
To answer your question, we get north light on the landing (and a LOT of it), and the door faces west.
At first I felt sad to lose blue door but after looking back at photos I love the idea of black! I also love the idea of a simple panel idea. It seems like it would be nice if it is a more open design as opposed to one with lots of tiny lines (more example A as opposed to C). It would be beautiful with the tile. All walls and panel painted light and bright. Matching frames for the photos?
White! It’s brighter, more welcoming, and SAFER. Not disorienting when you come in from outside. Not disorienting when you navigate the stairs in the dark. Easier to find each step as you go up and down. Is there somewhere you could add picture ledges for family photo collections? Without impeding traffic up and down the stairs? That could give you a bunch of contrast without a lot of effort making the ledges, or changing them down the road.
I’ve always loved your entryway! Now that I’m over-analyzing it, I vote for white and bright, plus white paneling, plus a dark banister to lead up the righthand side of the stairs (painted to match your hand rail for some drama), dark closet door, and dark ceiling inside the landing to match your reading nook! Oh and family photos leading up the stairs. So fun.
That’s making me so excited too!