How To Decorate A Boring Suburban Foyer + Give It Some Upscale Charm
Phew! The past few weeks have been exhausting but we got through it! Have you seen all of the reveals today? You should go check them all out (once you’ve finished this post, of course) here.
Before I dive into my entire space, I do want to address one surprise item; my dining room. At the beginning of this challenge, I mentioned that we weren't in love with our dining room anymore. The wallpaper was a little too blah for the space and didn’t feel cohesive with the remainder of the house. So, after losing light at 5:00 last night, I decided to remedy the error I made back in the Spring and re-wallpaper this room.
The following post may contain affiliate links.
As an Affiliate Marketing Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
This helps me keep the content coming, so thanks for your support!
Christine agreed with the sentiment that this room needed a good ending and assisted me in installing sconces that better match the other finishes in the house. We worked late. We were tired. But look at my face. You can tell I just love it, right?! Now that’s taken care of, on to the foyer. (You can read more about my Spring ORC™ dining room project here)
UPSTAIRS HALLWAY MAKEOVER
This is where we started. The beige carpet was dated and filthy. It had also become our cats’ favorite scratching post, so we knew we had to replace it. Originally, we’d planned to install hardwood ourselves but I got cold feet and called in the professionals at the last minute. Luckily, we were able to have brand new engineered hardwood flooring installed less than three days later. Although we didn’t get an exact match to our orange-toned floors downstairs, we did come pretty close and I’m super pleased with the results.
Other items we tackled;
patched + painted the walls
replaced all door hardware with matte black
removed “boob” lights and installed simple semi-flush mounted lights
commissioned artwork from Memphis artist Renee Gibson for feature wall
removed family gallery photos for a clean slate
Originally, I’d planned to re-install the gallery wall of our family portraits. Once we hung the giant 36x36” acrylic painting from Renee, the space just felt complete. We also agreed that, since we’re planning to sell this house in the Spring, adding another row of nail holes seems a little silly. We’ve set our photos aside and will proudly display them again in our next (forever? fingers crossed) home.
I also opted to move our houseplants (who Summer outside) into this space, since they’ll receive the best light from that giant window at the front of the house. Hopefully they’ll keep over Winter. The fiddle leaf fig is fake because I do not have the patience for that sort of demanding plant.
THE STAIRCASE MAKEOVER
This is the piece of the project that caused me the biggest headache - and where I spent the most time - but isn’t even my favorite reveal to show you (more on that later). It’s not that I think it looks bad - it looks lovely, in fact. It’s just not the prettiest part of the makeover.
The same 20-year-old carpet from upstairs ran down the staircase as well. We’ve known since we bought the house that this would need to be addressed and have been stalling on the project while we allowed our daughter to grow from toddler who regularly trips over her own feet to pre-schooler who regularly runs into walls that are directly in front of her because she’s literally walking one direction and looking in the opposite direction. Since we figure she’s just always going to be a klutz, we may as well install hardwood to condition her head, right? Joking, of course. She has actually fallen down these stairs, resulting in the scariest ER visit I’ve ever had. It was my dad’s fault so we’ve just banned him from our house.
While I love the look of hardwood, we do recognize that this is a family neighborhood and our home’s next owners will likely have young children. So in addition to installing hardwood treads (and MDF risers, painted white), I also took extra time to install a permanent runner that has a double-lined carpet pad underneath for extra cushion just in case someone else’s father thinks it’s a good idea to play fetch with a two-year-old on the staircase. (I’m not bitter, just still amazed by how his brain works)
In case you’re tuning in for the first time or have forgotten my trauma, let me tell you why I look so smug in that photo. I hired contractors to tackle this project. Three days later, they called to back out. They told me it would be “physically impossible” to install hardwood on these stairs, due to the nature of the landing in the middle. So I did it myself.
Are they perfect? Nope. I can see gunky caulk lines and areas where my stain needs to be touched up. BUT I DID IT. So there. “Physically impossible” is contractor speak for “I don’t want to”. Just FYI.
And how great do these stairs look when paired with the new grasscloth wallpaper and Serena & Lily-style console table I DIYed for the foyer??? OH WAIT. That’s right. I haven’t shown that yet.
THE ENTRYWAY MAKEOVER
This is the best part. The part I want to show off over and over again. So let’s get started.
Two days ago, I nixed the idea of doing the wall of horizontal board and batten here. I’d started installing it a few weeks ago and just didn’t love how it looked. So I tore it down and ran out to grab a roll of grasscloth wallpaper AND BOY AM I SO GLAD I DID.
This space was feeling flat so I toyed with the idea of installing a linen fabric to this wall. In fact, I did install it. Only I didn’t get any pictures because it looked terrible and I tore it down before any evidence could be found.
Our home was built in 1993. It’s our first-ever non-historic (or elderly) house. The first house we’ve ever own that didn’t outdate us by at least 20 years. We chose a newer home for two reasons; the neighborhood and the fact that we’re old and tired and didn’t want to deal with cast iron pipes and asbestos anymore. But we do miss the charm of a home that’s been loved generation after generation. I wanted to install something in this home that gives the illusion of a well-loved space but that would be timeless and never need to be updated. GRASSCLOTH IS THAT. It says “old money” like no other home finish. Even marble can date a home, depending on the species you choose, but grasscloth is a simple designer touch that adds elegance and grace like no other. Ugh. I’m gushing but just look at it.
I love it so much, especially when paired with the table I DIYed to look like a FAR MORE EXPENSIVE table from Serena & Lily! It even inspired us to use a faux grasscloth in the dining room and I’m so glad we did.
The table still needs some finishing touches (mostly extra glue and a little paint touch-ups to hide the seams), but even as it is, I’m impressed with my own handy work. ONE DAY GUYS. It took one day to make a $60 table look like this with a $20 roll of wallpaper.
Please excuse the plant my cats are attempting to murder. This lady has been suffering for over a year and I just can’t bring myself to put her out of her misery.
In case you’re wondering if I really did rebuild that same table, here’s the before and some proof. This is the foyer before the ORC started and the table I used is the one shown behind the sofa. It had waterfall legs and was too short for my taste and too long for the space, so I ripped down the top on a table saw and purchased 2x2s to reconstruct the base. I also added a shelf made of 1x1s and a sheet of thin MDF.
The only complaint I have here is that the wallpaper I purchased was extremely difficult to apply. Maybe it’s the application? I’ve never installed wallpaper on a table before.. But it didn’t want to stick at all. I easily wasted half the roll in scraps. It’s pretty though. The texture is more like a raw silk than a grasscloth which is why it looks so great against the actual grasscloth. All in all, not a total knock-off, but definitely achieves the look!
Once I’m done with the finishing touches, none will be the wiser.
I don’t want this post to be just a photo dump, but I’m seriously in love with this space. So can I just show you every little detail while I cry happy tears for a while?
I know it’s a little odd to have a champagne bucket in my entryway but let me explain:
When we entertain, we tend to use the entire first floor of our home as a cocktail-party-style setting, rather than hosting sit-down dinners. To encourage our guests to meander about the spaces, we set up drink stations in each room. Since our bar typically houses the mixed drink options, I use the foyer as a wine station.
Our serve ware is large and we don’t have great storage for it, so I figured I’d just leave it out all the time. After all, it’s really pretty and the set-up is very simple. I highly recommend this method to make your entertaining life a little easier, but the way.
All in all, I’m super pleased with how these spaces look. Can you tell?
Here’s the view from my office, which happens to be a complete mess right now and is definitely going to have to be addressed quickly because I want to show off this whole space to everyone I know!
Plus this little peek into the living room just makes me smile so big!
WANNA KNOW WHERE I GOT EVERYTHING?
CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE FULL SOURCE LIST UNDER SHOP MY FOYER.
So that’s it, you guys. I love it. I hope you love it!
Now go check out the other guest participants’ rejuvenated spaces by clicking here. Huge thanks to Linda, Home Love Network, and Better Homes and Gardens, for keeping this event going all these years!
YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS + I’VE GOT ANSWERS.
Commenting on this post is disabled after 24 hours so I can focus on our upcoming projects + client designs. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your questions and comments on Instagram by either commenting on my latest post or sending me a direct message. I really love to chat it out! xoxo