Stairwell and Mudroom Revamp {Before and After}…

stairwell and mudroom revamp (befor and after) The Creativity Exchange
turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom using just 5 inches {The Creativity Exchange}


Turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom (The Creativity Exchange)



Ever since we purchased our home more than 12 years ago, I have dreaded the day that I had to finally address my narrow hallway/stairwell area. This area is right by our back door and the hallway goes to our laundry room and the stairs goes up to my office/craft room. I made myself wait until I finished the craft room before I finally dealt with this space. Finally, after 12 years of hating this space, I had no choice, I finally had to deal with it and we revamped it in a big way a few weeks ago.

This was by far the most challenging space that I have ever designed because I have wracked my brain trying to figure out how I could take this super narrow space and turn it into a mudroom.  We have been in dire need of a spot by the back door to hang coats, toss shoes, backpacks, etc., and no matter how I looked at it, I just couldn’t come up with a solution.  It finally just hit me as I forced myself to stare at this space how I could overcome the issues and we are beyond thrilled with how functional and pretty the space turned out.

Before I go into the details, let me just show you the before picture (please excuse the big paint swipe on the wall):


stairwell revamp before picture {The Creativity Exchange}



Yeah, your basic standard ugly stairwell and hallway.  I hated that yellow color and the color of the banister.  This space also had horrible lighting and was really dark.  The light fixture was just one bulb.

Here is the same shot/angle today after the revamp:


Turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom (The Creativity Exchange)


Pretty big difference, huh?

I knew that if I could just really focus on this space and think through every square inch, there had to be a way to make it so much better.  It turned out more beautiful (and functional) than I imagined.  Don’t you just love that when that happens?

The first thing I focused on was the trim and wall colors.  Because this space is so dark and has no natural light, I had to play off of undertones.  I wanted the walls a blue, gray with a very slight hint of green but I had to lean more green to get the color to appear blue because of the artificial light.  I had to work with the awesome paint guys at Home Depot to come up with this custom mix and I used Behr Ultra paint in a flat.  This is the custom mix that we used:


Behr Ultra Paint (custom mix) blue/green/gray color


I loved the cabinet and trim color in my office/craft room, so I decided to carry that down the stairs and into the mudroom for the trim, banister and built-in mudroom.  The color I used was Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams:

Mindful Gray by Sherwin WIlliams Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.08.16 AM

We used a matte oil based for all of the Mindful Gray for extra durability.

We also changed the carpet (it was original to the house), which we also purchased from Home Depot and we matched the Mindful Gray to the carpet.  It’s a beautiful durable berber and it has a gray undertone and I am in love with it!

The built-in mudroom is the most significant thing that we did to the space and on Friday, I will be dedicating a whole post into how we did it.  It was super easy but there are just lots of little details, so if you’re interested, I shared the details and tutorial for making the built-in here.

Tutorial for making a built in mudroom for a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)


Here are just some shots of it to give you a better idea of the built-in mudroom:


turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom using just 5 inches {The Creativity Exchange}


I only had 5 inches to work with to keep this narrow hallway free from clutter.  The baskets on the bottom will hold miscellaneous things like scarves, flip flops, magazines, softballs, etc.. The bottom shelf, will be a spot for my daughter and I to leave our shoes (my husband’s shoes are too big).

narrow hallway built-in mudroom {The Creativity Exchange}


narrow hallway mudroom (The Creativity Exchange)


We also installed hat hooks on the second to the last shelf at the top.

Again, if you want even more details on the built-in mudroom, that tutorial is here.

As far as the photographs and gallery wall going up the stairs, I blew up my favorite photos of my daughter from our spring break trip to Mexico.  I then framed them with my favorite chrome metal frames and had a large mat cut in white, so I could get that pop of white in the space:

Stairwell revamp before and after {The Creativity Exchange


stairwell and mudroom revamp before and after (the creativity exchange)


I created a gallery wall (I’m not finished with it yet) with blown up photos from my trip to Italy, photos of my daughter, a few of my paintings, a framed sea fan, mirrors and a big letter “A”:


stairwell gallery wall {The Creativity Exchange}


Once I finish this gallery wall going up the stairs, I will do a post on all of the little projects that I did for it.  Hopefully, I’ll have it on the blog next week.

Again, sorry that the pictures are not better.  Very difficult space to photograph.

I am so glad that I didn’t just paint this space and call it done but that I really stopped to take some time to think through how I could creatively design this space to make it also a functional space.  I always says this but I’ll say it again, if you just give a trouble space a little of your time and sit a stare at it for a few days, you can overcome design challenges. Hopefully, my post today will inspire you to look at your narrow hallways and stairwells a little differently to see if there is a way to utilize the space better.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today friends!  I’ll be back on Friday with the tutorial for my built-in mudroom wall.



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50 Responses to Stairwell and Mudroom Revamp {Before and After}…

  1. I love it all. The new paint color is amazing and the white handrail makes such a difference. The mudroom area is perfect, tons of space for all those coats and such. ~ Lisa

  2. Wowza! What a difference! Way to cram a whole lt of function into such a narrow space! And it looks fantastic too! Great work!

  3. Jeri Redd says:

    The space looks awesome, love the paint color and can’t wait to read the details on how you made that wall

  4. Julie says:

    Very impressive! Love it.

  5. sherry hart says:

    What a difference. I agree….a little thought and planning goes a long way:) Love the neutrality of the space.

  6. Laura J says:

    Terrific job! You deserve to be proud of that space. Enjoy!

  7. Kay says:

    I have a very similar space except no stairs; just a closet where your stairs are. Exactly what are the hall dimensions you started with? Are you worried that heavy winter coats will constantly be knocked onto the floor as you go into the laundry room? I just may try this one!

  8. Deb says:

    Looking forward to Friday. I’ve got a small area much like this so I’m excited to see something like this. It’s got my mind working overtime now!

  9. Nancy says:

    Great job…absolutely love the colors and wouldn’t have believed by looking at the pictures that the trim was in the grey tones. I love the wood paneling you put on the wall in the hallway; looks so good. Thanks for posting; looking forward to reading more.

  10. Wow seems to be the only word that comes to mind. You did a terrific job! The photos are great too, Hugs

  11. Tania says:

    I love the transformation. The colours are lovely
    The only thing that seems off for me is the plain
    Door. Is it old? I think it would look great if it had insets
    And a lever handle the same finish as your hooks.

    • Cyndy says:

      Yep, Tania, the door is old. I do hate it and we are planning on having all of the doors in the house replaced this spring. I was hoping no one would notice! LOL! I agree, a pretty silver lever handle would be really nice. I think that’s exactly what I’ll do. Thanks for the idea and thank you for stopping by!

  12. Erin says:

    Holy moly! This looks really excellent. Congrats on all the hard work. I also love the wire baskets you chose and the wall colour. 🙂

  13. khaki salmon says:

    Fabulous! I can’t believe it took YOU so long to come up with such a wonderful solution. Great job. 😀

  14. Susan McDonald says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Can you share the process of painting the banister and rails?

  15. Janet says:

    Cyndy, I’m hoping you can fill me in on a question about paint color! We have stained trim/doors that’s a medium brown. My husband loves stained trim, so we won’t be painting it. We’re repainting our living room and selected a grey that has a slight green undertone (Sherwin Williams Sea Salt). On the walls, the paint looks more blue than greenish-grey. Are there colors we should introduce that will tone down the blue undertone? Colors we should avoid? Thanks in advance!

    By the way, your stairwell and hall look fantastic. I love the color combination you selected!

    • Cyndy says:

      I’m curious about the lighting in the space that made sea salt go lean blue rather than green. Do you not have a lot of natural light? What is your lighting situation like in that space. Is it dark and maybe you should look at brightening up the space more overhead? Add higher wattage bulbs?

      To offset blues, I would of course stay away from blues, navy, ect.. and incorporate green undertones like taupes and whites with green undertones. I am really surprised to hear that Sea Salt went blue. Without you telling me, I really think you may first see if you can brighten up your space with better overhead lighting. Let me know if lighting is an issue in the space, you’ve got me so curious now. Just send me an email and I will help you come up with a solution.

  16. This looks great Cyndy! I love the color and it looks so clean, fresh and new. I love how you used the space for a mudroom.

    • Cyndy says:

      Sweet Kristen!! How are you friend! You are so sweet to stop by and thank you for your kind words. So good to see your note pop up and I’m so glad to see you stop by! Sending hugs and heading your way to see what you’ve been up to on your blog! xo

  17. Ruth says:

    Very nice job! Turned out beautiful. I immediately saw it with a black back door. Don’t ask me why?

  18. Lee says:

    I love the makeover, the colours you chose are fabulous, gentle restful colours and I do love the gallery wall. Overall a fabulous new look.

    Lee 🙂

  19. CaSandra says:

    You have been a tremendous inspiration to me with decorating my first home…Please keep the fabulousness coming!

    • Cyndy says:

      Aww, thank you so much CaSandra for your sweet words! I’m so glad to hear that you are inspired and have found some help with decorating your first home. I so appreciate you leaving me a note and you have just warmed my heart! I’m here if I can help in any way!

  20. Rhonda says:

    Amazing! You are so talented! I can’t believe you were able to make that space so functional. I will had your blog to my bloglist. You have such great ideas!

  21. Wow, amazing transformation! The gallery wall really takes it up a notch.

  22. Tracy says:

    I need that rug, where did you get it??

    • Cyndy says:

      I picked up the runner for only $79.00 at Wayfair if you can believe that!! I never look there for rugs and was blown away by the selection. Here is the link to Momeni

      Thanks for stopping by Tracy!

  23. JM says:

    where did you get those narrow metal baskets on the bottom? Love this…..

  24. Lydia says:

    I love this! We are moving into a new house soon. And we have a smaller hallway from the garage to the kitchen. I’ve been pinning all sorts of ideas trying to plan for it — but this is awesome! Thanks for sharing it!

  25. THIS IS STUNNING! I a visiting from the link party at Thrifty Decor Chick and am truly blown away by the transformation and some of your specific ideas, especially with such a narrow space. New follower!!!

  26. Wow! You did a fantastic job.


  27. Andrea says:

    Love the color. The space is so functional now. I wish I had some room to make a mudroom. Right inside the garage door is a hallway of nothing but doors so really isn’t a wall to add a bench or hooks since the hall is already cramped. Love what you’ve done here.

  28. Linda says:

    Hello Cyndy,

    I love how this turned out. Can you tell me the color/ paint you used on the bannister and what kind of prep work was needed. I’m thinking of painting my railing and bannister white and using your mud room organization in my mud room/ laundry room. Very inspirational! I also love your organized garage. You are a woman after my own heart and power tools.


  29. Linda says:

    Hello Cyndy,

    I love how this turned out. Can you tell me the color/ paint you used on the bannister and what kind of prep work was needed. I’m thinking of painting my railing and bannister white and using your mud room organization in my mud room/ laundry room. Very inspirational! I also love your organized garage. You are a woman after my own heart and power tools.

  30. Brittany says:

    Hey, Cyndy! Can you tell me where you purchased your frames? Are they available online? Working on a gallery wall in my dining room. Thanks!

    • Cyndy says:

      I picked them up at Hobby Lobby. They are metal chrome and I use them everywhere in my home. If you do not have a hobby lobby near you, they may be available online on their website. Thanks so much for stopping by Brittany!

  31. melissa larson says:

    can you tell me where you got the wire mesh baskets that are in the mudroom?

    • Cyndy says:

      I picked them up at Hobby Lobby during Christmas last year and they were red. I spray painted them chrome. I noticed they have similar ones this year. Hope that helps Melissa! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  32. Stacey says:

    I love this – I’m just amazing. I have a very narrow space to work with as well and this might just be exactly what we needed! So thankful for pinterest and you to posting these pics!

  33. Jen says:

    So beautiful! May I ask where you got the narrow baskets?

  34. Laura says:

    Can I ask how you did your bannister? We have the exact same one and want to do the same thing. Was it as easy as prime and paint? I can’t imagine sanding something like that would be easy…

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