Like many NYC apartments, we are greeted by a long(ish) narrow hallway with lots of doors when entering our apartment. While ours isn’t quite as bad as this one, it is still too narrow to place any furniture in the space and the walls are broken up with many doors (front door, double coat closet door, bedroom door, bathroom door and another closet door).
With a long narrow space like this, dramatic paint, art, mirrors and sconces are often the best solution. We went with dramatic lighting and paint that are also functional and turned this long hall from a “pass-through only” space, to a “stop and get inspired” space.
First we decided the wooden doors made the space look chopped up. We painted all the doors white so they would blend in with the walls, ceiling and trim. We installed a long ceiling fixture I already had. It stretches along the space and also serves as lighting for the closets since there isn’t any light inside them.
Lastly, we painted the largest uninterrupted space with chalkboard paint. We chose black paint to contrast with the pale floors and white trim. At our engagement party we asked guests to write marriage advice on the wall with chalk we provided. Later we erased it and now we change it often with “to do” lists, doodlings, ideas, inspiration, etc. We use less paper, and feel satisfied crossing out items on our oversized “to do” list with a long swipe of the arm.
Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint:
To make this a healthier and more environmentally-friendly project, make sure to start with a no-VOC flat paint. You will notice that there is virtually no odor when painting and there will be no off-gassing once it’s dried, so you can breathe easier and reduce your chemical exposure!
- Mix together (with a paint stirrer) 1 cup of paint and 2 tablespoons of tile grout, breaking up any clumps.
- Apply paint to primed surface with a roller or a sponge brush, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage.
- Once dried, smooth with 150-grit sandpaper and wipe off dust.
- To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp washcloth.
Do Done List
- Since we can’t use CFLs with the hallway light, I want to install a timer or motion sensor at the switch to prevent us from wasting energy. This seems to be the only non-CFL light in the apartment and the only light that we constantly forget to turn off! Update: tried this and it did not work for us. We are trying to be more conscientious of turning the light off.
- We have a 5-tier shelf and baskets made from leftover banana leaves that we are planning to install in the coat closet to hold items like hats, scarves and gloves in the winter and beach towels, sunglass, and frisbee in the summer. First we have to move the built-in shelf… Update: installed!
- We sometimes smell cigarette smoke in our hallway from our neighbor’s apartment and would love ideas on how to keep it out! Update: Our neighbor quit smoking! Good news for all of us (especially her).