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Hallway Transformation

DIY | French Country Modern | Home Tour

How do you make a regular old hallway into a design showstopper? You add decorative bells & whistles! I’m taking you along for this complete hallway transformation!

For reference, this hallway is on the second floor where all of the kids’ rooms are. If you missed any of the transformations of those rooms, here is my son’s, the girls’ shared room, the nursery, and the bathroom.

If you are new here, you might not know this, but I love adding trim and molding to blank walls, as evidenced HERE, HERE, and HERE. This project started with a completely blank slate, so my plan was to add molding, ceiling beams, and change out the can lights for gorgeous pendants! You better believe I DIYed the whole thing!

To me, the hardest part of any project is the beginning, because a blank slate means I have a million options! Once you’ve made a final design selections, the second hardest part is having the guts to execute your plans.

Phase 1: Wall Molding

Step 1: Make your template

I made a template out of poster board to the specifications of my box size that made it easy to trace so I didn’t have to measure everything each time. The nice thing about the poster board is that it bends with the curved wall I have!

Then I took my template and started marking things out on the wall. I just lined the template up with my laser level to make sure it was straight and measured 5” apart. 

The template was a HUGE time saver. For the wall across from the long curved wall, I started in the middle so that the trim on both sides of the hallway would line up. And then all the other boxes on that wall were determined by that. As a reminder, your boxes will be smaller if there are doors/windows/or casing in the way. The important thing is to stop the same distance from each obstacle as your gap size. For example, my gap between each box is 5”, so Ieft a 5” gap from all of my casings. 

For reference, we have 9ft ceilings and our chair rail height is 38.5”.

Step 2: Cut your pieces

To start the cutting, I first measured all of my short pieces. I always make a cut list and then mark them off as I go! It cuts down on waist and time, and it makes sure you don’t forget any pieces.

All of the small pieces that I cut first butt right into a wall, a corner, or a casing. I marked on the casing where the chair rail would line up to, but I didn’t like the huge gap that was between them. So I used those markings to cut out the small piece of the casing where the chair rail would touch so that it could nicely sit against the casing with no gap.

Step 3: Install the regular trim

To install the trim for your hallway transformation, I used my laser level to make sure everything was straight, put construction adhesive on the back of the trim and then nailed them into the studs. IF you have super long pieces of trim (like my chair rail pieces), It helped to use a little bit of tape to hold up the trim piece while I adjusted it before nailing it down. I also had my studs marked out (mine are every 16”) so that I knew where to place my nails. 

See this bathroom transformation as well as tips on painting stripes HERE.

Next I moved on to the long straight piece for the curved wall. I created a mitered seam for a “seamless transition” between the regular trim and the flex trim I used for the curved part.

Step 4: Install the flex trim

I had to special order the flex trim to match the existing molding profile already in my home. I ordered it from a local mill shop but here is some you can find online. It’s a good idea to order it a good amount of time in advance. Flex trim is made of a unique polymer resin blend , so it’s really easy to bend around curves and corners. I mitered the end so it would tuck seamlessly into my wood trim and go around the corner. It’s nice because it cuts like any wood trim on the saw and you apply it the same way with adhesive and the nail gun.

Tip: If you need a shim, use sticky notes and fold them as needed.

Step 4: Make and install the molding boxes

Normally I’d construct the boxes piece-by-piece on the wall, but Juni was sleeping. So this time I put the boxes together before installing them and it was so much easier. I made sure all the corners were square and glued them together with wood glue. Then I added the wood filler and sanded them. GOING FORWARD, I WILL USE THIS PRE-CONSTRUCTING METHOD ALWAYS!

Once they were set, I took them upstairs for installation! I used construction adhesive on the backs of the boxes and made sure they were level before nailing.

Reminder: wood glue goes between two pieces of wood and construction adhesive goes between the wood and the wall. 

This corner is right outside of the girls’ shared bedroom! You can see the most recent update of their room HERE.

Note:  My walls have the least amount of texture possible before jumping to completely smooth walls, which, by the way, makes a big cost difference when building! But for some reason one corner of the hallway had quite a bit of texture, so I fixed that before completing the installation. I used a spackle with a color indicator that goes on pink and then when it’s ready to be sanded it turns white. When filling holes, you always want to over fill because you’re going to back and sand it down. Once the spackle turned white I sanded until it was smooth!

Phase 2: Ceiling Beams

To further the hallway transformation, I knew I wanted to do 3 box beams on the ceiling that are four feet long. I basically followed the same steps as I did in my DIY Box-beams tutorial, just on a smaller scale.

I also used the same custom stain to match my white oak floors. Also linked on the box beam tutorial.

Once the box beams were installed, I noticed bigger gaps at the sides than I had hoped for. I won’t lie I had a moment where I thought I screwed these up. But I saved it! I got backer rod, which is a styrofoam piece specifically for projects like this. If there’s a big gap, you stuff it in and then caulk over it and then paint it. 

When working on a project that’s not going as planned, I always think back to this time I was on a podcast. I was asked, “Have you ever just totally screwed up any projects?” My answer was no, because every project is a process until I get it right. Sometimes mistakes will happen, but most of them are fixable and you just have to work on it until it becomes what you want!

Phase 3: Paints & Sheens

My current wall color is Simply White by Benjamin Moore in eggshell finish and all trim (chair rail and below) is that color but in semi gloss finish. I used my angled brush to paint the trim and then went back over it with my roller to avoid brush marks. The baseboards are the same colors as the doors , Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore in a semi gloss sheen. I mean talk about bringing the drama! These contrasting baseboards added so much punch to the overall hallway design.

I recently shared a post about my son’s updated pre-teen room. You can see all of the details for that, including his awesome hanging chair HERE.

Phase 4: Convert Can Lights to Pendants

Talk about a glow up! I swapped out a couple of the original can lights for these pendants and boy did it make a difference! These light converter kits I used come with everything you need, including the self tapping screws. But BEFORE you start any electrical work the number one this to do is to turn off the circuit! Click below to watch the reel for the full tutorial on how to convert your can lights to pendants for a major upgrade!

I finished the hallway transformation off with a wall full of family photos (gold frames linked here), abstract art by Christie Adelle, and this wonderful washable runner rug. The first part of this project actually began when I transformed the connecting staircase landing, which you can see in this post. Christ canvas ,table, rug, and other sources found HERE.

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One Comment

  1. I love your transformations. I wish I could just hire you for a week or more to work on my house. You are so awesome! How did you learn all of your skills? You have so many!!
    Jeanie Colvin

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