before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Graphic Hallway Packs A Color Punch

by Garrett Fleming

Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
I’d love to say I’m one of those rebels who just can’t get enough of doing new stuff every single day, but I revel in my routine. I love my a.m. coffee run, I make sure I have zero unread emails before getting out of bed every morning and I wash my face after I shampoo. Never ever the other way around. With age comes wisdom though, and my experiences this year have taught me the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone every once in a while. Whether I’m switching up my daily rituals, facing challenging experiences head-on or simply swapping out decorations in my boyfriend’s and my home, the moment always teaches me something valuable. And I’m always grateful I took the risk, no matter the outcome.

Londoner Ruthie Matthews of Design Soda learned just how rewarding it can be to push yourself as well when she took a risk of her own: overhauling her upstairs hallway sans contractors. Once doused in all white and with accessories galore, the space was begging to be switched up. This wasn’t going to be a simple decor swap, though. Ruthie wanted to go big and had dreams of grandeur. Specifically, she hoped to hand paint a triangular wall treatment as well as a staircase runner. She knew she could do it… maybe.

Instead of letting fear get to her, Ruthie silenced the naysayer in her head and went for it. As she pulled up the painter’s tape strip by strip, a smile crossed Ruthie’s face. She’d done it. The space was going to look marvelous. With a newfound confidence in her design POV, Ruthie then sprinkled the hallway with modern accessories and additional hand-painted elements. Every one of them is carefully curated, and each serves as a testament to both taking chances and trusting your gut. Hopefully the results inspire you to do the same. Scroll down to check it out, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Ruthie Matthews

Image above: Ruthie felt the gallery of artwork was too busy and overpowered the tight space, so she dialed down its accessories. To keep the look from veering too “minimal,” she then replaced the smattering of decorations with large blocks of wall color.

Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
Ruthie painted the walls white years ago, so she knew what she was getting into when refreshing them this time around. The stairs, on the other hand, were a mystery. She wasn't sure what she would find beneath the carpet when she pulled it up. Luckily, all it took was sanding and a painted runner to make them shine.
Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
The hallway's walls are painted in blush and green hues, two colors Ruthie calls "the new neutrals."
Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
Ruthie was nervous about creating the geometric pattern by hand but put her trust in painter's tape. Once she pulled it up, she was pleasantly surprised by the result and has since utilized the technique in other spots around her home.
Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge

Ruthie describes the design as “interesting subtlety,” and this theme informed her selection of decoration and color.

Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
Ruthie tells us the renovation instilled in her the confidence to trust her gut when it comes to design choices. She says, "Going with my instincts and creating something that spoke to me has completely transformed not only the actual space, but all [of] the connecting spaces too, which look better framed by it."
Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge

Ruthie splattered this vase with paint to give it a one-of-a-kind look. Eclectic details like this keep the space from feeling too streamlined.

Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
An example of how the new paint job highlights one of the interesting architecture details of the Victorian-era home.
Before & After: A Graphic Hallway, Design*Sponge
A modern doorstop and paint job contrasted with original wood floors and doors.

Source List

Credenza – Maisons du Monde

Credenza accessories – Ferm Living, Broste, Hay, MarimekkoKangan Arora

Various wooden artwork – Made

Mounted scissors – One Must Dash

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  • This is inspiring me to get my butt in gear with painting my entry way. I’ve been a bit intimidated to paint it, but this is great inspiration. It’s good to just try with things like this and not worry about it being perfect the first time. The great thing about paint is that it can always be painted over.

  • This is very inspirational. Hopefully it will motivate me to go ahead with some projects I have been thinking about for awhile. I like her philosophy of “trusting her gut”.

  • Love the designs done with paint. Not seeing how those colors coordinate tho. The stairwell is beautiful!