before and afterInteriors

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space

by Garrett Fleming

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

Without a doubt, the entry hallway is truly the core of decorator Whitney Jones’ home. Not only does every guest pass through it upon coming inside, but it leads to a corridor that connects every room in her New Orleans, LA house. Even though it’s an integral part of her space, unfortunately, it went ignored for years while Whitney focused on redoing other areas of her home.

Its days of playing second fiddle are over though, as it recently got a refresh courtesy of Whitney’s big-and-bold Maximalist style. To give the space a new look, she’s paired her love for mixing patterns and colors with pieces that nod to her African heritage, creating a deeply personal design in an area often forgotten when people decorate their homes. I highly doubt anyone will be able to stroll down her entry hallway now without stopping. It’s extremely eye-catching given its hand-stenciled walls and colorful accessories. Keep scrolling to learn how she crafted the look and cleverly made Maximalist style work in a tight space. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Britt Smith

Image above: The quaint entry taught Whitney how to infuse a smaller space with Maximalism style without overwhelming it. “I didn’t want it to feel cluttered or dysfunctional,” she says.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

Whitney and her collection of African-inspired art.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

Whitney has painted all of her home’s wooden trim white and torn out every inch of its flooring. She bets the previous owners wouldn’t even recognize it.


My entry/hallway is a direct reflection of how I love interiors: Eclectic and bold. I love that this area is such a statement maker when guests first walk into my home.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

Whitney used a stencil from Royal Design Studio to create the wall’s look. The initial part of the painting process was pretty simple, but it took her months to meticulously touch it up.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

Whitney could have gone with a stark black-and-white color scheme, but she opted for a warmer cream color and washed black to make the entry feel cozier and more inviting.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

She has’t quite found the perfect frame for this Batik painting from Bali yet. “I love the bold color and tribal vibe,” Whitney says.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

If you turn right, the hallway takes you to the dining room, so Whitney placed a bar cabinet here to provide a smooth transition between the two spaces. A portrait of her style inspiration sits on the cabinet: “I secretly can’t wait until [my] hair grows out to get the same look,” she says.

Before & After: Making Maximalism Work in a Tight Space, Design*Sponge

Whitney’s juju hat is her favorite piece in her home. The unexpected yellow table that sits under it is Whitney’s way of infusing her Maximalist style into the tight hallway without overwhelming it.

Paint Colors
Behr “Limousine Leather”
Behr “Park Avenue”
Sherwin-Williams “Garden Gate”

Decor & Furniture
Stencil – Royal Design Studio “African Tribal Batik”
Juju hat – Wayfair
Batik art – NOVICA by National Geographic
Console table – ZuoMod

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  • Oh I love this!!! I know what I like but I seriously can’t afford wallpaper and this is so perfect!! It looks amazing. Great job! It’s just the right choice of bold colours, patterns and texture. I recognized the pattern right away too! The talented blogger from: The Painted Hive used this stencil pattern on a dresser and it’s the coolest thing! Check it out if you haven’t seen it already! :) http://thepaintedhive.net/2016/06/re-love-project-before-after-2/

    I would love to see a bit more of this space! :) I see a hint of a separating wall on the left side of the entrance? Our main door opens right into our living room which I hate and I keep looking for ideas. One of the ideas is to build a separating wall to reduce the draft in colder seasons and to separate the landing pad from our main room (we live in QC, Canada and it sucks to order pizza in winter) lol!

    • Hi Bérangère,

      What if you bought a white storage shelf that’s flat on one side and has cubes for shoes etc on the other? That way you could block the wind and store winer accessories at the same time etc.?

      – Garrett

      • Hi! Thanks for replying Garrett. Yes it’s one of my many options. I’m just worried about cluttering our already smallish space and would have to make sure it’s pretty secure and stable. It’s an active home with kids still jumping on the couch. Wouldn’t want the storage shelf or it’s content to get knocked off but yes it’s in my thoughts with pros and cons. There is also the fear of going through the trouble and hating it and having to return or resale and all that hassle. It’s a 10 year old problem in our house. :) I’m glad that your new featured home this week has an entrance right into their living room too! That is exactly what I’m dealing with but we have a staircase where they put a table and mirror. My gears are still going. :)

  • So well done, Whitney! I love how you mix furniture, art, color, texture, and pattern so well. I especially like the stencilled walls — and hope we will be seeing more of your home.

  • The stenciled wall– THAT WALL!!! SO well done. I love everything about this space–colors, textures, art, furniture. Standing ovation!!

  • Oh my stars! This is an entry into design heaven!I love the vibrant colors and cultural vibe! This is for sure a fabulous welcome for your guests!

  • Love this! I’ve been a fan of Whitney’s for a long time! I was pleasantly surprised to see her home featured here!

  • This is a fantastic transformation. I love EVERYTHING Whitney did here. the wall covering is bold but works so well with the mirror and chest.

  • Absolutely gorgeous! Warming, vibrant and inviting. Wanted to see more. Enjoy your space, it’s lovely.

  • The transformation is the bomb!! I love the stenciled wall and would love to see the rest of her house.