Brightening up my 1850 farmhouse with this DIY entry hall makeover project! Discover painting tips and transformation ideas to create a light and airy space. Wait until you see this before and after transformation.

Transforming our 1850 farmhouse entry hall was a game-changer! The once dark and dated space, with its heavy faux finishes and red walls, has been brightened up with a fresh coat of paint.

Using Benjamin Moore Linen White for the walls and spindles and Carbon Copy for the newel posts, we achieved a light and airy feel.

This DIY entry hall makeover project highlights how powerful paint can be in completely revitalizing a room, making it more welcoming and spacious. Join me on this journey from dark to dazzling!

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Another week, another room makeover. There is so much to do before the spring gardening season kicks into gear in my gardening zone 6b garden.

Since moving into our new-to-us 1850 farmhouse, we’ve been bringing several rooms to a more neutral color palette on the first floor. Truth be told, there are three full floors to tackle, but our goal for winter 2022 was to get a few of the rooms lightened up on the main floor.

To see what our home looked like before all the renovations started, you can head over to this post. So far, we cleaned up and painted the following rooms:

And today, we are wrapping up the indoor room makeover projects so I can focus on the outdoor living spaces and garden rooms. Cause you know how much I love my gardens and there is ALOT here to work with that I need to get started on.

But I digress. Wait until you see how much better the front entry hall looks!!!!

A hallway with red walls and white trim, part of an 1850 farmhouse renovation, features an arched doorway and an oval window with a charming outdoor view. The floor showcases intricate wood inlay patterns. Two plants sit on the floor, and part of a wooden chair with a white cushion is visible to the right.

Before the Transformation: Our Dark and Dated Front Entry Hall

That red walls and heavy faux finish design on the stair railing was a lot to take in. Since we lightened up the adjacent dining room, the front entry hall needed a makeover – and it got one.

Wait until you see how AMAZING it looks now! And all we did was paint it!

Revamping the Stair Railing: A Fresh Coat of Paint

Before painting the walls in the front entry halls, I knew we needed to tackle the stair railing first. Ultimately, we want to install a different stair railing, but that is not in the budget right now.

So instead, we opted to paint over the red and remove the faux finish designs. There was so much going on in this room with the painted inlays on the wood floor, the red walls, and the faux finish.

It felt really dark in here. Since we weren’t sure whether oil-based or latex paint was used, we did a quick test on the railings.

Do you know how to tell the difference?

Sunlit room with polished hardwood floors, red walls, and a white staircase with wooden railings leading upwards. As part of our 1850 farmhouse renovation, a set of double glass doors is partially open on the right, and a leafy potted plant sits on the floor near the staircase.

Grab some rubbing alcohol on a clean paper towel and rub it on a spot. If the paint color comes off, it is latex. And if the cloth comes out clean, it was oil-based. Luckily, these railings were all painted with latex.

There was a high gloss finish on the newel post but each ballister in the upstairs floors was done with a semi-gloss finish. So we chose the same finishes but toned down the colors.

For the spindles, we went with Benjamin Moore Linen White in a semi-gloss finish. Linen White is a warm white that pulls a little more yellow and beige.

For the newel posts, we used Benjamin Moore Carbon Copy in a high gloss finish. Carbon Copy is a soft black that pulls a more gray tone.

In order to update the stair railing, we lightly sanded the existing faux finish so the new paint would have a better grip. We sanded the surface with a 100 grit sandpaper and covered all the spindles with Binz Primer and then painted 2 coats of color after.

The railing looks so much better now doesn’t it?

A partially painted stairwell in the midst of an 1850 farmhouse renovation features red walls and white trim. A plastic drop cloth covers the floor, and a step ladder stands in the foreground. This ongoing front entry hall makeover aims to brighten dark spaces, with some areas still needing completion.

Transforming Red Walls: Achieving a Light and Airy Entryway

Although the red was really dark, I actually liked the color. I used to have it in my former dining room before I lightened that room up with Benjamin Moore’s Manchester Tan.

But just because I like the color, doesn’t mean it should stay.

This home has lots of character with great big windows to bring the outdoor gardens inside and these walls were just too dark making the space feel more closed in.

Having rooms that are weighed down with dark colors or designs distracts the eye from looking beyond the windows. Not to mention, less light reflects off the walls.

A white piano sits against a red wall. Above it is a rustic window frame decor with vases, a small wooden box, and a green plant. As part of an 1850 farmhouse renovation, to the right of the piano is a tall snake plant, and to the left is a lantern on the polished wood floor.

So much like the dining room and family room makeover projects, we painted the walls in the front entry hall with Benjamin Moore Linen White in a matte finish.

The walls needed two coats of paint too. We used a primer and that covered a lot with just two coats of paint. But there were a few spots that needed a third coat, so we just did a full third coat.

And holy wow does the room look SO GOOD now! Here’s how I did it.

A front entry hall makeover is underway with freshly painted white walls and an arched doorway. Plastic sheets and a drop cloth cover the floors, while a paint tray with a roller sits at the entrance. An oval window at the far end brightens dark spaces with natural light, enhancing the transformation.

What You Need to Paint the Walls

To transform your entry hall walls from dark to light, gather the following supplies:

  • Paint: Choose a high-quality paint like Benjamin Moore Linen White.
  • Primer: Essential for covering dark colors and ensuring paint adhesion.
  • Paint Brushes and Rollers: Use a high-quality brush for cutting in and rollers for larger areas.
  • Painter’s Tape: For clean edges and protecting trim.
  • Drop Cloths: Protect floors and furniture.
  • Sandpaper: Smooth out any imperfections.
  • Paint Tray and Liners: For easy application and cleanup.
In an 1850 farmhouse undergoing a front entry hall makeover, a hallway under renovation features a plastic sheet covering the floor, leading to an arched doorway and an oval window at the end. Nearby are painting supplies, including a roller tray, paint cans, and black shoes. A rug and ladder are partially visible.

Step-by-Step Directions for Painting Over Dark Red Walls

  • Prepare the Room: Remove or cover furniture and use drop cloths to protect floors.
  • Clean the Walls: Wipe down walls to remove dust and grease.
  • Repair and Sand: Fill any holes or cracks, then sand smooth.
  • Apply Painter’s Tape: Protect trim, windows, and other non-paint surfaces. I have to admit I skipped this step because I was painting everything white.
  • Prime the Walls: Use a high-quality primer to cover the dark red color completely.
  • Paint the Walls: Use Benjamin Moore Linen White, applying the paint with a roller in a W pattern for even coverage. Cut in with a brush around edges and corners.
  • Second Coat: After the first coat dries, apply a second coat for a uniform finish.
  • Remove Painter’s Tape: Carefully peel off the tape before the paint fully dries to ensure clean edges.
  • Clean Up: Clean brushes, rollers, and trays immediately after painting.

Following these steps will help achieve a bright and flawless finish over dark red walls.

A room in the process of a front entry hall makeover, with one wall partially covered in dark red paint. A paint stand holds various tools and supplies, and a stepladder is positioned nearby. Drop cloths protect the floor, and a patterned area rug is partially visible, adding charm to this 1850 farmhouse renovation.

The Stunning After: Front Entry Hall Makeover Project Revealed

Now that the entire room is painted, I appreciate the floors so much more than before. That red did nothing for the painted floor inlays.

The front entry hall feels larger, brighter, and more spacious.

As far as decor goes, this room is not done and will take a while to furnish because we are going to thrift the whole room.

I am looking for storage pieces that can hold my table decor and want to find the right wall decor. All good things take time – but for now? It looks better than I imagined it would!

What do you think?

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear! And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would find it helpful.

A cozy living room corner, reminiscent of an 1850 farmhouse renovation, features a white upright piano adorned with a large mirror and floral arrangements. Nearby, there's a bench, potted plants, a basket of flowers, and botanical prints on the wall. A decorative area rug covers the wooden floor.
A black dog lies sprawled on a large patterned rug in a living room with hardwood floors. The staircase with white banisters and dark handrails is in the background, part of the 1850 farmhouse renovation, with a potted plant nearby and French doors to the right.
A hallway with an arched doorway leading to a sunlit room with a potted plant in the center. Two tall potted plants are symmetrically placed on either side of the doorway. The floor features intricate patterns, enhanced by the recent front entry hall makeover, and botanical prints hang on the wall to the left.
A cozy living room with a large patterned rug covering the wooden floor captures the charm of an 1850 farmhouse renovation. A black dog lies on the rug near a white staircase with dark railings. Potted plants by the stairs and a glass-paned door brighten the space naturally.
My dog wanted attention while I was photographing this room LOL
A well-lit living room featuring a grand piano with a decorative mirror and plants on top. Large potted plants are placed around the room, perfect for brightening dark spaces. A detailed Persian rug covers the floor, and an arched doorway leads to a bright hallway. Wall art and a small table complete the decor.
A front entry hall with vivid red walls and a distinctive circular window at the end. The archway and doorframe are painted white. A can of paint and painting supplies are on the floor. Text overlaid reads: "1850 Farmhouse Renovation: Before and After Front Entry Hall Makeover. Wait Until You See It Now!

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling" is written in a stylish, cursive font with a watercolor pink flower on the left side, bringing a touch of charm reminiscent of an 1850 farmhouse renovation. The text and flower both brighten dark spaces against a crisp white background.
The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy Care Flower Garden
  • Have you never met a plant you couldn’t kill?
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  • Do you currently enjoy growing flowers, but are looking for more tips and ideas to level up your gardening game?

Then the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide is for YOU

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  1. I can not get over what a difference!! Amazing how bright everything looks now. The arched little hallway area is a showstopper.

  2. I loved the red color, however, you are so right, it was just too strong for you and your family. The area is young looking and the floor makes such a wonderful statement.
    The beauty is you have purchased a home with beautiful bones and now it needs your makeup to make it yours.
    It’s always so exciting to see all the progress you have made.
    Many blessings to you and your family this Easter season.

      1. It looks sooo good! Great job, I did not like the red at all. This is beautiful cant wait to see how things progress, its beautiful now!

  3. Wow! What a transformation! Paint is an amazing tool. Do you think you’ll leave the floors with the painted insets or are you planning to have them refinished? The insets are pretty cool and look so much better with the white backdrop!

    1. Thank you! I think we’ll leave them for a while – it doesn’t clash as much with the walls like it did with the red. Every time we walk through I can’t believe how much better the space feels.

  4. Wow, what a difference! Those inlaid wood floors were being missed because of the Red on the walls and now your eye can see those gorgeous floors! The trim around the doors and windows make a statement too!

  5. Stacy WOW! This is going to make a world of difference for you entering the house each time. I had a red dining room too that was lovely but the red here was fighting with floors which need to be the star. So do you enter a small vestibule before the foyer? Trying to figure out all four walls of the space. I also love how the deep charcoal color in the library draws you in from the foyer and echos the small black tiles in the dining room flooring. Perfection. Dressing this room with storage pieces for your table wares is genius, it will serve as a butler’s pantry as well as welcoming entrance.

    1. Yes that’s totally what I’m planning to do in here! Thank you. That small vestibule goes to a powder room and small hall closet.

  6. What a difference! I love it lightened up. You are right it makes the floors pop. I can’t wait to see how your home evolves over time. It has so much potential.

    I had a red (cranberry room) at one point and it took primer and at least three coats to cover.

  7. Love it. It looks so bright and more beautiful now. Now I need to paint our very dark chocolate walls. Thanks for the motivation. Wish we had those beautiful floors.👍

  8. Stacy, What beautiful trim work. Nowadays you don’t see such attention to detail. Looks fabulous!

    1. I agree – there are so many things to play up here that were almost concealed by how much was going on. Just toning it down a little bit really brings out the character.

  9. What a beautiful transformation! It’s amazing what some paint and hardwork can do! It looks great!

  10. Thank heavens for great primers! The room looked a bit gaudy to me before – a little too over the top. It now looks fresh, clean and very inviting and now the focus will be the windows with the fabulous views and whatever you choose for that room when you’re thrifting. Thank you for sharing with us — I look forward to each posting to see what you’re doing now. What a beautiful property you have – and many indoor and outdoor areas that will be even more gorgeous after you make your changes.

  11. Wow! What a transformation. It looks gorgeous! That beautiful woodwork stands out so much more. I can’t wait to see more projects. Hugs to you

  12. Beautiful! I love the transformation and all the beautiful molding in your home as well. I’m very visual and like to understand the layout of a home, what does the little archway lead too?

  13. Stacy,
    This area looks amazing. I love that arched doorway. You have been so busy. It’s really starting to look like your home. Congratulations!

  14. I LOVE everything now that the room is neutral. What a difference. That arched doorway and oval window look amazing!

  15. Love the new look for your foyer! Did you use the Benjamin Moore Linen white on the walls as well as the spindles of the railing! Love seeing all the updates on your new home. Blessings this Easter!

  16. Stacy, It is so beautiful now, you did a great job. I love your new home and gardens. I always look forward to your next blog.

  17. You made the best choice for the entry. The white pops the inlaid floor, rug and architectural features of the woodwork. It makes it all look more elegant and pulled together. The red is a pretty color, but tended to be on the garish side for the entry. You walked in and it seemed as if it was a slap in the face, like “look at me.” Now it says, “WOW, look at how elegant I am.” I really like it. Great job! I am in the process of painting my dark beams and wood paneling in the family room which has only east facing light exposure, so it is dark for most of the time. I think it will make a big difference, and can’t wait until my nephew gets to it!!! Wish us luck!

    1. Paint makes a world of difference right? Thank you so much! We are loving how this one turned out! xo

  18. Wow! It makes all of the spaces look double there sizes. You are so right about darker colors. They can close in a room. With each project this home becomes even more amazing, Stacy! Stunning!

  19. It’s absolutely fabulous Stacy. It was beautiful with the red, but it looks like a new fresh space now. You must feel like you’ve gained tons of square footage with all that wonderful light reflecting. The floors are just amazing!