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Cheap chic: How to brighten a drab hallway in 30 minutes

Updated on November 1, 2014
This gorgeous sheet of hand made paper
This gorgeous sheet of hand made paper | Source

What is your home to you?

Is your home more a sanctuary? Or more a place to hang your hat?

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30 minutes and a stunning piece of red and gold handmade paper helped to change our mood every time we open the door

Our home is our sanctuary. When my sweetheart and I step across the threshold into our home, we hope to leave behind any stresses and cares.

Home is where we share, love, relax, rejuvenate. For a long time, though, our bleak entry way did nothing to lift our spirits.

From the first day we moved into this apartment, we intended to hang a beautiful piece of original art above the entry hall table. Seven years later, we still haven't found that just-right piece.

One day, while exploring a favorite art supply store, I found a stunning sheet of handmade paper, rich in the golds and reds we love. But what to do with it? Light bulb moment: Display the paper and brighten that dull hallway.

Pretty as this paper is, it's a temporary decorating fix--cheap chic--so it requires no special handling. In twenty minutes I had trimmed and hung it in a plain store-bought frame. That gave me a few more minutes to add a few little touches to make the entry all the more inviting.

By the time I was finished, the clock hadn't hit thirty minutes, and I had completed a mini makeover of our hallway that says "Welcome home!" every time we walk through the door.



Before the makeover: Entering the apartment was not as welcoming as we would like

This is what you saw when you opened the front door last Christmas, before I found the art paper.
This is what you saw when you opened the front door last Christmas, before I found the art paper. | Source

In this "before" picture, you see how drab and unwelcoming our entryway was before I stumbled across that piece of handmade paper that inspired me to give it a mini facelift.

On this page, I'll show you just how easy it was to frame the paper and make a few quick changes that made all the difference.

See that large vase on the floor? That played a part in this makeover too. But what to do with the unopened mail that accumulates during the week, and that ugly plastic receipt binder that is most useful if it stays on the table, where we can easily file the receipts as we take them from our pockets each day?

The answers, coming up.

Entry table before I found that lovely bit of paper

Before: Our plain, cluttered entry table, not at all welcoming
Before: Our plain, cluttered entry table, not at all welcoming | Source

Pretty boring, yes? Cluttered too. While we're waiting for that perfect piece of art to come along--some day--I've hung that beautiful hand-crafted paper. I made a couple of other changes, too. Small ones. Simple ones.

First, though, I had to frame the paper. Here's how.

How to frame art paper in 30 minutes or less

Supplies you will need: Art paper, T-square, sharp paper scissors, pencil, mounting tape, picture frame with glass, protective surface on which to score and cut the paper
Supplies you will need: Art paper, T-square, sharp paper scissors, pencil, mounting tape, picture frame with glass, protective surface on which to score and cut the paper | Source

To do the job quickly, plan ahead and make sure you have all the supplies on hand. The complete list follows, so you can print it off and take it with you.

Since I had no suitable work table, I used the floor, protecting it with a quilt and an artboard from my college days. If you don't have an art board, a piece of Masonite or a sturdy piece of cardboard will help to protect your table or floor.

Beneath my art board, I placed a quilt, which you will see in subsequent pictures, to protect the wood flooring in case my arthritic hands slipped while I was cutting the paper.


 
 
Time
20-30 minutes
Difficulty
Easy

Materials and costs

  • One sheet gold and red art paper: $5
  • Frame: $32.
  • Archival tape: On hand and partially used, but the roll cost about $2.50 when I bought it a few years back.

Total cost: $39.50

Tools

  • Soft-leaded pencil
  • T-Square
  • Scissors or Exacto knife
  • Hard surface on which to measure and cut, such as an art board, a piece of Masonite, or sturdy cardboard slab
  • Padded surface on which to work

Instructions, step-by-step

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1: Assemble your materials and tools and a soft pad to place under your hard work surface so you don't inadvertently score your table (or in my case, the floor) when you cut the paper. I used a small quilt.Step 2. Carefully disassemble the frame. Save the backing and matting, as you will use them in this project. Step 3. Affix two small pieces of double-sided archival tape to the top of the matting as shown in this photograph. Peel off the top layer to expose the sticky topside of the tape.Step 4. Place the backing, photo side down, on the matting and press against the tape to secure. This is the surface on which you will mount the decorative paper.Step 5. Place the frame and glass over the art paper, design side up, until you've found exactly the portion of the design you want to show when it is hanging on the wall.Step 6. Carefully lift the frame from the paper, leaving only the glass, and sketch a light line around the glass. Then, using the T-square and your paper-cutting shears or an Exacto knife, cut the paper along the sketch lines. Step 7. Repeat the tape procedure in Steps 3 & 4, securing the art paper, design side up, against the backing.Step 8. Place the assembled paper, backing and matting against the glass, reassemble the frame and lock the back into place.Step 9. Hang the framed paper
Step 1: Assemble your materials and tools and a soft pad to place under your hard work surface so you don't inadvertently score your table (or in my case, the floor) when you cut the paper. I used a small quilt.
Step 1: Assemble your materials and tools and a soft pad to place under your hard work surface so you don't inadvertently score your table (or in my case, the floor) when you cut the paper. I used a small quilt. | Source
Step 2. Carefully disassemble the frame. Save the backing and matting, as you will use them in this project.
Step 2. Carefully disassemble the frame. Save the backing and matting, as you will use them in this project. | Source
Step 3. Affix two small pieces of double-sided archival tape to the top of the matting as shown in this photograph. Peel off the top layer to expose the sticky topside of the tape.
Step 3. Affix two small pieces of double-sided archival tape to the top of the matting as shown in this photograph. Peel off the top layer to expose the sticky topside of the tape. | Source
Step 4. Place the backing, photo side down, on the matting and press against the tape to secure. This is the surface on which you will mount the decorative paper.
Step 4. Place the backing, photo side down, on the matting and press against the tape to secure. This is the surface on which you will mount the decorative paper. | Source
Step 5. Place the frame and glass over the art paper, design side up, until you've found exactly the portion of the design you want to show when it is hanging on the wall.
Step 5. Place the frame and glass over the art paper, design side up, until you've found exactly the portion of the design you want to show when it is hanging on the wall. | Source
Step 6. Carefully lift the frame from the paper, leaving only the glass, and sketch a light line around the glass. Then, using the T-square and your paper-cutting shears or an Exacto knife, cut the paper along the sketch lines.
Step 6. Carefully lift the frame from the paper, leaving only the glass, and sketch a light line around the glass. Then, using the T-square and your paper-cutting shears or an Exacto knife, cut the paper along the sketch lines. | Source
Step 7. Repeat the tape procedure in Steps 3 & 4, securing the art paper, design side up, against the backing.
Step 7. Repeat the tape procedure in Steps 3 & 4, securing the art paper, design side up, against the backing. | Source
Step 8. Place the assembled paper, backing and matting against the glass, reassemble the frame and lock the back into place.
Step 8. Place the assembled paper, backing and matting against the glass, reassemble the frame and lock the back into place. | Source
Step 9. Hang the framed paper
Step 9. Hang the framed paper | Source

After mini makeover, our hallway is more welcoming and peaceful

Our hallway after its mini makeover, with the lovely vase now given a place of prominence on the table, and near the framed art paper whose warm reds and golds it echoes
Our hallway after its mini makeover, with the lovely vase now given a place of prominence on the table, and near the framed art paper whose warm reds and golds it echoes | Source

Now I realize my iPhone camera decided to turn the color of the wall from soft sage to this mustardy yellow, so please know I did not repaint the wall. It's just the quirks of the lighting and the camera.

What I did do, besides hang the framed paper, is give that lovely handmade Peruvian vase, with its trees and birds, a showcase spot on the table.

A gift from an old friend, the vase reminds me of her whenever I see it. Now that it's on the table, I enjoy its well-wrought design every time I come in the door. Quite often, I reach out and touch its cool exterior, imagining the artisan who made it, the hands that formed the clay and painted the design. For that moment, I am connected to my friend and to her relatives in a faraway land, who made this vase.

Another item that pleases the eye, adds warmth and texture, and didn't cost me a cent when I did this makeover: The basket, which I found in the back of a closet. It keeps our receipt minder and mail tucked away out of sight but handy.

To open up the other end of the hall, I found a more out-of-the-way home for the basket of blocks. Just that small move makes walking into our bedroom a pleasure once more.

Tara's cushion and the vase both echo the golds and reds of the paper

Paper framed and hung, table tidy and welcoming us with handmade symbols of peace and of the beautiful Earth that is our home
Paper framed and hung, table tidy and welcoming us with handmade symbols of peace and of the beautiful Earth that is our home | Source

To deepen the sense that our home is our sanctuary, I placed a small, hand-carved Green Tara, which I've had for many years, on the end of the table nearest the door, along with a Tibetan bell.

Ringing that bell when we enter reminds us to honor ourselves, each other, and the joyful space we create for ourselves here.

With the mail and receipt binder tucked away in the pretty basket, and the bell and Tara to remind us to take a deep breath and relax, coming home is a pleasure. We pause, take a deep breath, and enter sacred space.

Devices such as a Tibetan bell help to train our bodies and minds to relax the moment we open the door

If your home is your retreat, as ours is, consider adopting a few small rituals to mark your exit from the world of strife and your entrance to a peaceful respite.

The mellow sound of a Tibetan bell calms me instantly. You might find this true for you as well.

Take off your shoes when you step inside your home and ring the bell that signals a shift in your thinking and being. Such a simple ritual can ease a troubled spirit and help to heal a wounded heart.


Small changes make a big difference

I learned to make simple, small changes--the kind that make a big difference in comfort and ease--from author Karen Kingston, in her book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.

From her I learned to look at my living space with new eyes, and to think creatively about solutions like this one with the handmade paper.

Not only does Kingston guide us gently through clearing our clutter room by room, she also shows us how to make our living spaces more beautiful, pleasing and conducive to the lifestyle we crave and cherish, whatever that may be for each of us.

It's a small book and an easy read. Yet its guidelines can be truly transforming for someone living with mounds of unsightly clutter, or anyone just trying to clear their space a little more.

Thank you for visiting this page. I welcome your thoughts about these ideas, if you'd care to share them.

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    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you, Vallain.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Inspired use of the paper.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @CherylsArt: Thank you. Such a simple change and we enjoy it so much.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Your new hallway looks very inviting. : )

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @favored: That's a superb idea! And yes, small changes, big difference. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Isn't it something how a few changes can make such a difference? One time we were looking for a photograph for the bedroom and couldn't find anything to match. I bought an extra sheet that matched the bed linens and my husband mounted it on canvas. It looked great.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Some great ideas. I was thinking of doing something similar with fabric scraps.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @teelover: Thank you!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @AnonymousC831: Thank you.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @ismeedee: Thank you. I do believe your Squidoo name is new to me, so I'm off to see what you're up to here.

    • teelover profile image

      teelover 3 years ago

      Nice tutorial, its definitely worth to try!

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Beautiful.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 3 years ago

      Lovely job, it looks very pretty and inviting!! I love pretty entranceways, too!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      You have made a beautiful job of your hallway, I love it. Wish I had an entrance to my home like that.

      No room for me to add anything other than a welcoming doormat. Thanks for sharing.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @GrammieOlivia: I do hope you will make a lens on it, so we can all see it when you're done. Happy decorating to you!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @evawrites1: A little weird, too, perhaps, but I love that you like the idea. Thank you.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Rangoon House: Thank you. I'm not usually the type who goes in for "trendy" things, but I found that book by accident and it really spoke to me.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @ChristyZ: Thank you. I'm rather blown away by all the lovely comments people have made.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Frischy: Thank you. So kind of you to say so.

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      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Nice transformation indeed! I think I need to do something like this in my home too!

    • evawrites1 profile image

      evawrites1 3 years ago

      Framed paper - genius! :))))

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 3 years ago from Australia

      I love what you've done Grace and in such beautiful colours too - your hallway looks sensational with your creativity and the wisdom of feng shui cleansing.

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 3 years ago

      You did a beautiful job, you're very creative and your hallway looks terrific!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 3 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Your apartment is lovely, and the changes you made to your entry are very nice!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @anonymous: You're welcome. You've totally made my day with your kind comment. Let me know what you find, will you?

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @CrazyHomemaker: You're welcome. Do share your project when you're finished, won't you?

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @aminebombom: You are so kind! Roger that.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @RoadMonkey: Thank you. It's a fabulous little guidebook, isn't it? Almost life-changing.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      Wow, I never think of creative things like this. I do not see myself as creative at all. :-) Thanks for some great ideas, I guess I will be looking at a whole host of things around my home differently from now on! Great lens, thank you for sharing this with us all.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 3 years ago

      Nice idea! I have a bunch of origami paper I can frame. Thanks for writing this lens.

    • aminebombom profile image

      Amine 3 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      you made an art piece of nothing, that's really cool, don't deprive us from your new ideas in the future.

      well done

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      Lovely piece of artwork. I have read Karen's book - it's fantastic! Like your guide to framing too.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Michey LM: You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @VioletteRose LM: You're welcome. I appreciate your saying so. Quite often, don't you think, ideas come to us because we have given ourselves the gift of exploring the ideas of many others.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Susan Zutautas: My pleasure. I hope you'll make a lens of it when you're done. Do let me know if you do, please!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 3 years ago

      Love your ideas, it really looks great Thanks

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      These are really great ideas, I love to decorate home but I am not good in finding ideas on my own :) Thank you so much!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Looks lovely! You've given me an idea for the upstairs of my home. Thank you!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @esmonaco: You're welcome. Thank you for your kindly comments.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      You are very creative, nice job here and wonderful step by step. Thanks

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @JoanieMRuppel54: Thank you. It's a pleasure to "meet" you here on Squidoo.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      I love the new look and the ringing of the bell as you walk in for respect to the ones who live there. Beautiful idea!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @TerriCarr: You're welcome. Thanks for taking a look. Let me know if you make a lens about any changes you make.

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      Quite impressive. I need to add a few simple touches to my place to make it more zen-like. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Zeross4: Thank you. Much appreciated.

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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Merrci: Merrci, you are ever so generous in your comments. Thank you.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @paperfacets: From one paper love to another, I bet we can look forward to a lens showing your update, yes?

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      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Loved it, great job!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Lynn Klobuchar: Sweet! Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      It calmed me just to read about it.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Beautiful Graceonline! It looks fabulous. Love the lens itself too. So well laid out with the how to and the great photos. Really nice.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Our hallway is still empty of any decoration. I need to use your ideas and get motivated.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @SheGetsCreative: Thank you. It was an unexpected but fun project.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great little "updo" for the hallway :)

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @smine27: Thank you, smine. It was fun to do.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      What a fabulous transformation. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it looks easy to replicate.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank you so much. I've been a bit surprised myself the difference the singing bowl and the framed paper make as we enter our home.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Craftymarie: Thank you. It was actually quite fun.

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 3 years ago

      You made a lovely job with your hallway transformation and you've shown people that it wasn't too hard to achieve either - looks really fab now.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I love that singing bowl and how you use it. Would love to have one to remind me of the sanctity of home (setting the right tone in my inner sanctum). I'm quite a bit like you when it comes to beautiful art papers. When I lived in a suburb of Chicago, I enjoyed shopping for special papers in the many art stores. It's wondrous what your changes were able to accomplish in that hallway entrance. Beautifully done and presented.

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Pam Irie: Thank you. Steal away!

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      Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I LOVE everything about this lens. Ringing a bell upon entering our home.....just gives me chills. :) Love this! I may just have to steal this idea. Your entryway looks so lovely!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Brite-Ideas: Thank you. Yes, it is a sweet apartment in a historic old building.

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      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      a very nice makeover - sure do love the high baseboards with wood flooring!

    • ecogranny profile image
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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @rattie lm: Thank you, and especially thank you for being the very first to read this brand new page.

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      rattie lm 3 years ago

      A lovely transformation. Very appealing.

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