Today I’m sharing with you my process for figuring out the layout of the wall moulding in our hallway and stairway. I’ll share some of the challenges I’m running into with the design. Some of the things I need to consider as I’m laying the pattern out. As well as how I’m going about figuring it all out.
If you’ve been following along for the past month then you know we’ve decided to tackle our hallway upstairs. If not, no worries I’ll catch you up!
Need to get caught up? You can find before photos of the hallway and follow the design process below!
- Second Floor Hallway: Before + Goals for the Space
- Wallpaper or Moulding? Adding Character and Interest to our Second-Floor Hallway
Our hallway isn’t that bad. We just know that it could be a lot better. It just needs a bit of personality and style injected into it. We also have a handful of incomplete projects to wrap up that would help to make the space feel more finished.
After much debate, I’ve decided to install wall moulding instead of adding wallpaper. I’ve been staring at our walls for 2 weeks now procrastinating getting started. This past weekend I decided to get going and start figuring out the layout of the wall moulding in our hallway and stairway.
I’m such a visual person.
Staring at the walls these past 2 weeks trying to envision what the layout should be just wasn’t working for me. I was getting caught up in my head and needed to change my approach. That’s when I decided to bust out the painter’s tape and use that to help me map out a layout for the moulding on the walls.
I could’ve tried to sketch something up or design something on the computer but this actually felt easier and quicker. Being able to stand in the space and physically see and feel the changes from the design helped me to arrive at a plan much quicker. Also, it was much more impactful. It helped me work through the design and allowed me to see where the challenges were at.
I’m not gunna lie. I’ve kinda been putting off designing the layout of the wall moulding. I would walk through the hallway and think “no prob I got this. I know what I want.” But then I would get to the taller wall at the top of the landing and head down the stairs and thing “ugh, what am I gunna do here on this long, slanted wall”?
Figuring out a layout for the wall moulding in our hallway and stairway
When I finally pulled the tape out last Saturday, I thought it would go pretty quickly. I had been looking for inspiration on Pinterest and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted.
I liked the idea of having a chair rail around 36″ high with a taller box above and a smaller one below like in the one shown here on Pinterest. So, I picked the wall I thought would be the easiest and best place for me to begin and started mapping out the layout on the walls.
I loved the way it looked and moved on to the larger wall at the top of the stairs next.
It was a little tricky at first because of the level changes and angle from the stairs. Also, at the top of the stairs in the hallway is the new, taller base. But, at the top of the landing, it’s still the original, smaller base. I made adjustments though where needed and got a pattern I thought would look good.
Stepping back to take in the full picture though it didn’t quite have the impact I was expecting. The design felt busy and heavy.
I was confused and a little frustrated because the pattern I thought I wanted just didn’t look right. The chair rail was much higher on this side to tie in with the layout on the other side because of the level changes. Something I hadn’t really considered. This also caused the boxes below the chair rail to be the same size as the ones above which threw off the look I was going for.
Getting out of my own way
At this point, I took some pictures and decided to step away for a bit to clear my head. In doing so I realized I was boxing myself in. I had a design in my head that I was trying to force into the space rather than work with the specific space and challenges I had in front of me.
Also, I realized that by starting with the easiest walls I was making it harder on myself. I needed to tackle the larger wall first and address the challenges that came along with it.
Once I got past my fear and let go of what I thought I wanted, I was able to create a layout that made the space look grand and even bigger than it is!
Removing the chair rail gave me the ability to lengthen the upper boxes which in turn “lengthened” the wall. This trick forces your eye to move up the wall giving you the impression of added height.
I was then able to add smaller boxes above and below to fill the space and balance the design. The proportions are much better and more pleasing to the eye with 3 boxes instead of 2.
Issues and challenges with laying out wall moulding in our hallway
So, I now had a pattern that I was pretty happy with but I still have quite a few challenges and things to consider in the space. Some are minor things to be aware of or things I can change as I work through the design. Others require a little more thought and planning in order to create a cohesive design scheme that will work with the plans we have in the space.
Minor things to keep in mind
- There are 5 very different walls to consider in the hallway and stairway. All with their own challenges making it difficult to translate one design to all. Each will need to be tweaked and adjusted to fit the space.
- I love the layout I created on the large wall at the top of the landing but when I laid it out on the walls in the hallway it looks a little plain and boring.
- The space is small and not that wide. I don’t want to create a design that’s too busy and overwhelms the space.
- The attic fan in the ceiling gets in the way a bit. Need to figure out the best way to work the design of the moulding around it.
- I was considering adding crown moulding to our hallway but wonder if it’s needed. Will it be too much in the space?
- We have a couple of places where the base moulding is different. The previous owners or builders added a different, solid wood moulding to coordinate with the stairs. We swapped out the moulding in the hallway but haven’t touched the base on the landing or at the bottom of the stairs since it was different. Need to update with new to make the space feel cohesive.
- Lots of angles in the ceiling and on the floor to contend with.
- Not a big deal, but I want to make sure that when we eventually shop for a new bathroom door and bedroom doors, the style works with the style of the wall moulding and pattern we pick. This should be fairly easy but something to put on my radar.
Should I add moulding above the doorways?
One of the bigger issues I’m wrestling with is the space above the doorway that’s at the top of the landing. Technically, I feel like there should be two boxes above the door to mirror what’s happening on the connecting wall. But, there isn’t enough space. I’m planning for around 2 inches of space between boxes and also between the boxes and the walls or casing.
The casing around the door is right up against the corner of the wall on the left and the edge of the ceiling above the stairway infringes on the right. The boxes would have to be inset in order to have 2 inches of space.
I mapped out one of the boxes and I’m not loving it. I don’t visually love that the edges of the boxes wouldn’t line up with the edges of the casing. It looks off to me.
Some people have asked whether I need boxes above the doorway or can I get away with doing without. To be honest I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it. I think I need to think it through a bit more.
Of course, it also brings up more questions. Such as, if I don’t add boxes here do I also not add them above the other doorways? Would it look weird if there are only boxes on the larger part of the wall? Can I add boxes above all the doorways except the one at the top of the landing?
Has your head exploded yet, too?
Need to consider the design of the linen closet
Another piece of the puzzle is the design of the linen closet. I shared a big, scary design idea I had to create a linen closet that’s hidden. We are still working out the mechanics of HOW to actually do this but it’s something we need to design in tandem with the layout of the wall moulding.
Originally, I was thinking of an upper cabinet with a lower drawer that was concealed by picture moulding. Similar to an inspiration photo from Pinterest that I saved.
But, using the layout with no chair rail and 3 boxes, this means I am left with one long panel and smaller upper boxes. Defiantly something we can work with but something we need to be aware of and consider for the final design.
I also thought about deviating from the layout and sticking with my original thought. It would coordinate instead of being an exact match to the pattern. I think I could get away with it but again maybe I’m forcing the design and overthinking it?
Need to consider the design of the entryway closet
Similar to my thoughts and feelings on the linen closet, so to do we need to think about the entryway closet.
I’m not as concerned with the design of this piece though because we are not trying to “hide” it. I just want to make sure whatever door style/layout we go with coordinates with everything else going on in the space.
Need to consider the design of the wall moulding in the stairway
Even though it’s not something we need to do as part of phase 1, we still need to consider what we’re doing with the walls in the stairway.
I’m pretty sure I want to continue the moulding into this space as well so whatever pattern we come up with needs to be able to work in here as well.
Issues and challenges with laying out wall moulding in our stairway
Since I knew we would most likely be adding moulding to the walls in the stairway, I wanted to make sure the layout I came up with worked well on these walls too.
Again, I made things harder on myself by trying to start in a spot I considered “easy” which was at the bottom of the stairs. I quickly realized my mistake and decided to tackle this wall from the top of the stairs and work my way down.
Some of the issues I ran into here were similar to the ones I faced in the hallway.
- Angles with the stairs and the ceiling were the biggest challenges.
- I also had some level changes to contend with as the ceiling is lower at the base of the stairs.
- We have two different base mouldings here as well that will need to be fixed.
- There is crown that infringes on part of the wall, breaking up the large wall and creating an obstacle.
I eventually came up with something I’m pretty happy with that Mike likes as well. The design works well in the space and brings tons of character and interest to an otherwise plain, large wall.
I only focused on the long wall running up the stairs and didn’t tackle the shorter wall opposite. I’m debating whether or not to add moulding here as well. I’ll probably map something out to make sure it works and doesn’t feel like too much in the space.
The process I used for figuring out a layout for our wall moulding in the hallway and stairway
I think adding wall moulding to spaces with lots of angles, height changes, and obstacles can be challenging. I’ve been looking all over Pinterest for inspiration to use as a guide. Trying to narrow down what I liked and didn’t like about a pattern in a space.
Because every space is different, and every home will have its own unique challenges, I had to start playing around with different ideas to figure out a layout that would work in my own home.
Here are some of the things that helped me create a design that I believe will work in our hallway and stairway.
- First and foremost, don’t box yourself into something you think you want. Once I let go of the pattern I thought I wanted in the space, I was able to create something that actually worked and looked MUCH better!
- I gathered lots of inspiration from Pinterest and from some of my favorite designers on Instagram. Using these photos as a reference, I was able to identify what style I was most drawn to. I also used them to help me create the look I was after.
- I’m a visual person but it wasn’t enough for me to just draw something up. So, I decided to get out the painters tape and used it to represent the moulding on the walls. This allowed me to visually see how it would look in the space. It also was a great way for me to show and explain to Mike what I was thinking and get his thoughts.
- Face obstacles and challenges head-on. Is this sage advice or what??? Once I decided to tackle the walls I thought would be the hardest, everything started to click. By addressing the issues first, I was able to quickly layout a pattern that worked. I then used that pattern as a guide and translated it to the other walls in the space.
- I embraced the angles and worked with them instead of trying to design around them. By doing this I was able to use them to help guide the design instead of seeing them as an obstacle I had to overcome.
- I broke up the space into invisible boxes first to help define different areas of the wall. I used these spaces and other natural breaks like casing around doors or angles from the ceiling or floor as guides for where to start and stop moulding. Again, working with the design features I had and that already existed in the space.
- I took photos as I went along for reference. This allowed me to document each style I attempted and gave me the ability to see them side by side to compare the two.
- I also used an editor tool on my phone to quickly mock-up ideas I was thinking about. If I thought it looked good I used the tape method on the walls to make sure. Drawing on blank photos of the wall gave me a way to quickly explore multiple ideas.
- I also took breaks and stepped away when I got frustrated. Walking away for even just a few minutes gave me the mental break I needed to get out of my head if I started to get overwhelmed.
Figuring out a layout for our wall moulding, that I love, in the hallway and stairway
After taking the weekend to work through different design ideas and layouts, I think we finally have something to work with.
The design I came up with adds loads of character and interest to the space. It’s aesthetically pleasing and visually tricks the eye into thinking there’s tons of extra height. Even in places where there isn’t. It also elevates the space and makes it feel special. All things I was trying to accomplish when figuring out the layout for the wall moulding in the hallway and stairway.
Next, we need to figure out the exact moulding style we want to use and the pieces we need to create the look.
Wish us luck and check back as we work through and share updates on our progress!
Have you added wall moulding to a hallway or stairway before? What challenges did you face in your space?