Renting a small apartment in New York City comes with its challenges. Chief among them: design. Natural light and spacious rooms are hard to come by, and most renters are required to patch and paint their walls back to white before moving out.
Keeping all of this in mind, I decided to spruce up my narrow entry hall with a bold look that can easily be restored to a blank canvas. The finished product is this painted polka-dot wallpaper, which transforms an otherwise overlooked space into a fresh and preppy room of its own.
In addition to the walls, my beat-up front door had great potential. By emphasizing its awesome hardware and re-coating it in a punchy hue, my re-vamped door now makes an ideal focal point for the entire entryway.
Here are the steps to follow to re-create this design:
01. Open windows to ventilate your workspace, and remove any furniture, frames, or rugs that could get damaged. Cover the floor with drop cloths, and if you are painting close to the ceiling, tape a trash bag across that area. Use painter’s tape to protect any other structural elements from mist and splatters (in my case, this was the crystal door knob on the closet adjacent to my front door).
02. Elevate and emphasize the room’s existing accents by spray-painting them a shiny gold. I coated my fuse box, upper molding, door hinges, dead bolt, doorknob, and peephole using Rustoleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint. Some of these items were already gold-plated or brass, but the spray paint ensures everything is uniform and polished. The key to successful spray paint application is holding the can at a safe distance (4-6 inches from the surface) and covering each area in a light, even coat to avoid pooling and drips. The drying time also gives you an opportunity to step away from the fumes while they dissipate. Apply up to three coats depending on coverage.
03. Once the gold is dry, begin painting the walls a clean white, using painter’s tape to edge around areas such as the upper molding and fuse box. Continue to trim in white around the gold-coated areas and on the walls, ignoring the door. When finished, you should have a gold-embellished canvas of white, primed for polka dots.
04. Make sure the white walls are completely dry before starting this step. You’ll need less than a quart of paint to create the black polka dots (or colorful dots of your choosing). I recommend starting with a paint sample from the hardware store and buying a second, only if needed. Pour a small amount of paint onto a paper plate and dip a circular foam stamp into the paint, without over-saturating. I used Martha Stewart Foam Pouncers.
To ensure each dot comes out perfectly, apply the stamp to the wall in a twisting motion (otherwise you could end up with dripping or patchy coverage). You can measure in between each polka dot but it’s easy enough to eyeball, which is the method I used. Cover the walls in evenly spaced spots, using varying sized circles as you wish. Clean up any less-than-perfect polka dots using a small brush and white paint. Allow to dry completely.
05. Now for a pop of color: I recommend a satin or semi-gloss paint for an interior front door, since both finishes can easily be wiped clean. I picked a bright green from Behr called “Chlorophyll” and saturated the door in two coats. After first applying painter’s tape to protect the gold-sprayed door hinges, peephole, dead bolt, and doorknob, I was able to trim the difficult areas with a small, chiseled paintbrush.
06. Remove any remaining painter’s tape and allow for the door to dry completely. Re-position frames, furniture, and rugs, and enjoy your newly fabulous foyer!