Style + Storage: A Bare Wall Transformed

January 10, 2011

Ever wondered what to do with those bare walls in your home?  That unused square footage along empty hallways or entryways ?  Do you add storage, or do you use that space as display for your art and photographs?  Well why not have both!

This wall space presented that very design dilemma:  how to take this busy family’s unused square footage in their upstairs loft and make it work for their lifestyle.  They wanted to display family photographs, but like most families, also needed extra storage. 

I tackled their dilemma in three simple steps:  first, by adding architectural interest that complemented the style of their home with the addition of a board and batten wall treatment.  Next, I introduced hooks and a storage bench below for added utility.  Finally, I allowed for space above the wall treatment for a mini gallery of family photographs.  Take a peek at the transformation!


wall before



cg loft bench after


The first step was the addition of the board and batten wall treatment.  My ‘How To’ to follow tomorrow! 

loft left side jackets


Next, I added some inexpensive hooks found at Lowes, originally brass, but I painted them with espresso colored spray paint to complement the bench beneath.  Perfect for hanging sweaters, jackets, backpacks or handbags!

hooks on board


I found this perfect size storage bench on sale at The Company Store ~ it has a drawer for each of the three girls whose ages range from 1 to 7.  To personalize it, I upholstered it in a girlish floral stapled over some two inch foam trimmed to the size of the bench. The punchy pattern can be switched out later for a more sophisticated fabric as the girls grow older. 

I also sewed some accent pillows to coordinate, and also to add pops of color to the basic white and tan backdrop.  

toy storage bench


Recognize that sweet plush owl? 

penny and joy owls

Find it here


I made my semiannual trip to IKEA for frames for this wall gallery.

wall frames and hooks


This family has a one year old, so I find it impossible not to frame that sweet little girl’s feet!   

baby feet


This entire makeover took about five hours including the installation and painting of the board and batten, plus the addition of the hooks, the bench and a wall gallery.  You can apply these very same concepts to any mud room or foyer.   

cg loft after


Oh yes you can have both style and storage!

All it takes is a weekend’s worth of time. 

My basic board and batten tutorial tomorrow!  


cg kate signature



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135 Responses to “Style + Storage: A Bare Wall Transformed”

  1. Emily says:

    I just found your blog & I have to say I love it! Do you know what paint color in on the wall? Thanks!

  2. jeni says:

    FABULOUS! Cannot wait to re-create… lovely!

  3. Fiona says:

    Love the little bench (and see from the website that it’s on sale). Do you think it would be strong enough to support an adult sitting on it? I am thinking of using it as a seat at my dining table.



  4. CentsationalGirl says:

    Yep, Fiona, it’s very sturdy! I’ve never had a problem with anything from The Company Store.

  5. Ooh, nice pics. Vastly improved. The hooks might be an ideal solution to my skinny-minny apartment hallway… hmm… wheels turning!!!

  6. Fiona says:

    Thanks – I didn’t know of The Company before so it’s good to have a recommendation before purchasing. THANKS!! Love your blog – I am a new follower.

  7. Juice says:

    Wow! Just wow! Once again I’m blown away by your vision. How about you and your handy hubby spend a weekend in Baltimore? I can think of a house that could use a little Centsational vision!

  8. This is great! Very cool idea of having a storage and gallery all in one space! Those “inexpensive” hooks look so fab and they just jive. Good job on that!

  9. Mandy S. says:

    I love this and can’t wait to see you do it in a whole room with corners, etc. I would LOVE to do this treatment in our upstairs living/play room, but it’s oddly shaped, with an alcove and one wall ends at the stairs, so I wouldn’t know where to start and where to stop! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

  10. Amy Wolff says:

    Where did you find that awesome fabric??? Love it!!!!
    I am new to your site and LOVE IT!

  11. Melissa says:

    LOVE the fabric…where did you get it!?

  12. I just love this, so I’m mentioning it on my blog today and sending everyone over to see it. Thanks, Kate! :-)

  13. Carol says:

    Me, too! Where did you get that fabric for the bench?! I LOVE it!

  14. Erin says:

    Spectacular! As always. Just beautiful.

  15. I took the pictures of the girls in the three large photos. I love what you have done with them!

  16. lacey says:

    I love this makeover. So cute and sophisticated.

  17. Wow, what a transformation! We are currently designing a new mudroom and have something like this in mind; even bought a bench already. Thanks for the inspiration.


  18. Danielle says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I am curios though…the bench looks much darker in your photos than it does on the website. Did you paint/stain it??

  19. Cyndi says:

    Love this! It pays to have ‘flat’ walls. All mine are textured which makes it a challenge to do a board and batten or fake wainscoating. Great way to create extra storage!

  20. Michelle G. says:

    I featured this post today on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration! I LOVE your blog!

  21. molly says:

    I LOVE this idea!! You are so creative & handy!! Hats off to you.

  22. Kimberly says:

    Could I please get the name of that orange/brown color on the other wall…you can just see a little of it in the before picture. I’ve been looking for a color near that forever and can’t find it! Thanks so much.

  23. I was reading through your posts and love this one! It looks so nice and I will use this as inspiration somewhere in my home. My daughter also has the Joy owl pillow from PBK.

  24. Mara says:

    just love this! do you know the wall color that was used? it’s a great contrast but still neutral.

  25. Janelle says:

    What a great idea! For anyone who doesn’t have an entry closet, this is golden. :)

  26. Anna says:

    I love it!!!! Great idea. You have inspired me with all of you amazing ideas.

  27. Ann R. says:

    revisiting and would also love to know the name of the new wall color. have many ideas for my kitchen and hallways and needs to be neutral but not a yucky neutral plus it has to match with oak trim and floors since my husband will not let me paint any trim white. have been trying to talk him into it for over 18 yrs. to no avail. thanks!

  28. Rebecca says:

    Love board and batten! I need to find a room to do this. Just like Kimberly, I love that orange on the wall. What is the color name and brand? I have something similar (caramel latte by Benjamin Moore) but would love to see a swatch of your color. Pllllleeeeaaaaassssseee!

  29. Aimee says:

    I love this, I would love to know what color beige is on the after wall… and who makes the color? Thanks soo much.. You do a great job.

  30. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hey ladies, shameful I know, but I do NOT know the paint colors… I’ll ask my friend Mia, this is her house, but I do know she told me they are Benjamin Moore!

  31. Katie says:

    I’d love to try this in our entryway and our mudroom… but am wondering how to manage the baseboards. If I convert baseboards to fit the battens… do I have to redo all baseboards in the house? Or where to start and stop? Thank you for any insight!

  32. Carissa says:

    I know this is a year and a half late, but I really want hooks for my entry that are just like that! I can’t find them anywhere. Do you think you remember at least the brand?

  33. Wifey says:

    Hi Kate,

    I love what you’ve done with the bench and I see it’s still on sale. Can you tell me how dark the wood is? I am hoping it would match our existing furniture that are very dark brown. Thanks!

  34. CentsationalGirl says:

    It’s an espresson color Wifey, definitely a very dark brown.

  35. Sally says:

    I love what you did here! What is the height of the hooks and the heat of the middle of the pictures (approximate)? I’m trying to recreate this look but am worried the pictures may be too high on the wall after the hooks get put up. Thanks.

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