El Peterson Design

DIY spruce up your Entry way

Hello all,

Today I wanted to show you how we turned our boring entry way into an elegant welcoming space. When we bought this house it had yellow stripped wall paper from the 80’s glued to the sheetrock. There were some nice elements hidden behind the drab look of yellow wall paper and old light fixture. I was happy with the duel window panels and also the crown molding.

Old wallpaper

Before entryway

We started by removing the wallpaper. My husband had a heck of a time removing the wallpaper and when it came down chunks of sheetrock came off with it. Being that we are Do it yourselfers we decided to mud the space since the sheetrock was in shambles. We picked up some All Purpose Joint Compound from Home Depot and bought some drywall tools and just took to it. It’s not really that difficult but it is time consuming and can be very messy. Just be sure to put some paper or drop cloth down on the ground before attempting. The walls came out semi smooth and look almost like plaster. Time for paint. I absolutely LOVE Benjamin Moore paint colors and I choose Chelsea Gray in a Matte finish. I was surprised at what a difference fresh walls with semi smooth texture did to this entryway. Next I wanted to do an overhaul on the front door. I removed the old casing and painted the door a rich dark grey. I used Mdf boards to remold the door trim and I put up a header with trim over the door for more character.

Removing old trim on front door

Front Door Header

Front Door painted


I wanted to do a traditional style wainscotting with picture frame panels. Originally I was going to use the 5.5″MDf boards but the cost per each board was $11 for an 8′ piece. That would cost way to much so I improvised and bought 3/4 in 8’x4′ Sande plywood sheets. I bought 3 of them. The guys at Home Depot were nice enough to rip these into 5″ boards for me. They made 9 boards per sheet. If you are planning to have them rip the wood for you go on a non busy day because there are quite a few cuts. You will also need new base boards unless you can salvage the old ones. For the inside of the panels to make the picture frame I used A Cap Panel Molding . The last wood material you will need is panel board. You can measure your walls and have Home Depot cut them or use a table saw or circular saw and rip the boards yourself. I choose to rip them myself because the cuts don’t need to be perfect. You will be placing your boards over the paneling so it will hide the imperfect cut.

Paneling for Wainscotting

entryway trim


After you glue up the paneling start nailing up your boards. You should be making boxes as equal in size as possible but for small walls irregular sized boxes works as well. Mine are all a little different in width because of the small walls in the entry way. For uniformity make them all the same height. Once I had my boxes made I used a trim molding to decorate the top and started to cut my cap molding for the inside of the boxes. Use a fine tooth blade at least 80 teeth. This will ensure you don’t splinter the small molding. I used liquid nails to glue the cap molding in and then a few small finishing nails to secure them to the boards. Next cut your base boards and nail them up to finish the wood work. Your now down to sealing and painting. Pull out the paintable sealant and clean up the little cracks and gaps. This is the most tedious part but it is crucial to get everything filled before painting. After your sealant drys paint your finished project with a white semi gloss paint.

Entryway Boards

Entryway Wainscoting painted


I have been wanting to change out my floors for quite some time now and have finally finished the project. I removed the ceramic tiles and replaced them with hand scraped Bamboo floors. Removing the tile was a chore. Popping them up was the easy part but removing the thin set mortar was a nightmare. The dust gets everywhere and you will need to rent or buy an electric scrapper. I rented one at the Home Depot. It cost $105 for a day. Ouch!! After an intense arm workout for about 5 hours, my hubby had all the mortar blasted off and cleaned up. If you want instructions on how to lay the hardwood floor I’ll post another blog to get ideas from our install. Here’s a Tip, cover everything in your house with a plastic or tape up plastic sheets to contain the dust. We didn’t do that and we have dust on everything. Seriously everything!

Electric Scrapper

After chipping up all the mortar I was able to get the floors laid and start to put the house back together. Last was the base boards. I went to HD supply and bought 6″ base boards. They were $20 for a 16′ piece. The price worked out to about $1.25 a ft. Which is not bad for a 6″ base board.

Progress of Bamboo Floors in Entryway


Now that the boards are nailed in and caulked I’m able to do one last clean and decorate. Viola!! Take a peek at my new entryway. I love the way it turned out. I hope you found this tutorial helpful and good luck sprucing up your entryway.




Items you will need for this project

Westpac All Purpose Joint Compound

Drywall Mud Pan

Taping Knife

3/4 in 8’x4′ Sande plywood sheets

Cap Panel Molding

Trim & Base Board

Sheets of thin wood panel board

2.5″Mdf Boards x4

7.5″Mdf Board x1

Dap Sealant (Caulk)

Liquid Nails Paneling Adhesive

Caulk Gun

Finishing nails

Paint & paint supplies