How to Transform Any (Yes, Any!) Entryway Using Just Paint

It's far simpler than you think.

November 19, 2020

With help from our sponsor Behr—makers of high-quality paints in every shade—we're sharing color-filled paint projects anyone can pull off, whether you're a first-time DIY-er or a seasoned pro. Here, we're showing you how to transform any entryway into a beautiful-meets-functional space using BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint.

I once heard that if you intend to stay in your home for longer than a year, you should paint it to suit your taste. As someone who’s done nearly everything within the realm of rental possibility (removable wallpaper, peel & stick floor tiles, countless things nailed and drilled), I’ve learned that painting walls is actually the easiest project among them—and has the biggest impact, as well.

For this particular paint project, we took a cue from one of the trendiest DIYs of the year—painting bold, geometric shapes on previously plain walls.

Since the entryway sets the tone for any home, we looked at the BEHR® Color Trends 2021 Palette for inspiration and immediately we knew we wanted a warm, cozy color to welcome people in. So for color, we settled on Maple Glaze, an earthy burnt orange, and paired it with Smoky White, a soft and serene neutral. BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint not only has a modern, flat look, but also helps protect walls from scuffs in areas with lots of foot traffic (like an entryway).

In terms of shapes, we’ve seen circles and triangles used to great effect, but we ended up choosing the classic, clean lines of an arch.

Below, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step for the simplest upgrade your entryway could ever receive, plus bonus ideas for bringing a colorful pop to the space.

How to Transform Your Entryway With Paint

We painted the base wall in Smoky White (BWC-13), and the arch in Maple Glaze (PPU3-16).

Gather Your Supplies

We chose BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint for this particular project, because we wanted our entryway to withstand grocery hauls, late-for-work Mondays, and people coming and going. While the flat surface is on-trend, it’s also super resistant to scuffs, and easily wipes clean in case of an accidental coffee spill.

We went with Maple Glaze for a stand-out color, and Smoky White for the base. Here’s what else you’ll need:

The Essentials

Nice to Haves

  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Spackle and sandpaper
Start by painting your base wall with a clean, neutral color, like BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint in Smoky White—and watch those scuffs disappear.

Paint Away!

  1. If necessary, patch any holes or smooth any imperfections from the section of wall you’re painting with spackle and sandpaper.
  2. Map out approximately where you want your geometric accent to go. To inform your placement, think about whether or not you’d like the shape to frame an entryway table or if you’ll hang anything on the wall once it’s painted. I also suggest drawing an approximate shape with pencil or tape first, then standing back and checking it for scale. Precise measurements are great for the end result, but in the beginning, your eye is your best tool.
  3. Once you’ve decided where your shape will go, get more exact by marking off the vertical measurements with a tape measure (optional depending on the shape), and ensure they’re leveled. Then, mark your vertical lines with painter’s tape. Once they’re set, mark the middle point with a tape measure, and how far up you’d like your arch to reach.
  4. Cut a piece of string that’s half the width of your shape, and tie one end to the pencil. Hold the untied end steady on the top middle point (where the curved arch will connect to the rectangular base) and carefully trace out a curve by holding the string taut.
  5. Lay a drop cloth down on the floor to protect it from drips and spills—you’ll thank us later.
  6. If you’re covering just a small section of wall, a paint brush will do the trick here, but for a larger statement piece, we’d opt for a paint roller to quickly cover more area. The same rules for a smooth finish apply with both tools: thoroughly mix and pour paint into a tray using the BEHR® Simple Pour Spout, Grab your roller and dip it in the paint making sure it is completely saturated. Roll it up and down on the tray to remove any excess paint.
  7. Paint your shape in thin, even coats, letting the paint dry completely in between.
  8. While the paint is still wet on the final coat, pull the tape off at a 45-degree angle, which will prevent the paint from cracking off into an uneven line, then touch up any mistakes. We’re willing to bet it looks perfect, though. Drying times vary between sheen and climate in your home, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidelines.

Bring on the Color Blocking

Color blocking—where you pair up colors that are opposites on the color wheel to create a complementary combo—is a trend that creates dimension and surprise in an entryway. We love the idea of going all out with two or three colors and overlapping shapes.

Paint Just One Section of the Wall

To create depth and dimension, only paint one section of the wall in an accent, like the bottom half or bottom third, and keep the top section neutral. You can break things up further with hooks, shelving, or even wainscoting.

DIY Your Own Pattern

Give your entryway a fun graphic design by free-hand painting large brushstrokes throughout the entire wall (here's a lil' tutorial). We love the look of keeping the base wall a neutral color and going bold with the brushstrokes, but you can pick your favorite combo.

For Those Finishing Touches...

Now that you’ve painted an eye-catching backdrop for your entryway, it’s time to move any existing furniture back in, and add new accessories.

I don’t personally have a dedicated entryway, but that hasn’t stopped me from creating a little space to make guests feel immediately welcome. I added a three-cube storage bench for shoes, an umbrella stand, a small mirror with hooks, and wall-mounted hooks for coats, which pulls together a mudroom situation where there wasn’t one before. With more space, I’d love to add a tall credenza piled with books, trays to catch keys and mail, some art, and plenty of plants. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about any of these pieces scuffing up my brand new painted arch, because I used BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint.

Which room in your house would you refresh with BEHR ULTRA SCUFF DEFENSE Interior Paint? Tell us in the comments!

With help from our sponsor Behr, we're highlighting beginner-friendly paint projects for every room in the house—from upgrading plain wood furniture with a pop of color to brightening up blank walls with graphic stencils. For this project, we used BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint in Maple Glaze and Smoky White to create a warm entryway that's totally scuff-resistant. Want to recreate the look at home? Always make sure to refer to the instructions on the product label and visit for the best results.

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Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen