Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comIf you’ve been following along on Insta stories, you already know I’ve been painting my heart out in the hallway. Immediately after finishing our giant kitchen renovation, we dove right into the hallway reno- stay tuned for that reveal next month! A good chunk of our time was spent updating the built-in linen closet. I wanted to share the before and after images, as well as a guide to choosing the right paint for a specific project. This has been one of the more challenging projects I’ve tackled in regards to painting, so I relied on the experts and listened to their advice; it made all the difference. We still have a way to go on the hallway, but consider this a sneak peek and enjoy the transformation. Click through for more!

Here’s what the end of our hallway and the linen closet looked like when we moved in. It was pretty gross…

BEFORE IMAGEThe below image shows after the interior doors were replaced. The existing linen closet looked so sad sandwiched between all of the new millwork we had been installing. I knew it was overdue for a much needed makeover. It hadn’t been updated since it was built in the 50s.


Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comIf you’re wondering about the linen closet door (or lack thereof), the plan isn’t to leave it open. We’re going to install a door over the top portion of the linen closet once the french doors for the hallway arrive. We’re waiting on a special hinge. In the meantime, I went ahead and put our towels, toiletries, and linens back into the built-in. I have to say, I’m growing accustomed to seeing it open and it’s forcing me to keep things tidy. Maybe that’s a good thing?

If you’re wondering how the vignette evolved from point A to point B, here’s how it went down… as you might imagine, there were many things to address before I could get to the fun part- painting & color blocking. Emmett built new lower drawers, sanded the shelves, and centered the built-in between the guest room door and office. It was driving me crazy that it wasn’t centered- it felt very unbalanced. After the structural elements and millwork was completed, it was my turn to contribute to the project.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comI knew I wanted to color block the entire hall (sneak peek shown above), and the linen closet was no exception. We have used Sherwin-Williams products to paint our entire home and I always turn to their experts for advice when it comes to choosing the correct product. It turns out, a lot of thought and planning goes into color blocking. In addition to two-toned paint, I also wanted to see a textural difference. That meant I needed to work with 4 different paints simultaneously (not including the primer).

I ventured to my local store and asked my friend, Cara, what products she’d recommend for the hall. There’s quite a few to choose from, but after analyzing the design plan and making note of yellowish stains that needed to be covered, she recommended Multi-Purpose Water-Based Primer and Emerald Interior Paint from their Emerald line.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comWe’ve used Emerald products in every single room, so I didn’t even hesitate to have her mix Emerald Interior for the hall. It’s durable, self-leveling, contains paint & primer in one, goes on easily, and is a breeze to clean. I went with a flat finish for the walls, and a gloss finish for the millwork and doors. I wanted the finish to go from one extreme to the other, since the color would remain consistent. We also spent a ton of time skim coating and sanding our drywall to make it perfectly smooth, and the best finish to emphasize that was a flat finish.

Cara said that most stores have a handy display and chart, if you’re ever curious about which product is best for your project. I took a photo of the setup at my store. You can always ask an employee as well! I’ve found that everyone knows their stuff. . You can even sign up for the free PaintPerks® program, which will help you keep track of the paint colors and products you’ve used, and get you exclusive benefits. I digress, onto the best part… the paint colors! I went with Extra White SW 7006 (my favorite bright, neutral white) for the millwork and Amazing Gray SW 7044 for the walls.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comI’m not a big fan of painters tape, but I did use it around the casing to color block the millwork. Otherwise, I ended up finding my groove with a laser level, pencil, straight edge, and then proceeded to cut in a straight line. The linen closet was one of the easier hallway features to color block because of the straight lines and flat surfaces. It’s honestly a good thing I started there and found the method that worked best for me.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint -

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comI also ended up wallpapering the interior of the built-in to add texture and a pop of pattern. I used this little makeover as an opportunity to not only clean out and toss unwanted bath products, but also purchase new bath towels and linens.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint -

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comMuch like white bedding, you can’t go wrong with a classic, plush, white towel. I love the way they pop against the pattern. I tossed a bunch of the products we use on the daily into the baskets, and it made things look so much more organized.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint -

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comYou can also catch a peek of the pattern on the bottom of the drawers. I had extra, so I thought it would be a functional and visually appealing addition. The raised pattern and rough texture keeps items from sliding around in the drawers.

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint -

Linen Closet Update & Tips for Choosing The Right Paint - roomfortuesday.comThe hallway reveal is coming soon! We’re just waiting on the doors that were lost, but I’m excited to show you the entire space. Believe it or not- this isn’t even half of our hallway- it’s super long. I’ll share all of the sources in that upcoming post!

Who else has an old house with a built-in closet? I feel like they’re super common around here! I’ve toured some homes in my neighborhood and every single house has one and they all look the same. It’s a shame they aren’t being updated because it really is a functional storage space. If anyone has paint questions about products or color blocking, let me know in the comments below. I’m always happy to help!

*This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams®. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy! 

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  1. Looks amazing! What a difference those new drawer fronts make (bravo Emmett!). The color blocking is so fresh and fun! We have 2 enormous linen closets in the kind of square hallway of our 1949 Cape. They definitely need sprucing…But did I mention they’re enormous? 😕 I could be inspired to at least reorganize!

    1. Thank you, Peggi! Emmett did a great job. Eventually the top half of the linen closet will get a door, but for now- I’m loving the view looking at the wallpapered interior. xox

  2. This is gorgeous. I would be curious about how Emmett built the new drawers. I have a house from the early 60’s that has a linen closet with just one door, but I am very interested in keeping the top half shelves, and making the bottom into three drawers like you did. A tutorial on that would be amazing!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Lauren! I didn’t take photos of him building the drawers but it seemed pretty straight forward- 4 walls, a bottom, and then he used a nice piece of wood for the face. You can catch a glimpse of them out of the built-in (prior to paint) on my insta story highlight though! That might be helpful? xo

  3. I was really quite unsure about the colour blocking when you first showed a glimpse, but now I absolutely love it! Your hallway (even before it’s utterly finished) looks fantastic – really fresh and warm at the same time and totally practical with all the built-in storage. It must feel great to have it anchoring and matching the rest of your lovely house.

    1. Lots of people said the same thing, Sally! Ha! They weren’t convinced until they looked at the final photo. Thank you so much for your sweet words! I’m happy that our house is really coming together :) xo

  4. Really impressed with how Emmett handled the moulding transition from the adjacent doors to the linen closet – looks great!

    1. Thank you, Marti! He did an excellent job with the millwork. There was A LOT to do… it’s still not finished, but there are 8(!) doors in the hallway. Yikes.

  5. That looks so great! I love the color blocking, that’s not something I would have ever thought of doing lol. I also like that it’s open even though you’re planning on putting up a door. We actually opted for a semi-open linen closet in our house! The owners originally had full open shelves, but in our remodel we decided to put it a base cabinet for closed storage and do upper floating shelves above. I’m hoping the it’ll help keep me organized too haha!

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! I actually wanted to do a door with a glass inset panel, but Emmett didn’t feel like going to all that trouble (haha!). I basically want it closed off because I’m OCD about clean towels / dog hair floating around, etc. I try to keep the house super clean, but you never know. lol! xo

  6. Where is the wallpaper from? I LOVE it on the ceiling!

  7. Wow!! This is just sooooooo pretty! I’ve noticed that you guys work room by room until it’s completed before moving on to the next. I think this might be my issue and why I’m going crazy not having anything finally finished after so long! I think I’m going to try your approach. I’m curious though if before you started your house reno you already had all these ideas you wanted to use in all of the different rooms planned before hand or do you start on the brainstorming when you actually start the room? Your house is such a breath of fresh air. You’re both doing such a great job, and thanks for sharing it with all of us!

    1. Thank you so much Brittany! Yes- that is exactly our process. It’s very seldom we have more than one project happening at a time. We try to finished one space completely, then move onto the next. I feel like it helps keep us (and the budget) on track!

      Great question about the design plan… before we bought the house and were walking through with our real estate agent, we obviously brainstormed the potential for each room. We determined which room would be which (bedroom vs office, etc), but other than that- I always create the final design plan just before jumping into the project itself. Sometimes that even evolves as the project progresses. Typically the outcome looks very similar to the initial design plan, but there’s usually at least one change. I try to go with the flow and let my creativity guide me… rather than forcing it all out at once, if that makes sense? Thanks so much for the great questions and sweet compliments!! Really appreciate it. xox

  8. Looks great! I love the new interior doors. Who was the supplier?