Deus ex MacIntosh

Deus ex MacIntosh: Sassing Up The Entryway

Deus ex MacIntosh used to be a tongue-in-cheek advice column that didn’t work out. Now, it’s something completely different.

I am not a professional decorator, designer, artist, or anything in any of these categories. I’m good with color, and I have studied at the knee of decorating magazines, cable shows, and a number of really tasteful friends and family. I’ve made my own house look pretty cool, and no one ever regrets taking me along when they pick out paint, fabric, or furniture. Plus, I’m all about not breaking the bank. All my tricks are cheap, user-friendly, and unpretentious. This is Persephone, not Pinterest.

A reader is bored with her entryway, which does little to reflect the warm, compassionate, welcoming soul she is in real life. While it’s far from terrible, it could use a little brightening up.

An image of an entryway pointing out different design elements.


She’s got a lot going for her already. That lamp is fabulous, there’s a lovely, rich texture on the walls, and the floor is pretty cool.

A picture of a red curtain.


The red curtain is bold, but it overwhelms the space, especially when it’s next to the dark door mat.  It’s a pretty tight space, and there’s not a lot of storage for all that stuff that ends up in an entry way.

A picture of a ceiling light.


I really love the crown molding, and the shape of the hanging lamp is fantastic. I’m batty for the pattern, but I think we might be able to make a lighter colored shade that’s equally cool, while allowing more light.

I asked Reader to share a picture of an outfit or items of clothing that made her feel fantastic, and she shared this completely awesome photo. I pulled a color palette from these items.

A pair of blue rain boots with flowers.


We’ve got three colors of roughly the same intensity, the soft gray, the light sage, and the sky blue. Those should be the primary colors you play with. The rusty red is the spice – it’ll only take a tiny pinch to make an impact.

What I would do

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”] Start by painting the wall, leaving the molding and trim as they are. I made these three examples of your wall texture in gray, sage, and sky blue.

A gray textured sample. A sage textured sample. A sky blue textured sample.


All three can work, I think. With the light base molding and white crown against the white ceiling, none of these colors are going to make your space feel smaller than it is.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”] Create better storage. Does the bench under the coats open for storage? If not, consider replacing it with one that does. Building your own is also pretty simple, if you’re comfortable with power tools at even a beginner level. I’d replace the hooks on the raised back with a shelf with hooks that hang from the underside. That’s going to give you an extra inch of depth in that space, which can make a huge difference. You might even try a row of boxes as shelves, which will be a convenient place to store gloves, hats, scarves, and grocery bags.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”] Sass up the lamp. Consider replacing the shade, or replacing the paper on the existing shade. Pick a color from the palette you didn’t use on the wall, and look for wallpaper, wool (or other flame resistant fabric with some heft to it), or even homemade paper in a similar color.

[icon name=”icon-circle-arrow-right”] Measure each of these twice:  1. The height of the shade. 2. The circumference of the top, bottom, and center of the lamp.

[icon name=”icon-circle-arrow-right”] Cut a pattern out of newspaper to match your measurements, adding 1/2 inch to the top and bottom, and adding one inch to the length.

[icon name=”icon-circle-arrow-right”] Carefully remove the existing paper from the frame.

[icon name=”icon-circle-arrow-right”] Using clothespins as clamps, wrap the frame in your material of choice, folding the edges around the frame.

[icon name=”icon-circle-arrow-right”] Secure by sewing or gluing in place. Warning! This is not a job for the glue gun, or your lamp might melt right off the shade with a hot bulb. Use white glue or rubber cement.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”] Brighten the curtain and mats. Switch both out for something lighter in color, in one or more of the chosen colors, or a pattern. Keep the pattern relatively simple, if you go that route.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”] Add accents. Now it’s time for the really fun part, adding little details to bring everything together. The longer wall with the front door needs a little interest, consider a great mirror, a wonderful piece of art, or a grouping of photos, which could all look great. Be conservative about the physical depth of whatever you hang, find pieces that sit close to the wall.

This is where you can work in that great, rusty red. Remember to use it sparingly, which doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Consider trimming your refreshed lamp with ribbon in this color, or perhaps painting the underside of the storage shelf above the coats.

Good luck! We’d love to see the results when you’re done!

Love, Selena

Got a decorating question? Use our Ask Us! feature, include an email address if you’d like to send photos.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”] Bonus! What kind of flooring do you have on your stairs? If appropriate, consider painting the risers of the stairs leading out of the entryway in one of your accent colors.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

3 replies on “Deus ex MacIntosh: Sassing Up The Entryway”

Ask for a true gray, but I think you might like a brownish gray, too. I’m seeing that shade a lot, and it’s really modern.

Hint – don’t get flat. Don’t go full-gloss, unless it’s for trim, cabinets, or walls kids/pets do their thing to, either. With gray you want an eggshell or a satin, so it doesn’t look like primer.

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