Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Fresh Coat of Paint

During these harsh Great Recession times, I have to find wise ways to spend my hard earned dollars. A hobby of mine, that I believe I inherited from my mother, is decorating. This little brain of mine has a multitude of ideas to make my house look simply amazing. In fact, my little brain most likely has ideas for your house too.  Alas, decorating is quite an expensive hobby. My house is nowhere near the vision in my head, but it will get there someday… or I’ll die trying. Besides my decorating hobby, my mom also passed down an eye for garage sale and thrift store finds. With a little inexpensive paint and polish, something old and dreary can look fantastic. My furniture transformation projects satisfy my hunger for new d├ęcor and go easy on my wallet.

When looking for a painting project I recommend you start at home. Look around and see what you have that has the potential to be something great. For example, when my husband and I got married we could not afford to simply go out and buy a new bedroom set. We took his headboard, which had good bones, and painted over the old flaking veneer wood with a cream color. I realize it isn't the greatest project in the world, but if you saw the headboard before you would think so.

Someday I will get my tufted headboard...
for now this will do

Another good place to look for painting projects is in your parents’ house. My mom had this great vintage caned chair repainted a few times. When I was little it was in my room and I requested it be painted hot pink. I think my mom cringed a little, but she did it anyways (or maybe it was my dad who did the painting...can't leave out my dear old dad). After I flew the nest, my mom painted it a calming yellow. Somehow I have ended up with the chair again. There may have been a little begging and sweet talking involved. Now the chair sits in my kitchen nook ready to seat an extra guest...or to just sit there looking cute.

From red to pink to yellow, this chair gets around
...color wise that is.

The next painting project was a doozy. This is an old dentist cabinet turned hutch. My mom found it at a garage sale…sense a pattern?  It sat in her garage for years. She had good intentions but the project was a bit much for her to take on. The cabinet had layers and layers of old teal paint on it. The color was actually very cute, but it did not go with my kitchen. I took on the project when we lived in our rental house and finished it just in time to make its grand entrance at our current home. It took longer than expected, but when I was was marvelous. I get a lot of compliments on my dentist cabinet turned hutch. I painted the outside white, then painted the insides of the etched glass portions red. I also spray painted the faded knobs a shiny black.

Isn't it sweet?

What's black, white, and red all over?

My next painting project was one that I talked my mom into doing for me. I needed a stool for my vanity. At the time I was living at home with my parents and wanted it to reflect the pattern of my green curtains.  My mom did such a nice job on this garage sale stool, that I still use it while doing my makeup.

Funky Chic

Destressed edges are fun.

Notice the little "J" at the bottom?

The next project comes courtesy of my mother's garage as well. Before Danny and I got married, I decided we needed some hip matching nightstands. Naturally I went shopping in my mom's garage as it usually was full of garage sale finds. I found the perfect side tables; of course they needed a little renovation. The main problem with getting married is that in order to make your husband feel a little bit masculine in his own home, you can't paint everything with a girlish flair. So I came up with this homage to a classic black and white checkerboard design for the nightstands. It isn’t so cutesy that it makes Danny want to vomit although my floral lamp does.

My side...

Tayler enjoys the nightstand as well.

The next item was purchased already painted. This chair was a gift for getting good grades or perhaps it was a birthday present from whom else but my mother. Either way, I love it.

A touch of gold

This last project is my most recent. I came upon an old weathered garden bench and needed to re paint an extremely neglected table for a seating area by our pond. With a little sand paper and some fresh paint colors, my back yard went from depressing to cheery.

Isn't is sad looking?



Before you go to an overpriced furniture store, take a look around and see what you have. With a fresh coat of paint, you can make even the most hideous item look like a million bucks...or at least a hundred.


  1. Love the way the bench and table turned out. So much more welcoming I think. I could use the dental cabinet for my vintage jewelry collection. Maybe we could make a trade for some old furniture you might like to paint?

  2. Thanks Sharon! While the dental cabinet would work well for your jewelry collection...I'm way too attached to it to every give it up. But you can give me your old furniture :)