Little Changes, Big Impact: Paint Some Second Hand Furniture

bigstock-Classic-Wooden-Dresser-6102291_smallerContinuing in our series about small paint projects that will have a big payoff, we’re going to talk today about painting furniture. But before we start by throwing out some examples, I want to first take a second and acquaint (or reacquaint) you with the creative home decorator’s greatest friend: the junk shop.

Lining the shelves in countless junk shops and mission stores throughout the country are treasures: unique dressers, end tables, lamps, flower stands . . . you name it. Sure, they’re not in the best condition all the time, but that’s the beauty of paint: it doesn’t matter what it looks like now; it only matters what it WILL look like with a coat of paint.

So, find the junk shops, the flea markets, the mission stores in your area and make a habit of swinging through them from time to time. Look for bargains and look with a vision for what’s possible. Remember that the piece doesn’t need to be flawless. Paint will cover over a multitude of sins. Look for interesting pieces, unique pieces, unusual pieces. And look for bargains.

And once you find them . . . snatch them up and start getting creative. To give you some food for thought, consider the following examples:

DISTRESSED TABLE

Here’s little table that’s easy to duplicate. It’s just a matter of stripping and staining the table top with a standard wood stain. After that, just apply a water based paint in your color of choice to the rest of the piece. Once it’s dry, do a little scuff-sanding to distress it and bring out the wood beneath the paint and you’re set. It’s easy to do and you end up with a furniture piece that could be a highlight in any room.

OLD DESK

Finding a piece like this at a junk shop is exciting as it gets. But putting the right colors on it and turning it into an interesting, exciting piece in your home is even better.  The desk in this example illustrates the point that you don’t need bold, bright colors to make an impact. The colors used on this are very neutral, very natural tones. The highlights on the rings of the legs are simply a slightly darker paint than the rest. Remember: it’s not always about being bold and daring. It’s about choosing the right piece and the right colors–whether they’re bold . . . or muted and neutral.

BOLD, CRAZY FLOWER STANDS

Now, while bold, bright colors aren’t always necessary to make an impact, they sure do get the job done!

Maybe these are too bright for your particular taste . . . but don’t write the idea immediately off. The value of painting bright colors on something like this is that it gives you an easy way to bring a certain color into your decorating that you’d otherwise struggle to use. For example, look at the reddish orange on the stands. It’s not an easy color to work with. It’s hard to paint an entire wall that color and get away with it. But if the rest of the room is painted in a washed-out yellow or a chalky blue . . . introducing that orange in small doses–as is the case with these pedestals–can be a great way to use it in the room without overpowering the room.

The basic point is this: look for ways to bring some color and interest into your rooms via furniture you may have purchased at a discount or at a mission store or junk shop. It’s the perfect way to infuse your home with color, without going overboard or biting off too big a project. And, when you need a change, it’s as easy as a quick repaint . . . or moving the piece to your basement!

Little Changes, Big Impact: Paint Behind a Vase

You don’t always need to completely overhaul a room to infuse some interest and excitement into your decorating. Sometimes you can make a huge impact with less than a quart of paint and in less than 20 minutes.

In this little blog-series, we’ll explore some simple ways you can add some “pop” to your decorating without taking a “hit” in your bank account.

Today, we’re going to talk about a simple concept: painting behind vases, pots or other art pieces you might have sitting in a corner or against a wall. These items sit in our rooms day in and day out and they usually add some color and some visual interest. However, over time, they fade into the background.

Well, an easy way to bring them back into the foreground is to paint an area behind them. Simply mimic the shape of the art piece, or paint a simple oval behind it in a complimentary or coordinating color.

It’s a quick project, will take you no more than a few “brush-fulls” of paint, and will usually take you all of 20 minutes (including clean-up!). But the impact and visual appeal it brings to your home is boundless.

Get creative . . . start thinking outside the box . . . and see what you can come up with. Next time, we’ll talk about another quick project.

8 Easy Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

curb_appeal_test2Increasing the curb appeal of your home doesn’t need to be a paint project that lasts all summer long–you don’t need to paint your entire home in order to bump up it’s appearance. Oh, that always helps–and really, nothing will accomplish a complete renewal of your home than a new paint job–but it’s not always necessary. Here are 8 sure-fire ways–easy ways–to increase the visual “pop” of your home:

FRONT DOORS: Your front doors can offer you a great opportunity to say something unique and interesting about your home. Many folks fall back on a safe standard–a maroon or a forest green–but don’t let that be the case with your home. Branch out a little. Be a little daring. Go with a bright green, a bold red, a warm yellow. It’s a small area in the grand scheme of things–after all, a front door is basically 21 square feet. So, it’s a drop in the bucket when you think about the entire exterior of your home. But this little drop can have some impact if you pick the right color!f

GARAGE DOORS: Another surface that gives you a great opportunity when it comes to exterior decorating are your garage doors. Take a look at yours and see if there’s a way to infuse some color into that surface. And really, don’t feel you have to paint the whole thing one big, bright, bold color. You could paint it a slightly darker color than the rest of your trim and then use either a lighter or darker color yet to accent the different raised panels in the door. There are any number of creative things you could try–our point here is to just open your mind to the possibilities. Don’t look at that door as just a big hunk of metal that hides the opening of your garage! Look at it as a canvas–a place to throw some color and increase the visual appeal of your home.

SHUTTERS: Most of our homes have shutters. And most of us have painted those shutters the same color as we’ve painted our front doors. And really, that’s not necessarily bad. But, don’t always assume that there are no other options. Look at your shutters and try to imagine what a color darker or lighter than your door color would do. What would another color altogether add? Shutters don’t take up a lot of space and so a bright, bold color that WORKS with your other colors can infuse some significant life into a boring exterior.

LIGHT POSTS and RAILINGS: This is one of my favorite ideas–mainly because its just something I’ve never really given much thought to before. See, most of us spend time thinking about the colors we’ll put on our doors or our siding that we never really give much thought to extraneous things like railings and light posts. Oh, we figure we’ll just accent them in white or maybe black depending on the rest of the color scheme, but rarely do we ever give them much consideration on their own. So break out of that mindset. Give some thought to your railings and your lightposts. What colors could you put on those surfaces that would really infuse your home with interest?

LAWN FURNITURE: The fifth item we’re going to talk about is something that’s not permanently affixed to your home: lawn furniture. Many of us have Adirondack chairs or other items like this that take up a place of prominence on our yards. They are usually more practical than decorative–they’re the places we hang out and relax over the summer months. But just because they’re practical doesn’t mean that they can’t be decorative as well. Rather than rely on the standard white, why not branch out into some bold colors, some bright colors . . . some fun colors? Because these aren’t permanent items, you can move them, put them away for the winter, etc. So, don’t be afraid to go bold with your colors.

FLOWER BOXES: Not every house has flower boxes attached beneath the windows anymore. But for those of you who have these, don’t forget that they can be used not just to carry a bunch of color in the form of flowers! They can also be painted with interesting colors to add a little excitement to the big blank exterior of your home. Because these are small, you can paint them easily and, if you put some time and thought into the color selection AND the flowers you plant in them . . . you could have an amazing summer result! So don’t overlook them.

WINDOW TRIM: This one’s an obvious choice, but again, so often, we overlook it on our own homes. So many times, we assume that trim needs to be either dark brown or white. But that’s not the case. Oh, you want to be a little careful with your color choices because painting window trim isn’t the most exciting or pleasant project out there . . . but don’t be afraid to stretch your boundaries a little. Sometimes a slightly darker or lighter version of your siding or your front door accents can really “class-up” an exterior. So don’t just settle on the standards–think bigger!

OUT BUILDINGS: One last area that we’re going to cover in this article is your outbuildings. You know, those little sheds we’ve all got crammed full of lawnmowers and kids toys. Most of us paint them very conservatively. We turn them into little tiny duplicates of our homes–same colors, same look. Or, we branch out a little and coat them with a nice, safe white. Or, maybe a wood-colored stain. Well, I’m not saying it’s the right answer for everybody, but for some of us, a bold color on a building like this can create a huge splash of visual interest for the exterior of your home. And by “bold”, I don’t mean it has to be red or bright green. It could be a deep, navy blue. It could be a charcoal building with lime-green highlights. It could be anything. Think about it!

Well, you get the idea. The point is this: think big! Be bold with your color choices and be creative with the surfaces you decide to paint. Small surfaces on and around your home can be painted quickly and easily for very little money. But these same surfaces, when coated with the perfect color, will slow traffic and walkers as they pass your house. They’ll take a look. And they’ll go home and they’ll start looking for ways to add interest to their exteriors!