Old Window Headboard

old_window_headboardLast time we looked at a simple way to create a unique headboard for your bed using an old wooden paneled door.  Today, we’re going to move ahead with this topic (headboards) and give you another idea:  old windows.

For this project you need to once again scour your basement and your attic.  Call your friends and ask around.  And if you can’t get your hands on any old windows that way, then head out to the mission stores, the junk shops and even the antique malls (though watch out that you don’t pay too much money for somebody’s old window!)

However you (lawfully) acquire them is your business, but once you have them, you’ve got any number of ways to turn them into unique, bold, inspiring and interesting headboards for your bed.

Here are just a few ideas and tips:

Distressed Windows for that “French Country” Look

Take a look at the windows after you’ve finally found them.  Take into account the condition of the paint.  Is it pealing and flaking off?  Or does it just look worn and old?  If it’s currently flaking, you might do well to remove it entirely (trust me…leaving it on is just an invitation for it to continue flaking off all over your furniture and floors).

If you decide to remove it entirely, remember to exercise care–understanding that the paint used on the window could be lead-based.  Get an N-100 respirator which is available at any hardware or paint store and then either heat the paint up with a heat gun (less than 1,100 degrees F) and remove it that way or mist it with water (to minimize sanding dust) and power sand it off.

If you’re going for that distressed look, don’t worry too much about removing everything down to bare wood.  Just get the loose and peeling stuff off and then dust over it with a single coat of RepcoLite’s Hallmark Ceramic Matte Finish.  This will produce a very low sheen and it applies and covers very well.

Coat your windows with a single coat of this and then scuff sand them with some 120 grit paper, paying special attention to the edges and corners.  Sand them until they look sufficiently distressed and then hang them.

An option for greater durability and washability would be to topcoat them with a single coat of RepcoLite’s Flat Polyurethane Enamel Varnish.  This will keep the sheen down to a minimum while providing you with some durability down the road.  (This is only recommended over colors since it will yellow over time.  If you put it over white windows, they will look “cream” very quickly).

Neutral Windows, Colored Panes

Another way to turn these old windows into a unique headboard is to keep them simple and plain, but use colorful inserts in place of the window glass for interest.

To accomplish this, follow the original steps above to clean and prepare the windows, but rather than painting them with a bright or interesting color, paint them white or cream or some other neutral color.  Then head to the craft store and pick up either some heavy duty foam board or some small artist canvas boards (not the standard artist canvas that is stretched over a frame, but artist canvas that is glued to a thin, heavy duty board).

Pick up one of these types of materials and cut it to size to fit the openings where the window glass would normally be.

Once you’ve done that, you’ve got an almost unlimited number of options.  You could paint them solid colors–colors that coordinate or accent your room.  You could rag paint them or use any number of faux-finishing techniques to create an interesting look on the boards.  You could cover them with scraps of fabric or even leftover scraps of wallpaper.

Basically, the point is to cover these inserts with color–whether it’s paint or paper or fabric or even photos of your family.  Cover them with somethig interesting and then mount them in the windows.

Experiment with positioning and determine whether or not you want all the window openings filled with color or only several of them.

Other Variations to Consider

Clean the windows up and paint them a solid color and don’t distress it–leave it clean and simple.

Use the windows as picture frames.  If there’s no glass, you can mount new glass.  If there is glass (and if it’s old and wavy and dirty) LEAVE IT!  Mount black and white pictures behind it for a very cool and interesting look.

Fill the window openings with “Stained Glass”.  Your local craft store will usually contain small, 8×10 or so pieces of the glass that artisans use for crafting stained glass windows or mosaics.  Buy a few sheets of this and either cut it (carefully) yourself or have a hardware store cut it to size.  Then mount it in your frame.

Mount the windows and then finish the look by installing curtains around them.

Paneled Door Headboard

Creating an interesting, colorful or unique headboard for you bed is a fun and potentially easy way to completely change the look and feel of a bedroom.  Over the next couple entries, we’re going to look at some of the best ideas out there on the web–along with a little how-to steps from RepcoLite to make sure these projects go easily for you if you try to tackle them.

The first one I want to talk about is pictured at the left.  It’s the “Old Paneled Door” headboard and really can be a highlight or focal point of your room if you do it the right way.

The main thing you need to tackle this project is . . . obviously . . . and old paneled wood door.  Possibly you’ve got one sitting around in your basement or attic (like me!), or maybe you’ll need to scour some junk shops and mission stores.  Another thing to try is this:  call your friends and family.  Many people have all kinds of extra junk sitting around in their homes that they don’t know what to do with.  They hate to throw certain things away, but they also have no use for them.  As a result, people “sit on” items like old doors and they end up just taking up space.  It never hurts to ask….

Anyway, once you get your door, the steps are easy from that point on to achieve the look in the picture:

Install some trim (or crown molding) around the edge of the door that will be the top of the headboard (see top edge of door in photo above).  This will give it a finished look on the top and will also cover up the notches cut in the door for the hinges!

Clean it up and scuff sand it (if you’re going to paint it).

Apply your latex paint without primer (if you’re going for a distressed look as we see in the photo).

After the paint has dried for a couple days, take some 120grit sandpaper and dust lightly over the entire painted door.  Spend some extra time on edges and the panels to completely remove the paint in those areas and expose the original wood beneath.

Once the door looks sufficiently distressed, wipe it clean with a damp rag and let it dry.

After it’s dried you can either leave it and hang it, or for a little extra durability, you could top-coat it with 1 coat of RepcoLite’s Flat Polyurethane Varnish.  (If it’s white, you might want to leave it unvarnished as the varnish will yellow over time!)

After it’s dried for 24 hours, you just need to mount it sideways on the wall (door knob removed and hole down so it’s hidden behind the bed) and you’re done!

This is one of those projects that you should be able to accomplish relatively quickly and without too much effort.  The part that will require the most DIY’er skill will be the installation of the crown or trim around the top edge.  Other than that, it’s all pretty straightforward and simple.  But best of all, the impact is huge.


Leave the door with a “stained” look.  Either scuff sand it and apply a “freshen-up” coat of stain over the whole door (along with a couple coats of Polyurethane) to create a new, finely finished look; or, leave the stained door completely “as-is” for a more rustic look.

Don’t distress the door.  Skip the roughed-up look and go for a nice, even, solid coat of paint.  If you do this, I’d strongly recommend RepcoLite’s Prime-all Primer as a great basecoat.

Use those old wallpaper scraps!  Cut squares of wallpaper that will fit the panels of the door and install them.  Cut them from scrapes left over in your own home, or call RepcoLite and ask about discontinued wallpaper books you can grab for free!

Little Changes, Big Impact: ABC Blocks on the Wall

OK, for the last little bit, we’ve been talking about small projects you can tackle in your home that will have a big impact on your decorating.  We understand that the idea of repainting a couple rooms in the home isn’t always the most exciting thought to everybody out there. Some of us just don’t feel like going nuts on a paint job–we don’t have the time or the energy right now.

Others of us like the color of our rooms already.  We think they look nice, but still feel they’re missing something.  They’re a little plain or boring and we’re not sure what we can do to spruce them up, to infuse some life into them, without completely overhauling them.

That’s been the point for the last few entries: small projects that will hopefully  infuse some life into your home without giving you a project that’s going to take you weeks to accomplish.

Well, today I’ve got one that’s really suited for a kids room  or maybe a back entry–some small room where you can branch away from the norm for a little bit without throwing off the decorating scheme of your whole home. Anyway, if you’ve got a room like that, think about this: what if you’d paint some shapes onto the wall?

Now, I know (I know, I know) that sounds boring.  But I’m not just talking about basic squares or circles or geometric shapes.  I’m talking about being a little more creative than that (though I’d still argue that geometric shapes on walls can be tremendously creative and interesting if done right!)

Anyway, even though those basic shapes can be creative, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about today.  See, I’ve never had the right room to do this in, but I’ve imagined a cool kids rooms where you take some stencils of letters and combine them with some square shapes to create letter blocks on the wall–you know those little wood ABC blocks kids play with and chew on? Anyway, paint the blocks in a corner–make them large (1-2 foot square)–and stack them. Stagger the stack or paint them in a tumbled heap in a corner. You could spell out ABC’s on the letters or a child’s name. You could craft some other message:  Family or Faith or pretty much anything you want.

All it takes is a little time, a small amount of paint, and a helping of creativity.

Little Changes, Big Impact: Wall Shapes

If you’re looking for simple ways to give a room in your home some appeal, what about painting some shapes onto the walls?  Now, you could accomplish this by painting just a few geometrical shapes all over the walls, randomly placing squares and circles, but don’t limit yourself to that.

For example, think about your laundry room.  What if you’d paint the walls a sky blue color and then paint a clothesline on one wall?  And don’t quit there, go ahead and paint some “cartoony” clothes on that line.  You could use bright colors in the clothes you “hang” on that line and those bright colors would infuse your room with a sense of fun and interest without overpowering it.

If you’re looking for a twist on this idea, go ahead and hang a “real” clothesline on your wall and fill it with “clothes” that you cut out of extra wallpaper that you may have lying around.

This is a simple project and a fun way to use up excess wallpaper.  Just glue two sheets of wallpaper together (same pattern on the front and back or different patterns–it doesn’t matter).  Glue the two sheets together and, when they’re dry, cut shirt, dress and pants shapes out.  Then, using real clothes pins, hang these items on your line.

Whether you paint the clothes shapes onto the wall or cut them out of wallpaper, this is a great way to infuse your room with color and interest (and a sense of whimsical fun) without having to completely overhaul the entire space.

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:


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.


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.


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.