DIY to Try

A couple of months ago a friend and I were discussing painting her oak kitchen cabinets and one thing I recommended was to (at a minimum) paint her kitchen island.  Kitchens with both painted and wood surround will benefit from the modern look of an island painted in a completely different color.   

Galley or small space kitchens don’t allow for a work island, but for those where space permits, a kitchen island is a handy surface and storage area for cooking preparation and also casual meals when counter stools are factored into the design.  

Your style of your cabinetry and personal color preferences should always be considered when opting to paint your kitchen island a different color.  Often homeowners choose a serene shade of blue or green they’ll enjoy for years to come. 

cornflower blue island bhg

painted pale blue island bhg

painted blue island bhg

seafoam green island bhg

    

Since the kitchen is the space where you start your day, consider making your island a focal point in a sunshine yellow or other fresh citrus shade of lime green or tangerine.

sunny yellow island bhg

citrus island bhg

green kitchen island bhg

 

Neutral choices are wonderful too and guaranteed to be soothing.  Think of taupes and grays or classic black as sophisticated choices for bringing contrast to your kitchen cabinets. 

taupe island bhg

neutral gray island bhg

black painted kitchen island bhg

 

If you’re thinking of painting your kitchen island the steps are doable and can be completed in a weekend, just follow these steps to paint your cabinets.  A really good bonding primer is key and also a high quality paint that will stand the test of time.  I prefer the modern water based enamel paints for a harder finish, the ones that mimic oil based paint.  Always be sure to test a few sample colors too before you commit to the final choice!

Happy home improvement!

 

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The holidays are upon us and I’m in full preparation mode, are you?  I try to get a jump start on a some of the holiday decor before Thanksgiving so it doesn’t feel so rushed in December. 

One of the ways to count down to Christmas is with an advent calendar, and it’s especially fun if you’ve got kids at home.  Kids love the surprise of small treats while they anxiously await the arrival of Santa.  Advent calendars can be simple or ones that you create with a few hours of crafting.  To inspire, here are a few fun ideas from the Better Homes & Gardens gallery to consider if you plan to incorporate the advent calendar tradition in your family’s holiday festivities. 

Adhere tins topped with numbers to a wreath form with glued magnets and fill them with treats for a daily sweet surprise. 

advent wreath bhg

 

Boxes of all shapes and sizes can be embellished and numbered as mini gifts are unwrapped and enjoyed leading up to Christmas Day. 

decorated boxes for advent bhg

 

Patterned paper bags filled with treats and suspended from rope strung across a window are a fun way to brighten your kitchen or family room and keep the tradition front and center. 

paper bag advent

 

A wooden box with doors can be painted with each door labeled with a number – pull it out every year and hang it on the wall to increase the holiday excitement around the house! 

wood cabinet advent bhg

 

Use stocking caps (or mini mittens!) suspended in a row to hide trinkets or sweets in the countdown to Christmas. 

stocking cap advent bhg

 

Small colorful envelopes numbered for each day make perfect hiding spots for loving notes or sweet little trinkets.  

envelope advent bhg

 

If you’re less inclined to fill 24 boxes, print clues on pieces of paper where other prizes may hide around the house with 12 envelopes attached to a bulletin board. 

condensed advent bhg

Do you celebrate the season of Advent with a calendar or other traditions? Do share!

 

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I’ve been an avid user of spray paint for many years, and consider it a quick fix in a can.  Spray paint has the power to change the color of so many decorative objects or small pieces of furniture to suit your style or inject your home with a fresh dose of fun color. 

For those new to spray painting I recommend you start with a small project first.  Turn an inexpensive yet ordinary metal lantern into a stylish accent with a few coats of aqua blue spray paint for a colorful addition to your rear yard or alfresco table setting.

aqua lantern bhg

 

Follow these basic tips whenever you use spray paint:

1)  Always spray paint in a well ventilated area.  Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions which include making sure your piece is free of debris and painting at ideal temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees.

2)  Use a drop cloth and a respirator to protect yourself from inhaling any chemicals from overspray or airborne particles that occur when spray painting.  Tape off any parts you don’t want covered with paint with painter’s tape and plastic wrap or newspaper.

3)  Prime your surface if necessary.  Metals often don’t require priming but with wood or laminate, it’s a must.   Look for a good adhesion or bonding primer that sticks to all surfaces (I prefer Zinsser’s ‘Cover Stain’ in the brown and white can and use it for everything from glass to metal to wood). 

4)  Invest a few extra dollars in a handy spray paint nozzle (seen here) often referred to as a “spray paint gun”.  It’s a little plastic tool found in the spray paint department designed to help you spray paint with greater accuracy, it helps avoid finger cramping, and assists in universal coverage.

5)  Always spray very light coats to avoid unwanted drips.  Keep your spray can moving back and forth about 8” to 10” away from your subject.  Don’t expect full coverage in one coat.  It’s better to have two to three light coats than to risk drips from overspray on your first coat of spray paint.

6)  Helpful trick!  If spray painting small pieces of furniture, turn them upside down and do the underside first.  After it’s dry you can spend more time concentrating on even application on the visible areas on the piece of furniture. 

7) Second helpful trick!  For hard to reach places, spray a small amount of paint in liquid form into the plastic cap and use a disposable small artist’s brush to dip it into the paint and then fill in those tricky spots.

 

Once you’ve mastered the basics, move on to larger pieces or even furniture:

Bring feisty red into your home by spray painting a Chippendale style chair with a glossy red paint for a dash of panache in your dining room.

 red chippendale chairs bhg

 

IKEA makes affordable Vittsjo shelving units, and if you spray paint them with Rust-Oleum’s yellow gloss paint, you’ll get a similar look to the colorful metal bookshelves at Room and Board.

colorful vittsjo shelving

 

Paint inexpensive saddle stools with Krylon’s Emerald to mimic the look of these fun green counter stools that bring fresh color to a kitchen space. 

 

green saddle stools bhg

 

It’s easy to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary with a little know how and a colorful can of spray paint!  

More helpful articles:

Spray Paint FAQs

How to Spray Paint Furniture

 

 

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One thing that will certainly cheer up your porch is a fresh coat of paint on the front door.  Last year I painted our front door with a shade of pale gray to complement the yellow stucco exterior, but there’s no need to choose a neutral if you don’t want to.  Be brave, be bold, choose green, yellow, red, blue, black, anything goes!  

How do you paint your front door?  It’s easy!  Painting your front door is a weekend project that’s sure to increase the curb appeal of your home and refresh the appearance of your residence with minimal effort.

green front door bhg

 

citrine front door bhg

 

There are two ways to paint a front door, the first is by removing it from the doorframe or even painting a new door before it’s installed.  The second is by painting a door in place. 

I prefer the latter because if you live in the residence, you need to be able to close and lock your front door at night!  However, if you’re working with a front door in an unoccupied residence, you certainly can remove it and prime/paint it at your leisure.

Here are the basic steps for painting your front door in place:

1.   Select a few paint samples and purchase testers in the colors you like.  Paint large test swatches on paper, cardboard, or poster board and allow it to dry.  Examine the colors suspended on the front door in different light to decide which shade looks best in both morning and afternoon.

2.  Determine if the paint on the front door is oil or water based paint with this simple trick:  soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub it across the existing paint.  If the paint comes off, it’s latex, if it doesn’t, then it’s an oil based paint.  It’s important to know for Step 4 and 5!

3.  Remove the doorknob or tape it off and the knocker or other hardware with painter’s tape. 

4.  If your door is stained wood, or previously finished with oil based paint, it will need a coat of primer before your paint.   Coat your front door with one coat of quality adhesion primer.   Note that water based primers and paints allow for expansion and contraction outside among the elements far better than oil based paint, so work with water based primers and water based latex or enamel paints designed for outdoor use.

5.  If your door was previously painted with latex paint, degloss it first with a deglossing product to prepare it for another layer of water based paint.  Use a quality angled 1 ½ or 2” paintbrush to apply the latex or enamel paint to your front door, using thin coats to avoid drips and also speed up the drying process.  Some paints cover in two coats, often it takes three, but it’s best to work with thinner coats so that the layers dry quickly. 

6.  If you encounter minimal brush strokes or drips between coats, use a fine grit sanding wedge to knock down those edges.  After two (or perhaps three) coats of outdoor latex or enamel paint, step back and admire your beautiful new front door!

 

orange entry door

 

Painting your front door isn’t difficult, and what a difference it makes in just a day!  Have you changed the color of your front door? What color did you choose? 

 

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I love an easy do-it-yourself project, especially one everyone can do!  This project provides hidden organization inside a cabinet in your kitchen, mudroom, or office, and you can customize it with your favorite fabric for a fun pop of color like this cheerful Ikat inside a computer armoire I recently painted. 

 

diy fabric covered memo board

 

 

Supplies you will need:  cork tiles from an office supply store; cotton fabric of choice; box cutter or X-acto knife; stapler; multipurpose glue for securing different surfaces; push pins.

1.  Remove the cabinet door so you can work with it laying flat on a table, and determine the desired width of your fabric covered memo board.  If you have an inset on the back of your cabinet, it helps to work with that dimension, if not, simply pick a point an inch or two away from the edges so the new memo board won’t interfere with proper closing of the cabinet.   Carefully trim tiles with a box cutter or X-acto knife to your desired width.

 

box cutter for cork tiles

 

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I do a lot of second hand shopping and every now and then I’ll spy a great dresser in a thrift store or on Craigslist and think to myself, “That would look fantastic in a bathroom!”  Traditionally designed for the bedroom to store clothing, dressers are rebelling and finding their way into spaces outside the boudoir.  

Clever homeowners are now adding character to their bathroom spaces by choosing dressers as vanities instead of standard cabinetry.  Often you must sacrifice the utility of the top drawer to make room for the sink bowl, but what you lose in functionality you gain in style.  Here’s a peek at this gallery of dressers transformed into vanities in bathrooms! 

A white solid surface countertop supports two sinks with reproduction vintage faucets in this elegant bathroom with a repurposed white dresser.

 

white dresser as bathroom vanity bhg

 

Gray paint and porcelain knobs turn this elevated dressing table into a functioning vanity in this serene bathroom filled with vintage touches. 

 

bathroom vanity bhg

 

Contemporary clean lines and pulls take the spotlight in this bathroom nook where a nine drawer dresser style vanity wears a marble top. 

 

modern dresser as vanity bhg

 

Curvy drawers coated in black paint coupled with vintage brass pulls equal drama in this sophisticated powder room.

 

dresser as vanity bathroom bhg

 

In the mood for fun and feisty?  Coat your second hand find with bright colored paint and add a modern towel bar to the side for a one of a kind pretty pink vanity. 

 

vivid pink vanity bathroom bhg

 

Clean and classic is the look in this bathroom where white paint and glass knobs share a timeless quality.  

 

white dresser as vanity in bathroom bhg

 

Converting a dresser into a vanity is simple when you follow these DIY instructions.

One final tip, pay attention to your height when shopping for a dresser to use as a vanity.  A standard vanity is 30” but many adults find that height to be too short, and prefer a more comfortable height between 32” – 36”.   Bring your tape measure with you and be sure to factor in the additional inches added from your chosen countertop.

Next week, we’ll take a look at how dressers are being used outside the bedroom in kitchens, entries, and living spaces, stay tuned!


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