Do It Yourself
The other day I did something I do a lot and that is to drag home a cool old piece of furniture from a thrift store with every intention of giving it a fresh new look with paint. It’s one of my favorite things to do!
As you know, just about anything can be refurbished with paint to suit your style, how fantastic is this bright turquoise hall tree?
Painting furniture is a quick and easy weekend project that will bring a fresh dose of color to your home with just a few hours of work. A smaller piece of furniture like this bar cart can even be spray painted in a jiffy if you give it a coat of primer first.
Larger pieces like this cabinet and hutch are more difficult to spray paint, so in those circumstances I typically use a good quality brush for a smooth and even finish.
You can paint your pieces one uniform color or opt for a more creative combination – at two color paint job pulls together separate pieces in a bathroom space but still distinguishes them as their own unique elements.
If plans to paint are in your near future, here are the supplies you’ll need: tarp, sanding wedge, wood filler (for dents or holes); adhesion primer; foam roller, high quality angled paintbrush; water based enamel paint. Optional protective coat: polycrylic or clear furniture wax.
The basic steps for painting wood furniture are these:
1) Repair any holes or dents with sandable wood filler. If you’ve opted for new knobs, often they will fit right in the old holes, but many modern pulls are sized differently than the old hardware and wood filler is also your best bet for starting over with new hardware. Once it’s dry sand it smooth before proceeding.
2) Prime with a high adhesion bonding primer, you can find them in brush on or spray on formulas made by Zinsser (my personal favorite), Kilz, or specialty paint companies.
3) Once you’re primer is fully dry, sand away any drips or residue and wipe your piece down with a soft cloth. Apply two thin coasts of water based enamel paint – use a foam roller for quick application and follow it up with a high quality angled paintbrush for angles, trim, or hard to reach spots. Note with darker colors you may need three coats, but the thinner the better to avoid drips and brush strokes. Allow 6 to 8 hours for your paint to dry between coats.
4) With enamel paints it’s not always necessary to use a protectant as the enamel paint has a harder finish compared to ordinary latex paints. However, for a high use surface like a coffee table or desk, an extra coat of protection will help protect the paint. If you opt for a protective coat, use a water based polycrylic in satin or gloss – do not use an oil based polyurethane, it will amber or yellow over time. An alternative that results in a hand rubbed matte finish is clear furniture wax buffed to a soft glow
For greater detail, and images to accompany refer to this article on how to paint furniture!
If you seek a more distressed look, with the original wood peeking through underneath, you can follow the basic steps I mentioned last week for distressing furniture with water based paints, or consider a product I’ve worked with several times and that is Annie Sloan Chalk paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint.
Chalk paint is a special formula designed to give you a European style distressed look without priming. The formula is water based and easy to use. Specialty chalk paint or milk paints will give you a lovely distressed finish when you lightly sand away the thin layers revealing parts of the wood underneath.
Have you repainted anything special for your home lately? Feel free to link to your project, and happy refurbishing to those with plans to paint in the near future!
Square footage is of prime value in apartments, townhouses, and smaller homes and those who dwell within always seek to maximize every square inch of space. Thankfully there are clever affordable solutions for those who reside in spaces where storage is limited. Here are ten savvy small space solutions to inspire a weekend makeover in your condo or casa.
1. Purchase a small console that fits on an entry wall, and remember a lower shelf is an added bonus! Use the top as a desk and baskets below for a centralized solution designed to hold everyday necessities for grab and go convenience.
2. Avoid clutter taking over your countertops by installing a charging station inside a drawer. Drill a hole in the back of a dresser or desk to accommodate the cord of a hidden power strip.
3. Transform an armoire into a pantry or dish and linen storage center perfect for a small space kitchen or dining zone.
4. Turn a stock cabinet into a rolling kitchen island that offers both a prep surface and valuable storage below. If designed with casters, it can roll out of the way when the countertop is not in use.
5. Install a recessed medicine cabinet between the wall studs for bathroom toiletries and necessities.
6. Maximize vertical wall space by hanging a pegboard above a desk to store craft or office supplies. Paint it a cheery hue for a punch of color!
7. Two bookcases plus a wood countertop multitask in any space by providing storage and a writing desk for catching up on email, paying bills, or for hobbies such as scrapbooking or crafting.
8. Inexpensive wood crates painted in bright colors bring fresh style to a bathroom. Multiply the number of crates to create affordable and unique bookshelves in an office or as media storage in a living room.
9. Stack two shipping pallets and top them with a solid surface to give yourself a coffee table with storage for reading material inside.
10. Create your own room divider between entry and living space by combining three ready-to-assemble cabinets and positioning them next to each other to divide the singular space. You’ll create an instant entryway and multiply your storage as well. Here are the details on how to make a room divider with cabinets.
Wherever you reside and whatever your living situation, there are always creative ways to conquer clutter and store your stuff! Stay tuned for even more articles on the topic coming in January with a focus on getting organized and maximizing storage!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
We’ve wanted a potting bench in our yard for years and finally got around to building one last weekend. With space permitting, potting benches are a useful tool in your backyard that makes gardening a pleasant chore! Tuck a potting bench under an eave, inside a shed, or build them freestanding and you have convenient storage for pots, soil, hoses, gloves, and tools.
Another benefit of an outdoor potting bench is you can tuck the pots away and turn it into a beverage serving station for alfresco entertaining.
When I read the Better Homes & Gardens plans for building a potting bench (seen below) I knew we could build our own too.
The plans are very simple and straightforward. The above bench was built out of pallets but we opted for redwood instead. We also used 4” x 4” legs and expanded the size to a full six feet. Here’s our very own potting bench in our sideyard, built with the BH&G plans!
For more details, hop on over to read how we built our redwood potting bench thanks to plans found right here at Better Homes & Gardens!