DIY Projects

By Christine Brun

October 14, 2015 4 min read

Inspiration can come from a can of paint. Take a look at the paint chips in a home improvement store and just read off the names for fun. Close your eyes and imagine what Cool Mint or Whisper feels like. I find that after my clients say, "I like that one!" someone will quickly add, "What is it called?" It is clear that name bears some significance. Paint is one of the most user-friendly materials available to improve a small space and it takes up absolutely no extra room.

DIY makeovers have been touted by many television programs, yet they are never as simple as the production crew makes them seem. Obviously, with a group of four or five, folks are able to prep and paint and install wall coverings, flooring and new lighting in a few days or even hours. And it is still surprising that when a busy homeowner attempts home improvement tasks they stretch far past the expected deadline. There are so many parts to each job if you want to accomplish a professional-looking result. You cannot skip steps.

Why not consider a much smaller project that will guarantee success and build your confidence for grander efforts? I am a big fan of repurposing vintage furniture because often they were designed to fit in much smaller homes built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. You will note that buffets or dining table were generally made to smaller specifications during the years before the McMansion craze hit.

You might take an old dresser and paint it a jubilant color to be used in your foyer. Or you could buy an old china cabinet and repurpose it in a popular color as a quick way to update your dining room. Add new fabric for the chair seats and you have a fresh new look! Often it is easy to reupholster dining chairs with a staple gun.

These paint jobs could be done with a can of spray paint, if you're completely disinterested in repair and sanding before the final coat of paint. Another way to avoid tedious preparation time is to investigate Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Her paints were originally created in England specifically to go over a surface without preparation. While there is a limited color palette, the paint adheres to wood, plastic and metal. Sloan's colors are lovely, and she also offers instruction on how to finish the furniture off with an old world wax coat or a distressed, crackle finish. You may have to investigate where to buy this product locally, or resort to purchasing on the Internet. If, on the other hand, you are a perfectionist, you will want to spend the time sanding, filling and masking off carefully the old-fashioned way.

What's so appealing about refinishing furniture is that it can be done in a day. Not many home improvement projects are so manageable. Take the inspiration that those delicious paint names stir and try to apply it to one doable task. Maybe repaint the powder bathroom. Or spruce up the mudroom or the back porch. You will feel satisfaction.

Photo Credit: Valspar Paint

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email to [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM.

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