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Paint Rather Than Buy

If your décor is in need of a change but you c an’t afford to buy all new furniture, consider painting your wooden pieces to create a whole new look. Saving money usually means you have to put in a little elbow grease but it can be worth your time in the end.

Painting furniture can seem daunting depending upon your skill level and the piece itself. Do some research on products and finishes available and start with a small test piece before you dive into larger groupings. Don’t forget to update the hardware as well. One great drawer pull on a credenza can make a world of difference in your new space.

A slightly distressed paint finish can be forgiving for the novice so consider using this technique to gain some leeway. Once you’ve mastered your technique and cemented your colour choices you can move on to larger furniture pieces.

Dark features such as baseboards, doors and window trim may need to be lightened up as well. Start with one or two furniture items then see if the trim needs an update. You may find that the lighter furniture and a few lighter linens may be just enough to update the look of your room and the trim can be left as is.

A new sofa slipcover can cover dark upholstery and simple cushion covers can be used on toss cushions to add lighter accents to the room. Throw in a new area rug in lighter tones and voila, your décor is new again!

There are so many great products out there that can be used to prime and cover just about any type of surface so don’t be dissuaded by thinking that you have to strip furniture before you can even begin. If you have a valuable antique then don’t touch it, but if you have average wooden pieces that you’re tired of looking at then go for it. Ask your paint supplier to recommend paint and primer for your specific needs. The right product will make all the difference.

In the bedroom, a dark headboard and dresser can make the room feel cramped and gloomy. You can achieve a fresh look for a reasonable price just by painting the dark furniture in a neutral paint colour and updating the linens.

If you don’t want to replace the bed quilt, just buy a duvet cover in a lighter, co-ordinating colour and pattern. Consider using colourful bedsheets to create new curtains and matching duvet cover to save money and create a truly unique space. The great thing about using sheets for projects like this is that they have finished edges. If you’re making rod pocket panels from sheets all you have to do is run a rod through the end hem (or use curtain clips and rings to hang the sheets) and you’re done. A duvet cover is really just a big pillowcase with a closure on the end. Sew two sheets together and use Velcro to close the end once the quilt has been inserted. It ain’t rocket science. If you can sew a seam you’re good to go.

If you can’t find two matching flat sheets on sale, buy two co-ordinating sheets and you’ll have a dual pattern/ colour duvet cover that you can turn over when desired for a new look. Buy matching open-stock pillowcases and sew simple covers for the decorative pillows on the bed.

Dated, dark kitchen cabinets can definitely benefit from a fresh, lighter paint colour. I painted my cabinets last year and it was a lot of work but worth the effort. If you can get away with just painting the doors and drawer fronts, I’d try that first. If the whole works need painting inside and out, then I salute you for tackling the job. Again, new hardware will make a world of difference. It’s easier to try and match the size of the new hardware with the old hardware so that you don’t have to drill new holes and fill in old holes. If you’re not sure what sizes to buy, take one piece to the store with you so an employee can assist you with your purchase.

In any room that you’re considering a change, remember to paint wooden accessories like photo frames, mirror frames, decorative shelves and so forth to complete the transition.

Paint can be used to update your rooms in so many ways and for a reasonable price. If you’re not happy with the results, you can just paint it again – a wonderful option for the DIY decorator.

– Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Winnipeg

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Ifyouhaveavaluable antiquethendon’ttouch it,butifyouhaveaverage woodenpiecesthat you’retiredoflooking atthengoforit.

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