How To : Home Decorating

Decorate with Paint

You probably already know that a can of paint offers the biggest bang for your decorating buck. The right colour can transform a room for next to nothing. But why stop with walls? Paint can update furniture, revamp lamps, even give new life to a wood floor.

Here are a few simple and budget-friendly paint projects to try in your home:

1. Create a chalkboard. Use chalkboard paint on a bare wall. Frame it with some white trim or leave it as is, and you've got a fun drawing surface for a kids' room ("Go ahead and draw on the walls, kids!"), a kitchen ("Soccer practice @ 6:30"), or even a dining room ("Tonight's menu... roast chicken with frites").

2. Reinvent your furniture. Got an old dresser that's ugly but serviceable? Give it a quick facelift with a can of paint and some new hardware. A coat of soft white will make it look fresh and romantic; glossy black adds drama and a modern touch.

3. Antique it. Want to make that new bookcase look like an heirloom? Paint it, let it dry, then use 100 grit sandpaper to lightly sand off patches of paint. For an authentic look, sand in places where the paint would naturally have worn over time.

4. Do a cheap and cheerful kitchen "reno." Don't have the budget for a complete kitchen overhaul? Paint it. Give the cabinets a fresh coat and replace the hardware. But don't stop there. Super-adherent primers will let you paint over a surprising range of surfaces, including laminate countertops, tile, floors and more. For a durable finish, you'll need:

  • 2 coats of super-adherent primer
  • 2 coats of paint
  • 2 coats of high-gloss urethane to seal in and protect the colour

5. Paint your floor new again. Got a worn-out parquet floor you dislike? Try this: paint the entire floor one colour (like white or cream), let it dry, then tape off every other parquet square. Paint each one a contrasting colour like black, olive or yellow. Once it's dry, peel off the tape, cover it with a couple of coats of varnish, and you've got a floor that looks like tile at a fraction of the cost.

Another idea for floors: worn-out hardwood gets a great lift from being whitewashed. It gives the room a clean, informal, seaside feel that looks even better as it wears.

You can paint anything, anywhere - all it takes is some hard work and a little imagination, to create a unique space without spending a fortune.

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