TWEAKS+inspiration : Paint Magic

Don't you love the before&after stories you see in decorating blogs and magazines? Paint seems like the quickest and most affordable way to go for a good before&after story. Here's a few fast changes I've done around our rooms. First up, this little alcove in our entry way was painted the wall color and didn't really stand out. A simple grid penciled out freehand led to a faux tile look that gives a bit of a Mediterranean vibe to the entry way.

Painting chairs is almost instant gratification. Our four made-in-Italy kitchen chairs were purchased for $20 each when the old Montgomery Ward was closing in Portland, OR about 30 years ago. When we bought them, they were already pretty beat up but P sprayed them glossy black and we recovered the seats in white. OK, not that practical but they looked nice. Now, it was time for a changed.

In a few hours, I sanded, primed and P sprayed the chairs a chalk-white finish (using Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint+Primer in flat white).

The next day, we recovered the seats with 100% hemp ($5 a yard at Discount Fabrics in Berkeley, CA). The chairs' chalky-white finish easily withstands daily handling. I'm hoping they look a bit more Mediterranean than '90s Italian right about now.

A few years later, it turned out that the hemp fabric didn't wear very well. I bought a remnant of black, sturdy Sunbrella fabric (Discount Fabrics again) and took the four chairs to an upholster who added new industrial padding as well as reupholstered for $25 each. Now, these ought to outlive me.

Our living room fireplace screen was screaming "1990" with all its shiny brass and brown wood handles but, darn it, it was still functional. A replacement would cost a lot more than we were willing to pay so paint was a quick solution.

Gray paint on the grill, matte silver textured spray paint on the glass screen trim and black flat paint on the handles. (Make sure all paint is designed for high heat.) While a new insert would be amazing, new paint does the trick for now.

Is "Paint Magic" one of your mantras? If not, try it out. Very soon, you'll have your own before&after stories that we'd all love to see. Gotta love Paint Magic.

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