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50 DecorBook Ideas : 2. Paint Magic

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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 couple of fast changes I've done around here.

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 kitchen chairs, made in Italy, were purchased for $20 each as the old Montgomery Ward was closing in Portland, OR.  We had lived with them in glossy black for years but it was time for a change.

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

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

One more quick weekend solution to something that was really bugging 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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  • That centerpiece was gorgeous – generously stuffed with lots of Easter Lilies and yellow tulips in a rustic basket. Keep those ideas coming!

    Kathleen on
  • Wow Kathleen, You’ve been very busy at home and the alcove looks gorgeous. I love the fresh look with the chairs and fireplace too. My biggest effort this Easter was my centerpiece and dinner for 8. Everyone has gone home, the kitchen is clean we we are relaxing – Cheers!

    R. Rebecca on
  • i like the idea of painting the fireplace screen. We just might get some tips from you.

    Gary Snow on
  • II love all of your inexpensive ideas
    Better than all of the magazines that I get keep them coming I know you have more ideas than you can ever accomplish

    Rah on

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