Home & Garden

Spring spruce up

A fresh coat of paint can really spruce up your kitchen cabinets. Photo: Amormino & Pucci / wikipedia

Spring is a great time to take on a home improvement project that you can do yourself. Painting a room, an accent wall, a piece of furniture, or cabinets is inexpensive but makes a big impact, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. For accent walls, choose a fun color or get creative and experiment with your own artistic faux finishing.

If you have a lot of mismatched furniture that you love, but the pieces don’t exactly work together, a quick paint job in a uniform color will yield a cohesive look instead of a collegiate aesthetic. Who doesn’t have a cool piece of furniture that was scored on the street when a neighbor was moving? This is how you can make it your own.


Popular now for its ease of application is chalk paint, a water-based paint that adheres to most any surface. Paint directly on old wood finishes, concrete, iron, stone, Formica, and more. This furniture paint can transform an old dresser or cabinetry without stripping, sanding, or priming — simply paint it right on. As another plus, chalk paint dries so quickly that you can usually start and finish a project in a couple of hours. For an authentic vintage look, finish your furniture piece with wax and dusting powders.


In addition to the chalk paint, lacquer or gloss finish spray paints are also an easy upgrade that you can complete in a day. Just make sure you are undertaking this project in a well-ventilated area, and wear a mask. Paints are available in a wide array of hues, allowing you to go subtle or step out of your comfort zone with something a bit more daring.

Pretty much anything can be refinished with a can of spray paint. Depending on your treasure, you may need a base coat. Spray base coats are widely available, making spray painting on many surfaces extremely simple.


Have you grown tired of your kitchen cabinets? Give them a fresh new look without the expense of refacing (or replacing) by painting them. Painting cabinets is one of the least expensive ways to update your kitchen — and it’s not as difficult as you may think.

Proper surface preparation: First, remove all doors, drawers, handles, and hardware. Wipe all surfaces with a clean rag saturated with mineral spirits to remove any surface contamination. You may need to do this twice if there is a heavy buildup of dirt or grease. Change rags frequently to avoid depositing dirt and grime back onto the cabinets.

Clean the surface: Wash the surface with equal parts household ammonia and water and rinse well with clean water. Allow the clean surface to dry completely.

Prime and paint: Prime the clean, dry surfaces. Choose a primer-sealer that will adhere to all cabinet surfaces — painted, polyurethaned, unfinished, Formica, plastic, metal, and glass — to form a sound base for the topcoat. Seal porous surfaces, such as new wood, and seal off any knots and sappy streaks so they won’t bleed through and ruin the paint job. Let the primer-sealer dry for about an hour, then apply two coats of finish paint. Hint: If you tint the primer toward the color of your finish paint, you can eliminate the second finish coat. Consider choosing an oil-base over a water-base finish paint for a harder, more stain-resistant, washable, and durable finish.

More paint options: Want to give your cabinets a little added pizzazz? Try a faux finish, antique finish, or stencil to create a unique and personalized look that is well worth the extra effort. Replacing cabinet hardware is another inexpensive way to give your freshly painted kitchen cabinets an extra-special look.

Painting is an inexpensive method of refreshing your living surroundings, so it is easy to “correct” your experiment. For the price of a can of paint you can transform your world — or fix an experiment gone bad. It’s a lot less expensive than therapy!

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Julia Strzesieski is the marketing coordinator at Cole Hardware and can be reached at [email protected].