What a difference some paint makes/24 little ounces/*Sees cheap paint and pounces*
Okay, I was going to do more of the song, but the only other lines I could come up with were “Yesterday it was blue, dear/Today it’s much more ‘you,’ dear/Its homely days are through, dear.”
And since the song is only an intro to my real post, I’m not putting “Baby Got Back” parody-level energy into it.
If I’m being honest
I could claim that this post is a DIY inspiration piece. Which I suppose it is to some extent. But really I just want to brag about how well some of my frugal decor upgrades turned out.
While wall-painting is not my forte (something I inevitably forget until I’ve gone too far to turn back) my ability to beautify smaller stuff ain’t half bad.
So yeah, this is a brag post. But I do hope that it also serves to remind you how easily you can transform something with a bit of paint. Well, that and (if you’re anything like me) some sweat and a fair amount of cursing.
I’ve never liked the main bathroom’s towel bars.
First of all, one of them sat directly over the toilet. Why???
Second, and more importantly, they were chrome. I don’t like chrome, especially when it highlights just how utilitarian a piece is. (Yeah, that’s right towel bars: Ya basic!)
Unfortunately, I discovered that finding affordable, non-ugly replacement towel bars was an endeavor more suited to a cyrptozoologist than myself. (And I’m pretty sure even those guys wouldn’t believe such a thing existed.)
I decided I’d have to fix the ones we already had.
There was some satin nickel spray paint left over from fixing up the stools — a project I’ll cover in one of my next couple of posts — so I decided to apply that and see how it turned out.
It might be a subtle difference to most people, but it was huge for me. I mean, I still didn’t love the bars, but at least they weren’t glaringly shiny.
Quick aside: This spray paint is amazing, especially given the $3 price tag. Don’t let its ridiculously shiny cap fool you. You get that nice satin glow that you see above.
The only caveat is that the paint may scratch kind of easily. I say “may” because my instance was metal on metal, which would probably mar even the hardiest stuff. Still, just to be safe I plan on extra coats and a sealant the next time I use it.
Don’t like it? Put a ring on it
After all that, I finally realized that we don’t actually need towel bars at all.
We have our own bathroom, so there are only towels to dry when Mom comes to visit. Even then, she throws them over the shower curtain rod to dry.
So basically those towel bars get used to hold hand towels — function easily fulfilled by a towel ring.
I found one at Goodwill for just $2.99. Of course, it was ugly: plasticky with a cheap faux-brass finish.
Luckily we still had silver spray paint left, which transformed the piece nicely:
Looks far better, no? It still feels pretty lightweight. But really, who’s going to be touching it? Guests will only be using the towel on the ring. If any of them prod and judge our towel ring, then they’ve got their own issues to worry about.
My jewelry has been a mess for ages. All I had was an earring tree, so I had to drape my necklaces around that. This meant they inevitably got hopelessly tangled — both with the earrings and one another.
I was at the thrift store on my birthday (because that’s how I roll) and I found a great jewelry organizer.
And yes, a few days later I realized it’s actually meant for keys. But who cares? It had a shelf for my earring tree and a mirror so I wouldn’t have to duck into the bathroom to check my selection. Plus it was $5.
Mind you, the low price was due to a multitude of nicks and dings. But that’s why God invented wood-filler.
Since these were just dings, I didn’t have to put too much filler in any one spot, which means the material dried relatively quickly. About two hours later I was able to sand off the excess and start painting.
I decided to go with a splash of color rather than keeping it a somber black. So I grabbed the “oops”/orphan paint that I used to rehab the end table.
That sound you hear is me patting myself on the back.
The big updated-bathroom reveal is still a ways off. But I can show off a couple of key fixtures.
I found this mirror in a thrift store for $12:
It was really quite lovely for normal purposes. But let’s face it, Tim’s and my purposes are rarely normal.
The bathroom’s main colors are red and black. And if you look very closely you’ll notice that this mirror has neither color in it.
Luckily, I had just the paint to fix that!
We had a sample jar of the red we first tried on the bathroom walls. While not right for the walls, it was perfect for this purpose. I also still have black paint from when I redid the bathroom cabinet and Tim’s dresser.
Now I just needed an idea — one that came to me quickly. I wanted the outer row to be black with red highlights and the inner one to be red with black highlights. Which would have looked great… If it had worked.
It started off well.
I taped it up so that just the outer row/square was showing and painted that black. Easy enough.
But then I started on the inner row (taped over in the pic above) and everything went off the rails.
The red didn’t want to stay in the lines. By which I mean that my essential tremor didn’t mesh well with the sponge brush I tried to use.
I was able to get that (sort of) under control, but then I had to do the highlights and made some mistakes. So then I tried to just go with the flow, and I ended up being far, far too heavy-handed with the red.
The result, while actually kind of cool, was far too red to go up on a red wall:
I didn’t want to repaint the whole thing, so I decided to just take some black and tone it down. Aaaaand guess who went too heavy with the black?
I grabbed a rag and used my index finger to rub off some of the mercifully still-damp paint. My index finger may no longer have a print, but on the bright side, it created a nifty distressed look:
I love it!
Now for the second of the bathroom’s upgraded fixtures…
Your love is like a bad medicine cabinet
I’m pretty sure the mirror in the main bathroom was original to the house. I disliked it thoroughly, with the except of a cool little slider cabinet at the bottom. I think it’s the bubbled glass.
So I decided to cut the cabinet out from the mirror’s frame and try to save it for the bathroom’s new look.
The frame was easy enough to paint black, but I didn’t want to use opaque paint on the doors. Luckily, there is now such a thing as stained glass spray paint. Even more luckily, it comes in a lovely cranberry red.
Perfect! Well… Not perfect per se.
See, there are still jagged pieces of metal at the top of each corner. I’m going to dig around for my pliers to see if I can bend them down into something safer.
First of all, the bathroom theme (it’ll be revealed along with the new look) is definitely kind of offbeat and rough. Second, it’s not like guests will be reaching up there.
And most importantly, people should know better than to expect perfection from us.
What do you guys think? Any paint (or other improvement) projects you want to brag about?