Aging in Place

Budget-wise Spring Spruce-up

I am not sure if spring is really ever going to get to Southeast Idaho but it is time for some sprucing up anyway!  With proper preparation, the mundane and blah can become something fun and exciting.  I am attaching photos of a curio cabinet that I picked up at Shopko a couple years ago for a song.  It was on clearance (my favorite place to scout) and required assembly.  Brought it home, assembled it and put it in my dining area.  I loved the curved legs, the mirrored back and light- didn’t like the color but lived with it.


After "living" with the color I decided a couple weeks ago that it needed to be changed to a color I liked and that would look great in my dining area.  Since I want my house to always look light and welcoming, I chose to go with a lighter color on the cabinet.  The cabinet came finished in a medium stain.  I didn’t want to have to sand and refinish the wood so I chose to paint.  Because I wanted the piece to last, the stain had to be covered with a basecoat that would adhere to the finish already on there so I chose to use Kilz.  Kilz is a great basecoat and allows you to paint over something that has a finish. 

First things first- I removed everything in the cabinet and loaded them in the dishwasher.  This way, everything was going to be sparkly clean when I put them back into the curio cabinet!  I removed the existing glass shelves and the glass in the doors and side panels.  I then taped cardboard and newspaper over the mirrored back.  That way, the mirror was protected and I could be somewhat messy with the paint and not have to worry about it getting on the mirrored glass.  (I want to suggest cleaning the glass panels at this point too so that when you reassemble everything is nice and clean).  I would also recommend taping over any light sockets with painters tape so that paint doesn’t get in the socket.  I also placed tape over the handles so I don’t have to remove paint later.

Next up- take the curio outside if possible or put it in a place you can access it from all sides without having to manipulate it.  Here is where the Kilz basecoat comes in- paint away!  Coat the whole thing with the Kilz and let it dry thoroughly.  Do the inside and the outside of the cabinet getting into all of the little nitty-gritty places.  Apply a smooth coat so the finished cabinet looks smooth and professionally done.  Allow the cabinet to dry.  A hint here is to feel the paint- if it is cool to the touch, it is not dry!  The surface of the paint may be dry to the touch but it is not fully dry until the paint is at room temperature.  Paint actually takes weeks to fully cure but for our purposes, make sure the paint is room temperature to the touch.

Here are some budget tips- visit your local stores where you buy paint and look for their “oops” paint or their errors, miss-matches, etc.  This is a great way to pick-up paint that you can use on little projects at a huge cost savings.  I have saved an unbelievable amount of money over the years purchasing paint this way.  I also suggest you not be afraid to mix your colors.  If you have a basic understanding of color you can mix to get colors you like.  You can pick up a small size of a light color and mix it into darker colors.  Always remember paint looks darker when it is painted.  If you find a color you really like and want to use it on other things- take the color to a paint store and have them match it BEFORE you run out of the paint.  This is imperative!


When the base paint is dry, apply the paint.  I am an advocate of painting with satin, semi-gloss or gloss paint.  These have all performed well for me and have the added bonus of being a little tougher in the wear and tear department.  Flat marks easily and is not as durable.  Give your piece time to dry before reassembling.  I would recommend at least 24 hours.  Add a couple of your spring items at the front and voila! You have a “new” piece of furniture! 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to E-mail me at


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