Far be it from me to give home decorating advice. There are plenty of experts out there, as well as people like my mom, who know exactly what they’re doing and can work miracles with MacGyver-like skills for interior design. I can put a room together, and it’s comfortable, but my mom has a sense for what works like no one else I know. I didn’t inherit that skill.
Still, I’ve been working on a couple of projects lately, and two simple changes have updated portions of my home so dramatically I can’t wait to go into those rooms. What did I do? Paint — and update cabinet knobs.
The reality for many of us is we’re forced to work with elements we can’t afford to change — in my case, I can’t renovate the incredibly outdated bathroom. First, I’m renting, and second, even if I owned this home, it’s expensive. So allow me to present some ideas you won’t find in a decorating magazine, since few of them would ever allow some of this to be seen in print as part of the updated work.
When I first moved into my new townhome, my landlord and I both looked at the bathrooms with great dismay (downstairs full bath, upstairs half). They have that faux marble gold-sparkle countertop, and there isn’t much I can do about that. I hear there’s some sort of epoxy you can apply, but that takes considerable skill and patience. I have neither for that job.
The cabinets were probably last painted when the home was built, more than 30 years ago. White. Worn, dirty white. The hardware was also likely original to the home, therefore, pretty dated. I had no plans to write this blog post when I started or I would have taken “before” pictures, but if your bathroom has the same problem, no pictures are necessary. You know what I’m talking about.
So I took it upon myself to do something I’ve rarely done before. I painted the cabinets. I chose an attractive taupe color, but let me say right here: Get samples. What looks like the perfect taupe at Home Depot ends up pink on the cabinets, or possibly an ill green. I saw both.
I surprised myself by picking out some white ceramic rose-shaped cabinet knobs. I’m not typically that girly in my decorating, but these are classy, and as it turns out, I had some coordinating rose “accessories” I’m trying out in there. It looks kind of nice.
I was fortunate that my landlord had replaced the faucets with some attractive brushed-nickle pieces, and I almost chose a grey to play up that feature, but for me, the taupe worked better. In the downstairs bathroom my shower curtain is a vintage travel-postcard design in grey and taupe, and I have brushed-nickle accessories that do coordinate with the faucets. The walls are painted a light, fun blue, so I got dark, smoky blue towels to play off of that as well as add an anchor color to the room. And just last night I found vintage travel-postcard cabinet knobs that coordinate perfectly with the shower curtain. Yippee!
Now, you’d really have to see a before shot of this armoire to fully appreciate just how bad it was. Not only was the finishing job horrid, but the cats liked to climb up the side so they could survey the room from on high. That resulted in deep scratches all along the side, and I debated even keeping this piece. But I need it.
Again, I chose a taupe, and I’m loving the result. And look at those cabinet knobs!!!!! Since I painted the interior a sort of dusty blue, that blue edging on the knobs helps make these perfect. This armoire is currently my “linen closet.”
This last piece I finished some twenty years ago, which likely makes the dark green stain outdated. But I’m not in the mood to paint it, nor do I have any idea what color I would choose. Still, these knobs do a fair job of updating the little three-drawer dresser. What’s kind of funny is the tan color in the knobs works with those spots where the dresser is scratched down to the raw wood — that same tan color.
So if you’re looking for a simple update to some outdated furniture, or bathroom cabinets, paint and new hardware will do wonders. Try it! And it’s remarkably inexpensive as well.