Interior Designer Patricia McDonald, who worked on Sunset Magazine's Idea House in Alamo, says she has used paint creatively on cloth upholstery, tables and cabinets to give homes a fresh ambiance.
"I believe you don't have to have a lot of money to have a great-looking place. Color comes in handy," she said.
McDonald has used two contrasting paints - glossy and flat - to add depth and contrast to a dull kitchen.
"It brings a sparkle to the room," she said.
Small paint projects are easy and accessible even for amateur painters, said Mike Bucci, a painting expert and inventor of the Painter's Pyramid.
"Paint is a versatile and speedy tool for the do-it-yourselfer looking to update a room," he said.
Bucci offers the following suggestions for ways to use paint to quickly freshen a room's look - without ever touching brush to the walls:
"Light-hued cabinets in top-quality woods are very much in vogue for kitchen updates," Bucci says.
Older kitchens, however, may have dark cabinets made of laminate-type materials that can't be refinished in a lighter tone. This project can be completed in a single day by removing the doors, painting both sides in a light, appealing color, using the Painter's Pyramids to paint all sides without waiting for the first side to dry, then reinstalling the doors after the paint has dried.
To finish the new look, replace dated hardware with more modern styles.
If grungy grout and outdated colors are dragging down the appeal of your ceramic tile, paint can reinvigorate the look of your bathroom. "Special paints are available that are specifically made for ceramic tile," Bucci points out. "They are waterproof and come in today's top designer colors."
Also, he adds, don't overlook the impact the bathroom mirror can have on the room's mood. If your current vanity mirror is just a slab of glass, adding a decorative, painted frame is a quick and easy way to impart elegance and pizzazz.
Tired bathroom cabinets can also benefit from a coat of paint, changing the entire look of your vanity without the expense of replacing countertops. For bathroom cabinets, apply the same painting process you would use in the kitchen.
* Living areas
Next, look at the furniture in your living areas. Often, homeowners find refinishing scuffed or worn wooden furniture is too laborious. Painting it, however, can be much simpler, and can create a big impact on a room's feeling of freshness. Painter's Pyramids are sturdy enough to hold large pieces of furniture while allowing easy access to the bottom edges of the furniture.
Don't forget the room's trim as well, from woodwork around doorways to the toe molding and baseboards. Repainting trim is less time-consuming than repainting walls, and freshening the design elements that anchor and crown your room can make the whole room look new, even if you do nothing else.
* Art projects
Finally, dress up your room's color with fresh art projects. Repainting or refinishing the frame on your favorite piece of art can punch up the artwork's impact on the room. And adding your own homemade handicrafts, such as a ceramic vase or decorative platter, imparts your personal style to the room.
Speed the painting process and cut cleanup time by perching your painting project on a Painter's Pyramid. The durable plastic pyramids are specially designed with nonstick points that make minimal contact with the piece you are painting. This allows you to finish the project without waiting for part of it to dry before you can handle it. To learn more or order, visit www.painterspyramid.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
Natalie O'Neill contributed to this story.