Paint cabinet doors and put new hardware on to punch up the appearance.

stencils can accomplish a mural effect.

Other ways to change the look of a room in a hurry is to change the frame and mat of a favorite picture, replace a light fixture with something more interesting, or find a vase with character.

But where can you come up with frames, light fixtures, vases— or, for that matter, furniture— to create a desired look in your house and still stick to your budget?

Michael enjoys tracking down his finds at estate sales, auctions and thrift stores. Admittedly, it does require a bit of running around and sifting through a wide assortment of undesirables. Often, he isn’t even quite sure what he’s searching for, but when his eyes meet on that prize, he knows, “Oh, yes, that’ll be perfect. I can see that in my house.”

“It’s just like that,” he says. Like finding a hidden treasure.

Take the old lamp he discovered in the basement of the home of some people for whom he was doing work. It was sitting there, dirty, black and unwanted amidst other items of which the woman wanted to dispose. Michael could have it for $20.

Michael brought it home and carefully wiped the dirt away with water so as not to damage the finish. He dared not use anything abrasive.

In the end, under all the dirt was a beautiful Tiffany lamp with leaded glass and brass.

“I had it appraised for $450,” he says.

It’s one of those treasures he won’t discard.

Some don’t work

And yet, there are times when a piece he brings home simply does not fit in with the theme and style of his décor. When that happens, don’t force it, he says. “Get rid of it because it’s going to throw the rest of it off.”

First and foremost, you want to start with a theme, he says. And stick to that theme. Add to theme, style. Are you going for primitive? Traditional? Contemporary? If you’ve selected a Victorian style, that modern piece is going to ruin the mood. Give it to someone else. Or sell it in your next rummage sale.

Of course, some treasures are hiding right in your own home. An old bench, for instance, can be made new with a coat of paint or other finish.

Another simple tool to changing the look of a room is trim. Although moldings can be purchased in a wide variety of shapes, Michael likes to layer his own.

One couple grappled with a difficult decision.

continued from page 2

Should they buy new kitchen cupboards or be content with the ones they had? Admittedly, the cupboards were functional but not exciting. The doors were flat pieces of unadorned wood. And the dark color made the already-small kitchen look even smaller. They were also in rough shape.

Michael came up with an idea and saved the couple thousands of dollars they might have shelled out for new cupboards. Why not frame the cupboards with molding, apply light-colored paint to make the kitchen look bigger, and enhance them with hardware?

He took the cupboard

Turn to ideas /page 7

* Based


We are WPS