Would you believe me if I told you I got a bathroom makeover for $45?
When we bought our beloved house, our bathroom looked like it had been preserved in a time capsule from the 1950s. It was beautifully maintained, but covered in pink tile and flowered wallpaper and had light fixtures that looked like something out of Graceland.
I asked my interior design whiz friend, Jimmy, for advice. He said, "I suggest a match and some lighter fluid. If the first match doesn't strike, you may need two matches."
Thanks, Jimmy.
Inspired by, I decided instead to embrace its retro tile, which is coming back into fashion. I took down the wallpaper and bought a can of pastel pink paint, which counter-intuitively grounded the tile and gave it a less shocking salmon hue.
I also removed the giant globes from the light fixture (which actually gives off great, very flattering light) and used a can of white spray paint to paint the base and the chains they were hanging from.
I didn't even take it down, I left it right in the ceiling, and left the chains in their little hooks, and held a piece of cardboard up to keep the paint from landing anywhere I didn't want it.
The result, in my opinion, looks fresh, simple and romantic (you be the judge-check out pictures at
Now, when I feel like shopping for housewares, I pick up a can of white paint and dig through my basement, the garbage or garage sales. Paint is like a makeover in a can. It's a cheap and easy way to transform things and make them look like brand new. It's especially helpful in achieving that glamorous, Hollywood regency style that is so in vogue right now.
One $30 gallon of paint helped me stock the baby's room with a gleaming new dresser, sidetable and toy box.
I had these god-awful rococo candlesticks I found in my dad's attic, complete with fake brass leaves, but a blast of white spray paint brought them into the 21st century and made them so pretty I could cry. I've done the same with late-baroque-style mirrors and picture frames with stunning results.
If you look for me in this space next week, you won't find me. I'll also disappear for a bit from the inside pages with my "Keeping You MoneySmart" tip of the day.
I'm due to have my second little girl Sept. 25, and so I will spend the next few months on maternity leave.
Please feel free to keep e-mailing questions, tips and story ideas while I'm gone. I will likely be sleep deprived when I return and will need all the help I can get!
email: or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow me at
A can of white paint can transform old items and make them look brand new