House Tweaking: Paint and Polish

House Tweaking: Paint and Polish

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of house tweaking, by which I mean relatively small home improvement projects that I can finish in a weekend, or even just a few minutes. Big, dramatic makeovers are satisfying, but expensive and time-consuming, so these are like little snacks between the meals. Just like snacks, though, they can really add up to make a huge difference. So I thought I’d share some of the tweaks I’ve made to our upstairs with a bit of paint and polish. Here’s part of the space after the tweaks:

Lounge with hanging rattan chair and plants. #houseplants #plants

And here’s the before:


I switched out the curtains, and, most importantly, gave the walls a fresh coat of white paint to replace the dingy light yellow. It might not look THAT different, but it makes a humongous difference to the room in person. It feels so much more bright and fresh.

Here’s another before shot:


And the after:

The white paint really helps bounce light around the space. Considering that it only has those two windows at one end of the room, it needs all of the help with light it can get. (And so do I–this space is really tricky to photograph.)

Here are the real estate photos of the whole space before we bought the house:

Obviously those are from before I added the faux fireplace, too. Here it is now:

Attic room after paint


This is a room tweak, not a makeover, because this room is far from done. It’s still pretty bare, and needs more furniture and art. I can’t decide where to put that piece of art that’s currently on the floor. I think it would fit the wall better on the right, but then it’ll be behind the column. Those walls are the only two choices, because the rest are too small or short.

To be honest, at this point this room isn’t that useful because of that big column, which is our basement furnace vent. Since we bought our house, we’ve left this room mostly empty, except for the plants, cat litter boxes, and orphaned furniture that accumulated here. Someday we’ll get rid of the chimney, and maybe turn this space into a nice lounge. At least now it looks better, and would be a comfy spot to hang out and read a book.

Which brings me to another aspect of this tweak, this lovely vintage Danish modern rocking chair:

Vintage Danish rocking chair

It has a special place in my heart, because it used to belong to my grandparents. They had several beautiful pieces of Danish midcentury modern furniture, and once my grandma told me that they didn’t pick it out, my grandpa’s brother, who was a corporate art buyer, picked it all out for them in the ’50s or ’60s. They must have liked it, though, because they brought it with them from Michigan to Arizona when they moved there in the ’90s. When I got it in January, I realized that the dry Arizona climate hadn’t done it any favors. The wood was totally parched.

So first I tried some polish. It looked great, for about a week. And then the wood went back to looking like this.chair before

Then I remembered that a vintage furniture dealer had advised me to use Howard Restore-A-Finish on some other furniture, so I figured I’d give it a try on this chair. And it was like magic.

You just wipe it on, then wipe it off.

SO much better, and it seems like it’s stable, and not drying back out. Amazing for a 5-minute fix, so I thought I should definitely share the info.

Right after I got the chair, I thought I might reupholster it, but the original mustard upholstery has really grown on me. It needs new foam, though. Have you ever replaced furniture foam? I haven’t, so I need to do some upholstery research to see whether I can do it myself. Or do you think I should I just leave well enough alone?


Paint – Benjamin Moore Regal in eggshell “Chantilly Lace.”
Curtains – Love these and kind of want to replace all of my other sheer curtains with these.
Faux fireplace details
Hand sconce light fixture tutorial
Furniture finish restorer

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6 thoughts on “House Tweaking: Paint and Polish

  1. Small fixes make a big difference and somehow finish the room’s look. I have tried to do the same lately, small DIY projects instead of huge furniture makeovers. Maybe when summer comes, and longer days, it is time again to take bigger challenges.

    1. Definitely summer is the best for big DIY projects here, too, but it sounds like neither of us can handle having to wait that long to do projects 🙂

  2. We bought foam at the fabric store for a chair. They recommend using an electric knife to cut it but it was still hard to cut.

    1. Oh yeah, cutting that stuff is tricky! I bought some pre-cut for a cushion I made, but big scissors did the job for another project.

  3. Wow, you give me white wall envy. I totally agree with you, it’s sometimes the little things that change up a whole room. In our house, since we cannot paint the walls, we play with decor. And last summer, when I took all the plants outside to clean and repot them, I realized that they were the detail that put the room together. It looked so empty without them!

    As for that wood finish, the result is unbelievable! You chair looks like new!

    1. I spent most of my life not being able to paint walls, so I totally feel you with that, Chloe. But it sounds like you are making the best of it. Plants are always a good idea!

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