Spruce up your home with two basic colors: black and white

I love classic game shows.

One of my favorites is “Password.” It’s played with two contestants giving and receiving word clues.

Let’s try it!

Me: Dice.

Me: Piano keys.


Me: Zebras.


Me: Pandas.


Me: Black and white.


Me: Correct!


This being our second holiday season in a recession, perhaps you, like me, want to spruce up the house for guests but don’t have a lot of extra money. Paint can make a big impact with little out-of-pocket expense.

If you put the newspaper down, for just a second, and have a look around your house, I bet you will see something that could use a fresh coat of clean, white paint or something else that could use a modern lease on life with black paint.

And you probably already have cans of white and black paint in your garage.

If you need to restock, I recommend buying just a quart of each with some sponge-tipped brushes. That will get you on your way.


There never seems to be enough time during the holidays to get everything done. So don’t try to paint a whole room ... besides, white is too stark and black is too Goth. Instead, use little touches of each to freshen or sophisticate.

Use white to repaint doors, door frames and moldings. They are most likely white to begin with. Clean them off first, and then give them a fresh coat of paint.

Use black on a worn-out pieces of wood furniture or picture frames.

I gave some dated gold frames a modern look by painting them black. It took less money and time than driving to a store to buy new frames.

I also used black paint on a $5 table I picked up from the Fruita Thrift Shop. It had great “bones” but needed some love. It took me less than a half-an-hour to change that table’s look from trash pile to Pottery Barn.

A can of black, outdoor spray paint also added a few more seasons on to my old patio furniture.


My husband, “Secret Agent Man,” and I never agree on colors.

To avoid a fight, and to his chagrin, I paint the walls in our house when he is out of town. But he doesn’t flinch when I bring out black or white paint. He knows it will just be a touch-up and not a whole style change.

With black and white you don’t have to worry about matching or color coordinating.

Whatever the season, whatever the trend, black and white are mainstays of design.


Not me. My daughter, “Mini Me” is the “queen.”

I woke up one Saturday morning with the idea of painting her dingy off-white dressers a clean, bright white.

Mini Me helped by taking the handles off the drawers, which we later spray-painted silver (another cheap fix). I loved the change in the dressers so much that we painted her bed headboard white to match ... and then her bookshelf ... and then her toy box. By nightfall, her room was transformed by one can of leftover white paint.


If the bonus round has eluded you these past few months, make your own good fortune by making due with what you have.

Just take a look through what you’ve been storing in your garage, shed or work bench, perhaps all you’ll need will be there in black and white.


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