Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Reclaim your home: The quick fix

Local interior designer and mom Sara Eizen offers fast, easy ways to spruce up your home.

It's summer. The sun is shining. The kids are itching for family fun. You're ready for some play time, too, but you also want to give the house a little love. Enter the quick fix!

Here are some of my favorite ways to make a noticeable impact on your interior while still making the most of summer days.


Repurpose. Paint. Repeat.

Furniture shopping on a bright summer day with amped-up kids in tow? I don't think so. My solution: learn to see the potential in pieces you already have. A fresh, fun coat of paint or a few slightly technical tweaks can transform something old and boring into just the kind of statement piece you need.

This idea may seem a little tricky but the concept can be applied in many ways. Here, duplicate coffee tables have been stacked (and carefully secured) and painted fire engine red. The result: a creative shelving unit with bonus storage drawers that makes a bold, bright impact.



Photo: Camilla at Home

Have a lovely old armoire (or any kind of cabinet) that's seen better days? Remove broken drawers and/or doors and have fun with your choice of paint.



Photo: The Cottage Market

Who would have guessed that this tired old sideboard could have a second life? Create a new entertainment center in a jiffy!



Photo: The Homes I Have Made

Project camouflage

Sometimes you just want to hide a mess. Whether it's the ubiquitous tangle of cords or the inside of a not-so-pretty space, the best solution may be to get it out of sight.

I haven't been to a single home that doesn't have at least one router or cable box and even bedrooms are crowded with cords these days. I just love the idea of transforming a pretty box into stow-away space that doubles as tidy storage.



Photo: Apartment Therapy

Similarly, no one wants to air their dirty laundry. With some minor installation assistance (a handyperson for hire will do), transform existing cabinets into pull-out drawers for stashing baskets. For a really quick fix, just remove cabinet drawers and apply some fresh paint for easy-to-access yet attractive laundry storage.

pull out laundry bins.jpg

Photo: Sunny Side Up

There are few things better than a cozy fire on a damp winter night. But in the summer, fireplaces can look rather dark and foreboding and be a magnet for restless young hands looking for a fresh mess. This cute DIY firescreen (instructions here) takes care of both and is easily assembled with wood slices, plywood, paint and glue or nail gun. It slides in and out as needed and creates a cohesive, protective cover when in place.



Photo: Pepper Design Blog

Spice it up

By now you know how I feel about a fresh coat of paint. Easy and oh so effective for creating a new look! Overlays, one of my latest obsessions, takes fresh paint to a whole new level.

Overlays are decorative panels that add interest and texture to just about any piece of furniture, including mirrors. They come in a huge variety of styles and colors and are easy to apply and update. The brilliant people at have even developed styles for specific lines of furniture, including IKEA. Such a fun, creative way to perk up an existing piece!



Photo: O'verlays

Feeling up to something a little more DIY? Check out the fun you can have with steel wool and painter's tape. Simply mark off a pattern using the tape and gently scrub the surface with steel wool to remove the varnish. Leave it as is for a retro-rough look or finish with some contrasting paint. See the full instructions here.


Steelwool Coffee Table.jpg

Photo: Creating Really Awesome Free Things

If you're thinking it is time to update the kitchen but want to go light on the budget, give cupboard doors a face lift with a few carefully placed pieces of plywood. Finish the seams, sand, and paint! The inspiration below has complete instructions here.


Cupboard Door Update.jpg

Photo: Country Woman Magazine

Things are finally starting to look up around your home! But speaking of looking up, in what kind of shape is the ceiling fan? Covered in cobwebs from the long winter? Chipped or maybe a little rusty? A few strips of washi tape may be just the quick fix you need. This decorative tape comes in a variety of colors and patterns and removes easily when you are ready to change out the design.



Photo: Pinterest

First and foremost, summer should be all about fun. So have fun with these and other perk-up projects around the house. Get your kids involved and make home decorating a creative family affair. Chances are good they may have ideas or inspiration you never even considered!


Sara Eizen is a Seattle-based interior designer and home organizer with a passion for helping busy families reclaim style and space in their homes on any budget. In a bi-weekly column for Seattle's Child, Sara shares creative, fun, affordable tips and tricks for clearing clutter, sprucing up rooms with minimal effort, creating systems that simplify family life, and much more.