home-contentment-3Today we move into another level of finding contentment with our homes. We’re going to paint away all the grime and sadness and pitiful-ness (yes, that’s probably totally a word). ((If you’re a renter, stay tuned. I have thoughts for you, too!))

{Welcome to our Home Contentment Series! If you’re just joining us today, you can find Part 1 (Clean It) and Part 2 (Declutter it) by clicking the titles. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by!}

I firmly believe that taking care of our homes radically improves our contentment with them. In fact, I believe this brings more contentment than walking into the nearest home store and walking out with a whole new kitchen/landscape/furniture set. The physical act of caring for our things connects us in a deeper way to what matters. I don’t have the foggiest idea of why this is, but I know it to be true. The more I tenderly look after what God has entrusted to me, the more I’m thankful for the resources I have, and discontentment vanishes like the trends we see on Pinterest.

I just repainted the kitchen this year, and my contentment with my home soared.
I just repainted the kitchen this year, and my contentment with my home soared.

So, let’s get to it. Today I’m going to convince you to break out the paint supplies and freshen up the surfaces in your house. Obviously it helps if you already own brushes, rollers, and have leftover paint from other projects. But if you don’t have these things and have no money to spend on them, try borrowing them from friends. Or possibly even your church. I know our congregation keeps all kinds of supplies on hand, and they’re barely touched for most of the year. You can even ask friends and family if they have extra paint to share with you. Many a paint project only requires part of a gallon, and most homeowners would be glad to see their leftovers put to good use.

It never hurts to ask, is all I’m saying.

Once you’ve located your supplies, here are the things to care for:

  • Door and window trim (inside and out): The trim in our homes takes a beating every single day. Take a close look at your windows and doors and begin to repaint the most damaged areas. If you have random colors all over, I highly suggest picking one color (like a white semi-gloss) and unifying the whole house. If you have stained trim, then you might need to lightly sand it and polyurethane it.
  • Baseboards: I don’t know what’s harder on the baseboards– all those shoes getting kicked off or the marks the vacuum leaves when I get too close. But I know the baseboards in most of our rooms could really do with a nice touch up. Your house might be the same.
  • Scuffed and dirty walls: Wait! Before you bust out the drop cloth, try a Magic Eraser for the scuff marks and dirty spots. Those little miracle workers have saved me a ton of time by just erasing the grime. If the Eraser doesn’t work, then evaluate– do you have to do the entire room? You might get away with just a wall or two. However, I do suggest painting the entire wall over. Trying to touch up rarely looks right, but I’ve successfully painted a whole wall and had it blend right into the adjoining wall with no problem.
  • The doors: Again, they get pretty beaten up. A fresh coat of paint will make the whole room seem glorious.

    The upper half of these walls used to be a dark khaki color, and I hated it. So I finally took some leftover paint and just freshened it back up. So much better!
    The upper half of these walls used to be a dark khaki color, and I hated it. So I finally took some leftover paint and just freshened it back up. So much better!
  • Cabinets in the kitchen and bath: This is advanced, ninja level painting right here. But if your house is looking dumpy and sad, a fresh coat of cabinet paint might perk things right back up. (Here’s a blog post from my own kitchen.) My happiness with our house doubled as soon as I painted our kitchen, I promise you. It was totally worth a lost weekend.
  • The home’s exterior: I would enjoy painting the whole exterior of a house as much as I would enjoy being slowly eaten by sharks. I thank the Lord often for vinyl siding. Go out and really look at your house. It might be time for a paint job, and it might also be the time to call in favors from friends and family. If you have vinyl siding, you might need to rent a pressure washer and get all the mold and dirt off.

But what if you’re a renter?

Are you doomed to scuffed and gross walls? No! Of course, I don’t know your landlord, and that relationship will be up to you to evaluate. But I have been a landlord before, and I will straight up tell you that if our tenant had called and asked to paint to keep things looking nice, I would have cheerfully purchased all the paint and supplies for her. I would have gone over there and worked with her!

This is exactly the face I would have made if my tenant had asked to paint a wall a decent color.
This is exactly the face I would have made if my tenant had asked to paint a wall a decent color.

Being a landlord is a horrible, awful, merciless job. Knowing a renter is taking the initiative to care for our property is a HUGE bonus, and you might be surprised how delighted your landlord is about this idea. You will probably have to live with a neutral paint or agree to paint it back when you move out, but it never hurts to ask.

If you’re pretty sure your landlord is from the fiery land below, then you might need to use a little subterfuge. Go ahead and paint, (blogger not responsible if this backfires) but do your best to match the colors in the rental already. If the colors are mustard yellow and hot pink, combined with some festive wallpaper from 1980, then I highly suggest you go blind or find a new rental. Or threaten to find one if your landlord won’t let you repaint to something less hideous.

May the painting fairies be with you. May your brush bring joy and gladness as the new paint chases away your sadness.

And may you join us for our next installment in the Home Contentment Series. We’re going to move the furniture!

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