Beauty on a Small Budget

If you’ve been here before then you’ll know that I love to paint things and change them up. It’s sort of my favourite thing. If you’re just joining me for the first time today then, welcome! Paint has a way of making grungy things fresh and of making ugly things useful again. Around this time of year I really like to pick small projects that make a nice impact in the space. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to add some colour and function to your home without ripping a whole room apart for a reno.

You should consider a project too because there’s an incredible contest happening right now with CIL. All you need to do to enter the Beauty on a Small Budget contest is share a photo of your project via twitter, Instagram or Facebook (include the paint can in the image – CIL paint is sold exclusively at The Home Depot) with the hashtag #CILPremiumBeauty and you’ll be entered to win a two-hour home design consultation by a design influencer and $5,000 CDN in The Home Depot gift cards. Pretty sweet.

beforeWhen I found this tool box at Value Village I knew I hit the jackpot. It wasn’t old (there was a website printed on it) and it wasn’t beautiful. There was no pretty chippy patina, no history – this was a cheap marketing item that wasn’t very well constructed so it wasn’t particularly useful for lugging around heavy tools either. I knew I could fix all of it’s woes with some paint.

I really didn’t want to haul out tools and make this a big production, I just wanted to paint it and make it pretty and move on. I wasn’t sure what would happen with the black ink print on the end and normally I would sand it and use a stain blocking primer to deal with something like this but I threw caution to the wind and just painted. I used CIL’s Premium paint and primer in one – right on the unfinished, bare wood – and it worked like a charm! I did use an extra coat just to be sure the print was covered but I was pretty surprised to see that the whole piece came out smooth and lovely without the use of a stand alone primer.

toolbox makeover

Last year I made over some hand-me-down bar stools. I still love those and my kids sit on them every day. This year I wanted something bright and colourful in the kitchen. We have a lot of neutral colours on our main floor which I like, but going into the holidays means we can have fun with colour. I didn’t want traditional Christmas red however so I chose this beautiful wine / berry colour called “Plum Port.”

cil beauty contest

I plunked this tool box right on my kitchen counter. It’s a great spot to both display some vintage kitchen items I have collected AND store some of my baking items. The attachments for my stand mixer are awkward to store and always fall out of my cupboard. This keeps them handy yet contained and ready for action. We’re heading into cookie season so these things will get a lot of use in the weeks ahead. I’m pleased that it can handle my cutting boards and cook books too.

CIL beautyThis simple and inexpensive project makes a nice impact on my kitchen and is useful to boot. WIN! I can see myself re-purposing this at some point. It would be great filled with greens on the table as a centerpiece or maybe stocked with towels and bath salts? Oh great….now I’ll be on the hunt for another one. So many uses! I could also embellish it further with a stencil or maybe a bit of ribbon on the handle but for my kitchen application, the colour is more than enough visual impact.

cil beauty on a budget

Here’s my entry for the #CILPremiumBeauty contest. Wish me luck and good luck to you too!




*Thank you to CIL for sponsoring this post. As always, my opinions remain my own.



  1. I couldn’t love this any more than I do right now. When we went to Sisters Roadside Treasures I found an antique green tool box that I am obsessed with. I had some plants inside it and placed it on my counter in the summer, but right now I have mason jars in there and its empty. I wish I had two because I would use one for kids craft supplies, but its too cute to share it with the kids.

    • Yes, now I remember yours! It was very pretty. If you ever want to get rid of it……I might be able to find it a home 😉

    • I like it when I can actually use things. Before I buy anything I think about how I can use it in real life. Otherwise it’s just fluff and I don’t much care for fluff.

  2. I LOVE this. I need more things like this in my kitchen to hold all the STUFF that we seem to accumulate. Knowing that I can use this paint without a primer makes me even more likely to actually DO a DIY project.

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