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Are You A Sentimental Decorator?

August 18, 2023

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Are you a sentimental decorator?

Did you ever get attached to a piece of home decor and have a hard time giving it away?

Even though it no longer really goes in your home?

Pair Of Rooster Paintings

You still love it, because it is yours.

You've lived together for years. Once upon a time you picked it out in the store and had to have it.

But today...well, today, you'd think it was nice, but it probably wouldn't come to the register with you.

Well, this weekend, that was me.

Earlier this year, when my husband painted the kitchen, he took everything off the walls, including the roosters that have hung over refrigerator since 2003, when our addition was completed.

White/ Bisque  cottage style kitchen with red accents and wooden island

The rooster paintings, I bought for $24.99 each at HomeGoods way back when.

For months they've been gathering dust in a corner of the living room. Waiting to find out their fate.

I loved them, but enough to put them back on the wall for another few decades? I wasn't sure. 

It was a tough decision, because I'm kind of a rooster junkie.
They were so sweet, but their frames were too light and too clean French Country for my decidedly more earthy, rustic kitchen aesthetic.

I craved darker wood tones, aged and vintage looking pieces. Even though these barnyard gentlemen were old, they were still too bright and too fresh.

And that little bit of gold around the frame was just not for me.

So with a heavy heart, I decided they needed to go.

HomeGoods Price Tag

But as soon as I put them in the donate pile, my sentimental stomach said nope and I pulled them right out.

Instead, I decided to give them an Exquisitely Unremarkable makeover. One that would be more in keeping with my current kitchen style. 

One that would give them a warmer look.

And one that wouldn't take me more than 30 minutes to complete.

Quick, easy and brand new.

A brand new look at least.

For my very old, beloved roosters.


Updating Old Wood Artwork Frames

Keep in mind that you can update old frames with paint, too. You don't have to stick with wood stain. Color can be brilliant and really transform a wooden frame.

Ok, so first things first, I had to cover my kitchen island with paper, since my kitchen doubles as my craft room.

Prepping Wood Frames For Stain
Next up, I wiped the frames down with a little vinegar and water mixture and a damp rag. It's my go to cleaner.

There was a tiny bit of grease build up on the top of one of the frames since it was closer to the stove area, but it was nothing the vinegar couldn't cut through.

When the wood was dry, I got to work by covering the edges of each rooster with painter's tape to protect the artwork.

Using Painter's Tape To Protect Artwork

I thought about using stain to cover the wood, like I did with my fireplace mantel, but I didn't have the proper color in either. I wanted the frames to match color of my kitchen table, island, plate rack and pine server.

I didn't need an exact match, they don't even all match each other, but the warm tones are the same. There's a bit of red, surprise, surprise, in their browns.

I wanted it to carry up to the wall above the fridge.

So instead, I decided to use a paint brush and cover the frames with a brown antiquing gel. The same antiquing gel I used to make my towel hanger in the bathroom.

Staining Over A Finished Picture Frame

It took two coats, with a decent amount of drying time in between each one, to get the right amount of coverage.

The gel was really slow to set, so I put them outside for several hours outside in warmth to cure completely. 

Later that evening, I very gently removed the tape.

Removing Blue Painter's Tape From Painting

To reveal two completely lovely, dark wood picture frames.

Staining White Frames Darker Wood

That look perfect hanging over my refrigerator.

Back home where they belong.

Wood Tones In A White Kitchen

Adding a pop of warmth above that cold appliance.

And making this sentimental girl smile every time I look up.


Update Old Artwork Frames In Minutes

What are your sentimental favorites?

Happy Upcycling, Friends!
Kim Signature

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  1. Yes! If it tugs really hard at your heartstrings, find a way to make it fit in with your evolved style. I’ve refinished, recovered, painted, added on, subtracted or even created an entirely new use for an item became I just couldn’t let it go. And it makes my heart happy to have those old items that I cherish still with me after so many years of service.

    1. I love that! I feel the same way. I love being able to hold onto to a beloved item and with a little imagination and DIY it's totally possible. Glad to hear I'm not alone!!

  2. Hi Kim! Yes, I am and I can't tell you how many times I have done the very same thing--set aside something to donate and then decided to give it a makeover. It brings me joy to give something new life and your updated frames look fabulous!

    1. In the box, out of the box...happens here all the time, Cecilia. Makeover makeover are some of my favorite projects, too!

  3. Something simple as paint (or paint gel!) can make all the difference in the world! I am all about repurposing, updating, and makeovers. I do confess to hold great sentimental value to things that no one else probably would. My home is an eclectic mixture of many things! And my garden too - ha! :)

    1. Eclectic is the best, Marilyn, especially in the garden!

  4. Finding places for our treasures can be difficult, but giving them away can be more so! I'm having to deal with the possibility of getting rid of my long wood antique store sign valances. Too heavy to hang without screws in my new "command hooks only" apartment I'm moving to in Michigan in Sept. --- Hey! no one said they had to remain valances!! I can disassemble them and just keep the sign boards! Heavy command hooks in 3 or 4 places should do the trick. Brilliant! Thanks for the brainstorming.

    Now the roosters. I do like the frames a lot better! Trouble is, the pictures appear to have faded and lost some of their color. Maybe a coffee wash to bring the background closer to the color of the frames? Or better yet, do a little color-by-number over the existing pictures, using watered down craft paint? (Because I know you like to do c-b-n's.) I've done that on 30 year old prints, and it's very forgiving, but ups the color tremendously.

    1. Good luck with your move! Michigan, huh? Much cooler for sure. Thanks for the rooster painting tip. I'll have to give it a try and bring those birds back to life!!

  5. Glad you found a way to keep those rooster prints. The frames look so updated and really pop off the wall. I had big ceramic rooster way back when up on my soffits above in the kitchen. I loved my collection and I had a hard time letting go of them. We were moving and downsizing so they had to go. No room for them in the new place. It was sad to have to let them go. I hope they found good homes after I donated them. It is funny how you get attached to certain things. Have a good Friday and good weekend. Hugs. Kris

    1. Thanks Kris!! It is funny how we get attached to certain things isn't it? I'm sure someone was thrilled to get those roosters. I don't know why they're so popular, but they seem to be highly sought after decor. I'm just glad I was able to make mine work in the kitchen. I hope you have a great new week!! xo

  6. Easiest transformation there is! I paint my frames all the time! I love where you put them

    1. I agree, Mary!! New frames are gorgeous...but they can be so expensive and this is the easiest way to get a new look.

  7. The roosters look very happy in their updated frames. Over the years, I've kept/updated some things and let others go. I have some regret there, but I can always find new treasures, right?

    1. Thanks Ann! I adore the new look. They really warm up that space and draw your eye up to the top of that high ceiling.

  8. Kim, I love the way the frames look now with the new paint. I like those chickens and they look perfect in your beautiful kitchen! Julie’s Creative Lifestyle

    1. Thanks Julie! I've always loved those roosters, I think I would've missed them up there. Glad I found a way to make them work.

  9. These turned out fabulous!! I’m so glad you kept them. I also have roosters (decor) and when I read you “tossed” them, I thought awwwwww…. It’s amazing how good they look. I just love your postings! They are easy to read, short and to the point and not too many ads popping up everywhere. I know web pages need those ads for $$$ but some get ridiculous! I was in one earlier today and the durn ads kept popping up over what I was trying to read. Won’t be in that one again. Anyway, your roosters, as well as your home, are incredible. Thank you for sharing with us!!

    1. Thank you so much!! It's funny, I just couldn't toss them. I had to find a way to make them work. Thank you also for the lovely comments about my site and my home. ❤️ I really do enjoy sharing. It's become a passion, and yes, there are costs involved with a website, so the ads are helpful. I'm glad you think that they're manageable. Sometimes they change the settings on me and even I find them a little overwhelming so I try to dial them back. I hope if you ever find them becoming that way you'll let me know. I also hope to see you in the comments again soon!!

  10. I think the roosters look good in their updated frames.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks Jan! I'm glad I pulled them out of the box!

  11. Hi Kim. I love your stories, they're so heartfelt. And this one is no different. I love what you did with your adorable roosters! After having them for soooo long, I understand why you couldn't get rid of them. You truly are a sentimental decorator. Me? Not so much. I think that comes from 40 years of being an Interior Designer. I love ALL things and ALOT of different things! So if I no longer want something...I'm changing many things...because they don't GO together anymore. But recently I changed everything (well almost everything) and I feel more sentimental about what I have now. I'll be sharing things from my home as soon as I can start adding photos and taking new ones. (since the Geek Guys did things the other day) Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thanks so much, Jan! What lovely words, you are making me smile ear to ear. I do love decor and decorating, but telling the story is really my favorite part of sharing. So I'm glad to hear that you enjoy that part of my shares. I can't wait to see what you have to share...40 years as an interior designer? That's amazing career. I bet you have a lovely home. Can't wait to peek!!

  12. Great makeover!
    I sometimes move things to a different room, to change up the decor. My style has changed over the years, too. Instead of white cottage it's more English Country Cottage. Thankfully most of my things transitioned well!

    1. Thanks Deanna! I had fun with this one and I'm glad I was able to hang onto my farmhouse friends.

  13. Up-cycling... I am all about it. I recently switched out an old store bought art work with one that our son did. The frame was perfect for Atticus artwork.
    Loved this post... as always gives me ideas and inspiration.

    1. It sounds like a very sentimental upcycle, Carla! I hope you're having a lovely start to the week!

  14. Oh yes! I am such a sentimental decorator. Much of what I do revolves around antiques that were my beautiful Grandma. It brings me so much joy each day. So inspirational!

  15. Kim,
    They look great...I am like that with a lot of my pieces... I loved them when I bought them and I still love them now...It is hard though to think about giving them up...They do look wonderful hanging about your fridge...

  16. I'm definitely a sentimental decorator. So much so, I still have my kids' artwork dating back to before they went to school, hanging on my fridge, and they both have degrees now. You have to be so careful opening up the fridge in case everything comes tumbling down :D

    Love the quick upcycle you did. The new frame colours really make the rooster pics pop, or is it just me?