I have been a home improvement show addict for several years. Before I had a home of my own, I'd try to glean ideas to make a rented space feel more like "mine." When I was house hunting, those shows and networks would help me to see the potential in a home that maybe wasn't quite what I was looking for. Now that I've been a homeowner, I'm back to ideas that make the home feel like "mine," and help make the most of the space I've got.

I've had grand ideas for shelves scaling those walls to the high ceilings, beautiful faux finishes on the walls, new flooring, re-upholstering my hand-me-down couch, and constructing a patio by the deck and a retaining wall in the front yard.

There's just one problem with all these projects — I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

The folks on the home improvement shows make it look so easy. In an hour, they completely transform a kitchen or bathroom or bedroom or yard into a beautiful oasis of comfort and relaxation. I know it takes a little bit longer than that, but the shows I really like are the ones that have a deadline. So they make these transformations in a weekend. Perfect. I'm a weekend warrior. This should be no problem.

Except I have no knowledge of electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, gardening or wood working. I also don't have a crew of carpenters, designers, laborers, etc., set to turn my vision into reality. I also don't have those trailers full of saws and drills and other neat tools.

My tool box has expanded in the past couple of years, but it's not advanced too far beyond the Smiley Face tool kit I picked up right after getting my first apartment because, hey, you've got to have a hammer.

But, I do have spray paint. And spray paint is to home improvement what duct tape and WD-40 are to repairs. If you don't like how something looks, just paint it. It works great for door pulls and hardware of all type. It's great to change the look of a bathroom when the builders used brass finishes and you really want pewter or chrome.

Spray paint has many great uses. A recent trip to see the parents included my mother returning all my childhood things to me, including a jewelry box I forgot existed. Inside was the typical jewelry of a child — costume jewelry culled from the collections of relatives here and there, or things that caught my eye at some point in time. There was little I would want to keep now, especially since I don't wear much jewelry. But there was this pin. It was metal, probably plated silver at some time or another. It's old and dirty and the finish is gone, but it's still neat. Spray paint to the rescue! I can return that pin to a usable life.

Ideas like this are what make trips to thrift stores, consignment stores, yard sales and flea markets so enjoyable. You never know what you may find. And, if you can look beyond the battered exterior to see what's really there, with a little ingenuity, you can have yourself a one-of-a-kind treasure.

Everyone likes things that are new. We can get our heads turned by a shiny new car, or a shiny new trinket. But new doesn't mean better and if you step back and look at the things you already have, you may just get that "new" feeling with a little elbow grease and determination.

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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published each Tuesday. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.