We have been working our booties off in the yard and in the house the last few weeks. I painted the downstairs a happy yellow color, we updated some of our light fixtures, rearranged furniture which included moving an 600 lb. piano upstairs but my favorite new touches are the fireplace and interior doors.
Our yard is similar to a jungle and while we have plenty of windows the trees make the house seem dark most of the time. A quick fix was to lighten one of the living rooms darkest features the fireplace. I painted the mantle white, spray painted the ugly gold hardware on the fireplace doors black, and white washed the brick. To white wash your bricks you need a minimal amount of white semi-gloss paint. Using hardly any paint lightly brush across each individual brick. Start with a brick that is not noticeable and remember there is no such thing as too little paint. Do not paint the mortar. I don't have a before picture but here is a picture with the fireplace in the background so that you can see the difference it makes.
After lightening things up with my yellow and white, I added some coziness by painting all of my interior doors black. An interior decorator that I met at Home Depot while he was shopping for paint colors suggested it. I thought he was crazy but he convinced me to try it and I love it. Not only are my white doors no longer dirty with grubby finger prints but the black doors create a homeyness I wasn't expecting.
In the basement/playroom we had a table which we hoped the kids would use for art projects, but it was in a dark corner and I didn't like paint and glue where I couldn't supervise so I moved the table upstairs and created a little art/homework nook. We are loving the location of all the art supplies. Plus the boys have all they need for their homework without searching in five different locations.