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Super Handyman: Give appliances a makeover

One thing that you need to take into account when changing the look of an appliance is that any appliance that heats, like an oven or range, will require a treatment that can take the heat without failing.

To change your appliances to “stainless steel,” you can use a liquid stainless steel paint. This paint will work better on appliances that get hot. Just follow the instructions on the package to the letter for good results.

You can use a spray paint that looks like stainless steel on other surfaces to give them a new look. Special spray paints made for appliances come in a lot of other colors, too, and there are some that are made just for heating appliances.

Vinyl coverings also can be used. They even have this stuff in stainless steel. If you do a little shopping, you can find this material in tons of colors and patterns. We covered our old soda machine with a houndstooth pattern to match our game room.

Another clever option might be a chalkboard-paint finish. This would allow you to leave messages or notes, or just draw decorative pictures.

With a little extra talent, you can cover standard doors with extra cabinet doors or drawer fronts. You can use wood trim or molding and a little paint to turn a plain appliance front into a framed cabinet door. Glue holds it in place instead of nails.

Accents can be applied with vinyl decals. There is an endless supply of these available through your craft store or online.


Q: My office desk has a nice stained-oak finish, for the most part. However, there are a couple of places that are starting to fade and are scratched. What can I do to bring them back to the original good-looking finish? – R.D.

A: I think you should be able to sand off the scratched and stained areas. Then shop for a matching stain and just touch up the sanded spots. Some stains have a built-in clear coating for extra protection. If yours doesn’t, you can apply one over the top of the stain. Just make sure you match the sheen, either satin or glossy.

Super HandyMom tip

I love to cook but don’t really like all the cleanup afterward, so I love all cleaning shortcuts. I think soaking greasy dishes is the best way to get a head start on cleaning, so I like to put a layer of paper towel soaked in soapy water on the cooking surfaces, and then set them aside for a while.

When you get the first load of dishes in the dishwasher, then you can tackle the other items. The presoaking really cuts down on the scrubbing.


Even the plain standard closet design can be super-size, and you don’t have to knock out a wall to do it. ClosetMaid has just come out with the Maximizer System.

This is a really neat kit that allows you to customize just about any closet by adding rods, brackets and shelves (provided in the kit) to what you already have. It requires no tools to assemble, and it can be installed in just a few minutes. It even comes in three different finishes.

You are going to really like this one, and you can see it at your local home center or online at

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