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TURN OLD FURNITURE INTO DAZZLING PIECES

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Bored with that old but perfectly functional furniture? Not ready to invest in new pieces - but anxious for a new look? All you need is a few hours and a bit of spray paint to work wonders - from waking up weary wicker furniture and creating a colorful table to dressing up a dreary dresser to transforming a table and two chairs into a terrific trio.

Wake up weary wickerTake an ordinary wicker chair and turn it into something wonderful. With an easy technique called "gingerbreading," you can use multiple colors to create a custom, decorator design. American Accents chose iris blue, blossom white and summer squash from its Garden Collection by Rust-Oleum for a creative chair, but for your own personal touch, you can choose your own colors.

American Accents by Rust-Oleum, grouped into three popular color schemes (Classic, Garden or Heritage), makes selecting coordinating shades simple. After you've chosen your colors, just follow these easy steps:

1. Be sure the piece is free from dust and dirt. Apply masking tape immediately adjacent to the top and bottom of the section you want to paint. Be sure to paint all areas of the same color at the same time.

2. Take plastic wrap and tuck it under the tape you've just applied. Then thoroughly cover the rest of the piece so that, when you are finished, only the parts you want to paint remain exposed.

3. Spray the exposed parts with your chosen color. Immediately remove the masking tape and plastic wrap; then let the area dry for 48 hours before painting the other areas. Follow the same procedure for the other colors you want to apply.

Create a "country" coffee table

Using a basic table, American Accents mixed the natural beauty of wood with rich colonial red. The result is a warm, confident accent to any country theme.

You can complete your country coffee table in no time by following three steps:

1. With plastic and masking tape, carefully cover the areas of the piece that will remain natural wood.

2. For best results with previously unpainted wood, first paint the surface with white primer and let dry for 48 hours. Then paint the exposed surface with the color of your choice, remove tape and plastic and let dry. To create a soft, neutral look for your piece, try moss green.

3. Clean the unpainted surface with a natural wood polish to let the patina of natural materials glow.

Dress up a dreary dresser

Let your imagination be your guide to make even simple furniture stand out in bright colors. For one dresser, American Accents used its versatile winter white as a backdrop to let the bold colors really pop. Here's how it's done:

1. Remove drawers and paint the dresser (front, back, inside and out) with your favorite bold color. American Accents chose berry red.

2. Paint drawers with winter white.

3. Remove the knobs and paint, selecting your favorite colors to create a bold, daring look. American Accents' favorite color combination was charcoal, berry red, ocean blue and brilliant yellow.

Transform table and chairs

An ordinary wooden table and folding chairs become an eye-catching trio when you add bold, glossy color. To complete the look, brush winter white on the wainscot to make the colors really stand out, then add coordinating curtains. To transform the trio:

1. Clean the pieces and cover the table top carefully with plastic and masking tape. Select a dramatic paint with a gloss finish for the table legs and chairs. American Accents chose berry red. After painting, remove the plastic and tape and allow two dry.

2. Carefully cover the table legs with plastic and masking tape. Spray paint the table top with a second bold, glossy paint. (American Accents used charcoal from its Classic Colors Collection).

American Accents by Rust-Oleum puts a color-coordinating system at the decorator's fingertips. The company's three versatile color families - Classic, Garden and Heritage - offer a total of 26 decorator colors available in home centers as well as hardware and discount stores.

For a free brochure of decorating ideas, send your name and address to: Rust-Oleum, American Accents, 111 Hawthorn Parkway, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 (Attention: Ann Riley).