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During these stressful times, we need to find little ways to find joy. I love saving money. As the stock market continues to vomit up losses this week, I decided to focus on saving money around the house. This extremely simple DIY project can be done with kids and it is cheap. Best yet, the home improvement stores are open!

Background: We Have a Gold (Brass) Issue

Our house was built in the early 1990s. There are gold fixtures everywhere. Slowly, we have been changing out gold faucets, gold knobs, gold handles, and everything else that is gold. It is a serious gold overload. Please don’t start me on the Laura Ashley type flower curtains that matched the gold fixtures. Flash backs are really scary.

Lately, I have been staring at a 3 gold fixtures and struggling with how to handle them. There are plenty more gold fixtures, but these are the ones driving me a little batty as home quarantine continues on.

Laundry Room Light

First, there is a truly awful gold-finished light fixture in the laundry room (see picture). Not only is it gold, but also the finish is flaking. The cost to replace with the exact same light with a bronze finish is $50. It is the laundry room. I don’t really want to spend money in the laundry room unless it is to buy a new washer and dryer!

picture of light fixture that has seen better days before simple diy project #diyproject #spraypainting #savingmoney
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Bathroom Mirror Trim

We just finished removing the wall length mirror with the gold trim from our bathroom, but could not remove one piece as it was adhered to our wooden linen closet. The 2 foot piece of gold trim is driving me crazy.

gold trim before spray painting diy project #savingmoney
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Additionally, we have those oversized mirrors with gold trim in two other bathrooms. As we just finished taking down the mirror in the master bathroom, I am not interested in repeating that project any time soon. The results were great from that DIY project, but I still have drywall spackling in my hair.

There aren’t any fantastic options for covering the mirror trim. Most options run around $100 to cover all the mirrors in the house that need to be addressed, which seems ridiculous. Additionally, I am concerned that the end result would not be to my standards.

Floor Vents

There are 8 gold finished, ornate floor vent covers on the first floor. I found similar vent covers and each vent cover cost $20/piece or $160 to replace all 8 vent covers at our local home improvement store. Ugh.

picture of vent cover before diy project #savingmoneyproject
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Simple DIY Project Supply List

It doesn’t get much easier than this list. The total supplies cost about $12 or less depending on your DIY supply stash.

1. One can of Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Paint and Primer spray paint

This specific spray paint is an all-surface paint and primer that can be used on wood, metal, plastic, and masonry per the label. The color is oil rubbed bronze. The spray paint cost $7/can, which is a few dollars more than the standard can.

Picture of Rust-Oleum spray paint can used in diy project to save money
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2. One roll of painters tape

A small role of painters tape can be purchased for $4/roll at the local home improvement store. The tape was used to protect the walls around the trim of the mirrors. The vent covers and light fixture were taken outside.

3. Plastic sheet

Simply used to spray paint on to protect the driveway. Additionally used to protect miscellaneous items in the bathroom. I used the plastic covers from the dryer cleaning. Trash bags would also work just fine.

4. Scouring Pad

The light fixture and vent covers needed a little love to get the grime off before painting. Keeping it honest on cost, 5 scouring pad package can be purchased for $1 at the Dollar Tree.

A bunch of spray paint cans with caption simlpe diy project for families during isolation that saves money
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Total DIY Project Savings

This is where I get excited about saving money.

The supplies are only $12 or less.

The direct replacement cost of the 8 vent covers and light fixture is $210. Again, I am not comfortable with the expensive options to replace the gold trim around the mirrors, so I am considering the mirror trim as just a nice bonus.

Total Savings: $210-$12 = $198. Let’s be a little less honest and say $200.

The Process

This is the best part (after saving money) the time requirement are minimal and so is the required skill set. Wahoo!

Seriously, the kids can help out on the light fixture and vent covers. I would be a little more careful if you are doing indoor work!

Since all items are in low traffic areas, there was only 1-2 coats applied depending on how well the first coat was applied.

There really isn’t much to spray painting these types of items, except you don’t need to get too close. Having everyone do a practice run on something about to be put in recycling like a box or plastic bottle might help the confidence level of any small helpers with this simple DIY project.

The Results

So far, so good.

Light Fixture

The light fixture turned out perfect. The paint adhered well and no issues. All the rusty flaky mess was not a problem.

Picture of spray painted light fixture being viewed as finished diy project #savingmoney #diyfrugal
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Bathroom Mirror Trim

Another win. This will definitely be repeated on the trim in the other bathrooms. As you might see in the picture, there are brass fixtures still in place.

Due to the high use and water, I am torn about replacing versus painting. It is tempting to try the paint and just see. What is the worst thing, you end up replacing the fixture anyway. See “The Future” section for some more thoughts.

picture of gold trim painted oil rubbed bronze as part of this simple diy home improvement project on a budget
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Floor Vent Covers

Again, there were no issues with this project. No one ever steps on the vents, so I am expecting this solution to last. The vent covers look like new.

picture of cover vent painted oil rubbed bronze as part of this simple diy home improvement project on a budget
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The Future

I am planning to let these projects sit for a couple weeks and validate the awesome success.

I have read about people using this type of product on doorknobs and bathroom fixtures with mixed results. Many articles state the process, due to the high use of the fixtures, needs to be repeated every few years.

I do have a serious low-use bathroom fixture on the jacuzzi soaking tub in the master bathroom. I dust the tub every month. Okay, I dust it like every two months due to laziness. Due to all the tiling, there is no easy way to remove the fixture. This might be my first try at a fixture.

Renovated Faith has an article outlining a more robust process geared towards maximum adhesion when spray painting doorknobs. It is definitely a more involved process. I do have those lovely brass door handles throughout my home, so that is an option also, especially as home quarantine drags on. I still have plenty of spray paint in the can.


Everyone needs distractions. This simple DIY project truly is easy. My entire family got involved and were happy with the results. This project was well worth the $7 spend on a can of spray paint.

Saving money and having fun is nice combination. Take this time to find opportunities where the entire family can be involved in money saving activities.

If you enjoyed this article, please pin it. Below are a few articles that are more like DIY money projects which is more in alignment with blog.

Stay safe and good luck.

WhipperSnapper Finance


Picture of bath towels and soap with caption How to Make DIY Projects based in science #emergencypreparation #DIYsurvivalprojects #homequaratine
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Girl with backpack jumping in air with caption: How we saved $2,000 in 8 hours so easy #cuttingexpenses #savingmoney #reducespending
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Picture of before and after project with caption super simplediy projects to do with spray paint
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