I am so thankful for my house–but I hate the front exterior. I always have. It took me forever to even figure out how I could make it look pretty at all (Update: Here is what I decided to do!), but I always knew I wanted to add and paint vinyl shutters and window boxes.
My mom had suggested that with the color of our roof and siding, red might be a good accent color. So I found some red shutters the right size on craigslist and bought them last October. Quick and easy.
But of course, we didn’t actually get the shutters onto our house before winter hit. I was a little busy with my 3 month old and a barely-turned-2 year old and, you know, keeping them fed and preventing the older one from killing the baby or set the house on fire.
So all that time, I daydreamed about the house having shutters and being less ugly. Then I just obsessed over shutters in general. To this day, I can’t sit in the passenger seat of a car and not spend the entire drive looking at houses and their shutters. O.b.s.e.s.s.e.d.
And that made me realize… I hate red shutters.
I don’t know if you ever do anything like this, but I was just trying to make something work because it “should,” even though it wasn’t me. This is what prevented me from loving my home for most of my life! It took years of messes and a major decluttering purge for me to stop allowing anything in or on my home that I wasn’t completely obsessed with.
So anyway, painting the shutters it was.
I did a lot of reading about how to paint shutters beforehand. Like, way more reading than is actually necessary to slap some paint on a board. Finally, I just went to the dang store and bought some spray paint.
At first I was looking for a specific type, but then I was at Joann’s for something else (who even knows what–I basically pay their rent) and stumbled upon this kind! I mean, it wasn’t the exact kind I had seen, buuut it says outdoor, and I had a 50% off coupon. That’s really all it takes for me, guys 😉
First I cleaned the shutters. I had really strong intentions to hose them down, scrub them with dish soap & rinse them down again…. but then I found out that an attachment to our hose completely rusted out over winter. Coooooool.
So, as usual, I just turned to my Norwex cloths and wiped them down as thoroughly as possible. I actually think it went much faster, anyway. (And no, I don’t sell Norwex. Just a ginormous fan.)
Then I was going to leave them out to dry. I thought I would continue the next day, but it turns out vinyl shutters sitting in the sun take all of 1.3 minutes to dry. Plus, the baby was still napping and the toddler was happily playing. It was a miracle!
So then I laid the shutters out on some garbage bags and slapped the spray paint on! This was the part I had originally been all research-crazy about. But I mean honestly… It was not that hard. The paint went on so smoothly and easily and covered the red really well, I really couldn’t have gone wrong.
Also, yeah, if you lay your shutters out on garbage bags, make sure the garbage bags are not going to do exactly what is shown here and fold over and sit on your wet paint. Duh. I had a few spots to touch up because of this.
The can said they would be dry in an hour, but of course by that point, I was busy keeping the kids alive and happy, so I went out later and brought them all back inside to sit.
The Attaching (plus the sadness)
A few days later, we finally attached the first two to the house! YAY! We used these shutter fasteners, so all you have to do is drill a pilot hole and then push or hammer the fasteners is. Eight dollars well spent.
EDIT: Now here’s we get real… and a little sad. The sad part: I realized after doing a whole bunch of different things to our front exterior that we never took a proper “before” picture of the front view of our house. Like not even CLOSE to a good one. These are the best ones, which are terrible:
That first one is the day we went to the showing for our house–before we even placed the offer! This poor realtor who never knew I was going to take this picture and then post it on the internet a year later. The second picture is of my husband’s amazing grandfather helpings us install the shutters.
The Final Product
So fiiiinally…. we got all our dang shutters up!
Obviously, this is also after I painted my front door, and I also replaced that weird dead plant in the front with catmint. This house is never going to look like a million dollar house, but it is amazing to me what a difference those little boards and a few adjustments really make! I would really like to fully focus on the landscaping and I really want a new storm door, but otherwise, I’m really proud the improvements I’ve made.
I think I paid $40 for these shutters, and two cans of spray paint which cost $3 each. The final purchase was these shutter fasteners, which brings the total for this project to $54!
You can see what the final product of this house here—so. much. better!
Don’t forget to check out my guide to doing DIY projects with kids, and get my free Project Planning Printable.
And to learn more about how to transform your home into a place that you absolutely LOVE (even if it is as imperfect as this house was), get the free email course in the blue box below.