Maybe I've lost sight of the big picture. Or maybe I'm just a little overwhelmed by all the work still on my 'to do' list. In any case, just about every room in my house is still beige and bland and waiting to be decorated, but check this out:
As it turns out, I forgot to take a 'before' shot of this one, but let me paint you a picture: a couple days ago my cold air return was a faded and paint-splattered dark brown and just downright dingy. I planned to replace it, but then thought 'why?' - it was still perfectly functional, just not very nice to look at. And given that those little 'hot air' vents cost $6 and up to replace, I can only imagine what this big one would've cost. As noted in (several!) previous posts, I much prefer the cost of a can of spray paint.
I chose this espresso brown in a satin finish, et voila! The pic doesn't really do it justice, but trust me - it looks brand new again. I also used the same colour to do the hot air vent in the same area (top right of the above pic), so that they match perfectly.
Oh, and here's a tip: while I had the grate out, I cut some black window screen (sold by the foot at my local hardware store) and stapled it over the opening in the floor. The duct cleaning guy suggested doing this so that I can simply vacuum the vent and any stray lint/dirt isn't automatically being sucked down into my ductwork and clogging it up. At about $3, it was a simple way to reduce the need for expensive duct cleaning. Works for me!