Q. I purchased an old, heavy Spanish-looking nightstand at a garage sale and want to use it as a cupboard next to my patio table for storing plates and linens. I have a Spanish theme going on and would like to refinish the nightstand in a dark (oxblood) red. Can you help with color selection and paint instructions?

A: Since the nightstand is being repurposed for your patio, which is a clever idea, why not introduce a little more color? Dark reds in the burgundy and oxblood range are hot colors this year, and you will find a good selection at your paint store.

Antiquing is very much a part of Spanish style. And you can play with different combinations of colors to get the look you are seeking.

The old wood table shown here was painted with a technique that would suit your stand. To achieve the antiqued red section, start with a base coat of peach and let dry. Then brush on a coat of crackle medium in small patches. (Crackle medium can be found at arts and craft stores.)

Once dry, apply a coat of red over the whole area. The cracks will appear only in the areas where there is crackle medium. Let dry completely.

Now sand down areas of the red coat to expose more of the peach undercoat. The cracks and the sanding create an authentic aged finish. For contrast, on the cabinet door or drawer or legs, apply the same technique using a base coat of yellow, the crackle medium and a top coat of green. Protect your finish with beeswax or two coats of varnish.

Q: The dining room in our home was once a bedroom, and the closet that was in this room was left intact minus the doors. Our buffet and china cabinet fit into the space, but they look like furniture in a closet. There is pickled oak wood trim around the opening. How would you suggest treating the trim?

A: It must be a large closet to hold both a buffet and a china cabinet. Paint the walls inside the closet the same as the main room walls to connect them, and add a modern feature by painting the room trim and the trim around the doors gunmetal gray.

Another option is to treat the closet as a separate alcove, paint it a few tones darker than the main room, and paint out the pickled oak trim.

Debbie Travisí House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.