Tips for Painting Meters + Outdoor Updates

Electric Meters/Gas Meters. Everyone’s got ’em (I think?), but some houses do a better job at hiding them than others. Our house does a TERRIBLE job in this department. Like real bad.

unsightly meter

Don’t get me wrong, I’m obsessed with our little ranch and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but if we’re being honest here, I am not a fan of these permanent eye sores on our home.  We have two meters and…

– one is located in a place that can be seen by anyone walking past our house <– really?!
– the second is located right smack dab on our patio. <– because nothing says Backyard BBQ like a fancy electrical meter.

The good news? I have come to terms with these ugly spots and realize that they’re not going anywhere… ever. It’s taken some time to get to this point, but I have finally realized that these meters are part of the package. Part of real life. And part of this home’s history. So as much as they’re not Pinterest worthy, I have vowed to make the best of what we have and spruce them up with a fresh coat of paint

painting meter
meter before

This is the meter that you can see from the street. Obviously this eye sore has seen better days and could use a little paint to make the ugly a tiny bit less ugly.

ugly meter before

Here’s the meter on the patio. Yikes. How have I not painted this until now?!

Rustoleum paint for meters

Here’s what you’ll need:

tape meters
sand meters
meters paint converse

– Exterior Paint (mine is oil based)
– Paint brush
– Painter’s Tape
– Drop cloth
– GLOVES!! <— oil based paint does not come off of your skin easily, so I would definitely recommend wearing gloves … and really old clothes.
– Ladder
– Sandpaper
– Old rag
To get started, tape off any of the brick that you think may come in contact with the paint brush. I would recommend taping MORE than you think you should since you’ll be working with oil based paint that may not come off the brick. Better to be safe than sorry, especially when dealing with wet paint.
Next, sand all surfaces to remove any existing paint. I could not get all of the old paint off of the one meter, but I did the best that I could. This step will help the new paint adhere to the meter. Once you’re done sanding, wipe down all of the surface to remove ALL dust and debris.Now onto the fun part– painting! Make sure the weather forecast is free of rain and let the painting begin. Like I said, oil based paint is tough to remove if it gets on your skin so I would recommend using gloves while painting. <– I made this mistake so you don’t have to.

meter taped off

Turn on your tunes and paint, paint, paint away! I really enjoyed being outside and painting away under the sunshine. I painted on two coats (no primer) and was done with the entire project in one afternoon #cleanup&all <— my favorite kind of DIY projects.

I still don’t love these meters (who does?!), but I really do think the paint made SUCH a difference. The new look seems a lot cleaner and less like they’ve been completely neglected for the last few decades. Plus… this whole project cost me about $12, which makes me appreciate this mini transformation even more!

painted meter

An afternoon of work + a $12 investment = totally worth it in my Playbook.

painting meter after
painting meter GIF

Now that the meters are painted, I only have a few more items left on our summer to do list:

-Paint Electric Meters
-Create outdoor wall art or a vertical garden or window flower boxes Flower Box details here
-Add Flowers to back landscaping <– DONE! nothing over-the-top but we got a jump start. See below for details
-DIY a new doormat/possibly a wreath Used this method to create the door mat below
-Hide HVACC unit or garbage cans or both?
-Hire an electrician to add electricity outside (we currently have NONE, which officially makes us look like the Grinch on the block come December)

**Anyone in the Chicagoland area know a great electrician?! <– seriously, I need some suggestions!

doormat diy

Doormat Tutorial here

And like I said, the new plants we added to the back of our house are nothing “over the top” but they are definitely a great start and one we’re really excited about! #proudplantparents

backyard before
backyard after

Hopefully each year the hydrangea bushes will grow larger and larger (free flowers!). The plan is to eventually add even more plants and possibly a brick border. For now though, I’m really happy with these updates. And heck, for being only ONE WEEK into summer vacation, I’m pretty pumped that our summer outdoor to-do list is about 75% done!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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