Refresh Your Home With These 5 Colorful Painting Crafts

Get clever ways to make the most of leftover paint.
By: Briana Mowrey
Related To:

A refreshing wall hue (like a blue or green) can make your home feel brand new, but it doesn’t take gallons of paint to spruce up the place. If you have a half-empty can or paint samples, you can still make colorful crafts designed to elevate the mood in just about every room. Check out these clever ways to make the most of your last painting project’s leftovers.

Dress Up a Dresser

Dress Up Dresser Drawers

Dress Up Dresser Drawers

No need to buy multiple paints—you need just one color and white. First pull out the drawers and unscrew the knobs. Use undiluted color to paint the front of one drawer. For the other drawers, mix the color into white until you get the shades you want. Try 3 ounces of color with 8 ounces of white for a medium shade; use 1 ounce of color with 8 ounces of white for the lightest shade. Let dry, then reattach hardware and replace drawers.

Photo by: Alison Gootee

Alison Gootee

If you only have a small stash of paint, or leftover sample paint, this idea from HGTV Magazine is for you. Just take the color you have (like this cool blue) and mix it with a bit of white paint for an eye-catching ombre effect on an old dresser. 

Make This: Ombre Dresser

8 DIY Projects With Sample Paint

See All Photos

Little Painting Tricks

Almost all paint companies offer sample containers, which can range from 2 to 31 ounces and usually cost between $4 and $10. Despite their size, these little pots of paint can definitely pack a big punch.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Color Your Chair Spindles

Hold an angled 1/2-or 3/4-inch craft brush parallel to the spindles, then dab the paint at the top and bottom of each one to avoid splattering the chair's frame. Slowly paint the middle of the spindles with long, smooth strokes. Wipe off any drips right away with a damp paper towel.
PAINT COLORS: Sunshine, Pear Green, and Utah Sky by Benjamin Moore

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Dress Up Dresser Drawers

No need to buy multiple paints—you need just one color and white. First pull out the drawers and unscrew the knobs. Use undiluted color to paint the front of one drawer. For the other drawers, mix the color into white until you get the shades you want. Try 3 ounces of color with 8 ounces of white for a medium shade; use 1 ounce of color with 8 ounces of white for the lightest shade. Let dry, then reattach hardware and replace drawers.
PAINT COLORS: Thermal Spring and Extra White by Sherwin-Williams

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Add Splash to a Set of Frames

First paint all the frames white and let them dry completely. Then add pops of color by painting photo corners or highlighting edges with stripes. Use the smallest straight-edge craft brush you can find. Work slowly, and if your painting hand strays a little, wipe off mistakes right away with a damp paper towel.
PAINT COLORS: China White, Two to Tango, Magical Merlin, and Asparagus by Olympic

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Make a Chair's Legs Pop

Unscrew the legs from your chair before you paint. If you can't detach them, or if your chair has a wooden base like ours does, apply plenty of painter's tape around the seat to protect it. Then paint. Once dry, reattach the legs or remove the tape.
PAINT COLORS: Dragon Fire by Behr

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Brighten a Stool (Two Ways!)

Make your own mix-and-match set by painting just the base of one stool and just the seat of another. We didn't bother painting the underside of the seat since it's out of sight.
PAINT COLORS: Rose Dust by Valspar

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Turn a Metal Pan Into a Cool Tray

Wipe down the tray with rubbing alcohol and a cloth. Use a triangular ruler (a.k.a. a set square) and painter's tape to block out a zigzag design. To ensure the paint will stick, scuff up the exposed metal lightly with sandpaper, then wipe clean. Apply primer made for metal and let dry. Paint, let dry, then slowly peel off the tape.
PAINT COLORS: Yellow Raincoat, Razzle Dazzle, and Tropical Turquoise by Benjamin Moore

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Give Salad Stuff a Color-Dipped Look

Mark where you want the color to go with painter's tape, leaving a few inches between the paint and the part of the server that will touch food, for safety. Since the wood will likely be oiled, prime it with a formula made for glossy surfaces like plastic. Paint, let dry, then remove the tape.
PAINT COLORS: Lime Green and Fuzzy Navel by Olympic

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Highlight a White Lamp

Use an artist's brush with rounded bristles for this project. First paint the base, directing the color in the grooves of the carved details. While it dries, work on the shade. Follow its frame with short strokes to create the neatest lines.
PAINT COLORS: Tropical Splash by Behr

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Beautify a Basic Bookcase

Contemporary Kid's Bedroom With Green and White Bookshelf

Contemporary Kid's Bedroom With Green and White Bookshelf

A lime green shelf pops in this white, contemporary kid's bedroom.

Jazz up a plain bookcase by adding a bright hue to peek out from behind your books and accessories. The apple green palette in this example from Brian Patrick Flynn is so crisp!

Apple Green Color Palette

See All Photos

Apple Green Accents

An oversized, chevron-patterned rug brings a fun punch of color to this neutral kid's room. Playful fabrics on the window and bedding add a dose of kid-friendly style.

Crisp Bookshelf Hues

A lime green shelf pops in this white, contemporary kid's bedroom.

Bold Bathroom

A bright, apple green sitting room leads to a navy and white powder room in this bold and cheerful space. A plain wicker chair and wooden end table help tone down the vibrant colors and patterned curtains.

Unexpected Color

Stained-glass doors add color and bring a little extra light into the master bedroom. The painted rails (seven shades plus white, in random order) lead to a blue and green playroom upstairs. See more of this home from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Jean Allsopp

Charming Chaise

It's easy to fall for the green chaise in this master bedroom. It makes such a colorful splash amidst the room's blue and white palette.

Photo By: Stacey van Berkel

Dressed in Green

This dining room is mostly for holidays and big occasions, so it's dressed up with bright green trim on the ceiling and around the windows. The floor has a gradated green wool and linen rug. See more of this home from HGTV Magazine.

©Lucas Allen

Bold Pastels

A pastel palette using shades of green, yellow and blue is far from meek in this little girl's bedroom. See more of this home from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: David A. Land

Apple Green Showpiece

This master bedroom is a surprise of color and light in a scale-appropriate setting. White plaster walls meet dark oak floors in a room anchored by a green-tiled fireplace flanked on either side by French doors and green chairs.

Cool Bedroom Throw

Plant-based motifs, like these block-printed ferns, are cropping up everywhere from bedding to wallpaper to throw pillows. Green accents add the perfect amount of color to this neutral-toned room.

Accent Piece

An apple green chair is the perfect piece to accent a mostly neutral living space.

Contemporary Dining Room

A braided rug anchors this contemporary-style dining area where a trestle-style table, fashioned from mindi wood, becomes its own focal point when surrounded by Parson-inspired dining chairs.

Traditional Feel

To ensure the vintage apple green stove remained the kitchen's focal point, designer Regina Bilotta ditched the original plan of dark, stained kitchen cabinets and decided to paint them a bright white instead.

Playful Bunk

This adorably stylish bunk bed nook is a space-saving dream. Pull the curtain and it's entirely hidden away; open the curtain and reveal two cozy bunks decked out in dapper stripes with under-bed storage drawers.

Brighten Up Your Headboard or End Tables

original_cynthia-winward-turquoise-headboard-beauty_s4x3
Turquoise End Table

original_cynthia-winward-turquoise-headboard-beauty_s4x3

Turquoise End Table

Kristen scored a pair of mid-century modern end tables from a garage sale for $10, sanded them down, and painted them a high-gloss shade from Sherwin-Williams called Aquarium. The hardware was taken from another piece and spray-painted gold. "Gold is my favorite accent color for turquoise; it looks really rich and glamorous," the painter says. For a hint of texture, Kristen covered the open bottom portion that's just below the drawer with grasscloth wallpaper.

If you’re dealing with a quart of paint, not a gallon, you probably have enough color to tackle a headboard or some end tables. A pop of teal or turquoise is like a breath of fresh air for your bedroom or living room. 

Turn an Empty Can Into a Planter

CI-Tiffany-Threadgould_paint-can-herb-planter_s3x4

CI-Tiffany-Threadgould_paint-can-herb-planter_s3x4

If you have an almost empty can of paint, apply the last itty bit to the outside of the can itself and once it’s empty, grow some herbs inside! Now, isn’t that refreshing?

Want More? Check Out These 50 DIY Paint Projects

See All Photos

Make a Neon Animal Garland

Combine two hot trends with an easy-to-create animal garland. Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind purchased toy dinosaurs at a discount store, painted them in various neon colors, then attached twine and hangers for a cute kids' room accent.

Make DIY Contemporary Art

Brilliant strokes of pink in this painting create high-contrast drama against pure white walls and credenza in this space designed by Tara Benet. Grab a canvas and some brightly-hued leftover paint and create this look at home.

Add Stripes to a Staircase

Take a cue from designers Cortney and Robert Novogratz: They painted candy-hued stripes on a plain white staircase to add a hint of whimsy and fun.

Revamp a Yard Sale Dresser

Give a yard sale dresser a brand new look (and cover up imperfections) with just a little bit of paint. Clean up the drawers, then set them aside and paint the hardware, top and sides with one hue. Get the full how-to from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Lara Robby/Studio D

Modernize a Traditional Brass Chandelier

All it takes to transform an old brass chandelier from fussy and formal to functional, fun and fresh? You guessed it: A coat of white paint.

Paint Thrift Store Candlesticks

Bring dated or tarnished gold candlesticks up-to-date, easily, by adding a coat of paint. For a thoroughly modern look, add candles in same hue as your paint like HGTV Magazine did here.

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman/Studio D

Modernize Drapery Rods

You don't have to break your budget to create a whole new window treament look. Paint basic metal drapery rods and rings bright white, then thread on inexpensive, patterned sheers.

Create a Faux Stair Runner

Give a plain white staircase a whole new personality by creating a faux runner. Paint the outer edges, add stripes and stamp Xs and Os on the risers for a new, whimsical look. Get the full how-to at DIYNetwork.com.

Add Color to a Tired Coat Rack

Perk up the entryway with a bright shot of color. You'll love hanging your hat on a rack revamped with a coat of fresh paint, as seen in HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Photography by Philip Friedman/Studio D

Paint a Pattern

Freehand a simple design, like this Moroccan-inspired pattern DIY blogger Kristin Fountain Davis created using just a little bit of contrasting paint. Don't worry about imperfections: Slight variations mimic the look of (pricey!) hand-painted wallpapers.

Add Detail to a Basic Door

Contractor-grade doors don't have to be boring. Use an accent color to paint the insets for a modern, graphic detail. Design by Kristin Fountain Davis

Paint an End Table

Make garage sale end tables modern with a coat of high-gloss paint and some new hardware. Design by Kristin Fountain Davis

Make Your Own Abstract Art

Create an abstract diptych on canvas by brushing on circles in various sizes atop a contrasting background. Here, black and white add graphic punch to this otherwise-neutral bedroom. Design by Kristin Fountain Davis

Upgrade Bamboo Furniture

If you've opened a design magazine lately, you know that painted bamboo furniture pieces are experiencing a resurgence. Transform a cheap Craigslist find into a high-end designer piece with just a coat of high-gloss paint and new indoor-outdoor fabric. Design by Kristin Fountain Davis

Paint the Front Door

It takes less paint than you think to add a new hue to your home's front door. As seen in HGTV Magazine, this classic home's entry is electrified with a high-voltage green (Feel the Energy by Benjamin Moore). See the rest of this colorful home.

Photo By: David Tsay

Paint the China Cabinet Shelves

Turn a basic glass-front cabinet into a colorful accent by painting the inside back and shelves. Here, white dishes pop agaist the new soft pink hue. For a similar look, try Cool Melon by Behr. See the rest of this colorful home featured in HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: David Tsay

Give a Bathroom Vanity a Modern Update

Make Quick Painted Animal Bookends

A brick and a pair of toy animals look impossibly high-end when glued together and painted in one bright hue. Use these colorful, fun pieces to dress up your bookshelves.

Give Basic Pots a Modern Touch

Turn plain terra-cotta pots into a unique home for houseplants with just a little paint. Use plain white as the base, then fit the pot with a rubber band to easily tape off the asymetrical section. Then, add a bright, fun hue.

Embellish a Lamp Base

Take a cue from this project featured in HGTV Magazine and dress up a basic lamp with fun polka dots. This project uses gold leaf, but you could create a similar look using paint and a stippling brush.

Photo By: Courtesy of Emily Hart

Make Custom Desk Organizers

Unify containers like Mason jars, vases and tin cans to create a matching desk accessory set. All it takes is a coat of bright white paint and a few embellishments.

Painted Picture Frames

Empty picture frames gathered at flea markets or craft stores can become an impactful piece of art when painted in harmonious hues and grouped together on a large wall.

Customize a Basic Bookcase

A plain white bookcase comes to life with a bright hue peeking out behind books, toys or baskets.

Add Bright Trim

Infuse a space with excitement by painting white trim a fun new shade. Summery coral paint on the trim of this family room contrasts perfectly with the main focal point of the room — the amazing blue sofa. Photo courtesy of Peppermint Bliss; photo by Emily Anderson

Make a DIY Painted Headboard

Add style, color and texture to your bedroom with this do-it-yourself headboard that looks anything but DIY. A great project for newbie woodworkers, this headboard can be completed in just a few hours and for less than $100.

Turn Hula Hoops Into A Chandelier

Oh, the miracle of paint. A coat of a shiny hue can turn basic dollar-store hula hoops into a stylish chandelier. See how Secrets From a Stylist host Emily Henderson did it.

Make a Dropcloth Tablecloth

Make a chic and affordable tablecloth with a basic dropcloth. Use painter's tape and white paint to create stripes, triangles or your own custom design.

Stenciled Baskets

Inexpensive baskets are plentiful at yard sales and thrift stores. Transform them using a stencil and just a tiny bit of paint.

Made-Over Modern Desk

Play up a vintage desk's midcentury modern style by painting drawer fronts lemon and lime, like HGTV Magazine did here.

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Just a Little Paint? Mix and Match

Using sample jars of paint — just $5 each — the editors at HGTV Magazine gave this bookcase a bright, color-blocked makeover. This project is also ideal for those last few inches of a quart of paint.

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Paint Vintage Luggage

Beat-up old suitcases take on new life when painted with a bright new hue. Stack a set as a bedside stand, or use just one to neatly store photos or paperwork under a console table.

Photo By: Marko Metzinger

Milk Bottle Makeover

Cover clean bottles with a spray primer that works on glass; let dry. Then spray-paint the bottles and just inside the tops with vibrantly-colored paint. See more flea market flips from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Nesting Tables

This set of nesting tables turns playful when you spruce it up with eye-catching paint colors. If your tables have lots of nicks or aren't in great condition, sand them first. See more flea market flips from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Vintage Egg Basket Lighting

A bright paint color and a light cord kit are all you need to transform vintage egg baskets from a country relic to a modern pendant light, as featured in HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Stencil Floral Plates

Give mismatched china new life by painting on a fun stencil and hanging pieces in on a big, empty wall. Get the step-by-step instructions from HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Stencil a Basic Table

With a little paint and a lot of time, you can create a stenciled coffee table inspired by intricate Moroccan tile work. Learn how, courtesy of HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Make Modern, Geometric Wall Art

It's amazing what painter's tape, some patience and pretty paint colors can achieve. The finished artwork will look like a modern canvas straight out of a museum.

Paint a Chair's Spindles

With just a little bit of leftover paint (even a sample size will do!) adorn a dining chair's spindles with a rainbow of bright colors. Get the full instructions from HGTV Magazine.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Add Splash to a Set of Frames

Add pops of color to plain white frames by painting photo corners or highlighting edges with stripes. Get the full instructions from HGTV Magazine.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Alison Gootee

Make Hanging Ombre Vases

This project is a fun and colorful way to recycle baby food jars. After they are wired together, the jars can be used to add a splash of color to a plain window. http://www.hgtv.com/accessories/upcycle-baby-food-jars-into-hanging-ombre-vases/index.html

Photo By: Melissa Edgemont

Bold Bathroom Door Trim

Update a drab bathroom door with some trim and a little contrasting paint. Get the step-by-step instructions for this simple door makeover.

Paint Inside Your Drawers

Add an unexpected splash of color to the inside of your vanity, dresser or nightstand drawers by painting them a bold hue, like this shade of vibrant yellow. Design by Gregg De Meza, Jennifer Gustafson and Michelle Nelson of De Meza Architecture + Interiors

Paint the Mailbox Flag

Add instant curb appeal with a quick and easy mailbox update for less than $20. Design blogger Erin Loechner painted the traditional red flag a vibrant yellow. Modern letter decals and a simple metal post complete the look.

Dip-Dyed Stool

Dip your toe into the the dip-dying trend with this simple, budget-friendly accent. Design blogger Erin Loechner faked the color-blocked look by taping off the same amount of each leg and painting it bright white.

Chevron-Patterned Dresser

Give a basic chest of drawers designer flair with a painted chevron pattern in three, five or seven of your favorite paint colors.

Painted Bottles

These vintage gold bottles probably have a rich history, but you can easily mimic the look by painting extra Mason jars and liquor bottles. Add shine to a bedside table with a group of three tiered pieces. Design by Erinn Valencich

From: Erinn Valencich

Make Painted Utensils

Add a personal touch to basic bamboo utensils by dipping them in your favorite hue. To make them gift-worthy, gradually add white paint to the base hue as you dip for an ombre effect.

Photo By: Kayla Kitts

Make a Painted Market Basket

Customize a natural seagrass basket by adding bold designs in a vibrant summer color.

Photo By: Kayla Kitts

Ginger Jar Lamp Makeover

Never let the color of a lamp deter you from taking it home. Ginger jar lamps are readily available at thrift stores (this one was just $6), and can be easily updated with a few coats of paint.

Turn Foliage Into Artwork

A few clippings of foliage and some spray paint transform a blank canvas into bright, modern wall art.

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Brilliant Basket Ideas and Crafts

Not sure what to do with those old gift baskets piling up in your closet? Give them new life with these trendy crafts and ideas.

5 Old Window Ideas We Love

Get creative and inexpensive ways to transform old windows into chic and functional home decor.

5 Darling Ways to Dress Up Old Dresser Drawers

Transform old dresser drawers into designer accents with these smart ideas.

5 Different Ways to Use Gold Leaf

Because there's no such thing as too much gold.

5 of the Best Sites to Buy Fair Trade Decor

Do some good next time you update your home.

9 Ways to Show Off Your Love of Vinyl at Home

Buying the perfect record player is just the beginning.

40+ Ways to Turn Any Space Into a Dream Craft Room

Learn how to turn any room into an inspirational crafting studio.

House Your Plants in Style With Colorful Painted Baskets

Because there's no such thing as too many plants.

5 Ideas for Summer Entertaining Made Easy

Take your outdoor summer soiree from just fun to fun-tastic with these 5 clever ideas.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts