Things to Paint

Looking for ideas of things to paint to spruce up your décor? Try one of these 4 painting ideas from Domestic CEO.

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #53

Things to Paint

The quickest way to change the look and feel of a room is with paint. While most of us think of painting the walls of a room, there are a whole lot of other things to paint if you want to spruce up your space. In today’s episode, I’m going to give you 4 of my favorite things to paint to help you change the look and feel of your house.>

Tip #1: Painting Fabric

As a child of the 1980s, I love painting fabric. My prize passion in 4th grade was a denim messenger bag that I painted myself. I cut hearts and stars out of sponges to apply fabric paint to the front of the bag. Then, I grabbed my puffy paint and wrote my name across the top so no one else could claim the masterpiece as theirs. I can honestly say that I was the most stylish 9-year-old on the block.

Luckily for us, the trends for painting fabric have changed, but the technique is still just as simple as it was more than 20 years ago. You can still use sponges to print, as well as stencils and brushes to apply the paint. Wander around a craft store for a little while, and you are sure to find any pattern of stencil or sponge that your heart could desire.

When it comes to deciding what to paint, I recommend picking a fabric that is 100% cotton and a tight weave. A loose weave will allow the paint to seep through and the color won’t be as vibrant. Canvas is a great material for painting and it’s likely that you already have some in your home décor. How about adding a painted monogram to your living room pillows? Or adding a row of painted flowers or other images to the bottom of your curtains? Or, if you’re feeling very adventurous, you could add a stamped pattern to a chair’s slipcover.

No matter what you decide to paint, just make sure you follow these guidelines. Always wash and dry the material first. Then, put a layer of newspaper right behind the layer of fabric you are painting in case the paint seeps through. Finally, make sure you have a steady, yet slightly soft surface to work on. An ironing board, for example, will give just enough softness for the paint to apply well and can give you the ability to maneuver the fabric easily over the surface.

Tip #2: Painting Picture Frames

Another thing to paint that can instantly update your décor is picture frames. No need to buy expensive designer frames to get the look you want, just visit your local Goodwill or secondhand store and pick up some super cheap frames. I look for the gaudy frames for this type of project. If you look past the gaudy paint that usually comes standard on this type of extravagant frame, and you’ll often find an interesting or unique design. The more detail there is in the texture and style, the better they will look when you paint them one color. Once you decide on the frames, get to your local hardware or craft store and pick out just the right accent color for your home from their selection of spray paint.

For this project, you’re going to want to use spray paint instead of a can of paint and brush. The spray paint will be able to work its way into the crevices of the details much easier than a brush. If the frame has any chipped paint or splintered wood, you will want to sand it down until you have smooth surfaces. If you don’t need to sand, you may want to use some spray paint primer (it’s also found in the spray paint section of the hardware or craft store) to help the spray paint stick to the smooth surface.

Before you start painting your frame, remove the back and glass to make sure they stay paint-free. Then lay out a lot of newspapers in an open area (preferably outside or in your garage) and start applying the layers of paint to the frame. For more tips and tricks on using on spray paint to spruce up household items, check out my episode called How to Use Spray Paint.

Tip #3: Painting Wood Furniture

Just like wood picture frames, wood furniture can be sanded and painted a fun accent color to spice up your room. If you don’t already have a piece that you are thinking of painting, another quick trip to a secondhand or vintage store is sure to give you a number of options. Just make sure to measure the space you’re looking to fill before you go to the store.

If the furniture has any dings or imperfections, you can use an electric sander to smooth out the surfaces. If it’s simply the wrong color, you can use primer to ensure the paint will stick. Either spray paint or a quart of paint will be enough for most pieces of furniture. The more detail on the piece, the more I would recommend using spray paint because it will more easily get into all the nooks and crannies. Regardless of whether you use a can of regular paint or a can of spray paint, you’ll want to choose the right finish for your piece. If you want a more modern look, choose a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint. If you want more of a traditional or aged feel, a flat paint will be a better option. Pick the right one for your style and you’ll have a custom piece that fits perfectly in your home.

Tip #4: Painting Knick-Knacks

My final recommendation for things to paint are smaller knick knacks like vases and figurines. These items are widely available in secondhand stores and as long as you can look past the silly paint jobs that some items have, you can find some cool things that will look great on a shelf after you apply a coat of spray paint.

Look for items that have a great shape and texture. Vases with bubbles or bumps on the outside look really cool when painted a monochrome color. Medium-sized figurines or statues are also great because you can still tell what they are if they are painted one color, but the monochrome look will add a quirky, modern style to any room.

If you are new to painting items for your house, I would actually recommend starting with these smaller accessories. They’re cheap, so you don’t have to worry as much about making mistakes, and they can give you a pop of unexpected color that may transform the room enough for you to start on bigger items.

I am curious to see what paint projects you have undertaken in your own home. Share them on my Facebook wall, or tweet me @thedomesticceo. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home. 

Canvas Bag Frame and Drawers images from Shutterstock