DIY Projects

10 Ways To Use Leftover Paint

use leftover chalk paint to make over an old desk for kids

If you’re like most people, you probably have a shelf (or three) full of half-empty paint cans hanging around your garage.

You know the deal, you buy more than you need because you don’t want to run out and have to make a trip to the paint store in your hair-in-a-bun, no-makeup, paint-splattered old tee shirt from high school look.

And since paint can’t just be thrown in the trash, [no one ever seems to have time to take it to a dedicated recycling/haz-mat center] you end up with quite the collection.

So instead of letting the cans pile up, why not use that last little bit for a quick (and free!) DIY project?

paint an accent wall with leftover paint

1. Paint An Accent Wall

Depending on how much paint you have leftover, you can paint a full accent wall, or create your own artwork like I did in my bedroom. I just taped off some abstract lines and painted inside my lines with an angled brush. Other great places for accent walls include laundry rooms, linen closets, office nooks, and dining rooms.

Read More: 5 Steps To A Cozy Bedroom

2. Make Wall Trim Pop

Give a room fresh life by updating the wall trim. You can add tons of contrast and character by ditching the plain white trim and going for a fun hue instead. This works especially well in dining rooms, kids’ rooms, and  home offices.

use leftover paint to update old furniture

3. Update Old Furniture

Chances are, you’ve probably got at least one piece of furniture around the house that isn’t exactly Instagram-worthy. Don’t drop it off at Goodwill yet! Furniture can be revamped with a good coat of primer and a fresh coat of paint.

These shelves were actually mine when I was kid. They were faded and stained and could’ve headed straight to a donation center. But with a quick fix, they look brand new and perfect in my son’s room. I also painted an old desk in his room with chalk paint (photo at the beginning of this blog post) to give it a fun new look.

Read More: How To Paint Laminate Furniture

4. Have Fun With The Garage Entry Door

I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted a fuchsia door. There’s just something about that color that says “Welcome Home!” to me. But I live in a house with males, so the idea of a hot pink front door was shot down very quickly. But I found a caveat. The garage entry door.

Since the neighbors and house guests can’t actually see it, you can experiment with any fun color you want. Including fuchsia.

This is also a great way to add a pop of color to your entry if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA that restricts exterior door colors.

use leftover paint on interior kitchen cabinets

5. Add Color To Kitchen Cabinets

I had leftover paint from my interior doors, so when I updated my kitchen I used that paint to add a dark moody background to some of my cabinets. By removing the doors and painting the inside, my white dishes really stand out now.

You can take this even further by painting the inside of bookshelves or using chalk paint on the inside of cabinet doors.

Read More: How To DIY Open Shelving In The Kitchen

6. Make Your Own Artwork

Time to get creative! If you have just a little bit of random paint colors that won’t cover a large project, why not make your own artwork? All you need is an inexpensive canvas-covered frame like the one above, some artist brushes, and an imagination.

If you’re lacking the artist gene like I am, you can take the abstract route and do something crazy like splatters, lines, or various sized brush strokes. With the right colors, anything will look awesome.

use leftover paint and trim to frame a builder grade mirror

7. Frame A Mirror

Add character to your home by framing out a builder-grade mirror with trim. You can create a piece of custom art for your bathroom without breaking the bank buying a new piece.

In my guest bathroom, I attached the trim with building adhesive, but if you’re looking for a temporary improvement or you live in a rental, you can use velcro Command Strips instead.

Read More: How To Frame A Bathroom Mirror Without Glue

8. Add Luxe With Accent Doors

Painting interior doors a contrasting color is one of the easiest ways to make your house look more expensive. Try switching the basic white doors with a crisp black or muted gray. It’s a small change but it packs a huge impact.

Shop My Favorite Interior Door Hardware

use leftover spray paint to give an old piece of furniture a new look

9. Don’t Forget About Spray Paint

Spray paint cans are the worst when it comes to leftovers. Somehow, I always end up with half a can of every color under the rainbow, and instead of using it, I end up buying more because I’m afraid what I have won’t be enough. In an effort to cut down on the many cans of white and the random can of gold, I made this awesome bar cart out of an old piece of junk and some leftover spray paint.

Other items perfect for spray paint include outdoor furniture, old lamps, outdated mirrors, and accent chairs.

Read More: DIY Bar Cart Makeover

10. Rescue A Piece Of “Trash”

You know the phrase “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”? Well your own trash can turn into something great by thinking out of the box. All you need is some sandpaper, primer, and leftover paint.

I recently turned a water-damaged tray that was headed for the curb into a fun Lego tray for my son to use. I’ve also made over my old faded mailbox, a sad wooden train table, and a vintage ladder and turned them all into brand new pieces with new functions.

Your Turn!

Now that you’re stocked up on ideas to ditch the old paint cans, break out that paint brush and get started! I’d love to hear what projects you have in mind and any that you’ve done in the past. Share your ideas and experiences below in the comments section. I can’t wait to hear about them all!

what to do with leftover paint

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  1. Really cool ideas Lela, i wouldn’t have thought of half of these. I think its probably quite satisfying and enjoyable coming up with designs and making use of leftover paint. Sure, maybe you don’t need it, and it might not cost a lot to throw the paint away, but for the time spent being creative I think its a great little project to get involved in.

    • Thank you so much! You’re totally right, it’s definitely worth using that last little bit to create something new. So happy you stopped by Oliver!

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