5 Brilliant Uses for Leftover Paint for Charming Design Details

Trying to estimate the right volume of paint when decorating your home is never easy, but no matter what tips or tricks you have to get the closest amount possible, you’re always going to end up with at least one. little paint left. .

Before you know it, your storage space is full of half-empty cans, and while it’s good to keep some of your main wall color in reserve for little touch-ups, it’s good to remember that once opened, your paint only has a certain shelf life. Good quality paint should last about five years after being opened before it becomes unusable.

Of course, there are more ways to upcycle leftover paint than ever before, but before you go down that road, ask yourself if there are any small paint ideas projects you could do around the house to use up your excess supplies.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite DIY projects that only use a small amount of paint to inspire you to empty your garage of those spare cans, while introducing a shiny new design detail to your space.

1. Add an unexpected detail

a colorful living room with a painted door arch

(Image credit: Michael Wells. Design: Davide Casaroli)

If you’re working with a largely neutral scheme, introducing a flash of color by painting an architectural detail can be surprisingly effective. It could be a feature alcove or a step, but it works especially well around doorways and thresholds.

With leftover paint, you can design a creative door trim idea into your scheme, paint the edges of a door for an unexpected pop of color when the door is open, or try an idea like the interior designer Davide Casaroli, who introduced a flash of turquoise. around an arched doorway in this apartment. “It was about balancing the colors,” Davide tells us. In this colorful scheme, turquoise draws the eye down the hallway, while enhancing a small highlight of the artwork on the gallery wall.

a dining room with a block of paint around a gallery wall

(Image credit: Bianca Hall / French For Pineapple)

Leftover paint is great for blocking out color in your home, but creating an on-trend geometric wall decor isn’t to everyone’s taste. So how can you introduce color blocking in a simple yet sophisticated way?

Interior stylist and blogger Bianca Hall of French For Pineapple (opens in a new tab) chose to use a block of color to frame the gallery wall in their dining room. Not only does this painting idea introduce a flash of color into the neutral scheme, but it also allows the individual frames to be grouped together, as if they were one larger work of art.

3. Create your own stone paint

a stone effect planter

(Image credit: Luke Arthur Wells)

One of my favorite uses for leftover paint is to give vases and flower pots a little makeover if I get tired of their color or finish. However, with the organic modern style trend of introducing textured finishes through accessories, a purely painted finish can sometimes feel a bit flat.

There are a few tricks to try when looking to create a textured paint that’s perfect for using up your leftovers. The first is the baking soda trick, in which you mix your paint with a teaspoon of this kitchen ingredient to form a pasty paint that has a glossy texture when applied to a surface. My favorite? Create a stone effect paint by mixing leftover paint or swatches with a little sand. This creates a grainy finish that recreates the look of rough stone or concrete, as you can see on the wooden flowerpot, top right, painted with DIY stone effect paint.

4. Decorate the inside of a piece of furniture

a mini bar cabinet painted with stripes on the inside

(Image credit: Luke Arthur Wells)

Every type of interior style can benefit from introducing something cheerful in unexpected ways, even if it’s not noticeable at first glance in your room. That’s why you should consider using leftover paint to introduce a new color to the interior of the joinery or cabinetry, which only shows itself when the doors are opened.

For my own home, the obvious space to introduce this idea was in this little living room bar idea. It is only really used when guests are present, creating a surprise that can be enjoyed at the right time. With just a small amount of London Stone from Farrow & Ball to paint the cupboard, I painted over these big scratches to make sure the paint went far enough, while creating a more interesting design detail.

5. Paint a trendy checkerboard pattern

a checkerboard pattern painted around a door

(Image credit: Mikhail Loskutov. Design: Tim Veresnovsky)

Checkerboard is one of the biggest trends in interior design right now, whether in floor tiles, rugs, or other textiles like blankets and cushions. However, it is also a relatively easy pattern to introduce with paint.

This checkerboard door arch is one of our favorite DIY weekend projects, created freehand by interior designer Tim Veresnovsky (opens in a new tab) bring character to your own dining room. However, this pattern could be introduced anywhere on a similar scale to utilize leftover paint. Why not try it as a motif behind a picture frame or gallery wall?

To pull off this project, follow our guide on how to paint a checkerboard floor, no matter the scale of your checkerboard design.

Can I make DIY projects with leftover emulsion paint?

Whether you’re planning a project with leftover paint or sample pots, more often than not you’ll be dealing with an emulsion. This type of paint finish is the one you would traditionally paint all walls with, and it is the type of paint used in the test pots.

If your leftover paint project is for painting walls, flat emulsion is fine, but if you’re painting furniture, woodwork, or anything that needs a little more durability, emulsion isn’t always ideal. . My best advice? Prime your project with a quick primer first (this will also help your leftover paint go further), then finish with a matte clear coat, like this top coat from Amazon. (opens in a new tab)which will make it more durable.

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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