5 ways to use up leftover paint that don’t involve wall painting (you’re welcome)

Chances are you have a treasure trove of leftover paint cans somewhere – the blue from your powder room, the yellow from your nursery – and they’re probably gathering dust. We’re here to save your spare parts (and your wallet). Rather than picking up a new box every time a project comes up, go for one of those colors you already own the next time you feel like tackling a paint job. They aren’t just for small touch-ups or multi-colored murals, they can transform art, furniture, and even architecture.

Photograph by Michael Newton

Artist Michael Newton reminded us of the superpowers of leftover paint when he opted for an enveloping fade for his living room, starting with a powder blue and ending with a trendy sage green. “Why choose when I deserve to have it all? ” he says. And put away your brush – Newton recommends forgoing straight lines and freestyle for a more painterly feel. Ahead, some more ideas to spark your next DIY day.

Modernize traditional furniture


5 ways to use up leftover paint that don't involve wall painting (you're welcome)
Photography by Rosa Schous

In the Dutch home of Maarten Boomker and Sharvin Ramjan, pastel pink adorns the baseboards, while Kelly green covers the walls. But if you just have a little color to play with, take note of the couple and spruce up a classic columnar plant stand with a few drops. Bonus points if you match the jar to your palette.

Refresh your fireplace


5 ways to use up leftover paint that don't involve wall painting (you're welcome)
Courtesy of Otto House

The peach hue that now covers the main fireplace in Georgia Otto’s British home wasn’t her first choice, but she didn’t want to waste the many paint testers she had (or go over budget). Now the structure matches the stair railings of the house, adding a fortuitous continuity to the design.

Ornate faux molding


5 ways to use up leftover paint that don't involve wall painting (you're welcome)
Photography by Aj Tamari; Design by Owen Holmes

While crown or chair rail molding is all the rage right now, Owen Holmes’ rental in Crown Heights, Brooklyn couldn’t handle anything too heavy-built. Instead, he simply grabbed his paintbrush and drew Greek-inspired green squiggles where the walls meet his 10-foot ceilings. The best part: you don’t need perfectly clean lines.

Lean into Pop Art


5 ways to use up leftover paint that don't involve wall painting (you're welcome)
Photography by Anna Yanovski

Photo frames are fine and all, but why not have your art pack punchier than just black frames? Give your prints the “eyeliner treatment” by painting a colored border around them. Make it large enough to include multiple pieces to unite a gallery wall or choose your favorite poster to stand out.

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