How to Repurpose Household Items with Paint

Two Methods:Painting Household SurfacesTransforming Fabric

Before you toss that throw pillow or discard the expensive silk flowers that no longer match your décor, hit the paint store because you can actually paint over some household items and make them “new” again.

Method 1
Painting Household Surfaces

  1. Image titled Repurpose Household Items with Paint Step 1
    Brighten up a worn stainless steel countertop surface and/or trim. Use special stainless steel paint designed specifically for kitchen surfaces. Use on countertops, appliances, wood cabinets and drawer pulls.
    • Before you paint, remove dust and debris using warm water and mild detergent. Allow cleaned surface to dry before applying paint. Brush on one coat, allow it to dry before apply additional layers.
    • Paint like Thomas’ Stainless Steel is a liquid based paint that can be brushed onto any clean surface.
  2. Image titled Repurpose Household Items with Paint Step 2
    Repurpose an old glass canister into a chalkboard “talk jar.” Use any random dish or canister to create a surface that allows you to write about the contents inside.
    • Mark off an area using painter’s tape and paint inside the area using special chalkboard paint.
    • Allow the paint to dry before adding another coat.
    • Add a border using regular house paint around the chalkboard to accentuate and frame your piece.

Method 2
Transforming Fabric

  1. Image titled Repurpose Household Items with Paint Step 3
    Paint your area rug a new color or pattern. Use painter’s tape to create designs and then use either a paintbrush and paint for a very specific formation or spray paint to achieve the desired look.
    • Use upholstery paint when painting carpet (or any other heavy duty fabric) so the paint sets and dries correctly.
    • Mask stains on carpet by creating darker colored designs over the stain.
  2. Image titled Repurpose Household Items with Paint Step 4
    Freshen chairs and sofas. Use upholstery paint on chairs or sofas to not only change the color, but freshen the fabric to make it look like new. Consider going with only a single, solid color for large furniture.
    • Add design touches by painting pillows or throws.
    • Don’t forget about the structural elements as well. Chair/sofa legs that are exposed should be either painted or re-stained to complete the fresh look.
  3. Image titled Repurpose Household Items with Paint Step 5
    Create designer window treatments by adding a little color to single-hued curtains.
    • Lay curtains completely flat in order to provide you with the “canvas” for your art.
    • Tape off the design, then carefully apply or roll on the fabric paint. Allow to dry before hanging.
  4. Image titled Repurpose Household Items with Paint Step 6
    Spray paint silk floral arrangement to change color or freshen its hue. In a well ventilated area, hit various segments of your silk floral arrangement with new color.
    • For example, transform a set of old white silk hydrangeas with deep indigo for contrast and a color pop.
    • Don’t forget about the stem and any surrounding foliage before arrange the fully dried flowers in a vase or bowl.


  • Only use item-appropriate paint for each project (for example, avoid using tempura paint on fabric, etc.).
  • Try out paint swatches before committing. As with anything you paint, the color on the can may not be the same color on your item. While you may not be able to test drive it on the item you can paint a piece of paper or wood beforehand to see what the color looks like before it dries.
  • Be totally ready for a transformation before hitting any household item with paint. This will create a permanent change to your item and may not be a good idea if you aren’t completely sure.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint, suited to the surface you're painting, such as fabric paint for fabric
  • Paint tools––painter’s tape for creating patterns, small brushes to get inside nooks and corners, rollers and possibly spray paint
  • Drop cloths or newspaper to cover surfaces

Article Info

Categories: Reduce Recycle and Reuse | Decorative Home Paintwork