Friday Finds: 7 Fresh Ideas for Using Up Leftover Paint

painted bookcase decor ideas DYI with left over paint

Your freshly painted room is looking gorgeous. In fact, you love the color so much, you don’t want any of it to go to waste! Have no fear, we’re here with some great ideas for using up every last drop of paint.

1. Freshen up a lampshade with a wash of color.

Emily Henderson calls painting a shade with watered-down house paint “the simplest, most genius upgrade to a fabric lampshade that you can do.” She suggests a ratio of 1/3 water-based paint to 2/3 water.

White walls in living room with artwork on the walls
Credit: Style by Emily Henderson


2. Paint the back of your built-ins.

Painting the back wall gives shelving an added dimension — and gives you an excuse to use more of your favorite paint! Are you noticing more bookcases and built-ins featured in room sets, or is it just me?

Built-ins painted Newburyport Blue HC-155 by Benjamin Moore
Newburyport Blue by Benjamin Moore | Cory Connor Designs | Kazart Photography

3. Make a Headboard.

Paint + wall = virtual headboard. Definitely one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

Headboard painted soft salmon
Credit: Alexandra Angle | Photo by Lucas Allen


4. Give your stairs some oomph.

Get creative, and paint your stairs — use one color to create a painted runner from top to bottom.

Stair treads painted blue
Benjamin Moore Big Country Blue | Emily Henderson | Photo Bjorn Wallander

5. Color blocking.

From shapes to stripes to accent walls, color blocking is a modern way of adding colorful artwork to your walls.

color blocked wall with shelving
Enter My Attic
See our recent post on pulling off interior color blocking for even more ideas.

6. Go for a dip-dye look with color-blocked furniture.

The Sweet Beast does a reverse-dip-dye by painting the top part of this wooden table. Click through for the full DIY.

Entry_Table dipped dyed with salmon paint
Credit: The Sweet Beast


7. You can also dip-dye accessories.

Whether you literally dip your pieces into paint (like the stool, above) or apply with a brush (like the pots, below), creating a dip-dye look is a quick way to instantly make a piece feel more custom and modern. Thin out your paint a little if you’re dipping so you don’t end up with sagging paint, which you won’t notice until it’s dried!

Terra cotta pots dipped with turquoise colors
Credit: Wit & Whistle


If you don’t use up all of your extra paint with these creative ways to recycle, bring the leftovers to a Paint Care drop-off site. The PaintCare Stewardship program is funded by sales of new paint, but any excess paint can be taken to drop-off locations.

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