Quick and Easy Paint Projects | Midwest Living
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Quick and Easy Paint Projects

A simple coat of paint transforms just about anything—walls, floors, furniture and more. Plus, it's cheap and easy! Try these projects in an evening or a weekend.

Enhance architecture

A simple silhouette gives an interior door focal-point status. Draw a 5-inch-wide border around the frame. For the peak, measure 5 inches above the top line’s center point. Connect the peak to the top corners. Tape off the border (and molding) and roll on paint. Paint baseboards to extend color. 

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Boost a bed

Create a headboard design with paint and a large stencil pattern, like this trellis. We used white paint on a dark wall for a reversed-out effect. Determine headboard size; ours is 60x54 inches for a queen. Then tape off and paint a 2 12-inch-wide border inside the marked area. When dry, center stencil, securing it with stencil spray adhesive. To prevent bleeding, apply paint in multiple thin layers. Reposition stencil and repeat. Use a round artist’s brush for touch-ups. 

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Wallpaper chalkboard paint stencil

Use chalkboard paint to create change-your-mind wallpaper by repeating stencil shapes. We chose a regimented pattern of tropical leaves, but the only limit on the look is your imagination. Keeping the chalk above a chair rail reduces the chance of smudges. Buy stencils at crafts stores. The background color in our photo is Benjamin Moore 2147-30 Jalapeño Pepper.

Amplify art

A vibrant print above an entry table looks even more striking framed with a two-tone paint accent. Pull one hue from the artwork, and buy it in two shades. Tape off a floor-to-ceiling section that’s 16 to 20 inches wider than the table. Roll on the darker paint. After it dries, draw a square (or other shape that mimics your art). Ours starts 5 inches above the tabletop and extends 5 inches on all sides of the print. Tape off the inner square; roll on coats of the lighter shade. 

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Decorate a window shade

Transform a standard-issue window shade with paint. You can't go wrong with alternating stripes. Roll the shade out flat and use painter's tape to create easy stripes. If you don't already have paint, buy the tester size -- you don't need much to paint a shade -- for an inexpensive project.

Paint furniture

Painted furniture brings your home a touch of cheerful cottage style. Transform old furniture or find inexpensive new unfinished pieces at furniture stores. A pastel palette of yellow, pink and green plays to your feminine side. You can skip the tablecloth when you paint a pretty pattern on the tabletop instead.

Embellish with stencils

Give a painted piece extra personality by adding a stenciled embellishment. The subtle vine on this painted hutch appears almost random in its placement, giving the piece an organic feel. Don't forget to paint the inside of a glass-door cabinet to get even bigger color impact.

Stencil a floor covering

Give your floor a boost by using paint and stencils to create a personalized floorcloth. Start with a remnant of vinyl floor covering in the desired size -- the backside makes a perfect surface for a floorcloth. Prime the back of the vinyl, apply the background paint color, and then the stenciled designs. For a big floor covering like this, a combination of large and small stencils creates an interesting pattern with plenty of white space that doesn't detract from the room's other accessories.

Enhance architecture

A simple silhouette gives an interior door focal-point status. Draw a 5-inch-wide border around the frame. For the peak, measure 5 inches above the top line’s center point. Connect the peak to the top corners. Tape off the border (and molding) and roll on paint. Paint baseboards to extend color. 

More details on this project

Paint outdoor furniture

Pretty up your porch or outdoor room with painted furniture. Before you paint, wipe away excess dirt and use sandpaper to smooth away chips and uneven areas. Spray paint is a great choice for easy, even coverage. If you don't have outdoor furniture, look at garage sales and flea markets for inexpensive pieces to transform; a coat of paint will make turn a tired piece into something special.

Make over a fireplace

A red brick fireplace is beautiful in some settings, but in a room that is light and bright, it can be an eyesore. That's where a fresh coat of paint comes in. Paint the bricks bright white for a look that's fresh and chic.

Try chalkboard paint

Turn your refrigerator door into an instant message board with chalkboard paint. Before you start painting, remove the door handle, clean the surface, and lightly sand for a smooth canvas. Most brands require several coats for an even finish. (Read the directions on the can before you start.) Look for chalkboard paint at your local home improvement store for less than $20 -- some brands even offer different colors.

Paint a rug

Transform a neutral sisal or jute rug with vibrant color. Block out your design with painter's tape and start painting! Vary the size or color of your design for an eclectic pattern that's easy on the eyes.

Customize a headboard

A headboard doubles as artwork when it's custom-painted to match your decor. A basic board, painted with a simple stencil and hung over the bed, gives your room a striking focal point -- on a budget. In this creative design, three vines look like they are sprouting from the pillows. A dark green edge frames the project and sets off the piece against the creamy walls.

Paint the floor

Floors sometimes get overlooked when it comes to decorating, but don't underestimate their ability to transform a room with a shot of color. Refresh a tired wood floor with a coat of paint, and the whole room will look like new.

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