Give home furnishings a new palette without lifting a brush. Paint chips from home improvement stores easily add colorful personality to small-scale accents.

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Faux texture tabletop.
Faux-texture tabletop.

Faux-texture tabletop

A side table gets artistic with a mix of large chips on top. For a sophisticated neutral scheme, choose shades of beige, brown and sand. Mix in samples of techniques (like Venetian plaster) for one-dimensional texture. Attach with double-sided tape, leaving space (ours is 12 inch) between chips. Cover with glass to protect.

Faux texture tabletop.
Faux-texture tabletop.

Paint (On table) EB24-1 Chestnut. Valspar Eddie Bauer Home collection. Lowe's (800) 445-6937; lowes.com Paint chips Assorted neutrals from Valspar Waverly Home Classics; assorted Valspar Venetian Plaster chips. Lowe's (800) 445-6937; lowes.com Table Ikea (888) 888-4532; ikea.com

Multishade photo display

Give photo mats a little flair with paint strips; they offer graduated shades of one color for a pretty ombre effect. Muted purples, for example, blend well with black-and-white scenes. Using double-sided tape, attach strips to mats. Trim to fit. For the narrow top and bottom borders, we cut out individual paint chips.

Multishade photo display
Multishade photo display.

Frames Ikea (888) 888-4532; ikea.com Paint chips Assorted Valspar paint strips. Lowe's (800) 445-6937; lowes.com

Color-block clock

Radiating swatches in wintry blues make for a mod geometric clock. To begin, lay out your design on a table. We started with a block of deep blue (note: most chips aren't perfectly square) and continued asymmetrically with chips of gradually lighter shades; strips of white paper mark the quarter hours. Measure the final arrangement, and cut 14-inch plywood to fit. Glue or screw short wood pieces to the back so the unit hangs flush against a wall after the clock movement is installed. Attach paint chips to plywood with spray adhesive. When dry, drill a hole for the clock movement (find kits at crafts stores).

Color block clock.
Color-block clock.

Clock movement kit Michaels Stores (800) 642-4235; michaels.com Paint chips Assorted blues from Valspar Eddie Bauer Home collection. Lowe's (800) 445-6937; lowes.com