5 Things to Paint That Aren’t Walls

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on July 27, 2020

It’s a design cliche because it’s true: Painting is the fastest, most cost-efficient design refresh. A new coat of color can not only shift the look and feel of a room but also boost your mood.  

And repainting your walls is only the beginning. Potential canvases are scattered throughout your home. 

Here’s a full spectrum of DIY projects to update your space with a can of paint (maybe even paint left over from a previous project). 

Each is budget-friendly. All can be completed in a few hours or over a weekend. And none involves a full wall.

If your kitchen is starting to feel as blah as dry toast, there’s no need for a costly renovation. Spice things up by painting your kitchen cabinets.

You can find inspiration in every flavor—a stunning turquoise, a soft pastel, clean white or dramatic black. 

The final touch: Switching out cabinet hardware to complement your cabinets’ new wardrobe.

blue kitchen cabinets

Instead of painting an entire wall, simply paint the trim in a contrasting color.

Look how the windows and baseboards of this bright, airy room pop when painted a sophisticated blue. 

It’s like the difference between going without eyeliner and rimming your eyes with kohl. It’s bold on a budget.

Navy blue paint trim

Neutral front doors are a dime a dozen. 

But a front door in fire-engine red or construction-cone orange? As long as it complements the rest of your exterior, that’s an instant increase in curb appeal. (Borrow inspiration from homeowners in Palm Springs, where the annual Modernism Week includes a self-guided tour of the area’s iconic, colorful front doors.)

Likewise, painting the inside of your front door is cause for celebration. After so many months spent at home, a new door color will give your eye something new to look at.

There are at least as many ways to paint bookcases as there are Harry Potter titles. Paint the entire bookcase the same shade, inside and out. Paint the bookcase backing but keep the shelves their original color. Paint the bookcase backing white or black but paint the edges of the shelves the color of your choice. 

Keep the interior surfaces and shelves the original color and paint only the exterior to match any painted trim in the room. It’s an inside-out look that creates unexpected contrast.

Or try color-blocking. If you have, say, a monochrome pink bookcase in a nursery, remove the shelves and paint them white or a contrasting shade of pink.

Paint the front steps. The step stool you keep in the kitchen. The stairs inside your home (step-by-step instructions here) or its banister.

Fabric lampshades (save time with spray paint). The fireplace (go matte). Picture or mirror frames (tape off the mirror first). 

Night stands. Side tables. Hardwood floors that have seen better days. 

When it comes to painting projects, even the ceiling is fair game. The sky really is the limit.

Our designers can take any space from drab to fab. Find a style that suits you and let’s get started.

Words by Staci Sturrock