Building & Renovating

6 Mini Makeovers using Paint

Give new life to old things with a coat or two of paint


Cutting costs shouldn't stop you from making your house beautiful. There are many hidden treasures around your home just waiting to be discovered. All you need is a paintbrush in one hand, a can of paint in the other, and a weekend to complete any of these instant makeover projects. 

Styling by Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Paint MAGIC!") in the March 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details.  

Update an old wicker. Get the look of an elegant and sophisticated home for much, much less! Old wicker on its own may look dated and boring. But painting it black can instantly turn it into something that looks like you spent a fortune on it. You can update wicker with any neutral color as this will bring out the texture of the piece, but black adds a touch of sophistication unmatched by other neutrals.
Make your own votives. Got mismatched glasses or incomplete sets because some pieces are broken? Turn them into tealight votives by painting decorative graphics all over. You can paint stripes, circles, flowers, or triangles.
Create streamlined décor. Go over your house, room by room, and gather the knick-knacks you’ve collected over the years. Don’t toss them! Instead of letting them collect dust, paint these all in sophisticated white and display it freeform-style on a bookshelf or small sidetable. You’ll be surprised at how these items will look interesting again!
Create a sculpture with a found object. Scour your backyard or street for a fallen tree branch and paint it a metallic shade! You’ll instantly have a one-of-a-kind, organic sculpture that can be placed on a tabletop or shelf, or in a vase to hold earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Update a vintage piece. Although it is very easy to start painting any little thing you find at home, it is wise to check the value of the item before taking the plunge. Many items may not be brought back to their original state after painting and may lose their value in the process. You may not want to paint something that turns out to be a collector’s item! On the other hand, if you find that something like this brass lamp has lost its luster anyway, then go ahead and paint away.
Tip: Your pieces should match with your interiors. When updating your style, remember to update even the items that are more functional than decorative. The design of every single item in your home rounds out the overall look of the place, so don’t just focus on décor. A terracotta pot, for example, may go well in a country home but it doesn’t really fit in a modern one. Match items like pots, trash bins, trays, and others to your interiors by painting them a color that exists in your current style. White, black, and silver will work in a modern or sophisticated setting while colorful tones do well in playful environments.

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