Building & Renovating

RL Ideas: Refinishing and Reviving Antiques

Who knew paint’s magic can go beyond bringing color to sad walls?

Photography: This Heart of Mine and (Main Photo)

Every design enthusiast knows that paint is the secret to breathing life back into unwanted home stuff. If some of the pieces you own need sprucing up, it's the perfect time to whip out a can of enamel, experiment and watch tacky figurines from the past—in different sizes and shapes—look infinitely classier when coated with color and displayed in a new spot! 

Everyone knows that carpets can make or break a space. Change up the look of your entryway by painting over a generic area rug—consider working on a unique pattern for an instant accent piece. 

How-To: Paint Over Carpeting

Before trashing an old statement chair, try your hand at saving it with fabric paint. It's a quick way to conceal stubborn stains and make a well-loved item look brand new. If you are quite crafty, feel free to design a mural over it to create a conversation piece. 

READ: 3 Photo Pegs That Will Inspire You To Paint Upholstered Chairs

Update a standard wicker piece by painting it in a pastel shade. Aside from giving the piece a touch of sophistication and drama, it's also an easy way to turn an old-fashioned piece into a modern must-have. 

Orphaned clear drinking glasses look funky when painted randomly and used as tealight votives. You can also try a staining technique to give it a vintage-inspired look. 

DIY: Tinted Votives and Planters 

Once cleaned and painted metallic, fallen tree branches can become an incredible organic centerpiece. Looking for a quirky way to organize your accessories? Hang your necklaces and bracelets on the branches—you get to have an organizer and decor piece in one! 

RL Tip: Prior to painting, check if the item is an expensive piece whose value would depreciate if painted. Otherwise, color to your heart’s content!

Material from Real Living's Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers: 35 Easy Home Projects (2010). To view other Real Living Home Ideas Books, visit

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