Ready to wow your family and friends with your paint prowess this year? Paint is one of the most versatile–and exciting–decorating mediums to work with, and it can instantly transform a space. Whether you’re repainting a hallway a nice, staid shade of taupe or livening up your kitchen by painting the cabinets a jazzy lime green, there’s a paint project for everyone. Here are six of our most exciting painting ideas; which one will you begin?
1. Chalk Paint
Chalk paint is a type of paint developed by decorator Annie Sloan in the 1990s. She wanted a paint that was fun to use and that’s exactly what she created. Chalk paint doesn’t need to be prepped–you can use it indoors or outdoors and on virtually any surface. Its beautiful matte finish gives it its chalk name.
Because this paint can be used on so many surfaces, it lends itself perfectly to a variety of painting projects. You can use it in traditional ways, but it’s especially fun when used to freshen an old vase, for example, or update a wreath. You can even use it on fabric. It also ages beautifully, so if you love a vintage or distressed look, you’re going to go bananas for this paint.
Need some great ideas? Pinterest has tons of suggestions for crafts and home decor projects you can do with chalk paint, but it’s also worth taking a look around your home–what can you paint? There is no prep, just open up your can, dig out your paintbrush, and get started!
2. Garage Floor Paint
Another great paint project to undertake? Your garage floor! Yep, it doesn’t have to be that old stained concrete. Paint can be decorative or useful–or both. You have different paint options, but one of the most popular options is epoxy paint. Epoxy is a special coating that creates a hard, smooth finish that is resistant to chemicals and solvents, including water, alkali, and acids. This makes it a great choice for your garage floor as it will withstand oils leaks and help prevent stains, leaving you with a showroom quality finish.
When you’re applying garage floor paint, the first thing you’ll need to do is check to see if moisture is lifting up through the foundation. Tape down a square of clear plastic over your garage floor. In 24 hours, if the slab has darkened or water droplets have formed, you should consult with an epoxy supplier about moisture barriers. Special note: don’t do this project during the winter. The slab itself must be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit for it to dry.
Next, you’ll want to thoroughly sweep, scrape, and de-grease your garage floor. You don’t want to heavily wet it because it will not dry quickly. Then, apply etch pre-treatment according to the manufacturer’s directions. This will help the paint better adhere to the concrete.
The next steps should be followed carefully according to your epoxy manufacturer’s directions, but involve carefully mixing two cans to create a chemical reaction and then carefully applying to your garage room floor. Again, follow the directions carefully–failing to do so will leave you with one giant sticky mess on your hands!
Epoxy isn’t the only option for painting your garage floor. There are a variety of other options available to give your garage floor a much-needed update.
3. Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Painting kitchen cabinets is often called a weekend job. While it’s rarely that (unless, maybe, you have a holiday weekend before you) it can be a really terrific way to update your kitchen. It’s also usually pretty cost effective, especially when you consider the bang for your buck. Short of a full rehab, there’s not a more impactful way to change the entire feel of your kitchen than painting the cabinets!
Here’s what you should consider: how many cabinets (and therefore, how much work), as well as the resale value once you’ve painted (consult a realtor), and your renovation budget. When you realistically look at the time involved, and the effort you’ll have to put in, getting a quote from a professional isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If you’ve decided to go for it, now you want to very, very carefully choose your paint color. All those paint chips at the hardware store and those Pinterest images you’ve collected are lovely, but your kitchen and your light will change things. Paint sample swatches or tape swatches to your cabinet and watch how they look in the morning light, at night, and in the afternoon light. Do you like the same color on the top and bottom? Do you want your island to be a different color? What color will the walls be? These are all important questions you want to have ironed out before you begin your project.
4. Painting Over Wallpaper
Anytime the word “wallpaper” comes up, it’s usually followed by groans. Wallpaper projects are notoriously difficult but lucky for you, painting over wallpaper is easy! Dare we say fun?
Wallpaper is extremely difficult to remove and it’s not always easy to tell how many layers are lurking underneath that first layer (every layer exponentially worsens the removal process). That’s what makes painting over wallpaper such an attractive option. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
Are There Textures and Seams?
Any lines, textures, seams, and imperfections in the existing wallpaper will probably show up in the paint. You also run the risk of the moisture in the paint loosening the adhesive on the wallpaper, making the whole project a mess. Keep all this in mind before you start, but there’s a good chance you’ll weigh these potential concerns against the time and effort of paper removal and decide to go for it, anyway.
What Are Your Future Plans for This Space?
If you thought wallpaper was difficult to remove, wallpaper that’s been painted over is almost impossible. Should that stop you? It depends! How do you foresee using the space in the future? If this is your forever home, it might be worth taking the time to do the job right and removing the wallpaper before painting.
5. Painting Furniture
Whether you’re freshening a beloved piece of furniture, using paint to make a new piece look vintage or distressed, or using paint to make an old piece look new again, painting furniture can be fun and rewarding. One of our biggest tips for painting, however, is to do your prep work. Sand, prime, and sand again. Use a tack cloth–not a paper towel or lint-free cloth–to get every speck of dust off. Even paint that says it doesn’t need prep will be better off with prep.
Once you’ve prepped your piece, it’s time to paint it. You can choose from a variety of colors, finishes, and cans or sprays. No matter the color, the furniture will likely require two or three coats. A high-gloss paint will be easier to clean and hide imperfections better, but many people often really appreciate the look of semi-gloss or matte. You can also use spray paint or use latex paint but use a paint sprayer. While it’s a bit of an investment, if you are painting a lot, a paint sprayer can be a lifesaver.
Once you’ve painted and your furniture has dried you can use a new tack cloth to thoroughly clean the piece and then top it with a clear seal.
6. Painting With Stencils
If you’re looking to liven up a wall, indoor floor, or piece of furniture, an exciting way to do it by painting with stencils! Home decorators can use stencils to create a beautiful custom accent wall, a border around a room, or a unique ceiling or floor pattern. You can paint drywall, wood, fabric, concrete, and wood or concrete floors.
Start by selecting a stencil. You can purchase a stencil or make one yourself. You can use spray adhesive or painter’s tape to attach the stencil to the wall (make sure it’s level!). You’ll want to start with a center or focal point and work out from there.
Make sure you do not brush the paintbrush over the stencil (you’ll end up with lots of drips that way). Instead, use the stippling method to dab the paint onto the exposed surface. Use a brush specifically for painting with stencils and make sure you paint all the way to the edge of the wall to give your stenciled area the seamless look of wallpaper.
Remove your stencil and enjoy your new wall!
Painting can be work, but it can also be super fun. It’s also a way to raise the resale value of your home, make it a more inviting place for your family, or upgrade old furniture. It’s also a great value; there aren’t a lot of other changes you can make for less money that have more impact. Whether you’re updating something with chalk paint, painting the garage floor or kitchen cabinets, painting over wallpaper, painting furniture, or painting a fresh design with a stencil, there’s no better way to get started than with a fresh can of paint. What are you waiting for?