Like wine in a box or lunch from a vending machine, paint from a spray can doesnt get a lot of respect. But it gets the job done, and sometimes its surprisingly good.
With a drop cloth and a little creativity, you can use a humble can of spray paint to transform a ho-hum household item into the focal point of a room. Scuffed-up picture frames, dated lamps and even tired furniture can get an easy and cheap makeover with a simple (or not-so-simple, if youre feeling ambitious) coat of spray paint.
Spray paint is definitely easier to use because of no drip, no clog features that have evolved over the years, said KathyLynn Gariboldi, owner and lead designer at reInvented Spaces in Raleigh. None of it is mistake-proof, but this helps.
We challenged Gariboldi and other local designers to transform an item using spray paint and were dazzled with the results. They shared step-by-step instructions for their projects as well as spray-painting tips that will come in handy for anything that needs a bold new look in your home.
Designer: Amy Lawson Howard of Alys Design in Pittsboro
Contact: 919-633-8125 or
Our world comes to life with color every year with the spring season; why not help bring new life to some of your old planters? This year, inspired by all of the ombré coloring we are seeing in everything from hair to fashion to furnishings, I decided to create my own version of color gradients, and these fun planters are the result.
Supplies: For this project all you need is a couple cans of spray paint and an open mind. I used Valspars Outdoor Color spray paint in Peacock Blue and Spring Sprout.
How to: To begin, I thoroughly cleaned and dried my pots, then laid the foundation with Peacock Blue, as can be seen most prominently on the inside lip of the planter. I then layered on the Spring Sprout in wispy strokes, allowing a portion of the orange terra cotta to remain, creating an ethereal sunset effect. Adding Valspars Purple Fury for definition around the outside lip and again blending it with the wispy strokes below completes the look.
Designer: KathyLynn Gariboldi of reInvented Spaces in Raleigh
Contact: 919-852-1964 or reInventedSpaces.com
Create a one-of-a-kind focal point for a dining area, breakfast nook or office.
If you dont have a chair on hand, purchase one at a garage sale or second-hand store. Make sure the chair is in reasonably good condition so you can actually use it! If there are imperfections in the wood, dont worry youre creating something funky anyway, and these characteristics can add some flavor to the overall style. Do be sure to check the bottom of the seat to make sure that the cushion can be removed easily with a screwdriver.
Supplies: Find or buy one-half to one full yard of fabric. (Check the remnant table at your favorite fabric shop.) Measure your chair and account for the fold-over needed on the bottom of the seat to secure it. Youll also need fabric scissors (or a nice, sharp household pair), a staple gun and staples, and a screwdriver.
Pick your paint: Check out your fabric for a color that you want to showcase or use something completely different. Consider other colors in the room walls, rugs, furniture, drapery. I prefer the no drip spray paints available at local hardware and paint stores.
Paint the frame: First, remove the seat cushion, then dust off the chair frame. Protect yourself by wearing a face mask and rubber gloves. Spray outside on a clear day. I use an old towel under the chair so I dont get paint on surrounding areas. Follow the instructions on the spray-paint can. Use long flowing motions for an even coat. A second coat is highly recommended for a flawless look.
Re-cover the cushion: Spread out your fabric face down on a floor or a table. Position seat cushion on the area of the fabric you want to use. If your fabric has medallions or any other symmetrical component, be sure to center the cushion. Allow 3 to 4 inches all around for the fold-overs and cut the fabric to size. Staple each side at center, pulling the fabric gently to flatten (but dont stretch it). On each side, staple to left and right of center. And at each corner, fold in the fabric as neatly and flatly as possible. Staple to secure.
Put it together: Make sure your chair frame is completely dry after the second coat of spray paint, then use a screwdriver to put the seat cushion back in place.
Designer: Ed Starr, design consultant, Gastonia
Contact: 704-458-4605 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A can of spray paint is a great tool when you have a group of objects that could be compatible grouped together, except that the existing finishes just dont work with one another. I assembled several found objects that have interesting shapes and details, but whose surfaces were worn, damaged or otherwise undesirable.
Supplies: The two small figures on bases were found in a box of junk at a flea market years ago and purchased for $1 each. The wood box was also a junk-shop find for $4. The lump of metal with the distorted shape is a fragment of heavy chain with the links fused together by rust. I found it washed up on a beach years ago.
Paint to unify: I gave all of the objects a unifying aspect with a can of white gloss spray paint. Details in the figures are highly defined by the solid white surface, and cracks in the wooden bases seem to be part of the design. The interesting, simple shape of the box is better outlined when not cluttered by chipping, discoloration and brush marks, and a large old glass knob has been added to the top, giving a touch of elegance to an otherwise simple piece. The rusted chain has taken on a totally new look with the individual links now defined by the white paint, resulting in a new texture.
Add importance: To complete this grouping of interesting objects, I combined these junk items with a truly important and valuable piece: a hand-blown, white glass vase from Italy. The unifying factor, which makes all of these pieces compatible and gives them each an important role in the grouping, is the white finish applied to the found objects with a simple can of spray paint.