12 Paint Projects to Use Up the Rest of a Can

You know that a can of paint holds a world of possibilities (if not, here are nine to try), meaning you’ve probably also found yourself staring into a half-empty pail of the good stuff after putting the last touches on a project or two. (May we suggest Down Pipe?) After duking it out with two coats of primer and Frog Tape, you might be sick of seeing that color and breathing those fumes—but definitely save it! Wipe away the excess, tap the lid back on to seal, and put it somewhere you’ll actually be forced to deal with it another day (that is, somewhere you can see it). When you’re ready start a small-scale paint project—starting with one of these 15 we’ve turned to time and again.

The Trim

Green trim in the white room beside the green room? Yes.


Wee Rickety Side Table

Keep a bit of it unpainted for a modern feel.


Old Frame

Rather than pass over a peeling vintage frame, take it home, sand it down, and put that paint on it.


Stair Risers

Scuffed? A strange shade of wood? Just… lacking something? Paint ’em.


Exterior of a Cast Iron Sink or Tub

Begging for a coat of the color you used a few doors down the hall.


Back of a Bookshelf

Just to deepen the mystery of what you’ve stacked inside it.



From pale yellow to dusky black in no time.


Dried-Out Branch

For setting atop your dining table or dropping into a big jar on the floor.


Couch Legs

Bye, cherry brown! Hello punchy pink or deep maroon.


Crusty Antique Dresser

Obviously don’t do this if you’re hoping a piece will retain its value, but for anything else (flea market finds!) be bold—as in try a glossy finish.


Terra Cotta

One pot, two pot, black pot, blue pot.



From ordinary to extremely exciting in the span of an afternoon.


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