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30 Tips for Painting Almost Anything

You can transform just about anything with paint and a little imagination. Leather, concrete, appliances—you can paint them all! Here's how, plus dozens more things you never knew you could paint.

Paint a ratty old table

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to update old furniture is to paint it. And you can take it up another notch by adding a decorative faux marble finish. While this project looks difficult, it's actually quite basic—you just need some paint, a handful of tools and a smidgen of patience. Learn how to paint a faux Carrara marble table in this tutorial.

Paint leather

There are paints made specifically for painting leather furniture. We used paint, prep and finisher made by Angelus. They're available online and at some home/hobby stores. In addition to furniture, you can paint leather shoes, jackets, belts and bags in much the same way. Find complete how-to instructions and photos here.

Paint doors

Everyone knows you can paint doors, but few people know how to paint them correctly. Make sure your painted doors look like you hired a pro with these top 10 tips for painting doors.  

Paint concrete

Okay, this is actually concrete stain (not paint) but you apply it with a roller and it's a quick, inexpensive way to transform an uninteresting concrete slab into an elegant patio that's vibrant with rich color. All of the how-to steps and photos are available here.

Paint windows

Again, everyone knows you can paint windows, but how many times have you seen windows with paint slopped on the glass and peeling off of the wood frame? With these 10 tips, your painted windows will look crisp and fresh for years to come.  

Paint a room FAST

Painting walls is considered a basic DIY home improvement skill. However, it can be a tedious, time consuming project, especially for beginners. Speed up the process and get top-notch results with this collection of tips from a veteran pro painter.  

Anti-slip paint additive for outdoor steps

For added traction on concrete steps, buy an inexpensive, slip-resistant additive and mix it in to your paint. Learn more about this safety precaution here.

Don't be afraid to paint wood trim

Painting wood trim is task that you may have skittish about, but fear not! With proper preparation, tools and techniques, you can do a first-rate job, even if it's your first try. We've gathered our best pro tips in this collection that practically guarantees perfect results.  

Paint tired, old kitchen cabinets

If you have old, dark, unattractive kitchen cabinets you may think you're stuck with them because it's too expensive to replace them and you don't know how to paint them. Help is on the way! Learn the three steps for a successful cabinet transformation, including what tools and materials you'll need, in our tutorial.

Paint rusty metal

If you have some rusty metal, you may think it needs to be replaced. Think again! We can show you how to get rid of the rust and make the metal look like new. The key is to properly prep the rusty metal before you paint. A little work up front will yield long-lasting results. Here's how.

Paint aluminum siding

If your aluminum siding has developed a chalky residue or is faded, stained or just plain the wrong color, you can paint it! Here's how to prepare the surface and choose your paint.

Paint a popcorn ceiling

Is your popcorn ceiling showing its age? Here's a hassle-free way to refresh it. If you don't like your popcorn ceiling and want to remove the texture, here's how to do it.

Touch up car paint imperfections

Remove and repair flakes, chips, dents, dings and scratches on your car's finish before the rust sets in. It takes just a few minutes of your time over a few days. These great auto painting tips and techniques will show you how to touch-up those little eyesores and take years off the look of your car.

Paint appliance handles

Yellowed handles can make a refrigerator or other appliance look old before its time. Fix the problem easily with a spray paint designed for plastic surfaces. Here's how to do it yourself.

Paint the garage floor

Transform a dull garage floor into a brilliantly colored auto showroom in one long weekend with a durable, professional quality epoxy floor finish. Learn how in our detailed tutorial.

Don't be afraid of color

You may not want to paint your ceiling yellow, but don't be afraid to deviate from plain old white. Painting the ceiling a color can make a small room seem bigger, or a room with a high ceiling seem more intimate. Plus, it's just more interesting. Ask at any full-service paint store for help in choosing complementary wall and ceiling colors, or search online for examples of rooms you like. Get a collection of ceiling painting tips from a pro painter here.

Dual paint roller

Dual-roller decorative painting systems can create unique color and texture effects on your walls in a fraction of the time required by more traditional methods. Learn how you can create this designer look on your walls, even if you're a novice.

Paint a varnished door

Of course you can repaint a painted door, but what about a varnished door? Yes, you can paint it! So if you can't live with that ugly stain on your doors, paint them. Our tutorial shows you the right way to paint the varnished doors so you'll be proud of the way they look.

Paint texture technique

If you like the look of textured plaster walls but all of yours are standard-issue flat drywall, consider this Venetian plaster painting technique. You apply the colored texture in several coats and then sand and burnish it for the full effect. Find complete step-by-step instructions and detailed photos in our tutorial.

Block stains with primer

Don't expect regular primer or paint to cover marker or crayon marks; they'll bleed through even several coats of paint. The same goes for water stains. First try to wash off the marker or crayon with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (at home centers) dipped in warm water. If that doesn't work, cover the marks with stainblocking primer (KILZ and B-I-N are two brands). Apply the primer with a roller so the texture will match the rest of the wall. Buy a cheap disposable roller and then throw it away when you're done.

Paint behind the toilet

If you have a tight spot to paint, remove the pad from an inexpensive paint edging tool and hot-glue the pad to a stir stick. Now you've got a painting tool that will fit behind toilet tanks and radiators. If you shy away from painting projects because of the mess, check out this collection of tips, Paint a Room Without Making a Mess!  

Paint shingles, stucco or brick

With the right tools, paint and technique, you can successfully paint to large areas of cedar shingles (shown), stucco or brick. Buy a roller setup consisting of a heavy-duty roller cage (this is the handle part); top-quality 1/2-in. nap roller covers, one for each color (you'll wash and reuse them); and a roller screen. Our complete tutorial on exterior painting covers everything a DIYers needs to know to get professional-looking results.

Designer paint finishes

Transform a room from dull to dramatic in one weekend with one of these three creative painting and glazing techniques. All are easy-to-do, attractive and inexpensive. Shown is "Random Rectangles." Four layers of glazed boxes overlap to create this contemporary design. Learn how to create this effect, plus two more custom wall finishes, "Shimmery Stripes" and "Weathered Wainscot" in this how-to guide.

Paint beadboard

Painting wood beadboard and other wood trim requires patience and attention to detail. But, our step-by-step instructions and how-to photos will walk you through the prep work, then show you how to apply a durable, attractive finish that will improve the look of any room in your home.

Color selection

If doing the actual painting sounds fun to you, but choosing the colors makes you go into a cold sweat, we can help. Our tip collection on how to choose paint colors will help you find the perfect hue for every room.  

Paint metal hardware

Use spray paint can quickly and easily transform plain or ugly metal hardware. Prevent paint overspray with this clever spray booth made from a cardboard box. First, cut a hole in the top of the box. Then cover the opening with plastic wrap and position a shop light above to illuminate the hardware. Use metal coat hangers, poked through the cardboard, to hold and rotate the hardware as you're painting so you get full, even coverage. If you're going to be doing a lot of spray painting and you'd like a sturdier spray booth, check out this one.

Paint upholstery

You can make an old chair look like new with spray paint formulated for fabric. The pain can hide stains, update the color and even obscure minor wear. The paint is available at auto-parts stores, some home centers and hardware stores and online. Fabric paint does have one drawback: It can make fabric feel rough. This usually isn't a big problem with smooth fabrics, but fabric with a nap, such as velour, may feel like sandpaper after painting. Test the back of the chair or the underside of a seat cushion before you paint the entire surface.

Paint your old kitchen appliances

You can apply Liquid Stainless Steel (a water-based latex paint made with stainless steel) to your appliances with foam brushes and a roller (which is included with the paint). A topcoat gives the surface a durable satin or gloss finish (your choice!). The paint can be used on stovesrefrigeratorsdishwashers and toasters—just clean them and tape off areas you don't want to paint. You can also use this paint on cabinets and furniture. Get all the details here.

Transform your countertop

If your laminate kitchen countertops are worn but still sound, give them a fresh, new look by resurfacing them. A variety of colors are available, and the process is no harder than painting. This coating system from Rust-Oleum is available in five colors ranging from light to very dark (for this project we chose Charcoal). The big pluses of this system are it's not smelly or difficult, you don't have to remove your countertops (!), the instructions are clear, and the kit comes with everything you need (except basic painting tools), plus it includes a very detailed DVD. This product can be applied to any laminate or hardwood countertop in reasonable condition. Burns and scratches are fine, but fill deep dents and chips before you use it.

Paint caulk for perfect walls

Hairline cracks at inside corners usually signal slight movement between adjoining walls. Choose any type of latex caulk and cut the tip just short enough to leave a 1/8-in. hole in the end. Squeeze a narrow line of caulk directly over the crack. Then mold the wet caulk into the corner with a moistened finger. The caulk will remain flexible and keep the crack from reappearing. Avoid thick layers of caulk, which may look too rounded in a square corner. When the caulk is dry, you can paint right over it. For more wall and ceiling repair tricks and tips, check out this collection.