Many homeowners tend to save extra cans of paint in the garage or storage room, awaiting someday when the same color will be needed again. Often, by the time the day arrives, the applied paint has changed colors (no good for touch-ups anymore!), or the remaining amount is insufficient to cover a full wall or even a room. Or, maybe it’s as simple as having too much paint for a job and wanting to get rid of the excess.

To the point, whatever type of homeowner we are, the odds are overwhelming that we find ourselves with leftover paint and in need of an outlet for it. So, when that time rolls around, it’s useful to know what our options are. Throwing away perfectly good paint seems like a small travesty, so here are some other options to consider.

Just a note: It is possible to make natural paints for those hardcore DIYers out there. Paint often has unsavory chemicals, so it’s worth a think.

A Funky Door

Source: Ace Hardware/Youtube

Doors are one of those accouterments that get overlooked or left in rather drab, usually colors, but that doesn’t have to be the case. They can be painted, too.

To get even funkier, just paint a portion of it by taping a diagonal across it and coloring one side to match the room. Leave the other white or whatever color it may be. This adds a touch of pizzazz not often seen.

Accented Drawers

In bedrooms or office spaces, there is usually a collection of drawers in a wardrobe, chest of drawers, vanity, or desk. The spare paint can be used to spruce up the side panels and bottoms of the drawers so that they match the room. It’s a cool move that ties the room together in an unusual way.

Trim Work

While painting the walls and trim the same color isn’t so exciting, it might be a cool idea to visit an en suite bathroom or closet space and paint the trim pieces to match the adjoining room. Or, perhaps, there is somewhere else in the house where a splash of color might be appreciated. A bit of leftover paint can work wonders.


Furniture ages with use. There’s no way around it. But, there are plenty of things we can do about it. Old tabletops can come back to life with a coat or two of leftover paint. Chairs can get stripes or accents. Whole pieces of furniture can be painted anew and then distressed to give them a shabby-chic feeling.

Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are one of those things that we often learn to accept as they are, but we don’t necessarily have to. We could get wild and paint the old dangling light fixture to flow with the room. Or, we could visit a different room and make an out-of-date light fixture into something new.

Feature Walls

Source: 5-Minute Crafts/Youtube

An old can of paint can turn a regular, solid-colored wall into something of a feature. It can be used to create a stripe or several strips. Or, putting a dab of paint here and there over the wall will add enough flair to make it a feature wall.

Shelving Units

Offices, bedrooms, and living rooms often have bookshelves or display shelves in them. If that old shelf is looking worse for wear or a bit drab, painting the back panel can bring it back to life. It’ll make the items on it stand out all the more.

Repurposing Stuff

Whether it’s old picture frames, lamps, vases, or any other thing that seems like it might just work if only…, a fresh coat of paint can take a thrift shop purchase or closet fodder and transform it into something worthy of making the room, using old paint on a repurposed item is double good karma.

Recycle It

Most paint is problematic for normal trash pickup. It definitely would need to be aired out and dried before being tossed in the bin. However, there’s no need for that. Lots of places will take it and help to find it a new home. PaintCare, Habitat for Humanity, and Freecycle are all possibilities for getting a notable bit of paint into the hands of someone who might appreciate it.

It’s also worth considering schools (teachers), churches, and community centers as places that might make the most of half a gallon of paint.

Source: DIY with Dave/Youtube

If discarding paint is the best alternative—say the paint is lumpy, hard, or smells horrendous—then be sure to dry it out and check with local guidelines as to how to discard what is a likely hazardous item. Habitat for Humanity, PaintCare, and Earth911 are all good sources for getting rid of old, ruined paint safely.

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