how to upcycle thrifted items with paint

Thrift stores are a wonderful resource for finding decor items at a great value. The problem is these thrifted decor items are usually a bit outdated or unloved. Here’s a super easy way to upcycle thrifted items with paint, converting them into uniquely trend forward decor pieces.

upcycle thrifted items with paint

I tend to use chalk paint for these type of projects, but I am sure similar results can be achieved using other types of paint. Feel free to experiment. When I set out on these projects I do not follow step by step instructions, but rather follow my instincts from previous painting projects. Hopefully this post will inspire you to create some awesome decorations for your home using paint as well.

upcycle thrifted items with paint

Usually when I find these pieces at thrift stores I know right away I will be upcycling them with paint. The usual modus operandi involves lightening whatever the decor item might be with white or a lighter tone paint.

5 Upcycle Thrifted Items With Paint


Thrift stores usually have a wide variety of baskets to filter through. I shared how I upcycled this wall basket a few years ago. If I remember correctly, I only paid a few dollars for this. Look at the transformation!

With a few coats of paint and a fun graphic it has become one of my favorite baskets. I use it inside our home and even outside where it’s protected.

weathered baskets DIY

For this basket, I painted a base coat of gray and topped it with a white wash finish. The graphic fabric was just the cherry on the top for the new paint treatment. You can see all the details on the original post if you follow the link.

upcycle thrifted items with paint
weathered baskets DIY

⚜️Urns | Vases

This urn has a terrific profile with the double handles plus the wonderful relief details. Unfortunately, the colors were super d.a.t.e.d.

Nothing a coat a paint can’t solve, right? That’s why we’re here today. Once again I used a base coat of gray and whitewashed all the beautiful relief details.

refreshing urn transformation part deux

The whitewash treatment was the perfect way to make all the great scroll-y details shine. This urn is used at all times, somewhere in our home, usually in the foyer or living room.

upcycle thrifted items with paint


All sorts of frames are always abundant at thrift stores, ranging from smaller table top frames to larger wall frames. All of them are easily transformed with paint.

In my consigning days I always sold painted frames in my displays. Regardless of the size or design, once the frames were all painted in an antique white paint it unified them. Theses frames are always a great decor item for mantel and shelf vignettes.

Graphite is also a great color to paint frames with a white wash on the relief to make all the details pop. Chicken wire in oversized frames always make great memo and vision boards.

Note: These photographs of the frames in my booths are pretty old and not of the of best quality, but I actually have a new upcycled thrifted frame project coming your way soon.

If you don’t want to miss out on any of the upcoming projects you can subscribe to receive all my new posts to your in-box.

Candle Sticks |Tapers

This candlestick is similar to the urn above. It has a great profile and wonderful details, but once again the color leaves a lot to be desired in my book.

With some paint it immediately looked like it belonged with other decor items in our home.

upcycle thrifted items with paint
faux cast iron candlestick DIY

I love how the white paint with some distressing brings the wonderful relief details to life. Paint can truly be magical.

upcycle thrifted items with paint
faux cast iron candlestick DIY


I always check out the book area in thrift shops. I love vintage books, but sometimes you can buy newer books and doctor them up. Paint is a great means to transform books in different ways.

Once again I painted books and decorated them when I was selling wares. Here a few book bundles from my booths.

upcycle thrifted items with paint
7 ways to decorate books

With paint and stencils you can coordinate these books with decor. All the details for this DIY and more are on the original post. Below is a great decor project for Halloween using paint and stamps.

7 ways to decorate books

So many options to upcycle thrifted items with paint

These are all thrifted items that I have upcycled with paint, but you can apply the same methods to any objects you are attracted to. Hopefully this will inspire you to look at thrift store pieces with a little paint pixie dust in mind.

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”

Vincent Van Gogh

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. Kathy A says:

    Really enjoyed seeing your projects and how you used them in your decor. The Halloween books got a big smile from me; Halloween is my daughter’s favorite holiday to decorate for.

    1. I am is happy you enjoyed the projects. Halloween is always so fun to go extra in so many directions! Have a great day. XO- MJ

  2. Donna Allen says:

    Such a great post! I love to upcycle old decor and make it look new again! I like your style and how you transformed each item!! Happy Day, Donna

    1. Thanks so much Donna. I love many of your projects so thats a super compliment. Thanks for dropping by. XO- MJ

  3. Laurie says:

    Some of these pieces are lovely, and the paint does make them very pretty!

    Thanks for sharing these at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop


    1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment Laurie and the visit. XO- MJ

  4. Cindy says:

    That first basket is the cutest! Paint is the miracle worker! This post is being featured in Tuesday Turn About Link Party and it’s being pinned to our Tuesday Turn About Pinterest Board! Hope to see you this week!

    1. Thank you so much Cindy! And yes, paint is a miracle worker. That’s the perfect way to describe it. See you on Tuesday. XO- MJ

  5. MaryJo, I know you already know, but I am happy to feature your post at this week’s Share Your Style #350 for you!! I love all the things you’ve painted to give them a fresh look on life! I went nuts about 10-15 years ago painting every frame that came into the house. Now I’ve swung back and love the gilded ones as they are, funny how that is.

    Happy painting and it’s a good time to do it. Everything dries so quickly! I just did our chair out front and it took four hours for two coats, DONE! (post next week, I think) P.S. I so cracked up at “D.A.T.E.D.”

    Have a great rest of your week,
    Barb 🙂

I love hearing from you!