How to Save Thousands of Dollars with Painted Upcycles ~ Plus Updates from Some of Mine!

Happy Wednesday, Friends! A yard sale sofa, a faded outdoor umbrella and a dated oven--what do these three things have in common? For different reasons, all needed makeovers, but seemed unlikely candidates for paint jobs. Yet, with carefully selected paint, a lot of research, and the courage to step outside of my comfort zone, these projects collectively saved me thousands of dollars! When I posted each crazy unexpected paint job, I promised to share updates to show how my makeovers stood the test of time. So today I'm sharing just that--three updates ranging from just under two years to three years ago...

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Let's start with the oldest and least expensive makeover first. With our scorching Texas summers, patio umbrellas often fade when they are in otherwise good condition. Instead of replacing one that had faded from a vibrant lime green to a very blah shade, though I'd never heard of it being done before, I took a chance and spray painted it. See how I spray painted my faded umbrella here!

Upcycled DIY spray painted umbrella

It worked like a charm! Three years later, while it's not quite as bright as it was freshly painted, the paint hasn't cracked or peeled. A comparable 9 foot umbrella would have cost about $70 to replace. Since I spent less than $8 on two cans of spray paint, I saved at least $62! 

DIY upcycled painted umbrella

The following year, after discovering retro pastel colored appliances, I became obsessed with updating the color of my oven. Every time I photographed my kitchen, it stood out like a gaping black hole. Even though my gourmet oven was old, it worked just fine and obviously I was not going to spend $5500 dollars to buy a new retro oven--even if the color was called jadeite green! After extensive research on different paints and safety precautions, I eventually made the decision to paint my oven--that's right--my oven! I'm sure there were readers who thought (A) I would cause a fire or at least that the paint would smoke, or (B) The paint would flake/burn off when I used the oven. Believe me, these thoughts crossed my mind as well! Two years later, I am happy to report that the oven did not smoke once--not even when I turned it up high with the windows open, the first time I used it after painting it. Here's how it looked after I painted it in 2015:

DIY upcycled painted oven

Please note that I did not paint the stove top, which is not recommended! Before you consider painting an oven, be sure to read the safety precautions here.  I mentioned that the oven hasn't smoked or overheated due to the paint and below you can see that two years later, the paint hasn't flaked or chipped. I spent around $20, which included a few cans of paint that I ordered online, that ended up being a completely different color than pictured. Even so, I was able to achieve a color similar to the appliance that inspired me and save myself about $5480! Also, I ended up using the brighter green "mistake" paint  for a garden project. ;) 

DIY upcycled painted oven

The last update is one of my all time favorite makeovers--the $10 yard sale sofa I transformed with chalk paint. While I'm certainly not the first to paint upholstery, it wasn't quite as popular a few years ago and it was new to me. Before proceeding, I scoured the internet for successful results and learned that there are some very strong opinions about the "right" way to paint upholstery. In the end, after combining techniques and spending several days on the project, I was in love with the results. In the almost two years since I originally shared it, I have been asked repeatedly if the paint feels stiff, or has cracked or peeled. I can honestly answer a resounding "No!" to all of the above. However, I am convinced the success of the project has to do with the sofa's original chintz-like fabric as well as the very thin layers of paint applied and sanding in between each--yep, sanding--that surprised me, too. That doesn't mean different types of fabric couldn't be painted, I just don't know that they would retain the smooth, soft texture mine has. You can see the pretty awful before photo, as well as a very detailed tutorial here. For this project, I spent just under $52, including the $10 for the sofa, saving me over $1000 compared to sofa prices I've seen online! 

DIY upcycled painted sofa
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What's the craziest thing you've ever painted?

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Save thousands with painted upcycles

Happy painting...and saving! 

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  1. I can't top your list of crazy things to paint...I tried painting my outside chair cushions and that was a big fail. Then I was going to paint my umbrella which had faded horribly but a squirrel got on it and shredded it for its nest so it went into the trash. So, I've painted tables and chairs, frames, and knick-knacks, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Now I'm thinking I haven't been courageous enough, lol. Love your projects and your updates. Thanks for sharing!

  2. All of your projects are great and inspirational! I wish I could get paint to stick to my woodwork and walls like that! My newly painted dining room is already nicked up. Anyways, a contractor painted my stove several years ago and it did not hold up. We had to replace it shortly after because it didn't work. Happy for you that all your hard work has paid off!

  3. WOW WOW AND WOW AGAIN!! You painted the umbrella. And a stove. And a sofa. Of course you did haha! The furniture/chalk paint I've seen but haven't tried yet. I did paint my stove hood recently and it worked great but didn't even consider painting the stove itself . . . oh my! So what kind of paint did you use on the umbrella? And on the stove?

  4. Hello, I'm new to DYI but I want to know if I could paint a leather sofa, My grandson has designed his art on it in magic marker and I ruined it trying to get it off.Thank you for any advice.

  5. Ok, we were going to buy new umbrellas because they were faded, but now I am thinking paint! Thanks so much!!

  6. I never would have painted any of those items and glad to know they held up quite well.

  7. Great update, Cecilia--I had not read your umbrella or oven posts before. You are a brave soul and it totally paid off!

  8. Yes you are very brave & I'm glad the projects were successful! Pinned.

  9. We actually painted our electric stove TOP when we were trying to sell the house. We purchased high heat spray paint and touched up all the areas that were chipped, faded, etc.While nothing burned (thankfully) I can say that it did not hold up very well. Other than that I don't think I can lay claim to any special paint jobs. However, if I go through my posts for the last 7+ years I might just find something! I think your couch is amazing! xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

  10. I've painted a lot of things, but can't think of anything that comes close to your unusual projects. They all look great. I'm especially impressed with the stove. Nicely done.

  11. These are all such great items that you up cycled!! I love painting projects!!


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