How to Stretch Your Budget with Painted Accessories

Welcome back, you guys! I hope your weekend was a fun one. We spent some of the weekend working on the inventory closet for the One Room Challenge but I was also able to plant a few flowers, which always feels relaxing.

My mom and design partner came over to help style the bookcases at the end of last week and they look amazing. I cannot believe how things are coming together. I’ve been collecting bits of ironstone, tarnished trophies, books and weathered wood pieces for a while now. I really wanted a layered look with lots of neutrals as a backdrop to the work island.

Over the weeks and months of collecting, it seemed like we had a lot of white and off white pieces. They were all piled up nice and pretty in the living room so I thought we were good to go. But once we started layering everything on the shelves in the office, I realized we were going to run out of white, cream and off white pieces fairly quickly. As I shared Thursday the rest of the budget has been dedicated to finishing the inventory/craft closet so I had to come up with another way to get the “layered neutrals look” without buying more accessories.

I found these black metal plaques last year at one of my favorite thrift stores and I knew they would be perfect painted white.


I used one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White to paint the base of each plaque.


Once they were dry, I lightly sanded around all of the raised edges.


I didn’t want all three plaques to be the same color so I added dark wax to one,


clear wax to another


and didn’t put anything on this one.

This is a shot of all of them together (no wax, clear wax, dark wax).


This is the style I’m thinking for the office shelves – lots and lots of neutral layers.


I was so excited about how the metal plaques turned out I decided to paint one of the vases I picked up for $2 in a custom mix of Country Grey and Old White.


The vase felt like some sort of ceramic or plaster so I wasn’t really sure if the paint would adhere or not but three watered down coats of paint, a light sanding and bit of clear wax later we were still in business.


Since ironstone can be hard to find in this area, I didn’t want to take the chance we wouldn’t have enough white and off white items to layer with bookcases with so I used the last bit of custom mix from painting the vase to paint these floral plaques.


I had to use multiple coats of paint on these


but I love the way they turned out. The base is mostly Country Grey with a wash of Old White on top. I may put all of these in a layered gallery wall.


I’m pretty sure it’s not even natural to get this excited over layered neutrals ha ha. Seriously, painting pieces like this is a great way to help stretch the budget so you can get the look you want for less. Makeovers can get expensive so make sure you’re putting your money in foundation pieces like furniture, rugs or curtains and then shop antique malls, thrift stores, charity shops or estate sales for the rest.

See you guys back here tomorrow. Remember last week when I was having trouble deciding if I should gray wash the desk and barstools? I’ll show you how it all turned out.

Many blessings,


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  1. You are right on with this advice! You know what really get me is knowing how many things I’ve gotten rid of in the past that could have been painted. Ugh!! Hopefully they are somebody else’s treasure now.

  2. Love this idea Coco! I have several items at our house with a couple layers of paint each because I can’t make up my mind and like to switch up the colors! :). Have a great week!

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