DIY: Updating Your Frames with Paint!

Jul 05, 2015

Before our recent home renovation, I had my back staircase and game room filled with collections of framed family photographs.

out of molding

For our new look, I decided to simplify and use framed photos going only up the staircase, so … John and I had to edit!! We selected about 20 frames portraying our kids, my parents as children, and even a 1927 wedding portrait of John’s Italian family (named Segreto!)!

stair carpet

After plastering the back staircase in a soft white and installing a more contemporary carpet from the Great Rug Company, I felt the framing should be consistent.

playing gold hat gold girls gold

But the carvings, the gold, the different mats and finishes in this collection in NO way reflected the sleeker aesthetic that our renovation sought to create! I think in the past I was distracted looking at my sweet kids, but now I see just how outdated these frames are! I softly mentioned to John that these treasured images needed all new custom frames. Remembering what we initially paid to have them all framed, hubby loudly responded that is not in the budget!


Undaunted, I headed off to Michael’s in search of high gloss spray paint. Funny story: the aerosol sprays are locked up in a case like expensive jewelry! I found out that minors use the aerosol to get high (yikes!!). I never found anyone to unlock the case, so off I went to Home Depot — where I found a primer and paint in one can in a gray (Dark Gray Gloss)!

gold taped off black taped off

I taped paper to the glass to protect it, making sure I was spray painting only the frames. These gold and gold/black frames are about to be a unified gray! Spray one coat. Let it dry. Spray again.

more gold taped offmore gold now gray

Here’s a before and after of a gilded one!!  This transformation is so amazing to me — just the right step toward a consistent, cleaner aesthetic!!

playing gray

hat gray

girls gray

Look at the difference! I think the color makes the carving less prevalent and makes the photos stand out better!!


The last step was to unify the mats!!  Most were white, which worked well, but a few were cream. So I did have my good friends at Framecrafters, Inc. here in Houston replace them.

2015-06-19 12.54.57

I was so happy with the results — a whole new look for such familiar faces!

back stair wall Isai

Segreto’s field manager, Isai (on the stairs) is not only fabulous at his job, but also has a knack for hanging art with precision!!  He created this wall in about 30 minutes, whereas, it would have taken me hours!! Thank you, Isai!

2015-06-11 07.04.44

This is just the look I wanted and John is thrilled that I didn’t spend much!! The first guests who saw the new installation were his brother and sweet wife visiting from California; they who arrived the day after the pictures were hung!! Perfect!

hanging exercise room

PS. I also spray painted more old family photo frames in a high gloss white and Isai was there to hang them in our exercise room! However, the painterly perfectionist in me thinks the white needs to contrast a little more with the walls — maybe a fun pop color…. I will let you know what I decide!!

What’s New at the Segreto Boutique & Gallery!!

jewelry with coral

In addition to new jewelry, we have these captivating coral and quartz pieces!


These porcelain pomegranates are actually vases!! How cool would they look filled with herbs and used for you next dinner party, either at each plate or running down the middle of the table as a collection?! We also love the wire trays and baskets from Aidan Gray — endless possibilities!

Kirsten's art

Kirsten McLean’s 50×50″ Along the Horizon is among our many new art pieces. They are perfect to add a contemporary twist to any room’s décor!! For information on any pieces in the Segreto Boutique & Gallery, please email

A big heartfelt favor!! Thank you all who have ordered the Segreto books!! It would be such a wonderful favor to me if you could review them on Goodreads and on Amazon.(It is a huge help for me in marketing them!!)  Thanks again, and I hope you all have a wonderful week!!!

signature-dust blue






  • Karena
    Posted at 08:23h, 06 July Reply

    Leslie the framed family photos look amazing in their new color!!
    That was truly a terrific and impactful project for a small price!
    Have a great week!

    The Arts by Karena
    Gallery Opening!

    • Leslie Sinclair
      Posted at 11:06h, 07 July Reply

      It was fun to do to! Such a simple fix! I hope you are doing well! xo leslie

  • Barbara Bussey
    Posted at 18:39h, 06 July Reply

    What a great update! Being a cheapskate, I paint old mats, with my shop’s chalk style paint. Works great. Amy Howard also has a spray lacquer in her line. All I need now is an Isai, to help out! Lucky you!

    • Leslie Sinclair
      Posted at 11:08h, 07 July Reply

      I would love to see pictures of the place mats done with the chalk paint! What a great idea! I have wanted to dry her lacquer paints. have you used them?

  • Design Chic
    Posted at 07:56h, 07 July Reply

    Your gallery wall looks amazing and would never have thought about spray painting the frames…brilliant! Now I need Isai at my house!

    • Leslie Sinclair
      Posted at 11:07h, 07 July Reply

      Everyone needs an Isai!!! I was so happy for the change and under 100$ even happier! How are you my best selling author friend? xo Leslie

  • Taylor Greenwalt
    Posted at 19:19h, 07 July Reply

    Love the gallery wall and Kristine’s painting is gorgeous!

  • South Shore Decorating Blog
    Posted at 18:44h, 21 July Reply

    Leslie I use spay paint all the time- it’s a godsend! Your frames look great but what I really love is the collections of gorgeous photos inside!

    • Leslie
      Posted at 08:25h, 23 July Reply

      You are so right!!! My favorite is the photos too! It makes me so happy to look at them!!! I hope you have a wonderful week!! xo

  • Marilynn Beesley
    Posted at 20:47h, 26 April Reply

    I’d love to see the line of PJ Harlow pajama sets can I order online from your Boutique? I’m also interested in the crossbody bag and some of that gorgeous jewelry.

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