Some people like the natural look of cork, but you might be tired of all that brown. If that's the case, you're in luck -- cork is easy to paint and stain. A stain will let you match the corkboard to other wood furniture in the room. Paint gives you many options in both color and surface. A metallic-paint corkboard is a great way to brighten up a dark corner.
Check to make sure your corkboard is unwaxed. Paint and stain won't adhere to a waxed surface. Most corkboards are not waxed, so you're probably safe [source: Jelinek Cork Group].
If you can, remove the cork from its frame before painting it. If it won't come out, use masking tape to cover the frame. Run a craft knife lightly around the inside of the frame to make sure you have created a straight, uniform edge. Be gentle -- you should be cutting through the tape but not the cork.
Because cork is porous, it can soak up a fair amount of paint. Be prepared to apply more than one coat if you want an appearance of even color. You could start with a layer of primer or gesso, but it isn't really necessary unless you want the cork not to look like cork at all.
For an even, matte color, spray paint is your best and quickest option. Work outside, and use a drop cloth or newspaper beneath the board to protect the surrounding areas. After you've gotten the color to your satisfaction, you may want to coat it with a spray fixative or sealant; spray paint pigment can rub off onto adjacent surfaces.
Brush-on acrylic paints will give you a thicker coating of color. Brush marks may show, so unless you want that effect, use a sponge brush. You can also use a sponge to layer multiple colors, creating mottled effects of tarnishing or marbling [source: Better Homes and Gardens].
On the next page, we'll look at a way to add color and pattern at the same time.