Yep,. with a little sanding probably can be painted. How about cleaning and stenciling. Decoupage would be cool. Translucent spray paint would look amazing.
You would still need to clean them well to get anything to stick to the surface of the slick silverplate.
Not sure what you mean by "make over". What exactly do you want to do? Silver plated sets of what? Silver trays, silverware?
You can paint but it won't be food safe anylonger.
It would help if you could provide a picture and a bit more about your project so that we might be able to help you do this the best way.
I thank u.....they have been stored in an attic for years. silver plat is BLACK?