Ugh, painting. What a chore. But even the most amateur painter among us can make light of their work with the help of a few simple items already lying around the house. That old tub of vaseline sitting in the medicine cabinet is about to become your best new DIY buddy. And that's just the beginning! Yep, we’ve taken a closer look at 40 ingenious decorating hacks you’re gonna wish you knew a lot sooner.
40. Removing the paint lid
Struggling to open that pesky paint can? Well, fret no more. The host of YouTube’s Specific Love Creations channel has a handy hint! He explained “Take a nice roll of tape, carefully wedge it on top [of your can], squeeze really hard and give it a turn.” Job done.
39. Keeping your roller moist
If your painting project’s going to take more than a day, then this hack is for you. All you need to do to keep your roller moist is to securely wrap it in a plastic bag. If you’ve got a spare Pringles can lying around, why not put your tool in there, too? That’ll make sure it’s really airtight!
38. Making a lace pattern
Creating a wallpaper-like look on your walls may seem impossible without having to hang the stuff, but this cool trick will blow your mind. To begin with, pin a swatch of old lace to the area you want to cover. Next, run your loaded roller over the material. And when you take down the lace, you should be left with a gorgeous pattern every one of your guests will admire.
37. Removing masking tape
While masking tape helps you achieve a nice, neat paint job, it can be a pain in the butt to remove. But we’ll let you into a secret. Just power up a hairdryer and wave it over the section of tape you want to rip off. This should prevent you from creating any unnecessary and annoying chips in your walls or baseboards.
36. Avoiding paint fumes
One of the biggest drawbacks of painting – aside from the mess – is the awful smell. It’s enough to give anyone a headache! But with a touch of vanilla extract, you should be able to counteract that vile scent. One tablespoon per pint is the measurement to go with. And don’t worry: it’s highly unlikely to change the finish.
35. Use plastic wrap for a chic look
Want to radically switch up your room? This design idea could be right up your street. First, apply a coat of dark paint to the chosen wall and let it dry. Then add a lighter color with your brush. Just one or two strokes should do the trick. After that, stick some plastic wrap on top and apply pressure all over. And all you need to do next is to peel this layer off – and see your incredible new wall!
34. Tape cardboard to drop cloths
When you’re doing major paint jobs around the house, drop cloths are a must. But folding them back up can be really annoying, so what to do? Well, thankfully, sticking some cardboard to the edges with tape can make that task a lot easier. Dragging the cloth between rooms becomes much less stressful, too.
33. Ice cube wall pattern
If you’re feeling creative but don’t want to pay out the wazoo for fancy wallpaper, this tip is for you. So, first things first, you need to pour your paint into a tray as you would do normally. Then grab an ice cube container from the kitchen, dip the cold squares into the mixture and press them against the wall. Repeat as much as you like, and you’ll be left with a funky design. Cool, huh?
32. Making your arm a tape dispenser
Masking tape is a must when you’re painting at home. And to avoid constantly forgetting where you last put it down, why not turn your arm into a makeshift dispenser? All you need to do is trim an unneeded sock and pull it over your forearm. Then stick your hand through the roll and tear bits off when required. Why not become a real pro and fold over the end of the tape while you’re at it, too?
31. Prepping the walls
Before you can even think about giving your home a makeover, you naturally have to prep the walls. Yep, the surfaces you’re looking to paint must be as clean as possible. Luckily, there’s a simple way to make that happen. All you have to do is run a Swiffer mop under a little water and get scrubbing. That should do the trick.
30. Painting hard-to-reach spaces
When you’re painting, space is everything. The more room you have to work with, the easier the job should be. But that’s a luxury you don’t have with more compact areas – like, say, behind a toilet, for example. So, to help get in every hard-to-reach place, just attach a paint pad to a handle. Now no gap will seem too small. Voilà!
29. Brick wall pattern
Fancy injecting some cozy country chic into your interior decor? Well, how about creating your very own exposed brick wall pattern? Minus the construction work, of course. All you need is a sponge and a helping of orange paint. First, trim your sponge to the size you’re after. Then dip it into the mixture, and aim for the walls. You’ll be astonished by the results!
28. Closing the paint lid
Yes, we know what you’re thinking – closing a paint lid is easy, right? But it can get messy, if you’ll pardon the pun. One firm tap has the potential to spurt the stuff all over the place. To avoid that, then, you just need an old rag or a towel. Wrapping it over the top before you give the lid a bang should save a lot of hassle.
27. Painting furniture
If you want to bring an old piece of furniture back to life with a lick of paint, this tip will make life a lot easier. Let’s take a chair, for instance. Without proper precautions, the legs will cling to the surface below after they’ve been painted. To avoid this, just place some nails into the base of the chair beforehand to raise it above the floor. This should also hopefully mean you don’t neglect to paint the bottom of the feet.
26. Removing paint drips and lines
See those pesky drips and streaks on your painted wall? What a pain after all that hard work. But don’t despair, as they’re easily fixable. Your first option is to carefully sand the affected area. Then, if that fails to work, grab a razor blade from the cabinet and gently slice the marks. Yes, it’s unorthodox, but it should rectify the issue in no time.
25. Use vinegar to wash brushes
Washing brushes after painting is a real bore. But did you know that vinegar could make the task a whole lot easier? All you need to do is soak your tools in the liquid, and the paint should come right off. Doing this saves both time and money, too!
24. The milk jug trick
Lugging around a bulky painting tray not really doing it for you? Well, if you don’t trust yourself to work straight from the tin, then this makeshift invention will be right up your street. The Specific Love Creations host has explained, “A milk jug can come in real handy. You can cut the front half off, and that allows you to have a nice little area for some paint. [Now] you can easily carry your paint around. You can stick your brush in [the hole at the top, too].”
23. Smoothing your paint job
Even if you have all the decorating gadgets and gizmos on the market, your dry paint may not feel particularly smooth to the touch. But that issue can be rectified with a clever trick. Sandpaper? Nope! Instead, get hold of a brown paper bag and run it across the troublesome spot. Say goodbye to the roughness.
22. The pool noodle hack
Got any spare pool noodles hanging around? If that’s a yes, listen up. After making an incision all the way along a noodle, you can clip it around the bottom of a paint tray. Then, with a few more slices, you’ll have created a makeshift brush holder – handy for stopping your tools from becoming submerged in paint when your back is turned.
21. Keeping paint off your windows
Painting can be a messy ol’ job – if you’re not careful, that is. And it’s particularly tricky when you’re working around windows. But there’s a handy tip that should help to keep those panes spotless. Before you load up your brush or roller, just smear a helping of lip balm on the areas most at risk of being stained. That should shield the surface, as you’ll be able to rub off any paint that sticks to the balm.
20. Striped wall pattern
Fancy adding a timeless stripe pattern to your walls without the ordeal of hanging wallpaper? If so, we’ve got you covered. Simply wrap four pieces of equally spaced insulating tape around your roller. This will become the template for your design. Now all you need to do is dip the tool into the paint and apply. Look at how your walls come to life!
19. Use smaller rollers
There’s no denying that large rollers make painting walls easier. They’re not so good, though, when you’re trying to coat corners. But to save having to reach for a brush and avoid any obvious changes in your wall’s finish, just grab a smaller roller. The soft material is often wrapped around the end, you see, meaning you can tuck right in tight to the corners.
18. Use tape to create random designs
Masking tape isn’t just great for sectioning off your walls. You can get creative with it, too! That’s right: if you want to produce your own random yet perfectly precise pattern during a paint job, just draw it up using a few pieces of tape. Then, once the tape is stuck down, run your roller over the top until the entire area is covered. And after the coat dries, all you need to do is simply peel off the sticky lines. The results will look great in any room!
17. The rag trick
Sprucing up your walls can be – let’s face it – a bit of a headache. But if sifting through endless wallpaper samples doesn’t sound fun, we’ve got you covered. All you need is an old rag and some paint. Twist the cloth into a sausage shape before dipping the material into your paint tray. Now, roll it down your chosen area for an expensive-looking design all your visitors will notice.
16. Keeping your brushes in good condition
As if cleaning brushes isn’t dreary enough, there’s a chance your current method could actually be damaging your tools. Yep, the YouTuber behind Specific Love Creations says, “If you just put [your brush] in a jar, there’s a good chance it will deform the bottom... especially if you have real soft bristles.” To solve this problem, then, simply attach a binder clip to the brush handle. Your tool should now dangle in the cleaning solution without pressing against the base of the container.
15. Painting concrete
Do you know the best way to prep the surface you want to paint? Take concrete, for instance, which may not react too well to a fresh coat without at least a little groundwork. But don’t worry. Covering the area you wish to freshen up in white vinegar will help prevent the paint from splitting. Is there anything vinegar can’t do?
14. Using a straw broom
This simple design idea will help bring any room to life – and it’s pretty quick to boot. Use your roller to coat your chosen area in a base color. Then squirt a different yet complementary shade in wavy lines across the surface. And once you’re done with that step, grab a broom and wipe the wall down. Your guests will be green with envy – even if that’s not your color of choice!
13. Multicolored pattern
Painting a wall with one color is hard enough, but three at the same time? It can’t be done... right? Well, with some creative thinking, it’s possible. All you need is a roller, a plastic bag and an elastic band. Wrap your tool in the bag before securing with the band. Then pour your chosen shades next to one another in your tray, and you’ll be able to produce a very cool patterned effect.
12. Saving paint
After you’ve finished using your roller for the day, washing it under the tap seems a no-brainer. Before you do that, though, we’ve got a tip that will save both money and the planet. Yes, running a putty knife over the tool will allow you to scrape any excess paint back into the container. You never know when you’ll need the extra drops, after all. Fewer chemicals make it down the drain, too. It’s a win-win!
11. The touch-ups trick
When the time comes to make touch-ups to your wall, you may well have forgotten the name of the shade you’ll need to track down. But this handy tip will save you from having to pore over dozens of color charts. Simply note down the name of the paint and stick it behind your faceplates. Thank us later!
10. The W pattern
Use rollers when painting? Then we’ve got a question for you. Have you ever heard of the W pattern? No? Well, it may be an idea to jot this down. Basically, rolling the paint in the shape of that letter should ensure it’s applied more evenly. This technique may even save you from that tiresome third coat, which has to be a bonus.
9. Cleaning your brushes with fabric softener
Those brushes won’t clean themselves, but the chemicals you need? Stinky enough to give you a migraine! To make this chore less unpleasant, though, try using a fabric softener instead. Soaking your tools for a few hours in a solution of the stuff should help to soften the bristles, allowing for a nice smooth paint job.
8. The Vaseline trick
If you’re trying to avoid getting paint on certain parts of your wall, grab a tub of Vaseline from the cabinet. Applying the lubricant to a surface should stop any decorative coating from sticking to it, you see. Just remember to wipe the Vaseline away after you’re finished!
7. Creating waves
If you want a cool pattern on your wall in only one color, look no further. Aside from the usual paint and roller, you’ll just need to get your hands on a spare hair comb. Then, after coating the surface in paint, grab the detangler and push the tooth end into the wall that’s drying. All you have to do after that is to simply drag the teeth along in a swirling motion until you’re satisfied. See the waves? Cool, eh?
6. The plastic wrap hack
To explain this next hack, we’re going to defer to professional contractor Joe Truini. In a piece for the Today’s Homeowner website, he advised, “You want to try and store your [paint can] safely and seal out as much air as possible. All you need is some food wrap. You want to lay it right in the can and set it on top of the paint.” This prevents the contents from hardening, so your paint should be good as new when you come to dig it out again.
5. Prepping your rollers
Before you even think about painting over the walls in your house, there’s an important step you need to take. What’s that? Well, you’ve got to prepare your rollers, of course! Apparently, running the tools under heated water will help them soak up the paint. Doing this may well improve the quality of your finished look, too.
4. Eliminate roller fuzz
Ah, fuzz – the bane of any homeowner’s existence. The stuff can get everywhere if you’re not too careful, and rollers aren’t immune to collecting it, either. But whatever you do, don’t start painting with a roller that’s been fuzzed up. Instead, get hold of a roll of packaging tape and run the tool across a sticky strip or two. That should clean the fluff right off.
3. The rubber band trick
This rubber band trick is perhaps the most useful painting hack of them all. It has the potential to save you from making rather a lot of mess, you see – both on the floor and around the lid of the paint tin. All you have to do is stretch a rubber band around the container. That way, you can use it to wipe the excess paint off your brush before slapping it on the walls.
2. Corn roller
Corn on the cob is pretty much a lumpy roller, right? And that makes it an ideal stand-in for your usual painting tool. Just pierce the ends of the corn with a couple of screwdrivers before coating it in paint. That way, you can create a fabulously unique pattern on your wall. Go on! Stand out from the crowd!
1. The paint tray hack
As you’ll no doubt know, paint trays can become extremely messy after a while. But there’s a simple way to avoid that problem. Just wrap the receptacle in kitchen foil or a plastic bag. That layer of protection stops paint from staining the surface of the tray, which also makes cleaning it a lot easier.
If you’re painting, though, you may be prettying your place up for sale. Those episodes of Love It or List It have given you a hankering for DIY, too. But wait: it turns out that many property renovation ideas may actually devalue the price! So, let’s discover which things you should avoid when trying to increase your house’s value – from building swimming pools to installing home offices.
20. Bold is not always beautiful
Picture the scene: you’ve spent years refining your own unique style on the house. That bold and colorful wall in the lounge helps you switch off after a long day in your characterless cubicle at work. Sure, you like it, and so does your partner. Though take a step back and ask yourself: would a potential buyer feel the same?
Housing expert Thomas Goodman knows a thing or two about a home’s value. He told the website Love Property in February 2021, “A bright yellow wall in the kitchen could be comforting for you, but it might portray your room in a different light to others.” When it comes to selling your home, neutral tones will have a wider appeal.
19. DIY dangers
We all know that there are countless YouTube videos available that offer tips on everything from how to paint a room to fixing an electrical outlet. And no doubt some of us come away from watching them thinking that we can tackle anything! Yet we often bite off more than we can chew. So, don't be afraid to call in trained professionals in those instances where the DIY job is a little beyond your expertise.
“Professional work is second to none in quality, when buyers step into your home and agents do a valuation, they will take note of details,” Goodman told Love Property. He added, “Your DIY tiling job might look appealing to you, but amateur work doesn’t have the same finish.” Be realistic and identify when you may be out of your depth – especially with jobs that pose safety risks like electrics and plumbing.
18. A bathroom in name only
Walk-in showers might be a popular, time-effective option for anyone who lives a hectic life. They can also create the illusion of more space in a cramped bathroom. Yet many people like to unwind with a long soak in the tub after a busy day! So, perhaps think twice before ripping it out. After all, it may hurt the resale value of your home – particularly if you only have one bathroom.
A refreshed bathroom can undoubtedly add value to a home. But going too far may have the reverse effect, Yahoo! Life notes. If you like the idea of a fancy whirlpool tub with all the bells and whistles, consider whether someone else might see it as a hassle to clean or step into. Perhaps instead keep it simple with a shower over the bath.
17. Window woes
Creaking floorboards. Clunky pipes. Draughty doorways. Anyone who has ever lived in a period property will know all the drawbacks! Windows can also be a problem area for which the most obvious solution may be to rip them out in favor of a more energy-efficient, vinyl solution. But Architect Anik Pearson argued against this during an interview with The Washington Post in 2018.
Pearson revealed, “Even though a wood window will cost a lot more than vinyl or aluminum, the wood is worth the investment because it can survive 100 years. Vinyl clad won’t last for more than ten or 20 years, and metal clad is better than vinyl but in arid climates.” So, it’s worth considering the house’s location and maybe think about upgrading what you already have.
16. Darkened rooms versus lavish lighting
Less is often more when we think of decor in a resale, though that’s not always true when it comes to light. For instance, rooms that lack natural light are dark and dingy to potential buyers. Love Property therefore suggests using mirrors to reflect what natural light there is, adding plenty of the artificial kind and painting the walls with natural colors. But that does come with a caveat.
Real estate company founder Alon Barzilay told Yahoo! Life that buyers are often drawn to pretty light fixtures. But he said to exercise caution, too. The businessman explained, “Whatever is in vogue today will look dated ten years down the road when you are ready to sell.” Therefore, keeping it simple should save money in the long run.
15. Beware of the basement
One factor when it comes to valuing a property is, of course, the home's square footage. Though if you live in the city and don’t have the space to extend outwards, you might think of adding a basement to your property instead. But be warned: this can be a big risk.
Before calling in expensive contractors, understand the topography underneath your home. Pearson described a client in New York City looking to add a basement to his property who discovered a river running under the townhouse. As the architect explained, “They poked a hole in the basement and sure enough, there was running water. The river was still there.” Without this research, then, a straight-down dig could have been costly.
14. The cost of unnecessary rooms
Those of us who are fitness enthusiasts may be tempted to convert an unused garage into a gym. Similarly, parents with kids returning from college may want to convert the space into separate living quarters. Though doing so could adversely affect the value of your home, according to Yahoo! Life.
You see, the circumstances of future buyers will be entirely different to yours. And as it happens, lots of people would like to have a garage for precisely its intended purpose! It could also be a deal breaker if your property doesn’t have one. Therefore, if you want to change its use, consider making it easy to switch back.
13. Character casualties
One of the most appealing things about older properties is, of course, their period features. These may come in the form of wooden floors, baseboards, light fittings or decorative columns. Inevitably, though, these unique additions will become worn over time and look less than their best. Restoring them can be costly, so it may be tempting to go for a more modern material.
Architectural Resources Group's Naomi Miroglio told The Washington Post, “Some contractors think it’s more trouble to save decorative pieces than work around them.” Though such shortcuts can look out of place and therefore be unappealing to buyers. Instead, she suggested working with the materials you have. Miroglio went on, “It’s arrested decay: you stop it from decaying but avoid making it look brand new.”
12. Luxurious landscaping
To encourage potential buyers to view your property, it’s generally a good idea to increase its so-called “curb appeal.” But going too far with such an overhaul could have the reverse impact on the home’s next owner. Take trees as an example. They look pretty but are also prone to shedding their leaves, and this could lump buyers with hefty maintenance bills.
Landscaping London's Theodore Beasley explained to Yahoo! Life, “Costly landscaping decoration will not increase the value of your home, but rather increase the maintenance required for it.” He further added, “Constant leaf rain is not something that will positively attract a potential homebuyer. When fall comes, they will just know it will give them a hard time.” The advice, then, is to keep exteriors simple and easy to care for.
11. Flawed flooring
Did you know that the type of floor your property has can have a big impact on its value? Carpet is also harder to keep clean compared to its hardwood or laminate alternative. And home remodeling expert Alex Biyevetskiy told Realtor.com that new hardwood floors could increase your home's value by up to 2.5 percent! But that’s not all.
Love Property notes that having a different type of flooring in each room of the house can be a turn-off for buyers. Instead, why not try keeping the flooring consistent throughout the property? What’s more, low-maintenance surfaces are preferred in high-traffic parts of the house – such as the hallway. And like all other decor, remember that personal tastes don’t appeal to everybody!
10. Fishy endeavors
Built-in fish tanks might be a dream come true for many of us. They can also give your house an upscale feel. Though it’s important to remember a potential buyer may not share your enthusiasm. Also, such an addition to the house could adversely affect its value, according to Yahoo! Life.
You should consider whether a built-in fish tank will actually add long-term value to the home. And removing it may be an expense that a future owner won’t want to pay. So, if you still want to keep your aquatic friends at home, why not choose a standard fish tank instead?
9. Closet calamities
When considering rooms in a property, it might be tempting to think that bigger is better. What would you do to create a larger bedroom or bathroom? You might be inclined to knock through to a closet to create the desired expansion, for instance. But be warned: such an endeavor could be costly.
Michele Silverman Bedell is the owner of residential agency Silversons, and she talked to MarketWatch about the risks that come from knocking through your closet. The businesswoman said, “People need [them]. They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room.” So, it’s worth asking yourself whether such a sacrifice could adversely affect the value of your home.
8. The indulgent hot tub
According to the brilliantly named Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, there was a surge in demand for residential hot tubs in 2020. Though while some prefer a simple “plug-and-play” style unit, larger, more expensive items are growing in popularity as a space for families to hang out. But keep in mind the practicalities of installing this luxury item!
A future buyer might see a hot tub as taking up precious space in the back yard as well as an annoying additional maintenance. The contraption could also be dangerous for families with young children. Therefore, a portable unit you can take with you could be the smartest choice – rather than going to the expense of having one fitted.
7. Kitchen curses
A kitchen makeover can often be a simple and relatively inexpensive way to add value to a home. You may think, therefore, that putting more money into a renovation will always yield a higher return. It's just basic math, right? Well, the numbers don’t actually always stack up, and you should be aware of cost-versus-gained-value before committing to a revamp.
According to the website Remodeling, the average price of a major kitchen renovation in the U.S. is around $62,000. Yet it claimed that the investment will only add closer to $40,000 to your home’s resale value. So, try to be more restrained with kitchen makeovers rather than blowing the budget!
6. A costly extension
Adding an extra room to your home must add to its value, right? While that may be true if you are converting a basement or loft for additional living space, it’s not always the case when it comes to expanding your home. A sunroom, for example, may end up costing more than you make back in resale.
Anyone with a verdant backyard may want to install a sunroom to enjoy the views whatever the weather. But such an expense could cost up to $75,000, the website Remodeling notes. And when you consider that the total value added to the home is around $35,000, it’d be worth keeping your costs low. Though if you pay too little it could also result in a blight for potential buyers. Talk about a balancing act!
5. Wonder walls
Just like any other fashion, trends come and go when it comes to home decorating. What’s in vogue one year might turn into an eyesore further down the line. For example, textured wallpapers and fancy paneling might appeal to one home owner. Though potential buyers may see it as simply an extra job to tackle.
Anything in your home that looks too much like extra work to a prospective owner is likely to lower the purchase price, according to Yahoo! Life. So, think twice before plastering your home with the latest trends in textured walls. You could be decorating your way out of a sale!
4. Home office horrors
Advances in modern technology mean it’s now common for us to conduct business from home. For instance, some might go to the lengths of converting a bedroom into a dedicated workspace. Though remember that your fancy little office might not be necessary for everybody.
Ripping out any bedroom furniture in itself costs money. Also, installing extra wall outlets and other technical gadgetry can be expensive. And imagine if the potential buyers choose to turn the space into another bedroom? All the time, effort and expense on the conversion would have been wasted.
3. Banishing bedrooms
Knocking down walls to turn two small bedrooms into a bigger one might suit some people. For instance, it may be handy for those whose kids have moved out, or for people who don't plan to have children any time soon. But if you’re not currently living in your forever home, experts would advise that you think twice before picking up a sledgehammer.
Brian Davis invests in real estate and co-founded the website SparkRental. He told Yahoo! Life, “Even small bedrooms add value to homes, as most families want children to have their own rooms but don’t mind if they’re on the small side. In my experience, each bedroom can add about 15 percent to the value of a home.”
2. A surplus swimming pool
Adding a swimming pool to your property might seem like an obvious way to increase its value. Though according to home improvements website HouseLogic, such an indulgence might increase its sale price by up to 7 percent only. And that’s if you live in a location where residents will benefit from having a pool in the first place.
Davis told Yahoo! Life, “Unless you live somewhere that’s hot at least six months out of the year, pools are generally more trouble than they’re worth.” What’s more, they only appeal to a certain type of buyer. He continued, “The only people who really want them are families with a certain age range of children, so it limits the potential buyers.” So, the cost of building and maintaining a pool could be more than its added value.
1. Too much tech
High-tech renovations that are seen as too personal can negatively affect a home's market value. For instance, it might be tempting to keep up with the Kardashians by converting a room into a home cinema. Such a high-end indulgence will surely stack the dollars onto the resale price, right? Well, not so much.
Some buyers might see it as a room that could be better used as a more functional space, Yahoo! Life notes. And if the sound systems and projectors are built-in, it could be a huge demolition job to remove it. Besides, technology has a habit of evolving rather quickly and it would be an expensive hassle to update it. The extravagance could therefore put off potential buyers.