DIY Painting & Finishing

11 Problems You Can Solve with Paint

Every house has its problems, but you'd be amazed how many of them can be solved with a single afternoon and a common DIY staple: a can of paint. See how a few pops of color can make a huge difference for outdated or unattractive home features.

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Make Hallways Happier

Zillow Digs home in Stuart, FL

Most hallways are utilitarian at best, but some are downright dark and creepy. If you’re stuck with the creepy kind, a coat of cheerful paint will go a long way toward making your hallway a pleasant passage. Add some fun art or family photographs, and you might find yourself wanting to linger a little longer.

Related: Banish the Bland: 8 Ways to Make Over a Boring Hallway

Update Outdated Cabinets

If outdated cabinets are dragging your kitchen down, you can give them a budget-friendly facelift with a few coats of paint. As with any paint job, prep is the key. Make sure to thoroughly clean, sand, and prime everything first. But if you take the time to do it right, you’ll be rewarded with a great-looking transformation.

Related: Painted Cabinets: 14 Reasons to Transform Yours Now

Brighten Exposed Brick

Exposed brick can oftentimes lend old-world charm to a space. But if the brickwork is badly done or in poor shape, it can make your rooms feel dated and dingy. Paint to the rescue! Use a sprayer or a standard roller with a thick nap to elevate boring brick to your more modern standards. 

Related: 7 Mistakes Not to Make with Your Fireplace

Refresh Ugly Tile

Zillow Digs home in Plymouth, MA

If you’re saddled with vintage tile that’s not your style, you can modernize it with paint. It’s not as simple as painting drywall, but it can be done with special epoxy kits, available at home centers. Alternatively, you can call in a professional who specializes in tub and tile refinishing. Either way, you’ll find that this process will be a lot cheaper, and much less of a hassle, than tearing the tile out and replacing it.

Related: 12 Inventive Ideas for a Budget Backsplash

Modernize Wood Paneling

Zillow Digs home in Springfield, VA

Wood paneling was all the rage in the 1970s, but it’s not so much anymore. If you hate your wood-paneled walls but don’t have the cash to replace them, try painting them for a more up-to-date, cottage-inspired look. The process is similar to painting a piece of wood furniture. Just be sure to wash, sand, and prime first, then choose your favorite color, and go!

Related: 9 DIY Wood Wall Treatments

Enlarge Small Rooms

Careful color choices can make a small room feel bigger. Choose a color that reflects light, and consider painting the trim and ceilings the same shade to create a sense of uniformity that will make your spaces seem more expansive.

Related: 8 Classic Ways to Make a Small Room Look Big

Help Out Your Hardware

If the finish on your knobs and handles has fallen out of fashion, you don’t have to shell out money for a whole new set of hardware. Spray paint it instead! These days, spray paint comes in nearly every color and finish (including metallics), offering you an array of options to help spruce up your space. Once you’ve covered your knobs or pulls in the color of your choice, finish with a coat or two of clear lacquer to protect the new ‘do.

Related: Cabinet Hardware: 10 Styles to Invigorate Your Kitchen

Add Interest to Basic Floors

Zillow Digs home in Montclair, NJ

A boring wood or concrete floor can be turned into a stunning statement with paint. Create a simple border or faux rug over a small area of the floor, or cover the whole expanse with a new design. Stencils and painter’s tape can help guide you, or you can go for it freestyle. Regardless of your method, this simple upgrade will add personality and drama where none existed before.

Related: Walk on the Wild Side: 14 Amazing Painted Floors

Make Low Ceilings Livable

A low ceiling can feel claustrophobic, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Painting the low-hanging fruit a shade of white, or even just a lighter color than the walls, will cause light to bounce around the space, making the ceiling appear higher.

Related: 9 Clever Ways to Counteract Low Ceilings

Refresh Wicker Furniture

Worn-out, chipped wicker is an eyesore that can be restored to its former glory with paint. First, remove the loose flaking paint, and then refresh the furniture with a few coats of either the same color or something bright and new. Whichever shade you choose, the updated look will add a finished feel to your spaces and will ensure that your chair or table will be able to serve you for many more years.

Related: Wicker Gone Wild: 10 Easy Ways to Transform Old into New

Lighten Dark Rooms

Zillow Digs home in Greenwich, CT

Brighten a dark room by painting it in a light, warm shade that will be enhanced by illumination from lamps and overhead fixtures. The lighter hue will expand the space and make it much more inviting.

Related: 8 Bright Ideas to Boost Natural Light