Breaking news and resources from across the industry.

Stuck at Home? Hunker Down With These DIY Paint and Repair Tips

Posted on Mar 26, 2020 in:
  • Maintain
  • Seattle Times HomeWork
  • Homeowners

A woman does DIY repair work at home

Q: With the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve been working from home a lot and I’m getting tired of looking at the same walls every day. Can you recommend a project or two that will make my house a more pleasant place to stay all day?

A: There are plenty of DIY projects that can make your home a more welcoming, comfortable environment, and now that you’re stuck at home you can complete a few. If you need a quick refresh, consider repainting your boring old walls and fixing a few of those small annoyances that accumulate. With just about every conceivable material available online and plenty of time, you can:

Repaint a wall (or two)

Have the same old walls got you down? It may be time for a fresh coat of paint. While plain white paint can enliven a worn-out wall, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one color. A striking shade on an accent wall can make a huge difference, transforming a tired, humdrum space into a brand-new living experience.

Most major paint companies sell online, and many have apps that allow you to preview their colors on photos of your walls. But be aware that virtual paint will not perfectly translate to real-world conditions—you’ll still need to try it out in the space before committing. Once you’ve decided on the colors you want, you’ll want to buy plenty of it, especially if you’re painting a more textured surface that requires additional coats.

Before jumping in, make sure you empty the room of all furniture and other items that could be damaged; if you don’t have the space, simply gather furniture at the center of the room and cover it, along with the floor, with drop cloths. Keep the space ventilated with fans and open windows. If you can, complete the project on a warm, dry day to ensure the fastest possible dry time.

To prep the walls, apply painter’s tape to any crown molding, baseboards, outlets, light switches, doors, windows, and corners. Make sure the tape is firm, using a putty knife as necessary. Stir the paint with a wooden paint stick before starting and re-stir throughout the process. Once the paint is mixed, you can begin.

You’ll want to concentrate on one wall at a time, starting at the top and working your way down to the floor. A roommate or significant other can use a roller to maximize coverage while you carefully apply paint with a brush in areas requiring more precision. Wait until the first coat of paint dries before applying a second coat.

When it comes to painting, great results require patience. Now that you’re stuck indoors, you have the time to do it right.

Make small repairs

Seemingly minor nuisances like leaky faucets, loose cabinets, and burned-out light bulbs may seem manageable, but they can add up, making your home uncomfortable and aggravating. Survey your home and make a list of all the small issues—a squeaky door hinge, stuck knob, clogged drain, or dribbling faucet—and simply fix them.

Dated hardware can make even the newest home seem downright archaic. Spending more time at home offers a fantastic opportunity to switch out your old handles, knobs, and faucets; it’s easy and affordable, and your online shopping options are endless. Just make sure your new hardware matches the overall design scheme of your home.

Routine maintenance helps reduces stress, making it a perfect, and productive, way to pass time while you’re stuck indoors. Once the coronavirus passes, you’ll be happy with all the small improvements you’ve made.


James Slone is with the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling, or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of MBAKS’ more than 2,700 members, write to

Homeowners Blog Categories

Browse our expert-driven guides and resources.