6 no-fail ways to fix a decorating disaster

We've all been there before… our efforts at DIY haven't quite worked out as well as we hoped. Oh dear! Here are 6 ways to (hopefully) fix those dodgy jobs

room with wooden flooring with painting tools
(Image credit: TBC)

Spending time and money on your home is great, until it all blows up in your face. But most disasters can be fixed, at least temporarily. Here are 6 common decorating fails, and how you can fix them.

1. Paint fail

Your paint pick hasn't quite lived up to expectation. It looked great on the swatch. Unfortunately, now that it's covering a whole wall, you've realised that you've made a terrible mistake. The answer? Step away from the paintbrush. We suggest that you look at it with fresh eyes in the morning. It might grow on you. If you still hate it, it's possible that another coloured layered on top will be a quick fix. If not, consider painting your space white. This purist colour is the perfect canvas for statement accessories and fabulous wall art.

white paint

(Image credit: TBC)

2. Dodgy DIY

Botched building work left holes in your walls? The obvious option is to wallpaper over the cracks. However, if you are after a temporary quick fix, try hanging pictures and wall art over the unsightly areas. After all, a plain wall could really benefit from the addition of some character and personality.

plaster cracks

(Image credit: TBC)

3. Haggard furniture

If your furniture is looking a tad worse for wear, don't throw it out ... sometimes all it really needs is a lick of paint. Make sure you remove all the hardware, sandpaper and prime your surface before you get started. Use a 5cm brush to make painting small legs and spindles easier.

furniture painting

(Image credit: TBC)

4. Remove stains

So you've painted your furniture and they all look shiny and new, but your carpet has bared the brunt of all your hard labour. If the paint is still wet, simply blot with a wet paper towel - don't scrub! If the paint is dry, use hot water and a little bit of dish detergent. Let the solution sit for a few minutes to soften the paint. Once the paint softens, use a knife to scrape the paint off. Continue to add more solution as you scrape. If you have one, a handheld steamer will also do the job. Voilà!


(Image credit: TBC)

5. Warped flooring

When painting and decorating, flooring can often take a battering. If you have real wood floors, it is important to take extra caution to protect them, but for the odd instance when we don't, there are alternatives to fix the problem. Have your wood floors warped from spillage? Wood responds to changes in temperature or humidity by warping, and that can be bad news for your expensive wooden flooring. Filing a floor doesn't have to be a time-consuming job. Latex floor filler is suitable for gaps up to ¼ inch wide. If the gaps on your floorboards are bigger, you may need to use an epoxy wood filler.

wooden flooring with shoes

(Image credit: TBC)

6. If at first you don't succeed... call in the experts!

Yes, this can be costly, but a good interior design will listen to your every need and take the time to plan and design a scheme that will work for you. And best of all, they do all the elbow work, so you don't have to.

living room with wooden flooring and sofa set

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Not sure when you should call in an expert? We've got a fool-proof way to figure it out...


Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.