Handy Tools for Your Home Decorating Needs

Handy Tools for Your Home Decorating Needs

Paint and decorate like the pros by using the same quality tools they do to save time and money.

By Diane Franklin

When undertaking a paint or decorating project, homeowners achieve the best results by using the best tools. You can tell which are the best tools by checking out what the pros are using.

Professional painters, paperhangers, drywall contractors and other tradespeople make their livelihood by using quality tools to save time, maximize convenience and help ensure that the job is done right. Below are some of the tools in the professional’s arsenal that DIYers should consider using as well.

Multifunctional Tools

Multifunctional tools are one of the greatest innovations in the paint sundries category. Taking a cue from the classic Swiss Army knife, multi-tools are just what the name implies. One tool is actually several tools in one—paint can opener, paint scraper, paint spreader, screwdriver, caulk smoother, nail remover, etc.

Tool manufacturers typically offer 5-in-1, 6-in-1 or even 10-in-1 and 14-in-1 versions of these products. Imagine the convenience of reaching for just one tool when you need to remove switch plates, scrape a wall or open a paint can—no more stopping your project to look around for one of many tools that you need but at that particular moment can’t find. These tools save money, space in the toolbox and, most importantly, time.

Snap-off Blades

Snap-off blades are a great way to ensure that you always have a sharp edge to complete a project. Whether you are cutting wallpaper, scoring a piece of cardboard or completing a craft project, the knife with the snap-off blade is a perfect solution. Multiple blades on one tool offers time-saving convenience, as well as being an economical solution for your project.

Carbide Paint Scrapers

When you have a heavy-duty scraping project, follow the lead of the pros and use a product made from carbide steel. Carbide paint scrapers are a preferred product of tradespeople because they are stronger, sharper and more durable than conventional steel blades, thus allowing for easy removal of paint, varnish, grout, mortar, rust, glue and other substances. These heavy-duty scrapers are suitable for use on a wide range of substrates, from wood to steel to concrete.

Paint Cups

Dragging a paint can around the room can be a tedious task. Not only is the full-to-the-brim paint can heavy, but you may accidentally slop paint on the floor, your ladder or even yourself. A good alternative is to pour a small quantity of paint into a plastic paint cup, making it easier to move more quickly around the room with a lightweight accessory. Most of the paint cups on the market have comfortable handles, helping to reduce hand fatigue, and the most popular models also have magnetic paintbrush holders, so you can set the paintbrush in a convenient spot without worrying about it falling off its perch.

Disposal Roller Tray Liners

Clean-up is one of the most time-consuming, and least satisfying, aspects of a painting project. Once the actual painting is done, you just want to be done so you can enjoy your room! One way to speed up the clean-up process is to use disposal roller tray liners. All you have to do is throw the liner into a plastic trash bag and place in the garbage, and then your actual roller tray is clean enough to store until it’s time for your next painting project.

Paint Pads

Paint pads are a handy painting tool that combines the speed of a roller with the precision of a brush. The straight edge of the pad makes it easy to paint against ceiling lines, at the edge of moldings, around doors and windows and in corners. Paint pads come in a variety of sizes and configurations. There are specialty products for specific tasks, such as corner pads, edgers and pads for staining floors, decks and fences. There are also flat pads with extended handles making it easy to paint in tight spaces, such as behind toilets, appliances and wall-mounted TVs. Another plus of paint pads—you won’t have to worry about brush marks. A quality paint pad will give you a uniform, smooth finish.


Mini-rollers are another tool that can help you get into tight spaces, such as behind toilets, above doors, around the spindles on staircases or on a narrow strip of wall. Many manufacturers of full-size paint rollers offer mini-rollers in the same naps and fabrics, ensuring you can use both types of products on one job to achieve a uniform finish. Mini-rollers come in 4-inch or 6½-inch lengths (standard rollers are 9 inches). You might also find it handy to purchase a 2-inch or 3-inch trim roller that can help you maneuver in the smallest of spaces.

Extension Poles

Extension poles are a great way to minimize your trips up and down a ladder. Many poles are adjustable, allowing you to extend from 4 to 8 feet, 6 to 12 feet or 8 to 16 feet. Having this extra length is especially beneficial in high-ceilinged rooms and in stairwells, where keeping your feet on the ground can be a safety issue as well as a way to finish your painting job more quickly.

You can also use extension poles for lightbulb changing, window cleaning and staining your deck, in the latter case allowing you to stand upright rather than continually bending or kneeling with your stain brush or pad. It’s just one more trick of the painting trade that you can use to complete your job like a pro.

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