The Home Decorator’s Guide To Wall Repairs

By: Pamela Cole Harris

Everybody has had one or two. You know, those little hole or indentations in the walls behind a door, or behind a picture. If you live in a home, hang a picture, or have children accidents happen! But repairing those accidents is easy. I kid you not even yours truly, Little Miss Fumblefingers, has done it! All you need is a little spackle compound, a putty knife, some 150-grit sandpaper, and some peel n'stick wallboard tape.

Patching Peeling Paint:

  1. Scrape away all the loose paint with a putty knife (A table knife will do in a pinch, but come one! Putty knives are cheap!).

  2. Apply spackle to the edges of the remaining paint with the putty knife (that you just bought!).

  3. Sand the dry patch with 150-grit sandpaper until it is smooth to the touch.

  4. Paint with matching paint (always keep a little bit of your original paint color for small jobs such as these.)

Filling Nail Holes:

  1. Using your trusty putty knife, apply a small amount of spackle to the nail hole.

  2. Let the spackle dry.

  3. Lightly sand the area with the sandpaper.

  4. Dampen a sponge and wipe away the dust residue from the patch.

  5. Before you paint, touch up the spot with primer.

Filling Shallow Dents and Holes:

  1. Again with the putty knife, scrape away any loose plaster, paint or drywall paper.

  2. Fill the hole with a small amount of spackle.

  3. Using the smallest putty knife you have that will reach from one side of the whole to the other (to avoid making a dent with the knife edges), smooth out the spackle until even with the surrounding sheetrock.

  4. Sand the area with sandpaper and prime.

Cracks in Plaster:

  1. Scrape away any wall texture or loose plaster with a putty knife (do you know it makes a good pancake turner too?)

  2. Use the wallboard tape to reinforce the crack.

  3. Apply spackle to barely cover the tape. Don't make the spackle repair too thick or the spot will just re-crack and you will be right back where you started!

  4. If you must, apply a very thin second coat to cover the edges of the tape.

  5. Sand lightly with sandpaper and prime. It might be necessary to re-texture if your wall is textured.

There you have it! Simple, isn't it? Come on, admit it! So with patching holes and dents under your belt, you are ready for another challenge. How about replacing those kitchen cabinets? A new hardwood floor? Just check: to learn how!

Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and designer for 35 years (Yikes, has it been that long?) Enjoy her tongue-in-cheek approach to inexpensive interior design at: and

Article Comments: Leave Comment

Other Articles In: Interior Design and Decoration