Upgrade a Basic Bookcase

Put a personal spin on an off-the-shelf bookcase with these easy DIY makeover ideas.

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Stairway Railing Ideas

Stairway railings serve more than a functional purpose -- they give stairs a visual presence and make a staircase a work of art. Find ideas for the perfect railing for your stairway.

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Beach Chic Porch Renovation

A family put a new roof over their heads by turning their back deck into a coastal-inspired covered porch. Learn how they made the big change from their existing porch to their new, cozy family hangout area.

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Give a Plain Mirror a Makeover

Take a plain mirror to the next level with these easy DIY embellishments.

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DIY Outdoor and Garden Projects

Sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't need to be a massive undertaking. Use these inspirational small projects -- including painting rocks to hanging new house numbers -- to instantly improve the look of a garden, patio, deck, or backyard.

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Add Storage Around Stairs

Step up your home's storage capacity by making the most of underused areas below and beside your stairs. Here's a look at 18 homes that beautifully optimized stairwell and staircase spaces.

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Popular in Home Improvement

Paint and Stain

Takes the guesswork out of buying paint.

Wall area
Number of doors
Number of small to medium-sized windows (10 to 14 square feet)
small windows
Number of large windows (up to 20 square feet)
large windows
Manufacturer's estimate of square feet covered by a gallon
sq. ft./gal

Condition of wall surface
(choose one)
Poor (porous, and/or with patched areas)
Good (well covered with paint that has at least a slight gloss)


Gallons of paint needed per coat

Important reminder: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this calculation. But before purchasing materials for any project, please check amounts with your suppliers or contractors.

Helpful Information

These calculations are for applying paint with a brush or a roller. If you use a sprayer, you'll need about 30 percent more paint.

When you're buying paint, don't skimp. Often, premium paint covers in one coat while bargain paint takes two. High-quality paint usually retains its luster, washability, and vibrancy longer than cheap paint. Also, by buying an adequate quantity at the start, you'll ensure that the tint is even throughout -- otherwise, if you have to buy extra, the tint may be ever so slightly off, even with computerized paint mixing.

A few tips: If the existing surface is stained, or if it has patched areas, apply a coat of stain-sealing primer before applying the paint. Also, use primer if you will be applying latex paint and the existing paint is oil-based (or if you suspect that it might be oil-based). A good paint store will tint primer -- at no extra cost -- to approximate the color of the finish paint.

If the new color is very different from the existing color -- and especially if the new color is lighter -- expect to apply two coats.

In an average room, painting the trim requires about 1/4 as much paint as the walls.


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