Home Decorating and Staging
Insider Secrets to a Beautiful Home



Top Ten Decorating Tools



These are the Top Ten Decorating Tools that I've found to be essential in my work. All make the job easier, safer, and a lot more fun.



I've provided links for your information. I don't make any money from endorsing these products, but I do use them. Always shop around for the best price.

  1. Furniture Sliders - For Easy Furniture Moving These amazing tools come in all shapes and sizes and allow you to easily move furniture without straining or lifting. There's a hard plastic set that slides on carpet, and a thick felt set that will protect your hardwood floors. Be sure to use the right slider for your floor. Felt sliders won't slide on carpet, and the hard plastic sliders will scratch a hardwood floor. If you have more than one set, you can place them under all the heavy pieces in your room and slide them around until you find just the right arrangement. Tip: Instead of lifting heavy furniture to insert the slider, carefully tip each corner just enough to get the slider under the leg of the piece. Easier on the back!
  2. Raw Walnut or Pecan - Touch-up Scratches in Hardwood Floors If you have hardwood floors, or work with hardwood floors, you know that scratches are inevitable. Take a piece of walnut or pecan (yes, the nuts) and smash it into the scratch. Then just sweep up the crumbs. This works best on light to medium colored wood floors. If your floors are dark and the scratch has exposed the bare wood, go over it with a brown marker, first. Tip: Don't eat them all.
  3. Hercules Hooks - Safely Hang Heavy Pictures and Mirrors Also known as Monkey Hooks and Sidewinders (some brands are stronger). These incredible little hooks really work! You can easily insert them through drywall (by hand) and they will safely hold heavy pictures and mirrors. The long smooth hook goes inside the wall and the picture hangs on the tiny hook. To be on the safe side, I never hang the maximum weight (35 pounds) on one hook. If a picture or mirror feels really heavy, I use two, spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart. Hercules Hooks even work on plaster walls. But since plaster walls are much harder than drywall, you will have to make a small hole with a hammer and nail so that you can insert the hook. The only place you can't use them is on solid wood, brick or masonry walls. There has to be a space inside the wall for the hook to anchor itself. If you hit a stud, use a nail instead. Tip: If you're having trouble pushing the Hercules Hook into the wall (and you haven't hit a stud) try pushing it through the wall "hook-side down," then twist it around 180 degrees to hang your picture. It frequently works for some reason!
  4. Kapro Set & Match - Measure and Level Pictures This nifty little ruler allows you to mark two nail holes at the same time, and make them level! Why would you want to do that? Lots of mirrors and pictures come with two hooks, one on each side of the frame. This helps to distribute the weight. Usually there's a warning not to string picture wire between them. If you ignore that warning and string wire anyway, a really heavy picture could pull one of those hooks out and send your picture crashing to the floor. I love this ruler because I can measure the distance between the hooks with one side, then I flip it over, put the zero on the ruler (midpoint) where I want the center of my picture to be and mark the distance to the hooks on each side. The level on the ruler keeps things level! Makes my life a lot easier.
  5. Furniture Repair Markers in Black and Brown - Fix Scratched Wood on Frames and Furniture I use these to touch up scratches in picture frames, chair and table legs, floors, just about anything that's brown or black. 
  6. Hair Dryer - Remove Price Stickers Everybody's got a hair dryer, but did you know you can remove sticky hard to peel off price stickers with them? Just heat the sticker until it softens and peel right off. 
  7. Minwax Polyshades - Refresh Scuffed Woodwork Without Refinishing If you have wood banisters, door frames, doors, furniture, just about anything that's wood-toned and it's scuffed, you might be able to use this product to refresh it without stripping and refinishing. Minwax Polyshades are stain and polyurethane in one application. Important Tip: The product link above is for example purposes. Be sure to match the stain color and sheen (matte, satin, gloss) to your original wood finish. And test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. 
  8. Lead Wool - Anchor Curtain Rods to Cinderblock and Masonry Walls I work in alot of older homes built prior to 1950. Many of these homes have cinderblock construction which makes it very difficult to hang curtain rods, art, and mirrors on exterior walls. If you live in a home like this, you know what I'm talking about.  When you drill your hole for the screws that are going to attach your rods or art, if you need more grip in addition to your anchor, fill the hole with lead wool. It will grip the screw and secure your drapery rod. Important Tip: Hang your heaviest pieces on interior walls. Also, lead is toxic. Wear gloves when working with it and keep it away from small children. Check with your local hardware store for small package amounts. You won't need very much. 
  9. Krud Kutter - Non-Toxic Heavy Duty Cleaner I use Krud Kutter to clean stainless steel appliances. It' the only thing I've found that will remove grease and marks. If necessary, you can follow with a vinegar and water rinse and polish dry with a soft cloth.
  10. Pure Ayre - Environmentally Safe Odor Eater Cat odors, smoke, and cooking smells will kill a home sale. Most air fresheners add another layer of scent that many buyers find offensive. If you've thoroughly cleaned and you still notice odors, Pure Ayre might help.


What's Your Favorite Decorating
Tool or Tip?

Do you have a favorite decorating tool or a tip to make home staging easier? Please share it! And if you're a home decorator or stager, feel free to include a link to your website.

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Alex Hinst is the author of Home Decorating and Staging and owner of Alex Hinst Designs, located in Denver's Historic Highlands.

Alex Hinst Designs has hundreds of success stories in both private and investor home renovations and is dedicated to helping you create your perfect home.

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