Keeping homes intact is tricky. That’s especially true for apartments, which are used repeatedly, year after year, by a string of different tenants who may or may not have any idea how to keep their homes. Inevitably, both tenant and landlord end up fixing damages—or just hiding them. Most often, neither party is exactly a pro when it comes to home repair, and a lot of the DIY fixes end up looking even more ridiculous than the original damage. Then again, every once in a while, DIYers end up with a surprising miracle. Here are ten weird ways people have hidden home damage, from the creative to sloppy, from the petty to pretty.
Related: Top 10 Worst Landlords
10 Shelling Out to Hide a Hole in the Wall
Do you have a hole in your wall? A former Redditor posted an unusual, and totally tubular, fix for the problem. After water leaked through his wall, it crumbled inward. A gaping hole lined with rough edges of plaster and mesh was in its wake, and his paint peeled away below the hole. The whole scene looked like a miniature sewer explosion, and that’s exactly how the owner thought up his fix.
Four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures now stand in the hole, finding new life as a makeshift diorama shelf. Their dynamic poses make it look like they’re blasting through the wall themselves, turning the damage into decor. Other users have posted similarly repurposed damage, filling holes, cracks, and dents with figures, Legos, and collages. It leaves us with a good lesson: good DIY fixes often steer into the skid.
9 The Power of Pine Sol, Baby
Need to fix a rundown kitchen? How about a bonus venting of anger at your stingy landlord? Reddit user u/InLikeErrolFlynn shares a story of how he killed both those birds with one maliciously compliant stone. When he was moving out, their landlord was upset at the prospect of finding new tenants and decided to be petty. He threatened to withhold the entire security deposit until the kitchen was absolutely spotless, a threat he would come to regret.
The tenants indeed cleaned the kitchen and managed to hide any foul odor that might have lingered there but went a step farther. They “scrubbed the entire kitchen—inside the fridge and freezer especially—with Pine-Sol.” Not only did it hide bad odors, no one will likely be able to smell anything but Pine-Sol for the next few months. Potential DIYers take note: repairs can be powerful weapons in the wrong (or right) hands.
8 Socket to ‘Em
Need to replace a faulty outlet? Well, there’s a right way to do it—and about a million wrong ways. It was user u/grimyseabutt who posted a photo of how his apartment’s previous tenants had done their best to hide some outlet damage. Unfortunately, their best was…special.
An outlet in their apartment had come completely out of the wall, and the former occupants tried to replace it with a new outlet. They succeeded, except that the new outlet was installed upside down and halfway off the socket, leaving a gaping hole in the wall. They had gone the extra mile (or should I say inch) and covered the hole and the entire area around it with packing tape. It was as much of a failure as any success can be, and it’s important to remember that DIY repairs are often a bit of both.
7 Prepare for Black Out
Tried to paint over damage? Is your landlord not having it? User u/RandomRavenclaw87 writes about an overly-critical landlord who got his damage fixed—and then some. The renter was moving out, and his lease included a clause that required the renter to repaint the place the day he moved out. He did as instructed, picked out some nice colors, and repainted the entire place the day before his moving truck arrived. Big mistake, apparently.
He writes that the “landlord showed up waving their contract, yelling. The wording said the day he moved out, not the day before. The landlord was convinced that the movers would scuff up the walls.” So the renter did as he asked and re-repainted the entire place on the day he moved out. He fixed any potential scuffs. But this time, he exercised some creativity and chose a new color: solid black—on every single wall and a few ceilings. Sometimes the technically correct fix is the spiritually wrong one, and sometimes that’s okay.
6 White It Out
Have an ugly and potentially dangerous problem and want to do as little work as possible to fix it? We have an excellent example, brought to us by the landlord of user u/RIPNightman, who chose to fix a wasp nest in the renter’s closet…by painting it white.
The rather large nest is multi-tiered and juts out from the wall; it’s undoubtedly home to more than a few wasps. But the landlord figured one half-a**ed cover of paint would take care of it. It did not. Holes have been cut through the sides of the paint, suggesting the wasps are still coming and going as they please—in our renter’s closet. The fix is terrible but unexpected; you have to award some begrudging points for creativity. Or at least a thanks for showing us what not to do.
I’d definitely withhold rent for that one.
5 Tighten Your Belt
Have you ever broken the seat of a chair? Maybe you dropped something on it too hard, sat yourself down too hard, or unwisely used it as a step-stool and kicked right through. If you’re using borrowed furniture, this accidental damage is more stressful than had it been your own crappy chair. But, either way, a weirdly brilliant fix made the rounds on the internet not too long ago.
Using old belts, a few crafty DIYers thought to weave a whole new seat cushion. By crisscrossing the belts over the empty seat frame and then buckling the belts together, you get a new cushion that is soft, flexible, and sturdy, all while looking good. Now, if the original owner of the chair were to get up close to it, there’d be no fooling them. But, from a distance, maybe it’d work!
If you ever find yourself without a seat, remember that second-hand stores sell belts for a dollar.
4 Cat Scratches Turned to Artistic Expression
Are cats tearing up your sofa? You’re not alone. Couch-hating cats besiege enough DIYers that dozens of creative and cute hacks have arisen to combat those claws. All it requires is old doilies, which any grandmother can lend you.
Most of these fixes revolve around lace since stitching lace patterns into the open rips make for a weirdly chic, haphazard-looking thread collage. Others use wool, gold leaf, denim, and even small geodes. The tip here is that cracks can create opportunities for new, naturalistic patterns.
Just like cats, little children are mischievous monsters. One of their worst offenses is their penchant for creating sloppy crayon murals on every wall section within their stunted reach.
Reddit user u/jerschneid shared a brilliant fix for unexpected child art: keep it, just make it good. How could a landlord argue against art? The post shows how their child covered one section of the wall with a sloppy, trembling line of blue crayon, which their artistic mother then corrected and filled in with leaves and paisley. She turned nonsense into sensible decor. On top of that, she can now honor her kid’s artwork without having to stare at its unfiltered horror.
2 Flip it and Reverse It
Electrical problems can be tough, especially when landlords have ‘their own guy’ who will come and (not) fix them. A former Redditor writes about how his friends, stuck with endless electricity issues in their apartment, called an electrician in—not their landlord’s usual. They found out that “the son of a b*tch had the building wired so that we, his tenants, were having our electricity siphoned for his place.”
Instead of rewiring so that the two units were separate, they told the electrician to reverse the siphoning in a stroke of evil genius. As the user writes, “For the last few months they were there, that guy had to pay their electric bill.” Combining creativity and evil, they not only fixed their electricity, but they also fixed their finances.
1 Reframe the Problem
After all the fixes, whether desperate, conniving, crafty, or clever, sometimes the best fix is to accept the damage and go even further: put it on display.
That’s exactly what Reddit user u/Rwolinski did when her boyfriend “fell down our stairs on Thanksgiving day. Instead of fixing the hole, we got creative.” Where her boyfriend’s hand smashed through their drywall in a wild tumble, she could have lamented the damage. Instead, she celebrated it by leaving the hole, hanging a frame around it, and added a plaque beneath that reads, “First Thanksgiving. 2015. Medium: hand, drywall.” DIYers take heed: a lot of home improvement is not repairing damage, but relishing it instead.