Pinning Your Way to Pretty, Practical Home Improvements

How a site known for pretty pictures can also be a powerful home improvement tool.

More than just a place to browse eye-candy, Pinterest can be a handy source for remodel and repair info if you know how to navigate the site right. Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Stuck for home improvement ideas? Want help planning your remodel? Hello, Pinterest.

Its treasure trove of images is an unlimited resource for organizing and planning projects. From picking paint colors to fixing clogged drains, we’ll show you how to put Pinterest to work.

Pinterest Basics

If you’re already on Pinterest, just scroll past this primer to the tips.

If you’re not using Pinterest, here’s the 411: It’s a virtual scrap board that allows users to find, save, and share images. Pinterest calls saved images “pins.”

When you save a pin, you’re asked to pick or create a board. Boards are how you organize pins by topic. For example, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, you can save all of your kitchen ideas on a board titled “kitchen.”

What else can you do?

  • Create collaboration boards that allow other people to pin their ideas to your boards.
  • Make your board secret so only you and the people you invite can see it.
  • Follow other boards created by Pinterest users. When you do, their images show up in your home feed.
  • Use your home feed to find new things to pin to your boards.

Tip: Pinterest is a great way to make sure family members, remodelers, and contractors are on the same page when it comes to projects, products, materials, and your vision.

No Need to Surf Multiple Sites

Although you can pin images from other websites to your board, you can also find all the products, tips, and DIYs you need right on Pinterest. Here’s an example:

When HouseLogic writer Dona DeZube was looking for countertops and floor tile to pair with her new cabinets, she searched Pinterest using the cabinets’ brand and style to find how others were using the cabinets.  She even found a few ideas on how to configure her cabinets.  Check out her board.

Tip: Eliminating pins is just as important as posting new finds. Edit your boards to save only the best combinations of ideas.

Search Tips

Some tricks for browsing through lots of pinboards for ideas:

Be specific when you use the search box. If you’re looking for flooring, search by the type of flooring you want, like wood flooring.

Filter results.
Right under the search box, you can toggle between Pins, Boards, and Pinners to get different views on your search:

  • When you click Pins, you’ll see pins of wood flooring.
  • When you click Boards, you’ll see boards with the words “wood flooring” in the title.
  • When you click Pinners, you”lll see boards created by companies that have “wood flooring” in their name.

Related: Should your Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself?

Having problems finding something? Change the wording in your search. Let’s use clogged drains as an example:

  • Our search “how to unclog a drain” resulted in a gazillion solutions.
  • When we searched by “unclog a drain DIY,” we whittled the results to a more manageable few dozen.

Tip: When looking for instructions, try separate searches using the terms “DIY” or “tutorial” along with the name of your topic.

Tip: When you find a pin you like, scroll down. You’ll see an option to check out more boards that feature similar pins. Scroll down further, and you’ll see a list of related pins.

A Short List of Home Improvement Boards to Follow

For a pop of color, check out these paint trend boards:

Helpful home improvements boards:

  • Consumer Reports’ tips, curated and otherwise, from cleaning the drain on your front-loading washer to cordless drill reviews

Related: 7 Fun and Easy Organizing Ideas from Pinterest