Home Improvement Skills Every Grown-Ass Adult Should Know


One day you woke up, watched the news, put on a pair of pants, checked your bank account, and paid a bill. Then went to work. Congratulations, you’re a grown-ass adult.

There are certain privileges that come with being a grown-ass adult, like eating cereal whenever you want. But there are responsibilities too, and when it comes to getting things done around the house, there's a handful of things no self-respecting adult should be paying a contractor for. Here are 12 things you should know.

flickr/idan simpson

1. How to install shelves on drywall

This process comes down to two simple steps: 1) figure out where your studs are (*points at self. Winks in mirror*), and 2) figure out what size anchors you’ll need. And you will need anchors. If you attempt to actually hang something slightly heavy on drywall without anchors, it will immediately fall out of the wall, break your stuff, piss off your landlord, and leave you wondering if this is a metaphor for all of your shortcomings. [See how it's done]

2. How to replace an old shower head

You guys, it’s so easy! All you need is a wrench, a new shower head, and some teflon tape. Take the old shower head off, light it on fire, and throw it in the trash. Remove the old teflon tape from the shower pipe, apply a new layer of teflon tape to the shower pipe, and screw your new awesome rainfall shower head on. [See how it's done]

3. How to properly hang a picture

There's a right way and a wrong way to hang art, and you've probably been doing the latter. Start by measuring 57” up on your wall. This is where you’ll want the center of the picture to sit. Then, after measuring the size of the frame and where your nail will go, hang that art up like you’re the goddamn Guggenheim. [See how it's done]

flickr/tellessa myles

4. How to pick the right screws

Are you drilling drywall-to-wood? Drywall-to-metal? Metal-to-wood? Wood-to-wood? Each of these scenarios require a certain type of screw. Here’s a pro-tip: when you’re at the hardware store, just tell one of the employees what you’re drilling, and they’ll hook you up with the right hardware. [See how it's done]

5. How to fix your toilet

If your toilet is constantly running, making weird noises, or seems like it isn’t flushing to its full capacity, you could have a faulty system. The explanation on how to fix this would be incredibly long-winded to write out, but check out the link for an adrenaline-pumping video on how it’s done. [See how it's done]

6. How to replace your old faucet

There are some things you should definitely call a plumber to fix… say your basement’s flooding, or a large water pipe broke. But replacing a faucet is no big deal, since most new ones include everything you'll need to upgrade. If you have a wrench and access to YouTube, you can have this done in less than 30 minutes. [See how it's done]


7. How to stain wood

You’ll first want to mix the stain up real good, so you get a consistent color. After that, grab your brush, dip it, and “paint” along the grain of the wood. Let the stain set for at least 15 minutes (the longer you leave the stain, the darker your wood will become). After you’ve let the stain set, wipe with a rag (again, going with the grain of the wood). If you’re satisfied with the color, set the wood aside for at least four hours (somewhere cool and dry). If you want a darker hue, apply a second layer of stain after the four hours. [See how it's done]

8. How to patch a hole in the wall

Scenario: you come home wanting a sweet piece of delicious cold leftover ‘za. You open your fridge and see the box. You open the box. It’s empty. Rage fills you up and you need an outlet. BOOM. You punch a hole in your drywall and then cry because your hand hurts and you have no pizza. Luckily, like your anger problem, the hole can be fixed. [See how it's done]

9. How to replace caulk

No one cares for moldy caulk. No one. Scrape out the old caulk using a screwdriver (or razor), then clean the surface by using rubbing alcohol on an old rag. Once that’s dried, apply the new caulk with a caulk gun and smooth it out. [See how it's done]


10. How to paint a room (correctly)

Painting a room isn't quantum physics, but knowing a few key pointers could save you hours of work. Do you have a drop cloth? Roller extenders? Painter's tape? A screwdriver? That's right, you'll want a screwdriver. [See how it's done]

11. How to install a ceiling fan

This seems like it’d be an intimidating task to accomplish, but it’s pretty simple if you have the right tools. You’ll need a voltage tester (to make sure you won’t get electrocuted), a screwdriver, a new fan (obviously), and maybe a ceiling fan brace depending on where your fan will be installed -- if it’s between two beams, you’ll want to use a brace for sure. Follow the manufacturer's directions on how to install, and you can have a new fan up in under 30 minutes. [See how it’s done]

12. How to admit defeat and call a pro

When your wall is riddled with large hammer holes, your electricity isn’t working, and your roof is making weird noises… it’s time to make the call. A shoddy job isn’t only unsafe (and probably against code), it’ll devalue the worth of your property in the long run, and encourage vagrants to take up residence since you now run a veritable flophouse. [See how it's done]

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Alex Robinson is an editor at Thrillist. He is a landlord's worst nightmare. Hit him with your project ideas/suggestions on Twitter.