The portrait of Walburga Black was a massive inconvenience for the Order members when 12 Grimmauld Place was their base of operations, yet the most they ever did was cover it with curtains. Were there no superior options available to them?

There are so many options that would have provided a more permanent solution. The curtains could have been sewn shut, they could have painted over the portrait, they could have rubbed methylated spirits on the canvas, they could have torn down that wall and replaced it with magic.

We know that Sirius had no real affection for his mother and would have happily gotten rid of the portrait (as he had done to so many other remnants of his family's past), so what reason was there to just leave this highly distressing painting behind some easily opened curtains?

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    I'm thinking the real reason she hasn't been dealt with is the blatant lack of time, and other priorities. I don't doubt the portrait can be removed - but the house has only been in use for some 2 years, and it appears that cleaning it had a higher priority at the moment. Maybe if Sirius had stayed there for a little longer... – Gallifreyan Jul 10 '17 at 8:36
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    Wasn't Sirius housebound and frustrated for most of Harry's 5th year at Hogwarts? Plus, Sirius hated his family and hated being reminded of them. He had plenty of time to try find a more permanent solution, although I would be willing to guess that his mental state would not lend itself to rational decision making. – Magikarp Master Jul 10 '17 at 11:01

Out-of-universe answer:

The house of Black needed to be pictured as a haunted house. No matter you did, you could not drive the 'ghosts' away. This also makes sense as The Blacks was a dying out family, the only surviving member Sirius rejecting family values.

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    I like this answer, and agree with it in terms of out-of-universe thinking. It was necessary for the atmosphere that JK was trying to create. My problem is that when a writer gives their characters supernatural powers, and then expects me to believe that they have mundane problems that even I can solve, I am somewhat taken out of the experience. You never see an issue of Action Comics where Superman is complaining about a stuck cupboard or something like that, because when he is faced with such mundane issues, he solves them effortlessly with his powers. – Magikarp Master Jul 10 '17 at 10:17
  • @MagikarpMaster because Harry Potter and co are not superheroes, but ordinary magical people, and having magic does not solve all your problems. There is a good supporting quote for that from Book 6, when a Muggle Prime Minister asks the Minister Of Magic something like "Can't you do magic and defeat them (The Death Eaters)?" And the reply is: "No, because they also do magic". – TimSparrow Jul 10 '17 at 10:22
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    Again, I do like the angle you are coming from, but the difference here is that if magic cannot be used to solve mundane problems, then what good is magic? They can transform animals into furniture, read minds, travel through time, but they can't erect a chipboard false wall over an annoying and distressing portrait? I know that JK needed the portrait to be uncovered for the purposes of plot, but plot should not supersede logic. – Magikarp Master Jul 10 '17 at 10:31
  • Look at Galifreyan's comment to the question. I agree with it - they probably did not bother, as they were pre-occupied with other things: making the house secure, and other daily Order activities. – TimSparrow Jul 10 '17 at 10:37

Well, for one thing, there was a Permanent Sticking Charm on the back of the portrait:

"My dear old mum, yeah," said Sirius. "We've been trying to get her down for a month but we think she put a Permanent Sticking Charm on the back of the canvas. Let's get downstairs, quick, before they all wake up again."
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 5

As for why they didn't try to permanently keep the curtains closed, they appear to be magic, and we see that they open by themselves:

The moth-eaten velvet curtains Harry had passed earlier had flown apart, but there was no window behind them.
Lupin and Mrs. Weasley darted forward and tried to tug the curtains shut over the old woman, but they would not close and she screeched louder than ever, brandishing clawed hands as though trying to tear at their faces.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 4

So since we see that there is already magical protection on the picture, it's reasonable to assume that anything else that they tried would have been foiled by the magical protection.

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    I appreciate what you are trying to say here in this answer, but I seriously doubt that they could make the wall that the painting is on indestructible. That sort of magic is beyond even the most powerful of mages. Consider this, with some 2by4's and chipboard they could, in the span of one day, erect a false wall two inches away from the wall on which the painting is sitting on, and that's what can be done without magic. My question is, with all the magical and non-magical resources at the Order's disposal, was a flimsy curtain the best solution to that problem? – Magikarp Master Jul 10 '17 at 7:40
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    I'd suppose that the curtain was already there. And, well, you know. Wizards are pretty incompetent without magic... – Mithical Jul 10 '17 at 8:30
  • I would certainly second that sentiment Mithrandir. I was going to be in a HP RPG, and everyone was just gushing about what magic they were going to specialize in. The character I was going to play was going to be a borderline squib, but was the Walter White of potions. I always find it amusing in stories when the characters look for supernatural solutions to mundane problems. – Magikarp Master Jul 10 '17 at 10:12
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    @MagikarpMaster - One assumes that you'd come back in the morning to find a big hole in your false wall and a very angry painting peeking through the gap. – Valorum Jul 10 '17 at 13:38
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    You raise a valid point Valorum, but therein lies the problem with these magical folk. We can only assume that that is what would happen, 'cause nobody tried it. At this stage I am starting to lean towards Voldemort's side of things. Sure he was evil, but he got stuff done. He'd have made Hogwarts great again. – Magikarp Master Jul 10 '17 at 13:47

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