Interior Post Construction Cleanup Tips

There is nothing worse than bringing contractors in to do a construction project only to find that once they have finished the job, they have left their mess behind. Construction site cleanup is part of the construction industry and it can be a messy job, but someone has to do it. You can make your life easier by cleaning as you go for starters, and that should help reduce the burden of the final cleanup to a degree. While it's impossible to cover every aspect of a proper construction cleaning project, a good place to start would be to remove trash and debris on a daily basis, particularly wood and paint particles which can pose as dangerous fire hazards.

There are plenty of construction companies that might make use of a separate contractor to do the cleanup for them since it can save a lot of time and money by bringing in specialists (dependent on the size of the job). It is always wise to do a walk-through prior to the start of cleanup for the supervisor to find out exactly what the construction manager's expectations are with regard to cleanup. This will also help to prevent a poor final product (when the project is completed).

So, what does construction site cleanup really entail? In general, any scuffs, hand and finger smudges, dust and dirt need to be wiped down off the walls and the same goes for trim, baseboards, windows, door frames and handrails. The ceilings will also need a good dust and the removal of any cobwebs that have sprung up. Doors need to be cleaned down- which may include the front, back, sides and the top, and don't forget about the hinges. Any masonry will need to be vacuumed and cleaned as instructed. All of the carpeting throughout the project will need to be vacuumed as well. Wood, tile or marble should be buffed, waxed and sealed. You will need to clean the tracks, frames and glass on windows. Be sure to clean any of the light fixtures and ceiling fans dust tends to accumulate. Wall & ceiling vents, and floor vents will also be need to vacuumed, and in the case of floor vents they will need to be removed so that you can vacuum as deep as the attachments will allow. Electrical outlets and switches need cleaned since may they gather dust and hand smudges. That is just the basic cleaning inside, it does not encompass the specific cleaning required in a bathroom, kitchen or the entry way. Not to mention any mirrors and cabinets throughout the house, as well as removing any of the manufacturer's stickers that are not required.

On the topic of manufacturers, you should not forget the importance of which cleaning chemicals should and shouldn't be used. Only cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer should be used, as the wrong chemical can cause irreparable damage and will set your project back as you have to replace any damaged items, especially things of delicate stonework like marble, granite and quartz. It is very likely that you will be unable to do all of the cleanup yourself, depending on the type of project its likely you will need to call in the professionals to finish off your flooring as it will require sealing and waxing. Now that the inside is taken care of you can begin focusing on cleaning up the outside.

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How to Reduce or Eliminate Your Mistakes in Interior Design and Decorating

We all reside in houses of one kind or another. When furnished, whether well done or not, they constitute the environment in which we spend the great part of our lives. These environments influence us continually and profoundly.

To the degree that your home is beautiful and comfortable affects us favorably and provides a wonderful haven for recuperation of mind and body. It also facilitates a richer and more satisfying life. To the degree that it is uncomfortable and lacking in beauty, it provides the exact opposite. This can develop into a potentially devastating degree.

As you can see, a properly furnished home is a very significant matter. It affects your life, as well as your attitude and ambitions. Your home should be an environment that is as supportive of your life as possible. Therefore, knowledge of how to furnish a house properly is very meaningful.

Beauty and comfort in a home do not result from chance or happen by accident. They result from the proper application of a reasoned process. Two quotes on the back of my business card illustrate this perfectly. They are the foundations of my business philosophy. Firstly, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.” Secondly, “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”

Transforming a blank canvas into a picture or carving a block of stone into a beautiful sculpture is comparatively less creative of an endeavor than transforming an empty house into a place of beauty and comfort. The major distinction between the painting or sculpture and a house is that you are looking at the artwork. In the home you are not only looking at the interiors, but you’re also enveloped in them. Therefore, interior design and decoration is also an art of selection and arrangement in a three-dimensional environment. This will require knowledge, appreciation, discrimination, and good judgment. Since interior design is a part of architecture, like a hand in a glove, it differs from painting and sculpture in that it has a very practical aim. Your home must not only look good, but function well. Being supportive of your lifestyle is the end goal.

When you set out to furnish your home, you face a threefold problem.

  1. You must select and arrange items that suit the age, sex, and temperament of the individuals; whether one or many, as well as meet the needs, express the tastes and aspirations, and fit the budget.
  2. You must see to it that the furniture and accessories are selected and arranged to suit the home in terms of scale, proportion, coloring, and style. It may be eclectic, transitional, traditional, or contemporary.
  3. Finally, you must see to it that these things are not only suitable, but also good-looking and aesthetically pleasing. In addition, they must all combine to form a harmonious and beautiful whole.

The treatment of your house and each room within it involves the interplay of three factors, which I differentiate as the personal, the architectural, and the aesthetic. No decorative problem, however simple or complex, can be solved correctly and appropriately unless each of these factors is properly considered and given their due importance in order to achieve ideal results.

Even though the personal factor is of extreme importance, the architectural factor is one of the first things taken into account. The size and other physical characteristics of the rooms will determine what goes into them.

The personal factor is critical from the point that houses are for people, and a house exists to make adequate provision for the satisfaction, needs, and preferences of the individuals that will inhabit it. The prior statement is simple common sense, yet professionals as well as nonprofessionals ignore it frequently. Many look at it as “decorating” without due consideration for personal aspects relative to the real needs and preferences of the occupants.

This is not about fads or the newest craze! You must never forget that if you choose to disregard the personal factor, or make it of subordinate importance, you will pay the price in loss of comfort and beauty. If your main concern is to comply with the newest fad or craze of the hour, you may experience an hour’s satisfaction. But you will most assuredly fail in achieving any dignity and individuality, or the fine flavor of distinction found only in homes whose decoration and design are established on the studied needs and tastes of the occupants.

As far as the aesthetic factor is concerned, making the furnishings fit the house is also of great importance as well as making them fit the people who live there. A properly furnished home meets all the real needs, both practical and aesthetic, of all the occupants, and relates them to the architectural factors as well. This paves the way for a pleasing and harmonious composition that is unique and personal.

Briefly, here is what you need to consider. Imagine three intersecting circles. I’ll name them Circle A, Circle B, and Circle C. Circle A represents the total number of things available, without reference to their suitability, and are intrinsically good-looking, or pleasing in an aesthetic way. Circle B represents the total number of items that would satisfy your personal requirements. Circle C is the total number of elements that would satisfy the architectural requirements. The small area where all three circles intersect is the “sweet spot.” This specifies the total amount of items and elements that are capable of satisfying all the conditions… the personal, the aesthetic, and the architectural. The remaining are the choices that you are limited to, in order to create the most holistic design possible. This will eliminate all the “fluff” and potential errors that could ruin your surroundings.

Dream big and allow yourself potentially wonderful results that greatly enrich your life!

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RV Interior Education

I told my wife that as a late Christmas gift, and an early "get ready for camping season" gift, she could get whatever she wanted to accessorize and update the interior of our RV from Camping World. It did not take long before she was perusing the http://www.CampingWorld.com website in search of the products she wanted for her RV interior makeover.

Soon afterwards, the packages began arriving at our doorstep. In all of her excitement, she had me sit down so she could show me all of the new interior treatments and accessories. I must say that from a man's perspective I was not all that impressed at first, when she pulled out the new sheets, towels, candles, placemats, and what looked to be some kind of a sleeping bag. But upon closer examination and after listening to her explanation about each of these new interior items, I was quite impressed.

For starters, she ordered a 600 thread count sheet set for our queen size RV bed. Now if you know anything about RV beds you know that it is almost impossible to find sheets to fit. Not only are these premium sheets sized especially for RV beds, but the designer colors coordinate with any RV bedroom, and until you try them you can't imagine how soft this Egyptian-combed cotton really is.

Next, she pulled some bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths out of a box. Now I always thought a bath towel, was a bath towel, was a bath towel. Boy, was I ever wrong. The first thing she showed me was how big (27 "X 48") and thick the new RV bath towels were. Next, she pointed out how the neutral beige color matched our RV bathroom. But what really sold her on the towels was that they feature an antimicrobial treatment that keeps them fresh. What does antimicrobial mean? Well, basically it means that the towels and wash cloths need no bleach to stay sanitary and fresh, and the treatment lasts up to 50 washings.

Then she moved on to the new placemats and candles. I must say that not only are the placemats good looking but they're reversible, they coordinate with the kitchen and they will help protect the table. The neat thing about the candles is that they are flameless, color-changing, scented candles. Yes, I said flameless. They're actual wax candles with real scents that are lit by a long-life LED (light emitting diode). No open flame means they're safe to use in the RV, and you can select to have the color change every ten seconds or use the hold feature. Very neat!

Last (and possibly my favorite part of her interior makeover) was the thing that looked like a sleeping bag. It is actually called a Travasak® Sleep System, and it is an all-in-one, year-round RV bedding system that incorporates two comforters, winter and summer, that are zipped together on three sides. You put the Winter side on top during colder weather and the Summer side on top during warmer weather. The Winter side is filled with twice as much hypoallergenic Travafill insulation as the lighter Summer side. Each comforter features soft, smooth microsuede outer fabric that's water-and soil-resistant, and the two-way zippers have dual sliders for easy operation and easy laundering. The sheets and pillow cases are 200 thread count poly / cotton percale that offer a luxurious feel, and there's a Velcro® strip down each side that holds the sheets securely in place.

My wife said she wanted the Travasak Sleep System for our son to use when we pull out the sofa sleeper. She said it would be so easy to set-up at night and store during the daytime. I, on the other hand, tried it on our bed and all I can say is our son will have to continue using his old sleeping bag or my wife will have to get another Travasak® to use on the sofa sleeper. (Sorry Josh!) Trust me: the Travasak® is so comfy you won't be willing to give it up once you try it for yourself!

My wife's RV interior makeover was a huge success. And this RVing guy is a lot smarter thanks to his RV interior education!

Happy Camping!

Mark J. Polk

Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101

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Eliminate Interior Home Disasters

Hello and welcome to my design thoughts.

With thousands of websites, articles, newsletters and blogs on interior design, is it any wonder home design is confusing? As an artist and designer, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of fabulous information available for the curious and motivated homeowner. And Free to boot!

Keeping it simple is a little more difficult. I have visited many "designers" client homes, just to see the designers particular brand or style stamped all over the place. How do we keep our homes in the realm of our own personalities?

When you are searching for a design and or designer, first look at their product. Talk to past clients. Visualize the designers work in your private space. Does it work? Or could you have done a better job on your own and a whole lot less expensive?

I have designed many different styles. Each as individual as the client themselves. How is this done? First, you have to do the homework. A client whom states: Do whatever you like, I trust you and I will be back from Bermuda in six weeks "might be a client I may choose to steer clear of.

I will not brand my personal style on a clients home. Your home should and must reflect your personality and uniqueness. With excitement and motivation, create something totally yours, you can learn how to build a truly stunning environment all your own.

Magazines, websites other design information can be your very best friend. You have done it before, I just can see both of us searching magazines, ripping out the cool stuff and making piles … This is your start to discovering your personal style.

Build a book on these pictures. Study each picture. Circle the idea or picture which caught your eye. Put you piles of pictures in categories. ie living, bath, family, kitchen. Then go back and cull out the pictures which may not be as appealing. Only keep the very best. You will eventually discover what you love, whether in color, shape, size or style name. My personal style is called European Recycled … No joke.

Keep your first trial and run simple. Paint is the least expensive re-do and has an amazing impact. A fresh coat of paint is magic. Interior design can be a simple act of re-arranging or de-cluttering.

Find your magic. Love where you live. make it a peaceful and creative environment all your own.

SK Sartell

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How to Select an Office Interior Designer

Finding the right professional to design your new office space is critical. After all, business owners and office managers are likely great at what they do, but may lack the vision for a well-designed, cohesive office space. A professional can come in and maximize the potential in your space, seeing possibilities that you may have overlooked.

While it’s recommended that every office move involve a designer, connecting with the right individual can be a challenge. A good choice would be an interior design professional with experience designing corporate spaces. If you’re managing the move of a large company, it’s critical that you find a designer who has experience with office spaces that may have multiple floors that must be unified. It’s often helpful to seek referrals from companies similar in size to yours who have moved recently, since you’ll likely have similar needs.

It’s also critical to find your office designer early. Ideally, this professional works closely with your architect to plan an office space that is a perfect fit for your company. Your designer can advise when it comes to architectural elements like woodwork, recessed shelving, and other details. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll limit your options for customizing your new space.

So what should you do first? At around the time you begin narrowing down your office space selection with your commercial realtor, you should begin interviewing designers. Bring in several design firms so that you have a range of perspectives and budget options. It may be helpful to bring a prospective office designer to visit your proposed space, as he or she may be able to give you some ideas and options.

Always ask for referrals of similar projects. You’ll be able to see how a prospective designer handled the challenges of offices similar in size and scope. You may even want to visit a couple of these spaces in person. Does the overall aesthetic appeal to you? Do certain elements in the space inspire you?

Finding the right office interior designer is key if you hope to have a finished office space that reflects your company vision and goals. Don’t attempt to make design decisions completely on your own, especially if you have a large space. The right professional will always be able to make recommendations that enhance and beautify your space. You’ll end up with a new workspace that impresses visitors and makes employees happy to be there.

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6 Popular Interior Decoration Themes You Should Know About

Your home is a perfect reflection of your personal style. There are a plethora of interior decoration themes that cater to our preferences. Be it the eclectic Bohemian theme or the subtle minimalist setting, there are different types of style that speak to your soul. For all those people looking to remodel their homes, here are the most popular interior decoration themes.

1. Modern

Modern is all about going highlighting clutter free entails. Asymmetry is highly celebrated and clean lines in the architecture are much preferred. Instead of using too many small accessories, the modern theme uses big paintings to complement the open wall space. Open floor plans are common to achieve a sense of being in large space. Small apartments or houses with a serious space crunch use this particular decor to make the place look larger.

Common Color: Muted colors like beige, light browns and even grays are used for the modern theme. Bright colors are used to add accent to the walls.

Common Furniture: The furniture is simple and over embellishments is a big no-no.

2. Contemporary

Often used interchangeably with modern styles, contemporary is whole different interpretation. While the modern design is a representation of a movement that started in the 20th century, contemporary is a fluid design that doesn’t adhere to any particular style. For the latter, the significance is paid to adding a fresh and natural look to space. The focus is always on lines, forms and shapes. In fact, contemporary is always identified by its sleek and muted features minus any kind of extravagance. Materials play a more important part than colors.

Common Colors: Color is not the focal point in a contemporary setting. As long as the shades bring depth and variety to the interior, it is good to go.

Common Furniture: Furniture with a slim silhouette is the trademark of contemporary décor. Light colored woods with clean lines are common.

3. Minimalist

“Less is more” is the motto used for the minimalist lifestyle, and the décor is just a reflection of the same. According to Houston remodeling contractors, this theme has gained momentum during the last few months. The movement is all about cutting down the excess with minimum furniture and minimum accessories. The idea is to declutter life and reduce attachment to materials. Having less furniture in a room achieves the sense of abundance space, which is the key feature of the minimalist theme.

Common Color: White is predominant in this particular theme. Monochromes and grays are used to achieve a sense of accents.

Common Furniture: Furniture used is the bare minimum and have neat designs. Plants are common in a minimalist setting.

4. Traditional

Elegant, balanced and symmetrical are some of the most common adjectives associated with the traditional theme. This type of decor is all about providing warmth and comfort using subtle colors and designs. The furniture is used in abundance. Accessories play an important role in adding to the charm of the traditional theme. Heavy curtains, accent pieces, candle stands, vases, sculptures and mirrors play a major role in adding to the balanced look of this decor.

Common Color: A natural palette consisting of colors like beige, taupe and cream are popular. Darker shades are used at times to add accent.

Common Furniture: Dark colored wooden furniture with detailed work, carved moldings and soft edges are common. Maple, oak, cherry and mahogany lend to the elegance.

5. Bohemian

A Bohemian interior is associated mostly with bright hues and eclectic patterns. Every Bohemian setup might look similar but are completely different from each other. Much of this motif is about the unconventional use of accessories. To get the perfect Boho theme, layering is a must. For an interesting finish, elements from a different era and different country can be used. Add as many fabrics, colors and patterns to the mix; this theme has no priority as long as it all looks very vivid and vibrant.

Common Colors: The Boho palette is dazzling with a wide range of colors. Combining the different spectrum casts the maximum charm.

Common Furniture: The furniture should possess a tribal vibe. Vintage furniture goes best with this theme.

6. Industrial

Drawing inspiration from an urban loft, the theme industrial has an unfinished rawness about it. This trend came to light as old warehouses started getting converted into lofts and studio apartments. Unfinished bricked walls, an open floor plan, bare windows, exposed ductwork and wood works are extremely common for this particular theme. High ceilings, dangling metal fixtures and old timber are also regular for the industrial decoration theme. You can either keep the walls neutral or add a splash of color here and there. The floor is usually polished concrete to anchor the whole look together.

Common colors: Lots of browns and grays. Primary colors are often replaced with darker shades of gray, blue and red to compliment the setup.

Common Furniture: Tin, steel, aluminum and iron are dominant for this theme. Lighting fixtures usually come in metal finish. Wood and concrete are also used.

Remodeling your home should be easy with a particular vision and the kind of theme you want. Home is truly where the heart and soul is! So pick the decoration theme you like the most, hire reputed Houston remodeling contractors and make your home the reflection of your imagination.

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Interior Design Ideas For Connecting Spaces

The arteries of your home, connecting spaces should be awarded all the respect normally given to individual rooms. They not only greet you but also serve to lure you into the rooms beyond. The hall, stairs, landings and corridors of a house have a pivotal role to play and it is through the framework they form that you will view all the other rooms. Often characterized by their mean proportions, irregular shape and lack of light, these areas require very careful attention if they are to become the convenient welcoming spaces they should be.

The designer's first consideration should be the actual structure enclosing the space. By highlighting any features that are perfectly proportioned or well balanced, you can bring a sense of symmetry to what otherwise is often a rather disorganized area.

Perhaps the floor has a regular outline: this could be emphasized by giving the chosen floor treatment a border in a contrasting color. Alternatively, if the ceiling height is pleasing, an attractive cornice or border could be introduced to enhance the line where ceiling meets wall.

A bold treatment at a good looking window has a similar effect. You can disguise features that are less pleasing by reducing their details or painting them out (that is, in the same color as their background). If the area is totally lacking any redeeming features, you might consider creating a 'blank canvas' of the same color on all surfaces and then applying points of interest superficially on the walls (with pictures) or on the floor (with area rugs) or by introducing interesting loose furnishings.

It is important to establish a focal point in each area – something pleasing for the eye to rest upon. It might be a handsomely surrounded fireplace, an impact-making picture, a well-proportioned window or a stunning carpet. Whatever it is, be sure that it is well positioned and given real star treatment with the help of some thoughtfully designed lighting.

When it comes to selecting color schemes for these transitional spaces, people have a tendency to veer towards bland mid-range colors and, because of sometimes restricted space, strong patterns are avoided. But the opposite approach often produces the most successful results. A boldly patterned carpet, for instance, can add an enormous amount of drama and excitement to what otherwise might be a very characterless area, and because people are generally only passing through the room there is little danger of tiring of such a strong statement.

Because these spaces impinge upon one another – the hall leading to the stairs and the stairs then leading on to a landing and so on – it is important to establish strong links between the schemes in each. Laying the same carpet throughout these connecting areas is an excellent way to give your house a sense of unity.

The only limitations to bear in mind are the effect of heavy traffic on your chosen colors and the possibility of clashes with individual room schemes.

Where light is restricted you have two choices: either to fight for light (by using reflective surfaces, light colors and mirrors) or, more unconventionally, to accept the darkness and play up to it. By painting such an area a wonderful rich dark color and incorporating some clever lighting effects, you can sometimes produce a magical effect.

Because there may be less to distract the eye in these connecting spaces, attention to details becomes paramount. Door handles and paneling, architraves and cornices, light switches and socket plates – these all deserve your special attention.

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Interior Design Ideas to Bring Luxury and Opulence Into Your House

Many home owners confuse luxury and opulence with filling in high-end accessories and expensive décor items in the house. This is clearly a wrong assumption to make as it needs a touch of creativity and ingenuity to transform the interiors into elegant and stylish spaces. With right ideas and a bit of imagination, even an ordinary home can be made a pinnacle of luxury and visual splendor. So, no need to compromise with the inviting and comfortable look-and-feel of the spaces and you can also consult an expert lend a unique and exquisite look all along.

Here are some of interior design ideas to bring grandeur and opulence into the spaces –

Mirror on the wall

Bring a touch of royalty to the décor with an ornately framed mirror on the wall. This great idea will help on two levels – first, it can make the room looks spacious and second, it can lend visual lavishness of matchless variety. Plus, it won’t cost beyond the manageable level for home owners for sure.

Lace the décor with elegant light fixture

Lighting does create the difference to the aesthetics and hues of the interior. So, you have to get installed elegant light fixture wherever you could to compliment the interior fabulously. No matter whether you opt for modern finishes or antique solutions – there has to be sufficient lighting to make the ambience dazzling in a true sense.

Place a plush rug in the room

Nothing can give the interior a dash of splendor as much as a plush rug does. Just choose unique patterns and colors and lay in on the ground to see the difference! If you could match the rug colors with the décor theme, that would be even amazing in terms of look and feel.

Accentuate the walls with art

Make the décor look luxurious by opting to accentuate the walls with art. To accent walls, you will have plenty of options including paintings, murals, colors, leather panels, trimmings, etc. These wall arts won’t cost a fortune and deliver an amazing look and feel in a true sense.

Use wooden wonders in an elaborate manner

The use of wood is a great way to lend the décor a dash of elegance and sophistication. It makes the interior classical in a true sense and paint, a touch of royalty like no other material. Right from flooring to wall panel to furniture, you can choose whatever suits you and make the interior look luxurious like never before.

Use unusual materials

How about using unusual materials for the décor? A little bit of inventiveness here and there won’t harm the visual aspect and it’s rather recommended. So, use marbles in the kitchen and it possible in living area. Fit in more products crafted of stones or agate. You can also use inlays or get customized furniture matching with the theme of the décor. This is how home spaces are made trend and stylish in a true sense.

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Interior Painting Basics

Interior Painting

When painting a room, it's best to paint the ceiling first, followed by the walls, with the trim, cabinets, and doors painted last. Work from the top down. In order to keep a wet edge, only cut in one wall at a time before you begin painting with rollers.

Brushes are used to cut in around the ceiling, trim, windows, and doors before using a roller. They are also used to paint the trim, window frames and doors. There are a number of brush sizes available in both straight edge and angled sash. Your choice depends upon the size of the area you are painting and whether you prefer a straight edge or an angled sash. Rollers are a great time saver for painting larger flat surfaces such as ceilings and walls. Roller covers come in various nap lengths. Your choice depends upon whether the surface to be painted is smooth or if it is more textured. The more textured the surface, the longer the nap should be in order to allow the fibers to push the paint into the crevices on the surface.

High quality applicators will provide the best painting results. Cheap or low quality applicators can make the best quality paint look and perform poorly. Cheap roller covers do not spread the paint evenly on the surface, and often leave fuzz from the roller on the wall. Inexpensive brushes are harder to use because they do not spread the paint evenly and leave unsightly brush marks. High quality applicators can be cleaned and used again.

When painting, always work from the dry area into the adjoining wet paint area. Use the "N" technique when using a roller. Load the roller completely. Apply the paint in the form of an "N" in a 2¹ x 2¹ area. Fill in the center of the "N" with horizontal strokes from side to side. Lightly smooth the painted area with vertical strokes from top to bottom. Continue to use the "N" pattern with a freshly loaded roller directly below the first "N", working until you reach the bottom of the wall.

Time saving Tip: If you take a short break from painting, you can wrap your applicators tightly in a plastic bag or aluminum foil instead of washing them!

Always be sure to stir the paint thoroughly before using and do not thin the paint. If you are using more than one gallon of the same color, mix them together in order to insure color consistency. Paint when the room and surface temperature is 50? F or above. Avoid touching, wiping, or wetting a freshly painted surface for 30 days to allow the paint to completely cure. After 30 days, the painted surface can be cleaned with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and water. Do not place or hang objects on the surface until the paint is thoroughly dry.

Remember: It¹s important to follow the directions on the back of the paint label. It contains the most important information you need for your painting project.

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The Idea Behind Green Interior Design

Green interior design is radically different to interior design because it is based on a completely different set of criteria. The main thrust of green interior design is to help the environment and to improve indoor air quality. To better understand how green interior design seeks to address these challenges it is necessary to look at the guidelines laid out under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organization which was set up by the US Green Build Council in 1998.

LEED identify 5 key metrics which green interior design should address. These metrics are reducing carbon emissions, conserving water, improving energy efficiency, improving indoor air quality and better husbanding of natural resources. Nowhere in the metrics is there mention of fashion or the need for wall hangings or oriental soft furnishings. Of course a home can be environmentally friendly and have a cutting edge minimal look or pleasing rustic look. The point is that green interior design is based on how it benefits the environment and keeps people healthy not on any changeable notion of 'style' or 'coolness' or 'elegance'. Statistics are the indicators of success or failure not the aesthetic sensibilities of the homeowner.

It is important to look at how a house can improve its insulation to help reduce heating and cooling bills and thus lower carbon emissions. To make a house more environmentally friendly it is a good idea to consider installing programmable thermostats, compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy saving power strips and energy efficient home appliances among many other possible actions to lower energy consumption. This is great for the home owner because it means lower bills to pay every month.

Another area that is of the utmost importance to green interior design is water conservation. Actions like installing low flow showerheads and faucet aerators and collecting rainwater to water the garden are good examples of how water can be conserved.

The metric concerned with reducing carbon emissions is very much connected to power consumption. For those people not buying 'green' electricity, every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed means so much carbon emitted by a power station. As well as lower electricity consumption green interior design is keenly interested with alternative and cleaner sources of energy such as solar power.

People's health is of primary concern to green interior design. People in the developed world spend 90% of their lives indoors so good indoor air quality is vital. One of the key issues is with volatile organic compounds that off-gas easily and cause respiratory problems, cancer and other serious medical conditions. The best way to avoid VOCs is to check flooring, furniture, office and household products for their VOC content and try to replace the worst offenders with healthier alternatives.

Finally there is the issue of natural resource management. This is about switching from using quickly depleting resources like hardwood and using renewable resources instead such as bamboo, jute, coconut, cork, hemp and water hyacinth. Another strategy is sourcing furniture etc. that is produced by companies committed to sustainable management of resources. There is also concern with looking at the lifespan of a product and the impact it has on the environment in terms of pollution. Obviously recycling and upcycling feature heavily in the ethos of green interior design.

There is so much that can be done for most homes and offices to make them earth friendly and the great thing is that these actions also often result in the lowering of bills. Saving money, being healthier indoors and helping to improve the future are the noble ideals of a discipline that will surely be of more interest to the general public as the recession deepens and environmental health worsens.

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