Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art Prints For Home Decorating

by: Joel Walsh
With the new craze for interior decorating inspired by "home makeover" television programs, more and more people are tempted to hire a professional decorator, even if they can't afford one.

Simplicity: the Art of Home Decorating

If you're thinking about breaking the bank for the sake of a beautiful room, think again. You don't have to spend as much as an oil tycoon to have a home every bit as beautiful. Here's why:

A pair of human eyes can only take in so much, no matter how much is put before them.

The secret is not to aim for beauty that comes from opulence, but for a simple beauty. And simple beauty is usually less expensive.

The best way to go for simple beauty in interior design is to make the focus of a room a single well-chosen decorative element.

Art Prints: Simple Home Décor Focus

But what single beautiful element could you actually afford?

Unless you happen to get really, really lucky at a crafts fair or estate sale, there's only one sure way to buy high taste on a low budget. Not original paintings or expensive wallpaper. Just a well-chosen print of a painting or photograph that reflects your style and taste and matches your room.

Surprised at such a simple answer to the decorating conundrum? Perhaps, like most people, you do not understand what art prints really are.

What Art Prints Are Not

Art prints are not posters.

Posters are made using paper stock similar to what magazines use. Art prints are made using special heavier print stock especially for prints.

Posters often play rather loose with the original image, cropping it, resizing it, adding text, or even changing shading. Prints will typically come much closer to the original, and will rarely crop the original image or alter its appearance significantly.

Posters are vastly less durable than art prints. You can expect a high-quality print to last decades without showing signs of age.

Art prints are not reproductions (though they are close).

Reproductions of a work of art, usually a painting, involve using exactly or nearly exactly the same brush strokes and materials, which is why they are so expensive. Prints, meanwhile, reproduce the look of the artwork without reproducing every detail of it. For instance, even though many prints of paintings use textured surfaces or even artificial brush strokes, the exact brush strokes of the original are not copied.

Reproductions also have to be conserved as carefully as original paintings in most cases, or they will fade. High-quality prints are given protection against fading, either in the form of a coating to the surface, or a Plexiglas case.

Reproductions, being paintings, are not very durable, and must be treated with special care. Prints, though not indestructible, are more likely to survive accidents. Some prints can even be washed with glass cleaner.

Of course, no art print will be a good anchor for a room's décor if it's not well chosen. Unfortunately, many people either don't have any particular tastes when it comes to art or décor, or else do not trust their own taste. Luckily, the internet puts the accumulated knowledge of thousands of decorators, artists, and art experts at your disposal. Thanks to the internet, your home can look as good as the ones on TV.

About the author:
Joel Walsh writes for a1-paintings ( with a buying guide for art prints:
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Granite is Tough; Taking Correct Care of It Isn't

by: Edward Green

Crystal like granite countertops and spa type bathrooms built with natural stone are all the rage in home interiors, but not surprisingly it will lose its investment value fast if not properly maintained.

Up to now, only ammonia based cleaners were the granite cleaning choice outside of soap and water for homeowners, regardless of the fact that these products in reality damage natural stone.

Marble Master’s stone cleaning product line safely cleans and conditions countertops, floors and wall surrounds made of granite, marble, travertine and other natural stone. For more information, visit

"Ammonia-based products remove the seal of natural stone, allowing stains to penetrate the surface and set more easily," said Edward Green, Technical Director of Marble Master. "The damage caused by these products increases the chance that the stone will have to be refurbished or replaced, which is a costly undertaking."

Natural stone is hard-wearing, but still needs appropriate care to continue its inherent beauty. When treated correctly, it is a low maintenance surface that will hold its gleam longer than any other surface known to man, and can enhance the value of your home.

Marble Master's set of non ammoniated, inexpensive products features its Daily Cleaner, Daily Cleaner Wipes, Polish/Protector, Stone Soap and Penetrating Sealers. The line protects and extends the life of stone countertops and gives customers high quality cleaning power. The line is non toxic, safe on all food preparation surfaces, features a streak-free formula and is easy to use.

Marble Master Products are also effective when used on natural quartz surfaces and engineered stone and can be safely used on ceramics or porcelain tile and grout. This exclusive product line, which contains the highest grade of quality ingredients, is user friendly, non toxic and safe for the environment.

The Marble Master Stone Care System is specially formulated and developed by stone care professionals with more than 40 years of experience in the natural stone industry. For more information or to purchase the products, visit or call 020 8807 8889.

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter on your web site as long as the byline is included and the article is included in it's entirety. I also ask that you activate any html links found in the article and in the byline. Please send a courtesy link or email where you publish to:

About the author:

Edward Green owns and operates the highly successful Marble Master Ltd company. Marble Master specializes in Restoration and Refinishing of all types of natural stone and consultancy services to Architects, Restoration Companies and Interior Designers.

How to use wall finishes in a bedroom design project?

by: Shrinivas Vaidya
Dear friends, any interior space is composed of some primary
architectural elements such as walls, floor and ceiling.
Depending upon the type of structural framework, the
construction method would change.

We always see experience and perceive any interior space
in elevation. This means that walls are the first things of
any structure that create an impact on our mind. The quality
and volume formed because of the walls define an architectural

When we enter a building, what we primarily and dominantly
perceive are walls. Let's see how walls can be used as an
excellent element in a bedroom design project.

1) Exposed Brick walls.

In order to use these kind of walls it is necessary to preplan the
interior design schedule. Normally if a brick wall is to
be kept exposed (without plaster), it is built with high quality
bricks which are machine cut for high quality and accuracy.

Since bricks have their own color and texture, this option can
be used to create a color contrast by keeping only one wall
exposed and other with a contrasting color. This can add some
interest in the bedroom.

2) Exposed plaster walls.

An exposed plaster wall is a wall which has not been painted.

These kind of walls are very rarely used in interiors. Since
the plaster is a composite material using appropriate qualities
of cement, sand and aggregate, the final material has a dull
color. A dull color on a space like bedroom would express
a kind of depression, hence is not recommended.

But portions of a wall with preplanned design and sketching can
be used in association with exposed brick wall. Design
pattern with partly colored and partly exposed plaster can be a
good idea.

Or a completely exposed plaster wall with a design patter in grooves
can be used effectively.

3) Wall with tile cladding.

Tile cladding is what we see in kitchen above the cooking
platform. Tile cladding is also used in bathrooms and toilets.
These are normally ceramic tiles.

In a bedroom interesting patterns can be created to fake the
exposed brick wall mentioned above. Many excellent patters
can be used just like a jigsaw puzzle.

4) Paint on walls.

The word painting has two meanings here.

a) A wall with plane colors applied to it. This is done above the
plastered surface of the wall. Two or three coats of the desired
shade of the color and base material are applied.

b)Secondly, instead of using plane colors, the entire wall can
be used as a "canvas" to paint a story or mural. This is a very
good method to paint children bedrooms. Walls can be used as a
storyboard to create interest.

5) Wallpapers.

Applying a wallpaper is an excellent way to quickly change the
look and feel of the bedroom. Depending upon the "theme" of the room
many wallpaper patterns are available.

Wallpapers are very good in large bedrooms. In large bedroom
"emptiness" is a big problem. If there are not enough decorating
elements available, a room might look empty. Here wallpapers can
serve as fillers and quickly add some interest in the room.

6)Textured plaster walls.

These kind of walls need special techniques to create a textured
pattern on walls. Once a texture is applied any shade of
paint can be used.

One of the great thing about these walls is, when sunlight falls on
them, a very interesting play of light and shadows gets created.
Because of the undulations in the surface of the plaster, small
shadows form on the surface of the wall, giving it a visual

A wall in the bedroom which receives direct sunlight should be
chosen for this purpose.

This article shows you how various options to the existing wall
finishes are possible, that can enhance the quality of the
bedroom interior space.

I hope this article was informative to everyone.

Copyright Shrinivas Vaidya

About the author:
Shrinivas Vaidya is the webmaster of .Here you will find some great concept level design tips for master bedrooms, teen bedrooms and bedroom sets.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Decorative Know How - Faux Marble In Six Easy Steps

by: Louise Alderson
Home decorators looking for something a little different are often faced with expensive products and time consuming solutions, making many of us opt for more everyday options like wallpaper and basic paint finishes. However one lasting favorite offers an inexpensive solution that can be used almost anywhere and mimics that most ancient and noble of finishes - marble.

With the right approach, and a little patience, you can recreate marble on almost any surface using basic paints and glaze.

Tools For The Job

For a pale marbling effect you will need:

1) Undercoat or eggshell paint for the background (dependent on surface)
2) Artists oil paints in umber and varying shades of grey (for the veins seen in marble)
3) Translucent glaze to create a natural sheen for the finish
4) Brushes - household paint brushes, a soft flat artists brush, soft makeup brush, natural sponge, lint free rags
5) Glass paper and white spirit

Mixing The Paint

The marble effect is created by applying layers of tinted glaze, veins and mottling over a white or pale basecoat. You then work in gradual variations of tone to the background color by dabbing on artist's oil paint or tinted eggshell paint. Use the brushes and natural sponge to break up the color of the basecoat.

You need to mix the paint in the appropriate ratios. For an opaque glaze, good proportions to work with are:

- Three parts oil based scumble
- Five parts of white eggshell
- Two parts white spirit.

Mix the paint with the glaze then add the white spirit to give a creamy consistency. You can create a more translucent glaze by tinting it with stainers or oil paints and then add equal amounts of white spirit.

Six Easy Steps

1) Rub down the surface to be decorated and apply undercoat (on wood or metal) or eggshell (on walls) in a suitable color. A well-prepared surface will be free of splinters or flaking paint. The paint effect will look better if you take care over this stage.

2) If necessary, apply a further coat to act as a base coat for the decorative finish. Tint it slightly with grey oil paint and use a sponge to create lightly mottled areas.

3) Using artists' oil and an artists brush start to create a random trellis of diagonal veins across the surface. Traditional colors to use are burnt sienna and dark grey on pale marble and whites and greens on black backgrounds.

4) Strengthen some of the veins with darker colors, and then soften the effect by brushing over the surface with a soft feather or soft brush.

5) Use a natural sponge to create variations in tone, lifting off color or applying more color where needed.

6) To create the natural luster of marble apply a translucent glaze, with a light umber tint. In some patches, add extra coats of glaze for a natural effect. Finish by applying a coat of clear gloss varnish followed by a coat of satin varnish to give the surface added sheen and greater depth.

Luxurious And Opulent

Creating your own marble effect is as easy as following the directions above. The cost of the paint is minimal but creates an expensive looking effect. Marble has long been used as a luxurious and opulent building material, leaving a unique finish that can be easily mimicked with a little effort.

The real beauty of this technique is that because the materials are inexpensive it allows you to try different colors and finishes to match your decor. Experiment with different shades and tones and try varying the depth of the veins to really bring the work alive. With a little practice, and some patience, you might be amazed at the results.

About the author:
Louise Alderson combines her hands-on experience as a real estate developer with her love of interior design and textiles, and is the author of a number of popular articles on home decor and home accent tips.
Visit The Tapestry House online at:

Living Art Inspires Freedom of Expression

by: ARA
(ARA) - Those who aspire to recreate the feeling when a Spin Art creation was complete can return to the euphoria of their childhood today through living art. This form of art expression gives adults the chance to create visual masterpieces to express their individual sense of style and flair.

During the past few years, interior designers have discovered the color and vibrancy that living art can add to any room. As a result, they have begun to work aquariums, the more traditional name for living art, into their clients’ homes.

Though designers often custom-order pricey aquariums, tanks are actually available in all price ranges. The fun is in designing and arranging multi-colored coral, which can be changed depending on the season or even a mood!

Coral comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. For example, there is green-colored octopus coral, pink bird’s nest coral and purple stag horn coral. More contemporary artists may be more inclined to work with brain coral, shaped like a half-moon with intricate grooves and indentations, or club-foot coral, which features long, flat pieces spiking out from a narrow base.

When designing a reef, many approach the task like an artist. They incorporate a variety of shapes and colors, making the coral design truly a piece of living art with their own personal signature.

This is the approach Noreen Zamora, Palm Beach, Fla., took in building her living art piece. “I wanted my aquarium to be a focal point of my family room, one that would provide me a soothing diversion to help me forget the stress of the day. So, I’ve opted for colors that remind me of summer -- pinks, oranges, yellows and greens.”

These colors are predominant in Caribbean reefs, seen off the coasts of Barbados, Jamaica and St. Lucia.

More exotic are the reefs found in the Red Sea and the Indo-Pacific region. Corals seen in the Red Sea often are various shades of blue intertwined with streaks of red, and corals in Indo-Pacific waters are multi-colored, with purples, greens and pinks being some of the more predominant shades.

“A coral’s shape and size depends largely on its location and species,” explains Charles Delbeek, an aquarium biologist for the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii. “Where there are strong waves, corals tend to grow into robust mounds or highly branched shapes. In more sheltered or deeper areas, the same species may grow in more intricate shapes, such as flattened plates.”

Marine biologists and artisans at Living Color, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., have been fabricating coral for aquariums since 1988. Living Color constructs pieces using urethanes and other proprietary resins, so they are lifelike in form, shape and movement.

Living Color’s Coral Collection features Plug & Play, which is as easy as it sounds. The first step is selecting a base, ranging from the somewhat tall, ledged structure called Dominica to the shorter, wider structures named Barbados and Aruba. The base comes with pre-drilled holes and each piece of coral is fabricated with pre-threaded rods, making it simple to attach.

There are more than 400 different varieties of coral offered in the collection so aspiring artists can build a reef tailored to their liking. What’s appealing about the collection is the fact that pieces can be added or switched out at any time to change the look of the living art.

Prices for fabricated coral pieces range from $15 to $100 and via the Living Color Web site, people can search for coral pieces by color or geographical occurrence.

To view coral in Living Color’s collection, check out, or call (800) 878-9511 for a catalog.

Courtesy of ARA Content

About the author:
Courtesy of ARA Content

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Home Decorators Guide to Wall Repairs

by: Pamela Cole Harris
Everybody has had one or two. You know, those little hole or indentations in the walls � behind a door, or behind a picture. If you live in a home, hang a picture, or have children � accidents happen! But repairing those accidents is easy. I kid you not � even yours truly, Little Miss Fumblefingers, has done it! All you need is a little spackle compound, a putty knife, some 150-grit sandpaper, and some peel n�stick wallboard tape.

Patching Peeling Paint:
a. Scrape away all the loose paint with a putty knife (A table knife will do in a pinch, but come one! Putty knives are cheap!).
b. Apply spackle to the edges of the remaining paint with the putty knife (that you just bought!).
c. Sand the dry patch with 150-grit sandpaper until it is smooth to the touch.
d. Paint with matching paint (always keep a little bit of your original paint color for small jobs such as these.)

Filling Nail Holes:
a. Using your trusty putty knife, apply a small amount of spackle to the nail hole.
b. Let the spackle dry.
c. Lightly sand the area with the sandpaper.
d. Dampen a sponge and wipe away the dust residue from the patch.
e. Before you paint, touch up the spot with primer.

Filling Shallow Dents and Holes:

a. Again with the putty knife, scrape away any loose plaster, paint or drywall paper.
b. Fill the hole with a small amount of spackle.
c. Using the smallest putty knife you have that will reach from one side of the whole to the other (to avoid making a dent with the knife edges), smooth out the spackle until even with the surrounding sheetrock.
d. Sand the area with sandpaper and prime.

Cracks in Plaster:

a. Scrape away any wall texture or loose plaster with a putty knife (do you know it makes a good pancake turner too?)
b. Use the wallboard tape to reinforce the crack.
c. Apply spackle to barely cover the tape. Don�t make the spackle repair too thick or the spot will just re-crack and you will be right back where you started!
d. If you must, apply a very thin second coat to cover the edges of the tape.
e. Sand lightly with sandpaper and prime. It might be necessary to re-texture if your wall is textured.

There you have it! Simple, isn�t it? Come on, admit it! So with patching holes and dents under your belt, you are ready for another challenge. How about replacing those kitchen cabinets? A new hardwood floor? Just check to learn how!

About the author:
Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and designer for 35 years (Yikes, has it been that long?) Enjoy her tongue-in-cheek approach to inexpensive interior design at: http://www.homeandgardenmakeover.comand

Define your spaces with an area rug.

by: Mike Yeager
Area rugs are one of the easiest and most effective methods of altering a room's interior - the perfect accessory to really set off your home’s beauty. An area rug will not only bring comfort, grace & romance to your home, but are even beautiful to look at and wonderful to walk and lie on. Besides, area rugs help to insulate your home and reduce noise, especially on hard flooring like tiles and wood.

Area rugs allow a room’s purpose to be defined. Specific areas can be divided and identified just by placing a rug in the center of that space. For example, in a very open plan apartment or a studio apartment where your living, eating and sleeping spaces are all located within the same four walls, a few well-placed area rugs can immediately define each area as a separate room, thereby giving you a greater feeling of room identity with obvious boundaries determining exactly where one area stops and another one begins.

The benefits of using an area rug rather than a fitted carpet are quite obvious; they look great on all kinds of flooring, can easily be moved around to accommodate new furniture and new interior design themes besides permitting you the luxury of changing the color scheme or design of your house or apartment on a regular basis. What is more, should you move to a new house or apartment, the rugs can simply be rolled up and transported over to your new place!


The weaving of area rugs has evolved over the years to produce exciting styles, textures and designs to mix-n-match with your decor. Area rugs made with wool are thought to be much more durable than those made with alternative materials. The complicated, geometric designs that often feature in round area rugs, often necessitate that the furniture should be placed symmetrically around them. And if you are planning a traditionally themed interior, don’t hesitate to look at contemporary area rugs. Many of the latest rug designs work equally well alongside classic and antique furniture as with stylish, cool, crisp contemporary interiors. And if a low budget is your dilemma, despair not. For today, it is relatively easy to find a good quality discount area rug. Finally, whoever coined the alliteration – smug as a bug in a rug… must have definitely done so curled up in front of the open fire on a cold winter’s night, relaxing on a beautifully soft and fluffy shaggy area rug!

About the author:
Mike Yeager

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