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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Softening Your Walls with Color Wash

by: Pamela Cole Harris
If you like the soft look of watercolors, why not try using a color wash on your walls? In addition to a softer color, color washing can accentuate the texture of your plaster or stucco walls. And it�s so simple that even I, a faux-finish-impaired decorator, can do it

There are two techniques for color wash application: sponge or brush. Each requires a slightly different glaze formula.

Sponge Technique:

Color Wash Glaze: Mix together 1 part latex paint and 6 parts water in a bucket.

1. Mask off (using painter�s tape) parts of the room which will not receive the wash. Its best to cover the floor with plastic drop cloths (especially if you are as messy as I am).

2. Prime the wall with a low luster latex paint and allow it to dry completely before the next step.

3. Dip the sponge into the color wash glaze and squeeze lightly.

4. Beginning in a lower corner, apply the glaze to the wall in short, overlapping strokes. Change the direction of the strokes frequently. Work on a small portion of the wall at a time (3 foot by 3 foot is a good size).

5. Repeat moving upward until all the wall is covered.

6. Allow to dry completely.

Brush Technique:

Brush Color Wash Glaze: 1 part flat latex paint, 1 part latex paint conditioner (available at your local home improvement center), and 2 parts water. Mix in a bucket.

1. Mask off (using painter�s tape) parts of the room which will not receive the wash. Its best to cover the floor with plastic drop cloths.

2. Prime the wall with a low luster latex enamel paint and allow it to dry completely before the next step.

3. Allow the paint to dry.

4. Dip a paintbrush in the glaze and remove the excess against the side of the bucket.

5. Apply the paint in a criss-cross pattern.

6. Brush over the surface repeatedly to soften the look of the paint.

7. Wipe excess glaze away, if necessary. (Better get the industrial-sized package of paper towels!)

There you have it! A soft paint look perfect for your newly decorated room�And since you have the technique down to a science, why not come and do my family room? Powder room? Closet?

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

150,000,000 year old story of Limestone

by: Edward Green
Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock. It is chemically made up of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate). Limestone is formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate on the floors of water bodies. Limestone is one the most widely known form of sedimentary rocks comprising about 10% of the sedimentary rocks.

The colour of pure limestone is white or almost white. But you would find that various limestone’s generally exhibit different colours because of the presence of impurities such as clay, sand, organic remains, iron oxides etc. It is more prominent on weathered surfaces. Limestone's are also found in varied forms because of the difference in the way it has been formed. So, you may get limestone’s that are crystalline, elastic, granular or dense.
Limestone finds wide-spread application in the construction sector.

You would find Limestone being used in architecture. Its ready availability and the versatility of the rock that allows it to be easily cut into blocks or more elaborate carvings make it very desirable for architects. It is also very durable and generally remains unaffected by exposure. The flip side is that it is very heavy and that’s why it is practically not possible to use it in tall buildings. Its cost is another detrimental factor. You would find that limestone used in humid climate remains unaffected, but it is very much vulnerable to acids. If a limestone structure is situated at a place where acid rain is frequent, you would find that the limestone undergoes heavy weathering destroying its beauty and shape.


Limestone is one of the most porous natural stones in nature. This high porosity makes it more susceptible to absorption of oils, dirt and grime than other natural stones. You would find it absorbing stains very easily. Most of the times it even absorbs stain from the dye in many grouts. So, before you grout the stone, an appropriate Impregnator must be used as a release. This allows you to have the best possible construction site protection. Application of impregnators doesn’t change the natural look of the stone. What the impregnator does is that it resists grout dye absorption, quickens up the removal of grout residue and during construction it also protects the limestone from stains.

Liquid poultice can be used to clean the surface. Generally, poultice available in the markets are safe for almost all type of marble floors. You can make use of a Marble Floor Machine, a brush and a wet vacuum to clean up the floor. If the area that you have to clean is very small, you can achieve your purpose with a hand brush otherwise you need an automatic scrubber for larger areas. If you find that your marble gets exposed to oils and greases, you would surely need an added protection. You will find a chemical generally termed as Pre Treat that is applied to the limestone surface after grout removal. The use of this added protector before using impregnator makes the porous surface of the limestone much more resistant to staining materials, especially oils.

About the author:
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:

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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How Closet Organizers Can Simplify Your Life: Getting the Most From Your Intimate Space.

by: Andrew Porter
Closet organizers have come a long way in recently years. There's more to them nowadays than just a shelf above a horizontal pole.

Concepts in closet organization have gone from simple home improvement to statements regarding lifestyle. And with the best use of space in mind, it is possible to get all your gear in one place, and keep it handy and orderly.

Admit it, weather going out on the town, preparing for that weekend romp or simply gearing up for work, you get a certain thrill selecting your outfit from a well organized display. What, this doesn’t describe your closet? These closet organizer tips will help.

One of the challenges with crafting any kind of closet storage space is that your needs may change. Most wood shelving is expensive, and it usually can’t expand as your storage needs evolve.

To make the most of your closet organization efforts, you first need to know the potential uses of your space and of the things you want to store. You may be able to use the space you have more efficiently.

Start with a general inventory. This can help you determine your space needs.

Do you and/or your spouse have too many clothes, shoes and other accessories? Are your dressers full and there just doesn't seem to be enough space in your closet?

Analyze your storage needs, inspect available spaces. Your situation isn’t as bad as it seems.

Closet kits today offer enough flexibility that you can change the design to suit your changing needs, which allows you to customize the closet to fit individual needs and lifestyles.

Or simply tame your piles with pretty colored baskets in all shapes and sizes.

Shoes used to be something that sat on the floor, then came simple shoe racks and shelves. This was great for organization and more protection for expensive shoes.

Closet organizers use the space in your closet that doesn't ordinarily get used, it expands your storage.

Some organizers simply hang the from the closet rod and store folded clothes, shoes and more on the shelves and in the mesh compartments.

Different components allow you to easily organize and add storage space to your closet; arrange it countless ways and reconfigure it as often as you like.

Telescoping rods and expanding shelves are so quick and easy, you can reconfigure your closet organizer system at any time.

With a hamper basket you have a dedicated spot within the closet for dirty clothes which will help anyone’s room – especially kids rooms – remain a little more organized.

Also consider ventilation: closets – especially those with
hampers – need some air circulation to remain fresh. You might also consider disposable air fresheners designed for use in the closet.

Organize your closet by season, work, weekend or his and hers clothing.

There are enough options on the market to go from basic to one-of-a-kind with add-on accessories such as shoe storage racks, extra closet shelving, wire baskets, and tie & belt organizers to fit your specific needs.

Grow your system as your needs expand and relish that “Glad to get dressed” feeling!

About the author:
Andrew Porter is an interior designer and frequent content provider for For more on closets organizers, closet accessories, storage organizers and
design plans, visit:

Down and Dirty Real World Clean Sweep for Work at Home Women

by: Pamela Cole Harris
Most TV "Lose-All-The-Clutter-And-Gain-A-Lot-Of-Baskets-With-Labels" organizing shows concentrate on long term solutions to your messy, messy ways. But for those who work from home, sometimes clean and organized lags behind paycheck and deadline. But what if your mother-in-law is coming down the street and your home looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew? Or what if your picky neighbor shows up unexpectedly? (She's borrowing sugar...AGAIN?) You need help QUICK! Here's some ideas for quick down and ..ummm...dirty cleanup (and a few ideas for items to have on hand for future emergency cleanups!)

1. Grab several large garbage bags and stuff in all clutter. Don't stop to sort. Just stuff it all in and move the bags to the garage. Keep the bags in the garage for a month. If you don't remember what's in the bag, or miss something which may have been stuffed there, then donate the entire bag to a thrift shop. (No fair peeking inside - if you didn't miss it, you don't need it!)

2. Invest in a couple of large storage ottomans. You will be surprised how much you can stuff in those ottomans between the time your mother-in-law gets out of the car and the time she rings the doorbell!)

3. Invest in under-bed storage boxes. No self-respecting neighbor will look under your bed. (If she does, you might want to reconsider your friendship! Who wants a neighbor you can't be messy with?)

4. Buy a sofa with a skirt. Those wonderful skirts can hide a multitude of sins...and a few dozen shoes and a big stack of newspapers, magazines and week-old potato chips.

5. Don't forget the laundry you can hide in your washer and dryer! Don't worry about how much it holds � just stuff and hide!

6. Don't hide the clutter in closets! It's the first place your mother-in-law will look!

7. If all else fails, just say you are getting ready for a yard sale and you were just beginning to price your treasures! (Care for some old magazines? Just a quarter each! How about a couple of half-eaten bags of cookies? I'll make you such a deal!)

As a freelance designer and writer, my priorities are time with my husband, time with family, answering my reader's questions, and meeting my writing deadlines. Placed proudly at the bottom of my list is housework. If you work from home, don't feel guilty for trying these ideas. As my mother always told me, "You can always do housework when you can't find something interesting or fun to do!"

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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to protect stone floors from staining

by: Edward Green
We are working almost daily with stain removal from natural stone surfaces. In fact I would say that in some instances we visit the same house more than 3 times in as many months.

Stains in stone are something that should be left to the professional. Sure, there are many quick fix websites offering advice but let me tell you, if you don't get it right first time it may be that the tile will need replacement and finding a match is nearly impossible.

Nowadays, Stone Seals and sealants are in abundance, but which one is right for you?

Firstly - Never let the builder, renovator or floor installer apply the seal. The seal is an arduous task that needs careful consideration and correct application. I probably remove over 10,000 sq mtrs of poorly applied Lithofin stain stop a year where the application has basically wiped it onto the floor leaving it porous and not sealed at all. So the householder has not only paid for the Lithofin seal but for us to remove it and provide the correct sealer for the stone.

"The Correct Sealer" I hear you cry. Yes, I am afraid to say that they are many types of sealer for many different stone types and what tasks the stone needs to do. Firstly there are water based and solvent based sealers. Other questions to consider are;

Does the stone get heavy traffic?
How often is the stone cleaned?
what type of beverages does the household use?
Any Allergies within the residents?
Type of finish preferred (matt), (Shine) etc?

DO we use water based?

DO we use Solvent Based?

Does the seal ever need topping up or replacement?

You get the picture;

The truth is if you do not use a professional Stone Sealer Applicator such as Marble Master you are usually throwing your money down the drain. A sealant application professional will be able to help you make the correct choice.

We offer warranties with all of our applications of stone sealant. The most common home and office stone seal give a 15 Year Warranty. This means to you that if at any time during 15 years the sealer doesn't perform the whole product is reapplied FREE of charge.

Our impregnating sealers make treated indoor or outdoor surfaces easier to clean and maintain and to look good for longer. Dry-Treat does this by using nano-technology i.e. engineering at a molecular level. Our flagship product, STAIN-PROOF :

Guards engineering concrete, terracotta tile, cast stone, pavers, sandstone, limestone, brick, slate, marble, granite, porcelain, terrazzo, vitreous tile and grout against damage from water, water borne salts, oil based stains and graffiti;

Makes surfaces stay cleaner;
Stands up to weather and traffic;
Retains a natural look;
Eliminates the occurrence of efflorescence;

Is suitable for a wide variety of home, commercial and industrial applications, including: building facades, floors, walls, stone bench tops, swimming pool surrounds, public areas, patios, garages, kitchens and entertaining areas, and Is backed by a 15 year warranty
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.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kitchen Trends: Adding Spice to your Kitchen

by: ARA
(ARA) – Veering away from its utilitarian roots, the function of today’s kitchen has broadened to become a social gathering space for friends and a homework space for kids. Fall is a good time to spice up your kitchen’s comfort level and transform it into the nucleus of your home.

“Most people are nesting at home, surrounding themselves with things that bring convenience and comfort to their living space,” says Billy Beson of William Beson Interior Design, Ltd. in Minneapolis, “including the kitchen, where the sky is the limit with today’s design options.”

According to the National Association of Remodeling Industry, kitchens rank third as a home remodeling project. In fact, the return for homeowners at resale, on minor home-improvements projects, is 88 percent of their renovation dollar, according to “Remodeling.”

“Repeatedly, homeowners comment that our natural quartz countertops are the crown jewel of their kitchen, and that they love the look and color,” says Lisa Bien-Sinz director of marketing of CAMBRIA, the only quartz countertops producer in the United States. “We’re seeing customers remodel their kitchens and incorporate one of today’s hottest trends -- quartz.”

In order to spice up your kitchen and create a comfortable yet attractive space, consider these trends:

* Color: Bold to natural hues – Adding color changes the look and feel of a room. Selecting a colorful countertop is a practical and decorative option for sprucing up a kitchen. When deciding on a color palette for your kitchen, Beson suggests choosing five adjectives that describe how you want the space to feel. “These five adjectives can be your barometer in finalizing your color choice,” said Beson. “For example if you want your kitchen to be cool, light, airy and open, then stay natural and avoid dark woods, black countertops and lots of pattern.”

* Countertops: Natural and no maintenance – Quartz is leading the trend in natural countertops. This natural stone is available in a dazzling array of color. As you expand functional space in the kitchen, a quartz countertop is a smart choice, especially for an island, because it is non-porous, it is especially suitable for food preparation, durable enough to withstand active kids, yet so attractive it makes for a gorgeous centerpiece.

* Backsplash: Colorful tiles add a unique statement – Spark your creativity and accent your kitchen walls with a customized backsplash. Mix-and-match colorful tiles into a one-of-a-kind design. This accent will add character to the wall behind your sink, and life to your kitchen.

* Food Safety in the Kitchen: A safe surface for the entire family – While sweet aromas can lure anyone into the kitchen, bacteria, mold and mildew invisibly lurk in the food preparation space no matter what’s cooking. Gourmet chefs and food-safety conscious parents often have to scrub the countertops before and after serving a delicious fare, but no more.

Today, ideal surfaces for kitchens are non-porous countertops, such as CAMBRIA. Unlike granite, CAMBRIA is non-porous resulting in extremely low moisture absorption, reducing the potential for bacterial growth. In fact, The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF, International) has certified CAMBRIA Quality Quartz Surfaces for both Splash Zone and Food Zone preparation.

CAMBRIA has more advice to offer homeowners seeking answers to questions about color selections and mixing and matching with existing cabinetry to enhance their kitchen living space. For additional information about CAMBRIA, call 1-866-CAMBRIA or visit their Web site at

Courtesy of ARA Content

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bring style to your home's walls

(ARA) - With families holding onto their homes for longer periods of time, more and more people are looking for ways to update and bring more style to their interior design. Wallpaper has made a comeback, and there are many new ideas and trends out there that will give your house a beautiful new look.

Creativity is key to successfully decorate with wallpaper, which doesn't have to be relegated to the living room or kitchen. Consider trimming a door, or enhancing your closet with an artistic print. Wallpaper can also compliment an enclosed porch, but don't be afraid to let it embellish a terrace or balcony.

In addition to changing where people hang it in the home, wallpaper has also undergone several new looks.

One popular trend modernizes an older style. Damask prints are bold patterns, mimicking the woven fabric designs from centuries ago. But now they are accented with new colors and sheens. These prints work well in living rooms, but also add style and boldness to entryways and bathrooms.

Damask patterns with softer designs can be paired with flowing curtains and elegantly-styled furniture. Stronger prints can be paired with solid-colored modern furniture and sheer drapes for a daring look.

Another new wallpaper trend is decorating with paper that is easy to remove or change. Also called peel-and-stick wall coverings, these products enhance the durability, texture and visual design of your walls with easy installation. This allows you to decorate short term for a party or a season, or try out different wallpaper patterns and colors for a long-term new look. It's also a great choice for children's rooms, because as they grow older and their tastes change, you can easily give the room a new look without minimal work.

One very popular style is to customize your room with wallpaper murals. This allows you to bring a beach scene into your living room, a jungle image into your indoor patio area, or even install a "French door" opening out into a garden landscape in your bedroom. And if you have a sports room, you can bring the game up close and personal with a mural of the stadium.

"Wallpaper murals are one of my favorite design options because they make a huge impact in a room at an affordable price," says Jonathon Fong, a Los Angeles-based interior decorator and author of "Walls that Wow." "If you were to have a decorative painter replicate some of the great designs available in wallpaper murals, it would cost thousands of dollars."

"The imagination is the only limitation when it comes to wallpaper murals," says Todd Imholte, president of, a leader in the decorative products industry for more than 40 years. "They can recapture a landscape from a favorite vacation, create the illusion of a fairytale setting or decorate a room with artistic patterns and designs better than paint or regular wallpaper."

With more that 5,000 images taken from photographs and specialty artist as famous as Leonardo da Vinci there's a good chance you will be able to find that perfect image to turn your wall into an eye-catching focal point. The company can also create custom wallpaper from a personal photograph or artwork.

Canvas murals are also a new, more environmentally friendly wallpaper option, which provides new texture for your walls. It is a great option for walls that receive a lot of sunlight because canvas has a matte finish and doesn't reflect light, which could distort an image. And they go up just like wallpaper!

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Monday, October 12, 2009

How To Choose The Perfect Granite Work Surface

By Edward Green

My Grandmother used to say to me “Nothing cheap is good and nothing good is cheap”. This ring true when dealing with the purchase especially on the internet of Granite Work Surfaces. In fact of all stone so read carefully.

Natural stone is graded as to it’s suitability for a given task. It is also graded regarding the region of the world it originated from. This is a grade for general use but more for stone professionals to advise architects, surveyors etc which products to use for maximum efficiency in the building or home.

When buying on the internet you are usually shown samples of the very best, Granite, Marble, Limestone etc. You must be aware that this stone is probably not what you will receive. Firstly, the stone is batched. You need batched stone to get the consistent pattern throughout the surface. If you were to buy stone today and return for stone a month later to complete your project you will invariably get a mismatch that can look horrendous especially with the larger crystals such as blue pearl granite.

Always make sure you are receiving the same batch and have it itemised on your order. Also if the installer chips a corner or scratches the surface you will generally need a replacement piece. If the batch isn’t available you may have a problem.

I have received numerous calls lately concerning the fading of black granite counter tops. Black granite should not fade. Black granite imported from Asia is sometimes doctored with dyes and oils to darken the surface. The fading is nothing more than the dyes and oils being removed. Unfortunately, the only fix is to re-polish the top. This can be costly.

Before purchasing a granite top perform the following test to find out if it has been doctored.

Get a clean white cloth and apply some acetone (nail varnish remover) to the surface of the granite. If any residue or black color is observed on the top, do not accept it, it has been dyed.

Take a piece of the "granite" you want to test and spill a few drops of lemon juice onto it. If you see that under the drops of lemon it develops very quickly dark spots, it means that it's a very absorbent stone and I would advise you against it. If it takes, say, a minute or so to be absorbed, then you're dealing with a level of absorbency that's easily controllable with the application of a good quality impregnating sealer.

So, in short be careful where you place your order and always seek specialist advice. The void between a good stone and a bad stone is huge, the price between a good stone and a bad stone is smaller than you think but can be costlier.

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.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Protecting Your Limestone Floor Investment

by: Edward Green

There are many types of limestone. These vary a great deal in terms of porosity and hardness, as well as in colour and texture. However limestone, although very hard wearing and durable is porous and therefore prone to staining. Limestone is also not resistant to acid and harsh cleaning products, as well as spillages of acidic soft drinks, fruit juices, wine and vinegar etc can all damage the stone. The Limestone Treatment System protects limestone against such damage and ensures that it stays looking its best with the least possible effort.


All new porous limestone floors need to be sealed either before fixing or before grouting with a suitable Impregnator. Our product offers a free 15 year performance warranty which means if the sealer doesn't stop staining we will come back free of charge and apply more sealant to stop staining. We have only had 1 callback for more protection out of literally hundreds of projects. The coverage is around 4 - 8 m2 per litre. We offer the application process but you can apply it yourself if you want to. Apply as many coats as can absorbed. These will reduce the porosity which not only helps protect against staining, but also enhances the natural beauty of the material and acts as the foundation for the surface finish.

If you decide to go the DIY route please make sure you evenly cover the tile with the impregnator. Once it becomes nearly dry you will need to wipe the tile with a clean white terry cloth to get an even texture across the tile, this is very important. Always work in one direction and not in a haphazard fashion as streaks will appear.

It is possible to purchase Limestone tiles that have been "dipped". Dipping means that a tile has been submerged into a tank containing an impregnator of sorts and thus has a protection element attached to it. This method is costly and before anyone tells you it has been "dipped" ask to test the porosity by taking some of the tile you are purchasing and scrutinize it with whatever liquids you generally use and or spill at home.

Once the flooring has been impregnated and allowed to dry it can be easily maintained with our Limestone dressing that cleans, maintains and offers some protective properties every time it is used, it is also an environmentally friendly product that is fully biodegradable.

It really isn’t that more expensive to have professional sealant company such as Marble Master Ltd perform the sealing of the stone for you and you would qualify for the 15 year performance warranty. It is almost like having a free maintenance company on hand for the spillages you can’t remove. The warranty is a guarantee from the sealant manufacturer.

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.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Oriental Vs. Contemporary Bedroom Design Theory

by: Shrinivas Vaidya

Dear friends,

If you have read any interior design books/articles, visited
a few websites on the internet, you will find the word theme used
quite often.

What exactly is a theme-based design?

A theme according to me is a collection of various parameters of
design of an interior space. So a theme may include a certain set
colors, materials, repetition of a certain element, such as
a decorative item, etc...

Primarily there are two basic themes under which a design can
be categorized, 1)Oriental 2)Contemporary.

Oriental Bedroom Design Theme:

These kind of themes have a still drilled down niche design
themes, such as country, rustic, vintage, elegant, etc...
One of the major thing about these kind of themes is that much
emphasis is given on the natural beauty of any material.
These designs are close to nature or are shown to be close to

These kind of design styles are very rarely found in the urban
city interiors. Mostly the countryside homes adopt these kind if
themes, to replicate the flora and fauna of the outside environment.

The designer tries to include the patters seen in nature, such as
leaves, flowers, plants. All these natural patterns are seen on
wallpaper patterns, decorative lamps, curtains, furniture
upholstery, wall paintings, etc...

Homes which are build on country side such as farm houses, the scarcity
of space is not an issue, but this creates another problem as far as
designing interiors is concerned.

A bedroom, no matter of what size it is, requires some basic
furniture elements as functional needs, such as a double bed,
dressing table, wardrobes, study tables, a book shelf etc..

It is sometimes possible that because of the large spaces, the
bedroom looks empty after the furniture is arranged. At such
times "decoration" plays a major role. During ancient years
the palaces and castles had such large built spaces, where
extensive use of decoration was used in the form of paintings,
heavy decorative flooring patterns, carvings, moldings as a
decorative architectural elements.

So in this oriental design trend, decoration of the space using
various accessories plays a major role.

Contemporary design Theme:

These kind of design themes are very new as compared to the
previously mentioned oriental design theme. But how did the
designers came along using these kind of designs?

During the starting years of the 20th century, the "Industrial
Revolution" in Europe changed the face of our planet. It
was easy to design and manufacture goods on a mass scale
with amazing speed and efficiency.

This created a flood of industries in and around the cities.
These cities attracted large amount of people to migrate from
rural areas to city centers in search of a living.

Because of this migratory effect there was a sudden need of
housing requirement for the workers. This is where the concept of
an "apartment" was introduced. Because of the pressure of demand,
a school of thoughts emerged within the architects, who
believed that "simplicity" is the need of today's era.

They thought that, the design of the building has to be simple
and easy to build, then only we can compete with the growing
demand of housing needs in cities. That's why simple designs with mostly plane and square faces with square or rectangular openings
were used. These forms and masses were easy to build and still
beautiful. If everything from "safety pins" to "space ships"
could be built on a mass scale, why not "buildings".

The school of thought believed that a plane rectangular form
is in itself beautiful and they proved this using infinite
permutations and combinations of the basic square form. That's
why decoration was given a second preference. Today we call this
school of thought as "contemporary". In contemporary design
every element has an order.

That's why in today's modern interior design, simplicity is the
key to an efficient design. Unlike the previous oriental design
theme, the contemporary design theme states that any kind of
architectural decoration is always dependent on the basic form
of the building. The form itself is so beautiful, that the need
to further decorate it is not required. Today's modern interiors
spaces are simple to understand, simple to construct, and
project a kind of simplicity.

By reading the above paragraphs some of you might say that,
decoration is no more needed. But this is not true. I am not trying
to force some ideas here. But most people confuse the whole
concept of "Interior Design" and "Interior Decoration". Both
are quite different and both have a unique value in today's
complex society.

Decoration was something the primitive man learned, looking at
the nature around him. He saw plants, flowers, birds, animals
and tried to copy these elements. We still use "embroidery" on
our dresses. But the modern design theory says that any sort
of decoration can only "enhance" the existing form, but can not
be an element of design.

What does this mean?

In the above said example the "embroidery" pattern can certainly
add to the beauty of the cloth, but the modern theory denies to
accept the cloth to be of a cheap quality. It states that every form, texture, material, shape is in itself beautiful and must be
accepted as it is. Because of this the need to further decorate it
does not arise.

Thus decoration whether used in architecture or elsewhere is always
dependant on the form on which it is used, but design is
an independent entity which does not need any justification from the
external factors.

The two design themes mentioned above are still widely used today.
The user must look upon them from a point of view of what best suits
his/her likes and dislikes. Only then can you give yourself and
your family the best quality of living.

I hope this article was informative to everyone.

Copyright Shrinivas Vaidya

About the author:
Shrinivas Vaidya is the webmaster of .Visit TODAY to get an in-depth knowledge of master bedrooms, teen bedrooms and child bedrooms.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Guide to Fireplace Mantels

by: Eric Morris
Fireplace mantels are functional design elements that add character and depth to your room while displaying your unique taste and style. A rustic fireplace mantel can transform a living room. A mantel, whether you choose to have an entire surround or just the shelf mantel, could be just what the interior designer ordered for a dull living room.

Inspired by Greek and Roman architecture, mantels made their debut during the Italian Renaissance in Italy. Fireplaces were commonly accompanied by elaborate columns, pilasters, carved figures and architectural molding. By the advent of the Edwardian era, mantels were streamlined to accommodate more subtle designs. Modern mantel shelves, on the other hand, originated with the use of the high density construction fiberboard.

As for mantel materials, mahogany has always been a popular choice, as well as walnut and elm. Indeed, the materials used for mantel designs vary greatly, ranging from concrete to wood, metal, gypsum, plaster and glass. For a more sophisticated look, many designers prefer a marble and tile frame surrounding a fireplace.

Creating a mantel can be a costly engagement, especially when shopping for a custom-made model. Some cost savings are available for those interested in constructing from a mantel kit, complete with shelves and ornamental designs.

For ready-made models, relatively inexpensive mantles tend to be made from fiberboard, and range from $250-300. Pre-cast concrete and plaster are somewhat costlier, though certainly still affordable for most homeowners. Stone and wood are considerably more expensive, starting at about $700 and reaching several thousand dollars.

If you’re looking to eliminate the contractor, you can build a fireplace mantel using a do-it-yourself kit. These are not always easy to assemble, but can be durable and detailed. You also have the satisfaction of having added to the beauty of your home.

About the author:
Fireplace Mantels Info provides detailed information about wood, stone, custom, antique, and discount fireplace mantels, as well as fireplace mantel shelves, surrounds, and more. Fireplace Mantels Info is the sister site of Gas Fireplaces Web.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The art of home decoration

by: Marjan Zemljic
If you would have your rooms interesting as well as beautiful, make
them say something, give them a spinal column by keeping all
ornamentation subservient to line.

Before you buy anything, try to imagine how you want each room to look
when completed; get the picture well in your mind, as a painter would;
think out the main features, for the details all depend upon these and
will quickly suggest themselves. This is, in the long run, the
quickest and the most economical method of furnishing.

There is a theory that no room can be created all at once, that it
must grow gradually. In a sense this is a fact, so far as it refers to
the amateur. The professional is always occupied with creating and
recreating rooms and can instantly summon to mind complete schemes of
decoration. The amateur can also learn to mentally furnish rooms. It
is a fascinating pastime when one gets the knack of it.

Beautiful things can be obtained anywhere and for the minimum price,
if one has a feeling for line and colour, or for either. If the lover
of the beautiful was not born with this art instinct, it may be
quickly acquired. A decorator creates or rearranges one room; the
owner does the next, alone, or with assistance, and in a season or two
has spread his or her own wings and worked out legitimate schemes,
teeming with individuality. One observes, is pleased with results and
asks oneself why. This is the birth of good taste.

Treat your rooms like "still life," see to it that each group, such as
a table, sofa, and one or two chairs make a "composition," suggesting
comfort as well as beauty. Never have an isolated chair, unless it is
placed against the wall, as part of the decorative scheme.

About the author:
Marjan Zemljic is owner of
and author of How to break into the interior design industry. In his book
you will find out how you can do exactly that. For more informaion on
home decorating ideas visithis website and learn how to create the home
of your dreams.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Buying Custom Wood Blinds

by: Jimmy Sturo
Window and door blinds on windows and doors are chief decorating elements in houses as well as in offices. Interior designers use window blinds made of wood or those that have a wooden look to offer a feeling of warmth and coziness to the atmosphere in the room. They not only offer privacy but also have an inviting look and add beauty to the rest of the furniture in the room. Their warmth, versatility, and durability are prized by professional decorators.

Wood blinds can be custom crafted suit the décor of the room. When the blinds at the doors and windows match the rest of the furnishings in the room, it adds a feeling of beauty and elegance to the whole room. Wood blinds are available in a very wide range of shades, colors, materials and textures to suit any design palate. They can be vertical or horizontal, side-opening or middle-opening, top-down or bottom-up.

For those not interested in working with professional decorators, many manufacturers today are offering custom-designed wood blinds for doors and windows. There are also various online websites that offer consultancy services for choosing wood blinds for the talented amateur. These sites contain exhaustive information for all kinds of decorative needs. Specialist advice is also available from home decorators and interior decorators. From measuring the windows, choosing the right kind of blinds, choosing the right kind of material for the blinds, choosing the right color, texture and shade to suit the rest of the room, size of the blind, a professional can share the tricks of the trade.

Many websites also offer customer service for maintenance of the wood blinds. With all the variety in the market, each and every detail can be addressed while ordering for the wood blinds. Most manufacturers are also willing to design the blinds as per the specifications of individual customers. It’s easy to see why custom wood blinds are becoming very popular these days for all kinds of designers, the professional ones and the talented beginners.

About the author:
Wood Blinds Info provides detailed information about custom, discount, woven, and faux wood blinds, as well as wood mini blinds, wood vertical blinds, and more. Wood Blinds Info is the sister site of Mini Blinds Web.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Decorate Your Home on EBay

by: Pamela Cole Harris
If you are on a budget (and who isn't?), a wonderful place for find home decorating accessories is auction sites like eBay. But before you go a'baying, here is some advice based on personal experience (make that major disasters!) to keep in mind:

1. Before you bid on anything, check the shipping cost. This cost varies greatly among vendors. That $2.99 artwork isn't such a great deal if you are charged $80 for shipping! And believe me, there are even higher shipping rates out there!

2. Try to buy color neutral. Never try to match a color in your room with the color on the screen. It simply does not translate well. Everyone's screen shows color a bit differently. Any you might end up with hot magenta when you wanted apple red. So stick with neutral accessories!

3. Check measurements! Don't assume because of how it looks in the picture! The mirror that looks so large on the dresser in the picture may look tiny in your room. That dresser may be very small in reality, making the mirror appear large (an old photographer's trick!). So ask for measurements if they are not included.

4. Choose to buy from a reliable seller. Check the feedback on every vendor you deal with. If there is a lot of negative feedback, take that as a warning and shop elsewhere! Don't set yourself up for a bad experience!

Ebay is fun and can be a great source of accessories, if you use your brain before you use your charge card. And if you buy something all wrong for your room - it can be a great place to get rid of it. Remember - one man's hideous eyesore is another man's chic treasure. Just make sure the eyesore doesn't end up in YOUR mailbox!

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:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Non Slip Maintenance of Honed Interior Marble

by: Edward Green IICRC inst
By Edward Green IICRC inst

A honed finish is a satin surface with relatively little light reflection. It is specified for floors, thresholds and other locations where the presence of water might make a polished finish slippery, or where heavy traffic would wear off the polished finish.

As a rule, honed finishes are more susceptible to soiling than polished finishes, because a honed surface is slightly more porous and absorptive than polished finish. However, the honed finish is easier to restore because it will sustain harsher cleaning efforts.

Normal maintenance of honed finishes involves as-needed washing with clean water and mildly abrasive cleaners, which retain a pumice-type finish, while the cleaners remove soils. There are thick liquid cleaners and chlorine-bleach type scouring powders commercially available.

The marble should be wet with clean, hot water. Then using a mildly abrasive alkaline cleaner and stiff bristle brush, wash in overlapping, swirling strokes. Suds can be left to stand for several minutes to permit the bleaching agents to work on the stains and dirts. Rinse thoroughly and dry with cotton, cotton flannel, burlap or chamois skin. Wipe well to avoid streaking.

If further cleaning is required, use a special treatment or make a paste to the consistency of syrup using a mildly abrasive alkaline cleaning powder if necessary. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

The products for the maintenance of Honed Marble and all other stone is available from

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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Improvement: Ceiling Fans

by: Shaan Randow
Ceiling fans come in a wide variety of styles and colors to match any homeowners interior design wishes. They come with and without lighting. Three to five blades. In colors of black, white, brown, made of wood, covered with animal print fabric or styled with carved leaves.

Ceiling fans have come a long way since the industrial revolution where they were dreamed up by sweating factory workers. These workers attached wooden or metal blades to the overhead whirling shafts that were used to drive the machinery they worked on.

Ceiling fans are a great way to keep cool in the summer on those nights when you don't have to run the air conditioner. Ceiling fans are much less noisy and obtrusive than box fans that sit on your floor or in your windows. And, you know that heat rises, right? Well, in the winter months running your fan on low and in reverse speed will bring down the heat that accumulates up in at the ceiling, helping you to feel warmer.

Before you purchase a ceiling fan you'll need to consider the blade sweep. You don't want to overwhelm a smaller room with a ceiling fan that's too big, but, you also want to make sure that the ceiling fan will be able to displace enough air to cool you off in a larger room. Another consideration before purchasing a ceiling fan is the length it will drop from the ceiling. A home with an 8 foot ceiling would probably use a three inch down rod for a ceiling fan, and a room with a fifteen foot high ceiling would need at least a one foot down rod, up to a five foot down rod. It is suggested that you have at least seven feet of clearance from the floor to avoid accidents.

Installing a ceiling fan yourself is a fairly easy job for most do-it- yourselfer's. There are many online sites available to help you if you have any problems or questions.

About the author:
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Installing a Home Theater

by: Kenny Hemphill
Thinking about system? You’re not alone. Home theater is one of the fastest growing areas areas in home entertainment and the advent of DVD recorders means your set-up can now be entirely digital, without an inch of video tape in site.

Installing a home theater is a big decision and requires careful planning. Luckily there are a number of resources around to help you and you needn’t be a technical expert or a hi-fi buff to get the job done.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make before you set about installing a home theater is whether your going to dedicate a whole room to the theater or whether it will share a space with a lounge, dining room, or office. Having a dedicated room allows you to position seating and speakers in the optimum position and you can seriously consider a projector and screen without it looking as out of place as it might in your living room.

Obviously budget is another consideration and this will dictate which equipment you buy initially and what you save for another day. As a bare minimum you’ll want a DVD player, widescreen television, and a surround sound audio amplifier and speakers. We’d recommend opting for a DVD recorder like this one from Phillips, or this from Panasonic. They’re obviously more expensive than a DVD player, but will give you much greater flexibility. And don’t forget to budget for cabling, its a very important part of installing a home theatre and one that’s often overlooked.

You’ll also want to think about the interior design of a dedicated home theater room and of course the seating is all important. You’re going to spend hours and hours watching movies and the last thing you need is uncomfortable seats.

About the author:
Kenny Hemphill is the editor and publisher of Master Home Theater Design (, a website which provides information, articles, and tutorials on issues and products related to getting started with Home Theater.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marble Floors and How to Maintain Them

by: Edward Green IICRC inst

For honed marble used as traffic surfaces, care should be taken to prevent accumulations of liquids or other materials that result in safety hazards and staining. Regular daily mopping should be performed. Floor marble is any honed finish that is used as a traffic surface. These surfaces should be mopped and scrubbed in a manner that will not leave a hazardous slippery film.

Again, wet with hot, clean water and then lightly sprinkle an abrasive cleaner (i.e, chlorine bleaching type household scouring cleanser) over the wet stone, or put 1-2 handfuls into a pail of 2-3 gallons of hot clean water.

Using a scrubbing motion, mop the marble surfaces with this solution (or with hot clean water if you are sprinkling the cleaner directly on the stone). Rinse with clean hot water and dry with mop or cloths. Power scrubbers can also be used for the procedure.

Often it is also desirable to protect special interior areas and to enhance the coloration of
Honed marble in areas where a polished finish is not practical. In such cases sealers may be applied after the marble has been cleaned. This minimizes maintenance and prevents staining - especially around toilets and urinals in restrooms or in food preparation areas and busy building entrances.

Sealers should only be applied to clean interior marble. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper application. Terrazzo sealers are excellent for this purpose. So are silicone based stone sealers.

In all cases sealers should be made of a clear, hard finish type suitable for traffic surfaces and definitely non-yellowing. Do not use soft finish waxes, paste wax or resins. These coatings can collect dirt and grit. Some acrylic-base liquid floor waxes can be used in place of permanent sealers, but may give limited life.

The products for the maintenance of Honed Marble and all other stone is available from

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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

An Introduction to Roman Shades

by: Jimmy Sturo

Roman shades are a simple and practical window treatment to accent a room or to provide privacy from bright sun or noisy neighbors. A Roman shade is a piece of fabric that is mounted at the top of a window. The fabric is pleated such that when the Roman shade’s string is pulled, the fabric folds up in regular intervals. Not only does it look better than a boring plastic shade, it uses less fabric than other window treatments making it a cheaper alternative to ornate window treatments.

Classic Roman shades have overlapping folds when the shade is lowered, but more different treatments do exist. Flat Roman shades have no folds when the shade is lowered. These shades, when made with sheer or light fabric, can soften bright southern lighting into a subtle, soothing light. A more elaborate sunburst Roman shade has extra fabric at the bottom, which is folded into a half-sunburst. These cheerful shades are perfect for breakfast nooks, in the kitchen, or in a young girl’s room.

Roman shades can be made at home or purchased. Making your own Roman shade will be an exercise in mathematical patience. The fabric must be fitted to the window, and the hooks to draw the Roman shade up must be placed at regular intervals. Patterned fabrics are more challenging because the patterns should not clash when the Roman shade is raised. Roman shades for sale only need to be installed and come in varieties an amateur may find to difficult to make. For example, some stores like JC Penney, sell cordless Roman shades perfect for houses with small children. Roman shades for sale come in hundreds of fabrics or even made of wood. The least expensive Roman shades start at around $30. Interior designers can also make Roman shades just for you, but these will be more expensive than store-bought or homemade Roman shades.

Visit home improvement stores or search online for Roman shade ideas, instructions, or even to purchase Roman shades perfect for your home.

About the author:
Roman Shades Info provides detailed information about bamboo, fabric, discount, and custom Roman shades, as well as advice on how to make Roman shades, and more. Roman Shades Info is the sister site of Shutters Web.

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