Interior Wall Coverings Ideas
The construction of walls generally is dealt with in Building House Walls. Internal walls if not of brick are formed usually of upright timbers called studs and brick nogging, but where formed of studs, the space between may be plugged with slag-wool, which is vermin-proof.
A picture-rail should be provided to every room and may generally be made to line up with the top of the doors and the casement windows but must be stopped against sash windows which are generally higher.
Hollow spaces behind wood skirtings should be avoided, for these become the homes of mice and other vermin and allow of the collection of dust and filth.
A much more sanitary arrangement is to form a skirting of solid cement moulded to a simple design, and thus leave little projection for dust to rest upon.
Sometimes a small low skirting which serves also to keep the chairs from damaging the walls is used.
There is no doubt that the ordinary plastering on walls is of a very porous nature ; therefore bathrooms, W.C.'s, kitchens and sculleries, which are subject to damp and steam, should be finished with a non-absorbent material, such as tiles, or Keen's, Parian or Portland Cement, which may be painted.
Wallpaper, being of an absorbent nature, is in consequence unhealthy, but if of good colour and design has a warm and cheerful appearance, which adds to the furnished appearance of the rooms and relieves the bareness of the walls. Avoid flock and other papers of a similar character, as they are most unsanitary and act as dust collectors. The pulp or ordinary papers are most commonly in use, and great improvement has in recent years been made in their manufacture. They are sold in pieces twelve yards long and twenty-one inches wide. Wallpapers should not be too pronounced in their design, and should not, as a general rule, be decorated with more than two colours. The paper should not be chosen from a pattern-book but from the roll, as its appearance in small pieces is deceptive.
It is hardly necessary to state that, in repapering, every scrap of old paper should be taken off the wall, which should be well rubbed down and the plastering made good before any new paper is hung.
Stamped leather and imitation leather papers of improved design have been manufactured largely in recent years, and as they only require washing down periodically they are good from a sanitary point of view. The Japanese embossed leather papers are hand-made and are very good both in colour and execution, and are useful for dadoes, friezes and also for ceilings, as they resist the action of gas and smoke. Some imitation Japanese leather papers are made from the bark of the mulberry tree, damped and beaten into wooden moulds, then lacquered and coloured by hand. This produces a resemblance to the old stamped leathers.
There are many kinds of special materials, such as Lincrusta Walton and Tynecastle Tapestry, which latter consists of a coarse canvas face backed up by stout paper. We have frequently used rough canvas (scrym), which is strained and glued to the walls and then painted or decorated as desired. It looks well with panelling.
Distemper is a mixture of whitening, size and water, to which colouring matter may be added in the same way as with oil colours. It is only pervious to a very slight extent, and is therefore superior to paper from a sanitary point of view, and forms an admirable material for the walls of bedrooms and nurseries, as it is inexpensive and can easily be renewed. It is also frequently used for sitting-rooms, and can be very effective in cheerful colours. There are many patent distempers each claiming special attributes, the principal one being the possibility of washing down without removing the surface.
Paint is one of the best materials for treating walls, being practically impervious and therefore good from a sanitary point of view. It is easily washed,, and is of course considerably cheaper than the leather papers already described. Many firms advertise enamels, which are said to have wonderful properties. The basis of all is zinc-white, which does not turn yellow in the way lead colours do, and the quality depends to a large extent upon the varnish with which it is mixed.
Some people prefer that the finishing coat be flatted (that is, mixed with turpentine only), for this takes away the objectionable gloss.
In rooms having exposed situations it is often found that considerable condensation occurs on painted walls owing to the warm air of the room striking the surface of the cold walls, and thus depositing moisture thereon.
Internal woodwork should usually be treated in tones in harmony with the surrounding work, and may be finished with a varnished surface, when it lasts well and can be cleaned down with a cloth.
The present fashion of having everything enamelled white has many points to recommend it, for it has to be kept fairly clean or it looks dirty and unpleasant. Better value is obtained than by using colours, and there are no pitfalls for bad taste in comparison with those which beset a colour scheme.
Next: Interior Doors.