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Hard Finishes: Interior Design Materials

You want your home’s interior to reflect your style and character. There are various hard finishes for interior décor. These include metals, fabrics, ceiling finishes, floor finishes, soft furnishings, internal joinery, decorative paint finishes and wall finishes.

It is important that you understand what they are, why use them, what are their uses, and when and where to use them. Hence, your selection of hard finishes for interior décor makes the difference between a look with no character and a stylish one.

Selection of Interior Design Finish

What do you need to consider when selecting an interior design finish?

  • First of all, your pocket. Does your budget allow you to buy and install the material? How regularly would you repair and replace the finish?
  • Second, longevity. What is the lifespan of your finish? Is it proof to day-to-day wear and tear? Like, is it resistant to tread, water spilling and children? Is it difficult to maintain it? Is it brittle, malleable or susceptible to heat?
  • Third, safety issues. Does it pose a fire risk? Can you slip when treading on the wet finish? Does the finish have rough or pointed edges? Does it glisten brilliantly? That is, does it have a polished surface that reflects light to your eyes? What is its colour? Does it cause gloominess and darkness and block sight when the lights are off?
  • Finally, ergonomics and aesthetic purposes. How is its look? Does it go with your style and taste as far as texture, colour and pattern are concerned? The local planning authority has provisions for sound and heat prevention. Does you finish meet these provisos? Is it as tactile as it looks? That is, what is its touch and tread? Soft? Silky?

These are salient questions. The floor and wall finishes influence your style. Rugs, linoleum, wood flooring, vinyl flooring, ceramic tile, terrazzo, and other types of chemical floorings constitute floor coatings. Let us look at some of the coverings of floor and walls.

1. Hardwood

Depending on what type of wood you choose, costs vary. In addition, you will have to dig deeper into your pocket if you look to include custom decorations and linings. In fact, hardwood is popular because it fits every style.

If you own a period building like a Victorian, Georgian or a 1930s bungalow and you want to maintain its traditional look, then you can use either walnut, oak, mahogany or ash for your flooring.

But if you look to modernise your structure, then go for sapele, maple or tigerwood. In addition, if you are a rural dweller, then go for cherry and hickory.

However, to ensure your flooring lasts longer, better seal it to prevent it from decaying prematurely. You can do insulation after every a few years. Hardwood is resistant to wear and tear but vulnerable to damp.

Hardwood is highly durable if you maintain it properly. Inasmuch as it is costlier than other finishes, hardwood is durable and contributes to home value addition.

hardwood finishes
Above: Hardwood finishes for wall and flooring

2. Tile

If you look for durability, resistance to water and stain, and resistance to wear and tear, then go for mosaic tiles. You can fit these hard finishes into kitchens and bathrooms.

Your choice of material and customisation level determine the cost. Moreover, you can do mural of the whole wall or a backsplash for a modern and traditional house.

And because of its versatility, there are many alternatives for tiles, including sintered glass, vitreous glass, prism glass, unglazed porcelain and natural stone. Fortunately, you do not need to maintain tiled flooring unlike wood. They just need cleaning. Period!

Furthermore, because they are non-perforated, they are invulnerable to damp, moisture and dirt; hence, suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. Mosaic tiles made of glass, marble or stone are resistant to dents and scratches. Thus, they the most durable coverings.

In addition, they can withstand high temperatures for long, delaying the spread of fire. However, it can be pain to clean textured and grout tiles.

Moreover, low-quality tiles can chip. Tiles can easily break a fragile material. Do not forget to have some extra tiles to replace the ones that have been chipped.

mosaic tile hard finishes
Above: Mosaic tile finishes for flooring and walls of the bathroom

3. Carpet

These hard finishes are versatile; they can fit any decorating style, purpose and budget. You can easily install a carpet. Furthermore, a carpet can exaggerate the design effects, adding the necessary warmth and colour to a space.

Carpets can be quite durable if you maintain them well. Ensure you steam and vacuum clean them every one-and-half years.

A carpet can last up to eight years if you maintain it well. Nonetheless, it is vulnerable to stains. Water spillage and droppings and urination from pets and small children can spoil your carpet.

Not to mention, carpets are fertile breeding grounds for fleas, tick, bedbugs and other blood-sucking pests.

In addition, people with asthma tend to get irritated by the dust and dampness that have accumulated on the carpet. These materials house allergens. Moulds can also grow because carpets harbour a lot of moisture.

carpet finishes
Above: A carpeted floor

4. Vinyl

If you work on a shoestring budget, then vinyl flooring is the way to go. You can cough far less than a pound per square metre. The cheapest vinyl possible is the adhesive tile.

In addition, vinyl is very versatile with a vast array of colours and patterns available. For example, faux granite or faux hardwood.

Avoid installing vinyl in high traffic rooms such as lobbies, kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms. Sharp objects can easily dent and scratch it.

Moreover, avoid overly exposing it to natural daylight as it would become pale and spoil. Vinyl tends to harmful volatile organic compounds and gases that can aggravate respiratory problems.

vinyl finishes
Above: Vinyl finishing

5. Stone

These hard finishes  comes in many varieties, including marble and limestone. It is a very durable floor material. I would rather go for a marble, though costly.

However, marble can dramatically enrich your room with wonders. It exists in various forms, including solid colour, sleek and mosaic.

You can install it in bathrooms and backsplashes. Because of its polished and sleek surface, marble can a pain to clean. It requires frequent and dedicated cleanliness because scratches, marks and dust show up quickly.

Moreover, look for a professional cleaner to restore its sparkle and seal any dry areas and cracks. Since it is natural, it decomposes naturally but it is sensually cold during winters.

marble finishes
Above: Marble landing and staircase

In summary, when you do hard finishes, look at the durability, your budget, style, comfort and aesthetics. The top materials include carpets, mosaic tiles, marbles, vinyl and hardwood.

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