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The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book by Mimi Love, Chris Grimley, Linda O'Shea

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THE INTERIOR DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
Chapter 10: Material
Materials are the essence of the interior designer’s palette. They immediately signal
the designer’s vision and inform almost every decision in the process of developing
an interior. Materials have a direct bearing on issues of color, light, texture, and pat-
tern that the designer will need to address with every project. To make these deci-
sions well, designers must learn the myriad qualities inherent in materials, from the
purely functional to the aesthetic.
Needless to say, the range of materials available to interior designers is expansive.
Only those materials essential to an understanding of how to treat the basic com-
ponents of a room can be considered here. This book’s space limitations mean that
many other important materials are not covered—from the varieties of glass and
metal to solid surfacing and engineered plastics—although the resources section
provides references for further research. Indeed, a designers ability to choose the
best materials for a particular interior space must be founded on an ongoing proc-
ess of research. Equally important is to build a library—of both materials and litera-
ture—to keep current on the latest developments in material and product design.
WALL TREATMENTS
Walls define the space of a room or the sequence of movement through an interior. Because
they are, in many ways, the primary spatial tool of the designer, their finish is of great impor-
tance. The variety of finishes available for wall surfaces ranges from simple paints to more
complicated paneling and stone veneers.
PAINTS
Paints are used to add color, durability, and decoration to many elements in an interior, but
they are especially appropriate for walls, as they offer a lot of impact for relatively little ex-
pense. All paints are composed of four main ingredients: pigment, binder, drier, and solvent.
Pigment forms the color of the paint. The binder, typically a resin, surrounds the pigment and,
when dry, creates the paint film. The drier speeds up the drying time of the binder. Lastly, the
solvent allows the paint to flow from the brush or roller onto the surface, where it evaporates,
leaving only the dried pigment and binder. Coverage—the area that a paint can conceal—is
defined by the amount of solvent in the mix: the less solvent, the better. Other additives to the
paint can also aid in the durability of the product.
Paint Type Description
Primer Paints
Latex Paints
Alkyd Paints
Enamel Paints
Stains and
Varnishes
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