How to finish the walls of a room is sometimes very much of a puzzle and an interesting one to solve. In order to know what is best for the walls of your room you must study the different kinds of finishes and the cost of each.

What is Good Wall Paper? - A wall is tor the purpose of holding up the roof and shutting off other rooms. It is a flat, solid thing and its decoration should help to keep this feeling of flatness and solidity. Walls covered with a paper that has a pattern of realistic bouquets of flowers, or trailing grapevines lose this appearance of flatness and solidity. Wall paper which has pictures of roses, houses or other objects is called pictorial. Artistic wall paper should make the wall seem just as flat and solid as it really is and since pictorial wall paper is not flat and solid looking, it is in bad taste. Good wall paper has what is called decorative or conventionalized design. Which wall paper in Fig. 137 is pictorial and which is decorative?

A good wall paper also makes the wall a good background for the room. It has a type of design that prevents the wall from being conspicuous or from seeming to jump forward out of its place. Which wall paper in Fig. 137 makes a good background for a picture? Why? Which of these wall papers would make a room look smaller and more crowded?

When are Painted Walls Attractive? - If we should decide to use paint as a wall finish, we must know what makes painted walls attractive. We have already learned that walls are the background of a room. When a wall is painted with a shiny kind of paint that reflects the light unpleasantly, it is not a good background. Sometimes the plastered walls are left with a rough finish that prevents the shiny effect when they are painted. If the wall is smooth, a kind of dull paint called calcimine is often used. This is a kind of water paint and can not be easily cleaned because it spots with water. There is another dull finish paint made with oil which can be cleaned. The shiny finish or enamel paint is useful, of course, in bathrooms and elsewhere as needed.

Fig. 137.

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Questions About Wall Finishes. - 1. How are the walls finished in your school building? Do you like them?

2. Do you know any trade names for calcimine?

3. Can you find out how calcimine is bought and how much it costs?

4. Would you use wall paper or paint if the plaster is cracked and unsightly?

5. Why is oil paint a good finish for bathroom and kitchen walls ?

6. Find out how wall paper can be cleaned and when it is advisable to have it done.

Color in Walls. - Color is an important factor in making a wall a good background. Even a plain-colored wall may be a very bad background in spite of the fact that it has no pattern. This happens because some colors will not remain in the background. Strong, bright colors seem to advance and make the wall seem nearer.

An Experiment with Color. - Try an experiment with colored papers in your classroom so that you will understand this better. Collect samples of as many different blue papers as you can find that are in large enough pieces so that they can be seen easily from across the room. Sometimes the girls in the class can bring samples of wall paper from home or an old sample book of wall papers can be secured from a store. Put the papers upon the wall and decide which blues make the best backgrounds. Do some of the papers seem nearer than others? Try this same experiment with different shades of pink paper.

Texture in Wall Paper. - As you examined the papers for color you may have noticed that some of the papers are smooth and others rough in effect. Other papers may have a mingled, composite color effect that is not evident except on close inspection. Yet from across the room the effect is much nicer than that of the plain, smooth paper. The quality of roughness or smoothness in paper is called texture. There can be the same difference between two pieces of blue paper as between two pieces of cloth, for example, blue gingham and blue velvet. Select a paper that you think has a beautiful texture. How many words can you think of which will describe it?

Making a Dark Room Bright and Cheerful. - If you have a dark room you can make it lighter and more cheerful by selecting the right color for the wall. Of course, you will select a light color because a dark color such as brown, dark green or gray will make the room seem darker than ever. Some colors are more cheerful and give an effect of more warmth than others.

Another Experiment with Color. - Try an experiment with some colors to see if you can decide which colors give the most effect of warmth. Place some samples of greens, reds (pink is a light red), yellows and blues, together and choose the two colors that give the most feeling of warmth. Do you agree with the artists who say that red and yellow are warm colors and that green and blue are cold colors?

Of course, you will not choose a brilliant red or a brilliant yellow for the walls of a dark room because they would be too bright for a good background color. However, a soft shade of pink, which is a kind of red, or a pale cream yellow will make good colors for a dark room, because they are both light and warm in effect. Is orange a warm or cool color? In what kind of a room do you think it would be correct to use green or blue for the color of the walls?

Cost of Wall Finishes. - Calcimine costs a few cents a pound and it generally requires about ten pounds for an average-sized room. Can you find out what it costs to have a painter calcimine a room? Sometimes people who do not understand how to do it, try to calcimine their own walls. The result is very streaked and botchy looking. Do you think this is real economy. However, many people do learn to calcimine their walls and thereby save expense. Have you ever helped to do this at home? Can you tell the class what things to be careful about when calcimining or painting?

Wall paper comes in rolls of varying widths and lengths.

One standard size roll is twenty inches wide and eight yards long, another size is thirty inches wide and five yards long. In figuring the cost of papering a room first measure the room for breadth and length. From these dimensions you will be able to compute the number of rolls required for the ceiling. Fig. 138 shows the ceiling of a room nine feet wide and twelve feet long. The paper to be used is twenty inches wide and is put on lengthwise of the room, which means that each strip will be twelve feet long. How many strips will it require to cover the ceiling?

How many rolls? Remember that the roll is eight yards or twenty-four feet long.

The side wall paper is put on in up and down strips. If the wall is nine feet high and twelve feet across, each strip will be nine feet long and it will take eight strips. However, if a door that is four feet wide and eight feet high cuts off part of the wall, not as much paper is needed.

(See Fig. 139.) How many strips will be needed? How many rolls of wall paper ? Remember that you can not buy part of a roll. So even if you need only a few inches extra you must buy a whole roll.

An Arithmetic Problem. - Measure your own room and estimate how many rolls of paper it would take to paper the room if the paper was twenty inches wide and eight yards to the roll.

Remember to allow for windows and doors. How much would the paper cost if it were thirty cents a roll?

Fig. 138.

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Fig. 139.

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Selecting the Wall Finish for Your Room. - Pretend that you have the opportunity to have your walls refinished exactly as you would like to have them. Write a description of what you would have done, including an answer to the following questions.

1. What kind of a wall finish is most suitable? Why?

2. If you selected paper is it the kind that makes the wall look flat and solid?

3. Did you consider the amount of light in the room?

4. Is the color a good background?

5. How much will it cost to refinish the walls? This should include the cost of the labor as well as of the material. Your mother or father will be able to help you estimate the cost. Woodwork. - The woodwork around the doors and windows should be considered as a part of the wall. It is a part of the background and should not be of a color that is too conspicuous. Just as with furniture, the highly varnished finish is apt to be conspicuous and unpleasant. We do not change the color or finish of our woodwork as often as we refinish the walls. Consequently, it is generally best to choose a color for the wall that harmonizes with the woodwork. A cheap and satisfactory way of making old woodwork more attractive is by painting it. A Problem to Consider. - Do you think the kind of woodwork in your classroom and in your room at home artistic? How would you change it if you had the opportunity?