Design Away Grime | Reader's Digest

Design Away Grime

Easy-care decorating options abound, meaning you could spend less time cleaning.

from 2,001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets

It’s not every day that you get to buy new furniture or redecorate the kitchen or bathroom. But when you do, choose your surfaces wisely. When it comes to preventive measures, incorporating the right materials may take some extra consideration, but it saves you time in the end. Below are some helpful suggestions to consider on your next trip to the hardware store.

A number of no-wax, no-refinish floors exist for you to choose from. For countertops in the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll find that solid surfaces — those that have few or no seams, don’t have indentations, and are impervious to spills and marks — are remarkably easy to keep clean.

Over time, many drapes, curtains, and other window coverings become magnets for dust and cobwebs. Instead of dust-catching materials, choose fabrics treated with a stain-and-dust-resistant finish, or treat the fabric yourself with a product such as Scotchgard fabric protector, following package instructions.

To kidproof a child’s bedroom, a playroom, or the kitchen, use Benjamin Moore’s AquaPearl paint (available at paint stores) on the walls. It may cost a tad more than other well-known brands, but the pigment will stand up much better to scrubbing, says Deborah Wiener, a Silver Spring, Maryland, interior designer who is known for her “real life” solutions. The paint was designed for use in hospitals, restaurants, and schools, so marker and crayon wipe right off of it.

Looking to make amends with walls you’ve made a mess of by taping and tacking children’s artwork up? You can have a full-wall gallery in your home without the eyesore. Just cover the wall in a magnetic paint (available in paint stores) and use magnets to post the work of your budding Michelangelos.

Patterns and designs camouflage dirt and grime, whereas solid colors hide little. And don’t forget your pets when you redecorate. If you have a black Labrador retriever or another dark-haired breed, for instance, light-colored surfaces may not be the wisest choice.

If concrete or mortar joints haven’t been sealed, they can slough off bits of sand and concrete dust onto surrounding surfaces. To keep this grime at bay, use sealers such as Drylok Masonry Treatment and Drylok Concrete Protector, available at hardware stores and home improvement stores.