Use LED bulbs to illuminate artworks
I have spent a fair bit on paintings and would like to light them properly. How do I do it?
Art looks fantastic bathed in sunlight, but ultraviolet (UV) and infrared rays will gradually cause the colours to fade. Place your fine art away from direct sunlight or use window treatments to limit the amount of daylight streaming in.
When it comes to using artificial lighting, the right bulb is important as halogen bulbs emit too much heat and both fluorescent and incandescent bulbs do not portray the work's true colours.
"We recommend using LED bulbs as they emit less heat, or halogen lighting with a UV filter," says Ms Jazz Chong, director of Ode To Art Gallery.
Take the colour of your walls into consideration too.
She recommends picking bulbs with a colour temperature of 2700K if the surroundings have a warmer tone and 3000K for a room with white walls.
If you have a photo collage or a few paintings put together on one wall, go for track lights "as you can adjust them to focus on each work while keeping the whole wall lit at the same time", she adds.
For 3D artworks or sculptures, avoid lighting them directly from above, below or behind.
"These will create harsh shadows and wash out the details. Instead, make use of diffused light sources so that every part of the artwork can be seen clearly," she says.
Zigzag layout for subway tiles is in
I love subway tiles and plan to use them. Any suggestions on how they should be laid?
The original subway tile was white, glazed, ceramic and measured 7.5cm by 15cm, but its popularity has resulted in more finishes and sizes today.
The most common sizes now are 10 by 30cm, 7.5 by 30cm and 33.3 by 66.6cm. They are usually laid in a brick or offset layout, which is the safest style. This can be done vertically and is useful if the room has a low ceiling, as it makes the space look taller.
In the stack-bond layout, the ends of the tiles are lined up neatly and, once again, can be laid horizontally or vertically. Both patterns offer a fresh and modern look.
The herringbone style is also gaining favour now. Keep in mind that there is not just one herringbone pattern, but three: traditional, straight and diagonal herringbone.
These zigzag formations look sophisticated and create a dynamic energy, which is good for small areas such as backsplashes, but can be overwhelming if used on a large wall.
On the other hand, the crosshatch or basket weave - where four tiles are arranged to form a square unit - is similar to the herringbone style, but easier to execute.
Hang a pendant light right
Should a pendant light be hung at eye level above a kitchen island? How low can it be hung if it is over a walkspace?
Pendant lights are a great addition to a space, but when hung too high or low, can look completely out of place.
Hang them too low and you will run into practical problems, says Mr Montie Mahtani, managing director of interior design company M3 Studio.
"Your head might hit the pendant light when you are reaching for something. The same applies to the dining table. Although you are seated most of the time, you will need to stand up to reach across the table."
The rule of thumb is to keep the bottom of the pendant light 71 to 86cm above the island or dining table.
If placed too low, the light can result in a glare if the bulb is visible and the heat emitted can cause discomfort.
For walkspaces, he advises using the door frame as a guide. "The minimum clearance height should be the same height as a door frame, which is about 2.1m."
Wipe with the grain of stainless-steel appliances
How do I care for my stainless- steel fridge, sink and backsplash?
The best way to clean stainless steel and maintain that brushed finish is to wipe or scrub with the grain, instead of in circular motions.
The choice of cleaning tools and chemicals is important to maintaining your appliance's lustre. Never use anything containing chlorine or hydrochloric acid - that includes not using your kitchen sink to rinse your hair for D-I-Y hair-dye jobs.
Avoid placing cast-iron pots and pans on the surfaces for long. These can cause corrosion and, eventually, rust spots to develop.
Rinse your sink well after each use, rubbing it with a wet cloth or paper towel. Once a week, rub a paste made from white vinegar and baking soda all over the sink for a good clean.
For your backsplash and fridge, remove streaks and fingerprints using dishwashing detergent and warm water applied to a microfibre cloth and rub with the grain. Rinse and dry the surfaces immediately.
•Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series.
These questions first appeared in the December issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.
•Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, Media Centre, Level 7, 82 Genting Lane, Singapore 349567 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.