Where a face-lift is needed, the quickest way is to provide your walls with a coat of paint and, as long as the walls are well-prepared beforehand, this would give you a professional finish and completely change the look of the room. Most paints nowadays are low-odor and most are non-drip. Even so, you should always paint the ceiling first and make sure you have plenty of fresh air wafting through the room to get rid of any toxic fumes which may not debilitate, but are never very pleasant.
There are many different paints on the market today, from textured to matte or sheen. However, you have the opportunity while painting fresh, to introduce a little sustainability into your decorating and use environmentally acceptable wall finishes. There are quite a selection of eco-materials on the market now, all non-toxic, which look quite effective on the walls. There are a range of eco-friendly wall decorating ideas to choose from, including recycled glass and plastics and a range of ceramics, besides the more obvious solutions of paint or wallpaper.
Environmentally friendly paints are manufactured from a selection of base materials, including clays, natural oils, chalk and water. What is not found in the eco-friendly range of paints is the volatile organic compounds and toxic solvents which, as they evaporate off as the walls dry, can cause a range of unwell symptoms which we can all do without. One of the benefits of eco-friendly paints is that they prevent damp from developing through moisture being able to move out through the walls and, while this is obviously better for the fabric of the house, it also prevents paint surfaces from cracking as they dry.
Many people have now heard of nanotechnology which is used in the manufacture of many products now, including some of the top brand tennis racquets. Paint is no exception and good quality paint is now being produced with excellent insulating properties obtained from air being trapped within minute, microscopic glass filaments and the resulting microspheres mixed with ordinary paint finishes to trap a layer of air against the wall, creating an air trap indoors and acting as a reflector against heat when used outdoors.
Another innovation, used in many older buildings and then abandoned, is lime plaster which also has the effect of enabling moisture to seep out of buildings and evaporate, preventing the build up of unwanted damp in properties. Brickwork is now often re-pointed with lime plaster, helping them retain their protective properties.
Focusing on the need to increase sustainability, it is a good idea to allow natural light to penetrate into the house by utilizing glass panels for internal wall partitioning such as living areas and kitchens where privacy is not such a priority. This reduces the need to constantly have artificial lighting being used and is much better for the environment. Taking this theme further, the use of recycled glass tiles on wall surfaces gives a kitchen a modern uplift and, although they are rather expensive at present, including small areas with recycled glass tiles will make any room look like a million dollars.