National Swap Ideas Day

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Our experts at Hirshfield’s are always full of good ideas. Whether it’s about choosing the right paint color for the exterior of your home, picking the perfect tool to stain your deck or selecting the appropriate finish for your interior paint, they know exactly how to help.

September 10 is National Swap Ideas Day – a day dedicated to sharing great ideas amongst friends, family and industry peers. In honor of the day we thought we would share with you some tips from our experts.

Exterior fabrics
Don’t shy away from using brightly colored fabrics in your outdoor entertainment area (for fear of fading). There are hundreds of fabulous “fade resistant” fabrics to choose from. They come in a wide variety of patterns and textures and are very soft to the touch.
Kathy Basil, Hirshfield’s Design Resource


Window treatments
If you are looking to purchase a window shade for privacy, remember if you can see out of it during the day, people can see in at night when your lights are on. Shades with filtering technology, such as the Sunscreen Shades, are meant to block UV and filter the sun’s rays, they are not designed for privacy.
Shannon Scarrella, Hirshfield’s Shop at Home


Exterior paint
When you’re choosing colors for a home’s exterior, people have a tendency to choose their favorite color. I always remind people to consider choosing a color your home is going to feel good in, not to mention all the people that look at it.  Always remember that curb appeal is the # 1 selling point of a home. Sometimes it’s better to use your favorite color on the inside instead. Get a sample pint of the color & take it for a test drive!
Tom Schoening, Edina Hirshfield’s


Fall is the best time to paint outside. You don’t have the blistering heat to deal with, there are fewer bugs and you don’t have to worry about the paint drying too quickly. Use a 100% acrylic paint and a nylon/polyester brush. Make sure the house is clean, scrapped & sanded (where needed) and bare areas are primed. I always suggest two coats. The benefits are tremendous, and the labor is minimal as all your prep work is done. We ask so much of a coat of paint in Minnesota, it has to withstand over a hundred degree temperature swing, snow, rain, you name it, we get it, so go ahead put that second coat on.
Tom Schoening, Edina Hirshfield’s


Deck staining
Decks are a maintenance type surface and require staining every two to three years to keep them protected and looking good. We normally recommend a high quality semi-transparent oil base stain such as Sikkens, Cabots, ABR, Super Deck, or Benjamin Moore (All of which we carry here at Hirshfield’s). Only one coat is recommended to avoid the product laying on the surface. Although these stains can be applied with a roller or pad, the preferred method of application is a good quality natural bristle brush to assure an even coat and also to push the product down into the pores of the wood.
Ron Clarin, West St. Paul Hirshfield’s


Surface preparation is of the utmost importance to allow the stain to penetrate properly. This can be accomplished by using a deck cleaner, scrub brush, pressure washer, or by sanding. And sometimes a combination of these methods is required to sufficiently clean the surface. It is important to have an even surface to achieve the desired penetration and even appearance of the stain. It is also important that after cleaning and washing the deck that it is allowed to dry a minimum of 48 to 72 hours so the stain may penetrate properly.
Ron Clarin, West St. Paul Hirshfield’s


Interior paint finishes
One of the questions we get asked the most at the counter is “what finish should I use?”  There are five sheen levels for interior painting, each with specific characteristics.

  • Flat is the lowest sheen level and is best used for low traffic areas and ceilings.  Flat paints touch-up wonderfully but aren’t the most washable.
  • Matte finishes are relatively flat looking on the wall but offer an amount of durability and are commonly referred to as washable flats.
  • Eggshell is the most common sheen and is appropriate for many different uses. Its level of durability makes it washable in high traffic areas and bathrooms.
  • Satin finishes are great for very high traffic and high moisture areas such as busy laundry rooms and bathrooms where condensation is common.
  • Semi-gloss works well for walls that see abuse everyday and is very durable and washable.

As one increases sheen level on the wall, durability and washability increase while the ability to touch up goes down.
Tim Rollwagen, Lakeville Hirshfield’s

10 Responses
  1. karey taylor

    can you recommend warm medium gray paint colours for a nothern exposure dining room? I currently have a deep brown colour which was nice but am very tired of this colour. I tried farrow and ball charelston gray but seemed too brown which i am trying to ge away from.
    thanks for your help.

    1. Marsha


      Let me put it “out there” tomorrow and I’ll post the suggestions of some of the Hirshfield’s staff.

      Thanks for the comment.

    2. Marsha

      Here are a few suggestions from our Edina store and Design Studio. I hope one of them will work for your room.
      Benjamin Moore 2111-50 Stone Harbor
      ” AC-35 Vapor
      ” 2108-50 Silver Fox
      ” HC-168 Chelsea Gray
      Hirshfield’s 0533 Techile

      If you like I can put these samples in the mail for you. Selecting colors off a computer image is not recommended.
      You can forward your address to me at

      Thank you for your comment.

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