By the end of this post, the reader should be able to:

·         Describe the need-to furnish a home and types of furnishing.

·     Describe the elements and principles of design and their applications to home furnishings.

·         Identify equipment that are used in the home. 

·         Describe the use of various equipment that are used in the home.



Making a home functional and pleasant is by equipping and furnishing the home. This includes the provision and use of items such as tools, equipment, furniture, devices and other accessories. It also includes all those things which make the home pleasant and comfortable e.g. the provision of adequate storage facilities such as cupboards, shelves, drawers, closet etc. will help keep the home orderly and easy to clean. Good furnishing therefore provides the home or family security and solidarity, privacy as well as comfort.


Types of Furnishings  

Furnishings can be divided into the following

a. Soft furnishings.

b. Hard furnishings.

c. Accessories.


(a) Soft Furnishings

Soft furnishings include curtains, cushions cover, floor coverings and household linen which bring color to the house. They are usually made from textile fabrics and other materials and add color and beauty to the house e.g., bed sheets, pillow cases, blankets, bedspreads, kitchen towel or napkins, bath towel, etc.


(b) Hard Furnishings

This includes furniture in the living room, storage cupboards, beds, equipment, etc. Furniture includes tables, chairs, benches, beds, stools, wardrobes, etc.

The choice of soft and hard furnishings is based on the taste and the kind of lifestyle the individual or the family leads (lives).

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Examples of hard furnishings


(c) Accessories

Accessories are items such as flowers, pictures, artifacts, wall hangings, chair backs, etc that are added to furnishings to make the room more pleasant. They add more beauty to the home.

Guidelines for Selecting and Arrangement of Accessories

i) Accessories should be selected with the overall color scheme, texture and pattern of the items within the room in mind. The desired mood of the room should also be considered.

ii) Accessories should be used to introduce color accents to the room.

iii) The room should not be over-crowded with accessories.

iv) Accessories should be hung or arranged at eye-level.


Types of accessories

A. Functional-decorative accessories

These have some other functions in addition to their decorative role. They include:

i. Different types of decorative calabashes: These are available in different sizes and shapes. They can be painted, beaded or engraved with a knife to produce assorted designs and colors. They are also used for storing small household articles like sewing needles, pins, etc.

ii. Carved stools: Can be used for decoration and as seats.

iii. Beaded or painted bottles: can be used for decoration and as storage facilities. They can also serve as a flower vases.


B. Solely decorative accessories

These serve only decorative purposes. They include:

i. Paintings and pictures: These can be framed. They can be hung on the wall or placed on window pelmets. They can also be placed within the wall rack or room divider or on the floor against the wall. Placement depends on the tastes and size of picture or painting.

ii. Mosaic decorations: Can be made with numerous items, such as broken bottles, glasses or China bowls, seeds, shells, strings, beads, pebbles, fine sand, etc. Any of these items can be arranged and stuck onto a designed surface like paper, cloth, wood, glass, etc.

iii. Macrame articles: Can be made by knotting local twines or ropes into specific patterns or designs. The articles can be used for holding flower pots and vases. They can be hung from the ceiling or on the wall.

iv. Beadwork: Local beads of various colors and sizes can be made into long stripes on strings. The stripes can be used to make wall hangings, wall dividers, special decorative curtains for doors and windows, etc.

v. Locally-dyed fabrics: (Tie-dyed and wax dyed or batiked fabrics) or any desirable pieces of fabrics, e.g., Locally woven materials can be framed and used as wall hangings.

vi. Unusual ornaments: These include certain bones, shells, cones, colored stones or, pieces of rocks, etc. These items can be cleaned, painted, and used for decoration. They can be placed on the tops of coffee tables, bookshelves, etc. They can also be used to make motifs of interesting designs or wooden surfaces.


Other forms of accessories are:

A. Wooden decorations: Decorations of various sizes and shapes can be made from wood. They can be placed at any part of the room. For instance, a carved and decorated piece of wood could be used as wall hanging.

i. A beautifully carved box could be placed in the sitting room and serves both functional and decorative purposes.

ii. Carved wooden bowls, flower vases, etc. Can also be used for interior decoration.

B. Clay decorations: Clay can be molded into many beautiful objects with various designs impressed on them and smoothed. These can later be burnt or glazed and decorated. Such pottery work could be placed on shelves or other surfaces in the home. Examples are flower vases, flower pots, ash trays, etc.

C. Dried gasses: There are plenty of these in different parts of the country at different seasons of the year. They could be carefully cut off with some little stem part, trimmed well and arranged in beautiful colored flower vase. The size of these materials should be determined by the size of the room. When they are too many, they overcrowd the room and make it look busy.

D. Leather work and animal skins: They include pouf (cushions), which serves a dual purpose. Different designs, such as birds, animals and other objects could be made with leather, stitched, stuffed, and used as household decoration. Beautiful animal skins such as those of leopards, cats and goats can be cleaned, dried and hung on the wall.

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E. Brooms and canes: They include ornamental baskets, cane chairs, stools, bags, etc. Some of them are dyed and used to add color to a room. Decorative brooms are often painted.


Functions of accessories

i. Accessories personalizes the room.

ii. It gives the room a lively look.

iii. Room does not look bare or blank.

iv. Adds beauty to the room.

v. Shows artistic expression.



Certain basic equipment is needed in all households. This will include equipment for cooking, cleaning and laundry work. Some pieces of equipment can be used for different purposes. It is unwise to attempt to procure these too cheaply. The best value that you can afford should be aimed at, so that items purchased should be few but of good quality rather than having too many cheap items. Although, it is necessary to have some items or equipment in reserve, it is not advisable to buy more than is actually needed or likely to be used.


Points to Consider When Choosing Furnishings, Equipment and Accessories for the Home

(i) Your needs 

(Basic items for survival). The basic items and equipment needed for the survival of the family. These are basic equipment considered necessary without which the family cannot cook, sleep and clean.

(ii) Cost 

How much you can afford to spend determines what you can buy.  The family should consider its financial strength and buy the best they can afford.

(iii) Ease of cleaning

Choose equipment made of material and design that is easy to clean. Choose equipment that does not only look beautiful in design but also easy to clean.

(iv) Safety: Equipment should be safe to use. For instance, to lift pans safely from the fire, saucepans should have handles that are well fixed and of          suitable sizes. Flexes must not be frayed, and electrical appliances must have safety devices like earthing.

(v) Efficiency

Equipment should serve the intended purpose or the purpose for which it was purchased. The equipment should be used without any difficulty. It should also save time and energy.

(vi) Life style

The furnishings, equipment and accessories should reflect the lifestyle and taste of the individual or the family.

(vii) Durability

The equipment or accessories should not only be simple and inexpensive, but it should be able to stand the test of time. That is, it must be used for a reasonable long time before it wears out.

(viii) Availability of spare parts

Ensure that spare parts are available for servicing the equipment when the need arises.

(ix) Skill to operate the equipment

The home maker should acquire the skill required to operate the equipment.



Design is a pattern or a sketch showing how something is made or to be made. OR It is a sketch, plan, or layout of something to be made. Space, line, form, texture, color, etc. are all elements of design.



Space in a house is an area or vacuum that can be filled with furniture, equipment or objects. The way you select furniture and use it can contribute to a feeling of space to any room. Space is required for different activities. How much space will be required for storing clothes, for cooking, sleeping, and for a living room (where the family meets) depends on the size of the family. When building you may be able to plan for the activities, but it may not always be possible to obtain adequate space when renting or purchasing a house. However, a good home plan provides actual living space.

To create a pleasant effect, furniture must be properly scaled to the size of a room. Large furniture such as heavy stuffed upholstery may be oversized for the amount of space it must occupy and thus will decrease the apparent area of the room. Over-furnishing a room results in crowding and makes the room seem smaller. It is good to use only those pieces of furniture necessary for the needs of the individual or family. It is also economical to purchase those that will serve the exact purposes for which they will be used.


(b) LINE

Line indicates direction; it can be misleading and make an object appear to have a different shape than it really is. Line may be vertical, horizontal, diagonal or curved

Vertical lines 

Tend to carry the eyes up or down with the lines and may make the room appear tall. This tends to suggest strength and formality and masculine in effect. In furnishing a room, fabrics with vertical lines used for curtains or for chairs that have low backs will make the room appear tall.

Horizontal lines

Horizontal lines carry the eyes across space, and can make rooms or furniture look wider than they really are. They tend to suggest feelings of rest, steadiness and masculinity. Book shelves, low sofas or other objects create horizontal lines around a room and have the same effect.

Curved and diagonal lines

While diagonal lines give a feeling of action and stimulation, curved lines are graceful and feminine in nature.



Texture refers to the surface appearance or feel of items such as curtains or carpets, rugs and other things used for decorating the interior of a room. We can feel the texture of a material by touching it. The texture of fabrics for curtains or cushion covers should also be taken into consideration when planning a room. Thick materials such as heavy cotton, velvet, linen and fabrics that have rough surfaces are more suitable for large rooms. Fabrics with shining surfaces which are light in texture or plain are better for small rooms. Texture that harmonizes with color and light distribution of a room or interior should be used. This is because; texture affects color and light distribution. For instance, very smooth textures may reflect so much light that they create a mirror effect.


Guidelines Underlining the Use of Textures and Patterns in Interior Decoration

1. The amount and kind of use a room receives should determine the textures and patterns of furnishing. This is because slightly textured materials appear clean, longer than smooth-glossy surfaces. Also, materials with patterns show dirt and wear less readily than plain single-colored materials.

2. The mixture of textures and patterns of a room or interior should be well planned. Too many patterns with conspicuous colors are distracting and can become very tiresome. Interiors of rooms with too little or too great a variety of patterns and textures can affect people emotionally. For instance, a room that is entirely decorated with smooth textured white materials may bore people. Also, a room decorated with an unplanned mixture of textured and patterned fabrics can agitate people mentally.

3. Texture that harmonizes with the color and light distribution of a room or an interior should be used. This is because a texture affects color and light distribution. For example, very smooth textures may reflect so much light that they create a mirror effect. But deep heavy textures absorb and distort light or reduce its intensity. As a result, the deeply textured cream carpet appears much darker than a smooth cream wall.

4. Textures and patterns should be used to emphasize or deemphasize the design or architecture, furnishing or other features of a room. For instance, curtains covered with a bold pattern may be used to draw attention to a window area. Wood or marble floors can provide interesting patterns and textures that draw attention to the floors. Different textures can be used in decorating a house, through the use of painting, curtains, draperies, carpets and rugs.



Form is another element of art or design. It refers to the shape and structural materials of an interior itself and of the furnishing within the interior. In effective interior decoration:

i. The form of the furnishing should harmonize with the form of the interior. Forms or shapes may change their appearance depending on the color and material used.

ii. All forms or shapes should fit the mood for the area and its purpose. In a home, for instance, the soft, upholstered chairs in a sitting room are suitable for relaxation and viewing of television. The same chairs, however, are unsuitable for a library or study.

iii. All forms in an area should harmonize with one another. For instance, in the dining table.



Color is very important in interior decoration. It can make a room cheerful and welcoming, or depressing and dull. Color can thus change the mood of a room. Color also appear to change the size of a room. For instance, walls painted dark color can make a room seem smaller than it is. Such colors make the walls seem closer to the centre of the room than they actually are. On the other hand, bright colors can make a room appear larger and more airy because they make the walls seem further away. Proper choice and combination of colors can make a simply furnished room look expensive, while the most costly furniture will look cheap if color choice is bad.

The color wheel

This is an arrangement of colors in a circle, like the face of a round clock to show how they are related. A color wheel consists of

1. Primary colors: These are red, yellow and blue. They are placed at equal distance (equidistant) on a color wheel. Other colors can be obtained by mixing the primary colors.

2. Secondary colors: These are orange, green and purple or violet. They are obtained by mixing equal parts of the primaries as shown below: Red + yellow = orange

Yellow + blue = green

Blue + red = purple / violet

3. Intermediate or tertiary colors: There are six intermediate or tertiary colors. Each of these is a blend of primary and the secondary colors lying on either side of it. Intermediate colors include red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange and red orange. 

The color triangle

Two important colors, black and white, do not appear anywhere on the color wheel. They fit into another world of colors by using a color triangle.

A color triangle has a color at one angle, black at another, and white at the third. If a color from the color wheel such as red is mixed with white, the result is a tint - in this case pink. Red mixed with black gives a shade - in this case maroon. If red is mixed with both black and white the result is a tone - in this case, rose.

A color from the color wheel can be mixed with:

a. White to make a tint, e.g., red + white = pink (a tint)

b. Black to make a shade, e.g., red + black = maroon (a shade)

c. Gray (i.e. a mixture of black and white) to make a tone, e.g. red + black and white = rose ( a tone).

Color harmony

Colors are beautiful by themselves. They can be used singly, but two or more colors can be combined to produce a color harmony or color scheme. To obtain a beautiful harmony the correct colors and intensities should be combined. A poor combination produces a scheme that is clashing rather than beautiful.

Color schemes for the rooms of a house should be planned according to different color schemes or harmonies.

A color wheel or triangle may be used to find or build an attractive combination of colors.

Color harmonies or schemes can be grouped into two broad types. Each group can further be broken down into subgroups as shown below.


Related harmonies

Harmonies of related colors usually produce restful interior or costumes in clothing because of their unity. They include:

A. Monochromatic color harmony: it is the simplest color scheme. It makes use of variations of values of the same color.

B. Analogous or adjacent harmony: this is obtained by combining colors that lie next or adjacent to each other on the color wheel. e.g., yellows and oranges, or blues and greens.

C. Accented neutral harmony: this uses a color triangle. In the color triangle, the colors in a straight-line form pleasing combinations.

A pure color, e.g. red, harmonizes with the following:

a. its tint and white

b. its shade and black

c. its tone and gray.

A tint and a tone blend with black. A shade and a tone combine well with white.


Contrasting Harmonies

A. Complementary Harmony

This combines colors that lie opposite one another on the color wheel, e.g yellow and violet/purple. Complementary color combinations should be developed very carefully, because such colors make each other look much brighter. A large area of one color and a small area of its complement is good.

An equal amount of each of two complementary colors is usually jarring or dashing, unless relieved by a large amount of neutral tones, e.g. bright blue and orange may be attractive as accents to a white background.

B. Split complementary Harmony

Here a color is combined with colors that lie on each side of its complement on the color wheel.

To created a split complementary harmony with yellow, for instance, first find its true complements which is violet or purple. Then take the colors on each side of violet, that is blue-violet or red-violet.

Color harmonies or schemes in a home should be created to suit the tastes of the persons using specific rooms.


Guidelines for color distribution in interior decoration

Guidelines for color distribution in interior decoration.

Effective distribution of various colors throughout an interior is just as important to the decoration as the choice of the colors. For effective distribution:

1. Use very bright colors in small amounts or areas. Some colors seem beautiful in small amounts, but may lose their appeal or beauty on a large expanse of wall or on large furnishings. For instance, a small area of contrasting scheme of red and blue can be used beautifully to add interest to a basically monochromatic color harmony.

2. Test color samples in the type of light the room has. This is necessary because colors do not appear the same in daylight as in artificial light.se color distribution to emphasize or de-emphasize the interior architecture or design, the furniture or other features of an interior.

A person can emphasize the furnishing more than the style or design of a room by painting the walls a neutral shade, e.g.

white or cream. Such walls reflect and emphasize the colors used in the furnishings, curtains, floor coverings and accessories.



Style is an element of art or design. It refers to the mood created by the combination of all items in a room or interior. Style also refers to the different types of furnishings and designs of buildings developed during a particular period. e.g. Traditional and modern styles of furniture.

Point to consider in choosing a style in interior decoration

1.  The design or architecture of the area being decorated.

2.  The needs of the people using the area.

3.  The traditional and modern styles.

These may be combined in creating a mood or style for a given area. Do not try to imitate the style of any one period.



Guidelines that help to use the elements to achieve the desired effect. These include balance, proportion rhythm, emphasis, harmony, etc. These principles focus on proportion, balance, rhythm and emphasis. Emphasis and proportion are most often associated with clothing. The other principles are closely related to interior decoration of housing.

(a) Proportion 

This is the way one part of a design relates in size, shape, or space to another part and to the whole design. Elements of line, shape and space can be used to create effective proportion. For example, proportion in a suit would be the length of the jacket in relation to the length of the trouser or skirt; clothing should also be in proportion to a person's size.

(b) Balance 

A design is said to be balanced when you feel a sense of equilibrium in the room when objects are well placed or positioned in a room such that you do not have too much of furniture on one side and a lot of space on the other side, we say that there is a good balance.

(c) Harmony 

Harmony means agreement among the various parts of a design. To obtain a beautiful harmony, the correct designs for the room should be combined.

(d) Rhythm 

It is the consistent, repetition or continuous arrangement of shapes, lines, color or texture that makes the eyes move in a certain direction.

(e) Emphasis 

Emphasis draws attention to the point of greatest interest. This means using any element of design to enhance or draw attention to our best features. For example,

a) A contrasting color could use color to draw attention to the wearer's face.

b) A woven belt could use line and texture to emphasize the waist line.



In the home effective use of fabrics adds color and gives an interesting look to a room. Fabrics may be smooth or rough in texture. They may also have big floral designs, small designs, or they may be of one color with no design. The way these are combined depends on your knowledge about how these affect the rooms in which they are used. The choice of fabrics for furnishing depends on the size of the room and the colors on the wall. Rough textured fabrics or those with a large pattern can be used in large rooms to create a feeling of intimacy. On the other hand, plain or small patterns can be selected for small rooms.

You can also combine fabrics with floral designs. Patterned cushion covers in the room will go with plain or one color fabric curtains. Similar effects can be achieved with plain cushion covers and patterned curtains. Too many patterns make a room look too busy and crowded.

Dark walls will need lighter tones or plain, bright or shiny fabrics to bring light into the room.



Furniture is normally expected to last a long time and should, therefore, be selected with care based on the following guidelines:

i) The furniture or fixture should be functional and of good design.

(ii) It should serve the purpose for which it is intended.

iii) The color, texture and pattern of the furniture should fit or harmonize with those of the other items in the room where it is going to be kept or used.

(iv) It should be durable and comfortable.

(v) The furniture should be serviceable. That is, you should be able to repair it when any part of it is spoilt.

(vi) Drawers should open and shut smoothly and easily.


Guidelines for Arranging Furniture

1. Arrange furniture for an easy flow of traffic or movement in the room.

2. Distribute the furniture evenly, with the largest wall expanse or space.

3. Maintain a regular line of height by balancing pieces of furniture on opposite walls.

4. Where possible, place furniture parallel with wall rather than across corners.



The sitting room is one of the most important rooms in a house. It is usually a meeting place and centre of activities in the home.


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Uses of the Sitting or living Room

i. It is used as a relaxation centre for the family.

ii. It is used for receiving and entertaining visitors.

iii. Part of it can be used as the dining area.

 iv. It is where we often display or exhibit family pictures and other precious collections such as paintings.

v. It is often the centre of many family and social activities such as parties, meetings, watching television, etc.

The sitting room is, therefore, often the part of the house where we can have the greatest number of people at a time. It thus receives a great deal of tear and wear. The sitting room should therefore, be kept as attractive as possible. The furniture and fixtures in the sitting room should be comfortable for relaxation. Its furniture should also be well-finished and durable.

Furniture and fixtures for the sitting room can be grouped into:

a. The basic-those that are very necessary and

b. The optional-those that we can do without.



i. A comfortable suite.

This is made up of two to four chairs, a single three-seater settee, a coffee table and four or more side stools or end tables. The number of chairs, however depends on the size of the room, the taste of the family, and the money available. Upholstered chairs are beautiful and comfortable, but expensive. Where they cannot be afforded, ordinary spring armchairs with removable cushions can be purchased.

Fabrics and wood for the suite should be durable texture and match the other decorations in the room properly in terms of color and patterns. If chairs are too high, they will be unsuitable for little children.

ii. Side-board or cupboard.

This is used for storing crockery, cutlery and table linens. It should provide a good storage space. The drawers should be deep enough to hold the articles, and they should run smoothly and have a well-fitting handle.


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The family can do without these, but they could be purchased where the money is available:

1. Television, radio, stereo set, videotape recorder, and related articles- these are useful for relaxation, news, etc.

2. Room dividers and wall cabinets- these are additional modern structures found in some sitting rooms. When placed against the wall they are called wall racks or cabinets. But when it is used to separate the sitting room from the dining section, it is called a room divider. These structures are used to hold flower vases, ornaments, music sets, television sets, pictures, etc.

The walls of the sitting room look bare and unattractive without some decorations such as pictures and ornaments to add interest and color to them. The sitting room also needs curtains and floor coverings which match with the other things in the room in terms of color, texture, pattern and style. Fixtures in the sitting room include:

i. Picture rails made of wood at the top of the walls.

ii. Curtain boards (pelmets)- which are wooden boards made to cover the top of the window or door blinds and curtains. They beautify the room. The curtain rails or rods are fixed within the curtain board.

iii. Fans, lamp holders, and shades, etc. These can serve both functional and decorative purposes.

Dining Room

The dining room is the room in which family members eat their meals. In some homes, the dining unit is a part of the sitting room; in others, it could be in the kitchen, yet in others it is a separate room. Whichever is preferred, the following pieces of furniture are required in the dining room or area:

1. Dining table: A dining table that is large enough for the number of people who are going to use it. (Family size)

2. Chairs: A number of chairs that are of the right height for the table and the persons using them. They should match the table in design, texture, and color.

3. Cupboard: A side cupboard for cutlery, glasses, table mats, and linen, etc. Drinks and foodstuffs can also be stored in the cupboard.

4. Dining room: A dining room trolley can be purchased, if it is considered necessary and the family can afford it. The trolley could be wooden, or finished with brass or other metal.

5. Dresser: A dresser is an alternative to the side-cupboard. It could be a cupboard with a glass for the storage of such items as crockery. It normally has a decorated top for the display of ornaments.


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A dinning room


In most traditional homes, families eat in the kitchen, the courtyard or in a space created on a veranda. In this case, a low table is needed. Seats are usually stools which serve different purposes. A plastic cover which can be easily cleaned will keep the table clean and unstained.

In some homes, the dining room is an area in the living room screened by shelves or room dividers, or a special room may be used. In both cases the main furniture is a large table and a number of upright chairs. A cupboard or a sideboard to hold China, glasses, cutlery and table-linen and mats is also useful if there is space.

The dining room needs to have a cheerful appearance, since the enjoyment of food is greatly increased by pleasant surroundings. If the kitchen is close to the dining room, time will be saved by putting in a hatch (a small square opening) between the two. It is a good arrangement if the sideboard is placed under the hatch.


The Bedroom

The bedroom is the resting area of the house. It should provide a relaxing background for those who use it. The bedroom should not be crowded with too much furniture or unnecessary ornaments which will only collect dust. A bedroom is to provide restful sleep hence the furnishing and decoration should be conducive to sleep. For many individuals or the family, the mat may be the only item for sleeping. This does not occupy much space and can be rolled up to air or kept in a corner during the day.

Others may have bedroom suites made up of a bed, wardrobe, a dressing table with a mirror and a chest of drawers. Built-in ward-robes save space and are convenient. Simple plain furniture, well made and of good quality is attractive and hygienic.



Furniture and fixtures in the bedroom

i. Wardrobe

A built-in or movable wardrobe with drawers and hanging space in which to keep clothes is necessary. If a wardrobe is not available, a space can be created (protected with a curtain) for hanging clothes.

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Example of Wardrobe 

ii. Dressing table

A dressing table with a mirror, on which to keep cosmetics and cupboard for linen may also be needed.

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iii. Beds

There are many types of beds from which you can choose. The iron bedstead is considered hygienic because insects and pests cannot easily breed in it. However, they are not easily obtained and are also expensive if available. A wooden bed polished or varnished is often used these days. You will find different qualities of finishes.

The most important criteria for selecting a bed is its firmness. It should be firm and stand flat. Another factor you have to look at is how the corners have been joined. The parts should well lock neatly into each other. Beds are made in different sizes: single, double or king size.

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iv. Mattress

The mattress should be the best that you can afford. A good mattress should be firm and level with the surface. A poor mattress becomes lumpy with use and sags easily. There are various types of mattresses to choose from:

(a) The Foam Mattress

This can be obtained in different thickness or depths. A good firm foam mattress is cheaper than an inner spring one. Look also for one that has been covered. This mattress should be placed on strips of boards or a thick piece of plywood to give good support. This mattress does not sag


(b) Upholstered Kapok Mattress

This is another cheap mattress. It is made from kapok, coconut fibre or horse hair.  Kapok may be made firmer by adding pieces of fabric or dry grass but a kapok mattress does attract insects. The kapok or the grass also wear or lose firmness. Under unhygienic conditions, a kapok mattress provides a breeding place for bed bugs. Therefore, the mattress should be frequently aired or put in the sun.


(c) The Inner Spring Mattress

This is the most expensive kind of mattress. It consists of a large number of spiral or coiled springs padded with a layer of cotton waste or kapok. It is covered with a strong fabric. Interior spring mattresses should not be folded or bent. They need to be turned from top to the bottom or side to side weekly. Handles are provided to lift the mattress.

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v. Comfortable stool

This goes with a dressing table. This should match with a dressing table in design, pattern and texture.

vi. Bedside cupboard

This can either be made as part of the bedstead or as a separate unit. When it is separate, it can be made to serve a dual purpose as a storage facility and as a stool.


Furniture and fixtures for the study Room

A study room is a room reserved for academic work. In some homes the bedroom also serves as a study room. The study room should be furnished so that it is suitable for studying. The following furniture and fixtures are necessary:

i. A reading/writing table and chair which are of suitable height for the user.

2. Book shelves could be moveable or fixed to the wall. The shelves should be so designed that stored books are easy to reach, grasp, and replace.

3. Good light should be provided. Fluorescent tubes or table lamps can be used.


Fixtures found in a modern bathroom

1. The bath tub

The bath tub can be made of iron, covered with enamel or porcelain. The bath tub can come in different colors, sizes, and shapes. Colors should be chosen to match the color scheme of the room.

2. Wash and basin 

This should be of the same color as the bath tub.



3. Small bathroom cupboard

This is often fitted with the mirror and fixed to the wall above the wash hand basin. It is used for storing soap, sponge, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.

4. Electric water boiler or heater

This is the common fixture in a modern bathroom.

5. Towel or cloth rail

This can be made of chromium or steel and fitted to the wall. It must be rustproof.


6. Soap and sponge rack 

This is also a common fixture found in a bath room.

7. Shower curtain 

This is designed and fitted close to the bath tub to prevent the splashing of water on the floor when the bath tub is being used. It is made of waterproof material such as plastic sheets. It should match with the other fixtures in the bathroom in terms of color and pattern.


A modern toilet is equipped with the following fixtures

i. THE TOILET UNIT, which is made up of the toilet bowl, seat with cover and water tank with cover. The unit comes in different shapes, sizes and colours. It is often made of porcelain.

ii. A toilet paper holder for placing toilet paper

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iii. A wash hand basin could be available for washing hands after the use of the toilet.

iv. A towel rail is useful in the toilet for placing clothes.


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Other types of toilets are:

a. Bucket toilet. This is now being rapidly replaced by the water-system toilet.

b. Pit toilet. This is commonly found in rural areas. The pit is partially covered, leaving a small opening or mouth, which is provided with a lid or cover. A small hut is built over the pit.


Care of Furniture

Furnishing a house is a large investment. Good care should be taken of furniture to maintain it so that it is kept in good condition. Daily and special care of each type of furniture depends on the materials used. These are described in chapter thirteen and will apply to the various types of furniture and equipment. However general care guidelines to maintain furniture in the home include:

i) Keep furniture clean by dusting and polishing regularly.

ii) Protect it from moisture and stains.

iii) Encourage children not to jump, play or sit badly on chairs and settees, which will make them dirty or break the springs. iv) Shake cushions regularly.

v) Protect upholstery with washable covers which can be cleaned regularly.

vi) Avoid placing hot dishes directly on wooden surfaces.

vii) Mattresses should be turned and also aired regularly.



Soft furnishings include curtains and draperies, floor coverings (carpets, rugs, mats) cushions and household linen. They are normally from fabrics.


Curtains and Draperies

These are materials used for decorating our windows and doors. Fabrics are usually used for curtains and draperies.


Uses of Curtains and Draperies

i.  They shade the room from excessive light or glare and wind.

ii.  They provide privacy for families.

iii.  They beautify the room by adding color to it.

iv.  They establish the character and mood of a room.

v. They can be used to cover special areas or items such as books stored in an open book rack or shoes in a shoe rack.


Guidelines for the Choice of Curtains and Draperies

i. The texture, patterns, weave and color of the fabric. These should match those of the other items in the room such as chairs, wall hangings, etc. Draperies that contrast with the color of walls draw attention to the shape of the windows.

ii. The desired length for the curtain should be considered. It can be floor length or window length. Floor-length is more graceful.

iii. Consideration should be made as to line. This depends on taste and money available.

iv. The style of curtain to make should be considered, depending on individual taste. The styles for the window and door blinds should be similar.

v. Curtains should be made of hardwearing material that will not fade easily. Curtains may be lined, particularly local prints (wax, batik or tie-die). This makes curtains wear well, it prevents fading and they last longer than unlined ones.

vi. Buy the best material you can afford. Cheap fabrics wear out quickly.

vii. The colors should harmonize with the other furnishings or colors ithe room.

vii. Curtains should be hung so as to allow plenty of sunlight and fresh air into the room. They may be pulled open during the day and closed at night.

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An example of curtains


Floor coverings are special materials used for covering the floor. There are different types of floor coverings such as mats, linoleum, carpet and rugs, etc.

Uses of Floor Coverings

i. They are used as decoration for the room.

ii. They make a room warm and comfortable.

iii.  They reduce noise from shoes.

iv. They protect the floor.

v. They can be used to cover poorly furnished floors.


Points to Consider When Choosing Floor Coverings

i. Cost or money available.

ii. Size of the room to be covered.

iii. Colour scheme of the room.

iv. Family or personal status.

v. Where it will be used.

vi.  The purpose the floor covering is going to serve.



Different types of mats abound in different parts of Ghana and other parts of Africa. They can be made from various types of locally available materials such as raffia, coconut leaves, palm fibre and other suitable leaves. There are also plastic mats.


i. They are light.

ii. They are cheap.

iii. They can be made in attractive patterns.


Disadvantages of Mats

i. Some are not durable.

ii. They often have loose weave. As a result of this, dirt filters through the matting to the floor below.

Care of Mats Daily cleaning

i. Take the mat outside and shake thoroughly to remove dust.

ii. Mend any worn or frayed edges.

iii. Spread on a flat clean surface and wipe over with a little warm soapy water using a clean lintless cloth.

iv. Do not soak the mat. Use as little water as possible.

v. Rinse by rubbing over with clean cloth wrung out in clean warm water.

vi. Dry with a clean dry cloth. Finish drying by leaving the mat in a warm airy place.

vii. Plastic mats can be washed or scrubbed if necessary.



Linoleum is available in different colours, qualities and patterns. The best are the inlaid types because the pattern is taken right through the thickness of the linoleum. Therefore, the pattern of the inlaid linoleum does not disappear with wear. The printed types are cheaper and wear badly.

Advantages of Linoleum

i. It is cheaper than carpets.

ii. It is easy to clean.

iii. Very good qualities can be hard-wearing.


Disadvantages of Linoleum

i.          It is less warm and comfortable than a carpet because of its smooth surface.

ii.         It can be dented and scratched.

Care of linoleum Daily cleaning

(i) Sweep with soft brush or broom to remove surface dust.


Weekly cleaning of linoleum

i. Sweep to remove surface dust.

ii. Clean with floor-cloth wrung out in warm soapy water.

iii. Do not use a scrubbing brush.

iv. Rinse thoroughly and dry using a clean cloth.

v. Remove stubborn stains with paraffin or turpentine.

vi. Polish lightly with the right polish.

vii. Protect linoleum from extreme heat, alkali and water. This is because;

a. Great heat causes drying and cracking.

b. Alkaline substances cause rotting and cracking.

c. Water can penetrate and cause swelling.


Carpets and Rugs

These are common floor coverings. A rug is smaller than a carpet. While a rug covers just part of a floor, a carpet covers the entire floor of a given room. Carpet can be fastened down to the floor with glue. Carpets are woven, but not all rugs are woven. Rag rugs can be made from scraps or pieces of cloth. Carpets and rugs can be made from wool, cotton and man-made fibres such as viscose nylon and acrylic.


Uses of Carpets and Rugs

(i) They help to unify the entire room by forming a background for all decorations of the interior, such as furniture.

(ii) They add warmth and comfort to a room.

(iii) They reduce noise (e.g., from shoes) and protect floors.

(iv) They add beauty to the room.

(v) They help to set the mood for the whole room.

(vi) They can blend the different colors used in decorating the room.

(vii) They can add to the beauty of other furnishing of a room.

Disadvantages of Carpets and Rugs

i. They can be expensive.

ii. They are not easy to clean.

iii. Their surfaces hold dirt.


Care of Carpet and Rag

Laying the carpets/rugs;

i. Proper lying of the carpet/rug is necessary for maximum durability.

ii. A carpet should have some form of "under-lay". This is any material placed on the floor before the placement of carpets. Materials for underlay include thin-layer foam, old carpet, old newspapers, etc. The underlay has the following uses: 

i. To remove any unevenness in the floor.

ii. To help the carpet wear better, that is, prolonging its life.

iii. To make the carpet feel soft and luxurious.

iv. To provide an extra layer of heat and sound insulation


Daily care of carpets and rugs

i. Remove surface dust and litter with a carpet sweeper, vacuum cleaner or stiff broom or brush.

ii. Remove any stains and wipe off any spills as soon as they occur by doing the following:

a. If liquid, blot up with clean, dry absorbent paper.

b. If semi-solid or greasy material, scrape up.

c. Wipe over the area with a damp cloth.


Weekly cleaning of carpets and rugs

i. Remove as much dust as possible with the vacuum cleaner.

ii. Where a vacuum cleaner is not available and the carpet is not glued to the floor:

i. Take it outside, ii. Hang over a line.

iii. Beat out as much dust as possible.


Periodic cleaning of carpets and rugs

When the carpets or rug is very dirty, it may be necessary to shampoo or sponge it. This can be done commercially by experts. You can also shampoo your rug or carpet by the following procedure:

i. Remove as much dust as possible with vacuum cleaner, carpet sweeper or by beating.

ii.  Make large quantity of warm detergent water, by mixing 1 part of detergent to 3 parts of warm water. There are also different types of carpet shampoos in the market.

iii. Provide a basin of clean warm water for rinsing.

iv. Try out the shampooing on an inconspicuous part of the rug or carpet.

v. If it has no harmful effect, then treat a small area at a time using a sponge or a soft brush. Go in a light circular motion. Do not wet the rug.

vi. Rinse with another clean sponge or cloth wrung dry in clean warm water.

vii. Repeat until the entire surface is covered.

viii. Dry the rug or carpet in the sun where possible or in a warm room. An electric fan can hasten drying if available. The rug or carpet must not be walked upon until it is properly dried. Special carpet shampoo may also be used for shampooing the carpet if it is available.


Other important points on care of carpet and rug.

i. Prevent people from walking on the   carpet or rug with dirty shoes. Provide a good foot mat.

ii. Place rug/carpet protector along the traffic lines. This prevents people from walking directly on the rug/carpet.

iii. From time to time move the carpet round in the. room so as to rotate the positions of its sides. This makes for even wearing of carpet.  

iv. Look out for signs of wear and tear at, the edges and seam of carpet. Mend any tear promptly.

v. Do not drag heavy furniture over carpets. Lift the furniture up.   

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Example of a floor covering



Household linen includes bed sheets and pillow cases, bedspreads, table linen, bath and kitchen towels.


Factors that Influence Selection of Household linen        

These are the points to consider when selecting household linen:

i. The use to be made of the linen such as curtains, bed sheets, pillow cases, etc.

ii. The type of fabric: The fabric should be suited to the use or purpose of the linen. For instance, cotton fabric for bed sheets and wool blends for blankets.

iii. Durability of the fabric: The household fabric should be of good and durable quality.

iv. Size of the bed and pillows should be considered when choosing bed sheets, mattress covers, pillow cases and bed spread. Pillow cases should fit easily. If pillows are too small, the pillow is made uncomfortably hard, if too loose, the pillow case wrinkles.

v. All types of towels should be soft and absorbent.

vi. Household linen should be color-fast.

vii. The needs of the family.

viii. The size of the family.

ix. Money available to the family.


General Procedures for Maintaining Household Linen

i. Dirty or soiled linen such as bed sheets should be kept in a covered basket or laundry bag until they can be laundered.

ii. Some linen such as napkins and floor cloths should be washed immediately after each use.

iii. Care must be taken to remove all stains during the washing process.

iv. Washed linen should be properly ironed.

v. Air the linen properly.

vi. Fold the aired linen properly.

vii. Heavy linen such as bed sheets should be stored in dry airy shelves in a cupboard. Storage shelves should be strong.

viii. Small light articles, such as tea cloths, napkins, place-mats, may be kept in drawers.

ix. Cover stored linen with muslin or other suitable material to prevent dust from settling on them.

x. Similar articles e.g., should be kept together.

Examples of household linen

Kitchen Linen

Kitchen linen is made up of the different cloths used in the kitchen for various purposes. They are very important for keeping the kitchen tidy. They should be kept very clean always.

Kitchen linen includes the following

i. Hand towels: These are used for wiping and drying hand.


Hand towel

ii. Oven or cloths: These are often padded and used for taking out hot pans and dishes from the oven or top of the cooker.


Oven glove or towel

iii. Dish cloth: These are lintless or non fluffy cloth used for:

a. Wiping off spills on kitchen surfaces.

b. Wiping washed surfaces or equipment such as sinks, tables and work area.



(iv) Glass cloth: this is also lintless and is used for wiping washed glass wares, e.g., tumblers and dishes.

(v) Tea towels: used for;

(a) Blotting off water or moisture from vegetables and fruits.

(b) Wiping glass wares, crockery and cutlery.


Tea towels

(vi) Muslin: This is a light loosely woven fabric used for:

(a) Straining during food preparation, e.g.in the separation of starch or coconut milk or soya bean milk.

(b) Covering food.

Care of Kitchen Linen

i. Wash each kitchen linen after use.

ii. Remove any special stains properly.

ill. Dry the linen in the sun if possible.

iv. Iron the linen.

v. Store linen properly

 vi. Provide a suitable space for the storage of kitchen linen.

vii. Replace each kitchen linen when it is badly worn out.


Bed Linen

Bed linen includes all the different types of fabric materials used to make the bed. They are:

i. Mattress covers used for covering the mattress in order to protect it from dust and dirt.

ii. Bed sheets used for making the bed.

iii. Pillow cases used for covering the pillows.

iv. Bedspreads used as spread over a made bed and as a covering for the person lying on the bed.

v. Blankets used as a covering for warmth in cold nights.



Examples of bed linen


Table Linen

Table linen refers to all cloths, and mats used on the table. They are of different varieties of materials used and include:

i. Table cloths used for covering the table

ii. Place mats used on the table for setting a cover. The cover refers to the place set for one person on the dining table.

iii. Table napkins used during meals for protecting your dress and for wiping the mouth and hands.

iv. Tray/trolley cloths for laying on the tray/ trolley before placing the dishes.

v. Tea clothes used for wiping or cleaning the table.


Examples of place mats


Bathroom Linen

Bathroom linen is made up of;

i. Bath-towels: These are of various sizes, colours and qualities. They are used for wiping the body dry after bath.


Examples of bath towels

ii. Face-towels: These are smaller than bath-towels. They are for cleaning the face.




An important place in the house is the kitchen. It is there that food is prepared, meals are served, cleaning is done and equipment is stored. Sometimes, visitors are received in the kitchen. The kitchen therefore serves many purposes for individuals and families but the main use is for meal preparation.

The space which is used as a kitchen is different in all homes. For some it is only an open space in a yard, a shed with a cooker, or an enclosure. Others may have a room in which there is nothing or where the only pieces of equipment which have been fitted are for storage and food preparation. The use of any space which serves as the kitchen depends on the people and the kinds of things they have.

Points to be consider when choosing the kitchen

Often, we cannot choose the kitchen we want, particularly if we are renting a house. However, if we do have the choice to create a space for a kitchen there are some points that need to be considered.

(i) This depends on the size of the family

The use of the space and the equipment the people have. A large household which uses the kitchen for purposes other than meal preparation would want a large room for a kitchen. The amount and the type of equipment will also be determined by the size of the kitchen.

(ii) Good Lighting enables one to see clearly 

To work efficiently and helps to prevent accident.

(iii) Good ventilation

Takes out heat and odor from the room so that one can work comfortably.

(iv). Easy to clean floors and walls make it possible to keep the room clean. These conditions help to control pests and also make the kitchen a healthy place to work.

(v) Storage facilities 

These include space for storing equipment as well as foods. The storage space should be sufficient and suitable for the items that are to be stored. For example, shelves or cupboards can be provided to store equipment and food. Whatever is used as a storage area should be easy to see, to reach and to return items to.

For example, shelves in a cupboard or on the wall should not be too deep so that things can be easily seen. Wall shelves should not be too high. Baskets, if used to store food, should be placed in positions that can be easily reached. More than one basket can be used to store vegetables and fish rather than putting everything into one.

Drawers can be divided into sections so that different pieces of cutlery can be stored separately.


Flooring or good floor

(a) the floor should be attractive not slippery but safe to move on.

(b) lt should be easy to clean and maintain.

(c) It should withstand wear and tear.

(vii) Working Surface: Appropriate working surface of the right height and material should be suitable.

(vii) Adequate cooking tools and utensils: These include ladles, knives, egg beats, pans, mixing bowls; pots etc. will all facilitate work in the kitchen.

Uses of the Kitchen

(i) It serves as a place for cooking or preparation of food.

(ii) It is a place for eating. Families with large families can eat their breakfast in the kitchen.

(iii) It serves as the storage centre.

(iv) For washing and cleaning of equipment.


Modem kitchen furniture and fixtures

1. Kitchen sink

The kitchen sink with draining board is a common fixture in any modern kitchen. The sink can be stainless steel, porcelain or fibreglass. It should be large enough for the family.

The draining boards should be at both sides of the sink. It could be made of the same materials as the sink or of wood. It can form a unit with the sink.



2. Kitchen taps 

Kitchen taps are often fitted to the sink. The taps are best made of chromium, so that they can be easily cleaned. The hot and cold-water taps should be clearly labelled. A hot water tap often has a red mark and a cold-water tap has a blue mark.

3. Kitchen table 

The kitchen table provides a surface for food preparation, e.g., for mincing, shredding vegetables, making pastry, etc.

4. Kitchen chair

The kitchen chair should be easy to clean and move about. It should be of a comfortable height for the worker.

5. Kitchen stool

The kitchen stool should be sturdy. It can be used to reach items stored in kitchen shelves that are out of the reach of the homemaker. The kitchen chair could be steel or wooden. Where possible, the chair should match the kitchen table in terms of texture, pattern, and color. It should be of a suitable height for the kitchen worker in relation to the table.          

6. Candlevered cupboard 

A cantilevered cupboard creates space and provides enough room for storage in the kitchen. The kitchen cupboard is used for storing kitchen utensils, such as pots, pans, spoons, knives, oven gloves, etc. The tops of kitchen cabinets can be used as working surfaces. Working surfaces in the kitchen may be enamel, formica, plain wood, or stone slabs built into the wall.


7. Plate rack 

The plate rack could be made of plastic tube reinforced with steel, tubular chromium plated steel or made of wood and cantilevered above the sink.

This is a useful fixture for drying as well as for sorting out the crockery.

8. The food safe is very important in the kitchen for protecting food from flies. It has a wooden framework covered with fine gauge wire. It is either hung from the ceiling or placed in such a way that the four legs are in bowls of disinfectant water to prevent ants from entering into it.     


Types of Kitchens

1. Traditional kitchen

These are common in rural areas and are characterized by the following:

(i) They are built as separate units from the main house.

(ii) The floor is commonly mud but some are concrete.       

(iii) The shelves or kitchen racks are commonly made of wood or bamboo. The shelves are built above the fire place.

(iv) The open drainage system is often used.

(v) Common fuels used are firewood, charcoal or coal.

(vi) The fire place can be any of the    following types:

a. Fixed, e.g., Clay cookers

b. Movable, e.g. A metal tripods.

c. Three big stones arranged in a triangular position.


2. Modern kitchens

These are common with modern buildings. They are characterized by the following:

 i. They are part of the main building and often next to the dining area or room.

ii. Their floors are commonly concrete, terrazzo or tiled.

iii. They have fixtures such as sink, tap, draining board, cabinets and shelves.

vi. The main fuels used include kerosene, liquefied gas (LPG) or electricity.


Arrangement of the Kitchen

A well-arranged kitchen helps you to work better, saves time, energy, reduces untidiness and therefore is safer to work in. How equipment is arranged depends on space available. Since the main use of a kitchen is for meal preparation, it is important to consider how equipment needed for cooking is arranged.

Plan the space so that it is easy to move from one work place to another. The major items of equipment for meal preparation are the cooker, the work surface/s (this can be a table, or a counter) and cleaning surfaces ( a sink or a bowl) and these should be placed as close as possible to each other.

In the traditional kitchen, in which swish stoves are fixed to the wall, you can put other equipment and things to be used conveniently close so that you do not have to walk too much while cooking.

In a modern kitchen, after the positions of the major items of equipment have been decided, other items such as storage cupboards for food or equipment, can be placed where they are needed.

A person who does not have such facilities can set up a place during the meal preparation so that it is easy for her to work.


Equipment for Food Preparation

Choosing the best equipment to suit the work to be done is part of good management. The most expensive items you buy are not always the best. Therefore, suitability for the job, frequency of use, quality, care and maintenance required should guide your choice of equipment.

The kind of equipment and the amount that each home-maker buy depends on

(i) The size of the household,

(ii) The amount of cooking that is usually done.

(iii) The types of food prepared and

(iv) The money available. For a beginner it is advisable to select a few basic items and then add to them from time to time.


The basic equipment for food preparation comprises a cooker, tools (spoons, knives, ladle) utensils (plates, pots, pans, serving dishes) and a working surface, which can be a small table.



This is a basic but a major piece of equipment that any home-maker has to acquire. Cookers can be gas, electric, oil (kerosene), wood stoves or coal pots. The names depend on the fuel that is used to provide heat. The wood stove and the coal pot are the ones available in many homes. Firewood and charcoal are easily available to many Ghanaians and are relatively cheap.

Wood Stoves

These are built from metal, stones or swish. Firewood is the main fuel used.


Advantages of Wood Stoves

i) They can be used in places where there is no electricity.

ii) The initial cost is low. Swish stoves are usually built at no cost provided suitable clay can be obtained.

iii) They can be built so that more than one item can be cooked at the same time.

iv)  They are easy to maintain.

v) Firewood is cheaper than other sources of fuel.


Disadvantages of Wood Stoves

i) Metal wood stoves are cheap and easy to maintain. However, the metal rusts easily and does not last.

ii) Poor ventilation makes woodstoves hot and uncomfortable to use in an enclosed kitchen.

iii) The smoke, soot, and the wood ash produced tend to make the kitchen and utensils dirty, therefore, difficult to keep clean.

iv) It is difficult to control heat from wood fires so fuel may be wasted.  Improved smokeless swish wood stoves which are cleaner to use can be constructed. The smoke is conducted outside through a pipe out of the kitchen. They can be made to cook many things at the same time. The main disadvantage is that more fuel is needed to supply sufficient heat to all the burners.        


Care of Wood Stoves

i) All wood must be taken out of metal cookers after use, and left to cool.

ii) Ash must be swept out and stored.

iii) Swish stoves must be swept and reswished daily.

iv) They should be protected from rain.


Coal Pots

Coal pots are made from cast iron, cast aluminium and light, cheap metal usually tin. They can be obtained in a variety of sizes and are either round or square in shape. The cost depends on the size and the kind of metal used. They are cheaper than gas or electric stoves.



Coal pot

Advantage of Coal Pots

They are generally more comfortable than wood stoves during use although the open fire makes a poorly ventilated room warm and uncomfortable. A good arc allows good ventilation.


Disadvantages of Coal Pots

The ash produced tends to make the surroundings dirty thus requiring constant cleaning.

Some changes can be made to improve use; 

·         Two separate units can be joined together so that more than one item can be cooked at the same time.             

·         A grid can be attached to raise the pot from the direct heat if less heat is required.

Stands may be provided to raise the coal pot to prevent bending.

Although, normally the fuel is charcoal, an attempt is being made to modify construction so that sawdust can be used as an alternative fuel. Tin ovens can be used with coal pots to bake small items in the home, for example, ofam, apitsi, biscuits, etc.


Care and Maintenance of Coal Pots

i) Hot charcoal should be removed when cooking is completed.

ii) The coal pot must be allowed to cool.

iii) Never pour water over burning charcoal in a coal pot to put it out.

iv) For long term storage, remove all ashes, clean with soap and steel wool.

v) Dry thoroughly.

vi) Oil and store in a dry place.


Oil Cooker

Oil cookers can be obtained in different types and sizes although they all burn wicks with kerosene as fuel. The small single burners are portable and can be used anywhere. The bigger sizes have two or three burners.

The kerosene is stored in a reservoir, that is a container which is also the base of the small cooker, or a glass container attached to the bigger models. The kerosene is carried through pipes to the burners. Some of the bigger sizes have stands.

The kerosene going to the burners is controlled to give a steady, continuous heat. The wick is turned high or low so that heat is adjusted to the required temperature for cooking.



Oil cooker

Advantages of Oil Cooker

i.  Very useful for cooking where there is no gas or electricity.

ii. Easy to -light and much cooler to use than wood or charcoal stoves.

iii. Easy to control the heat.

iv. Fuel is cheaper than gas or electricity.

v. Cheaper to buy than gas or electric cookers.

vi. Easy to maintain.


Disadvantages of Oil Cooker

 i. Inadequate ventilation or dirty fuel will cause fuel to burn inefficiently giving low heat and making soot which will dirty cooking utensils.

ii. Needs constant attention.


Care and Maintenance of Oil Cooker

In order to obtain a good blue flame, which gives the best heat, oil cookers must be maintained regularly.

i) Wicks must be trimmed to remove charred portions.        

ii) Clean the chimney and wipe the cooker after use.

iii) Occasionally take the cooker apart, pour out the kerosene.

iv) Remove soot, wash all parts including the reservoir with hot water and soap.

v) Wash wick if very dirty and dry thoroughly.

vi) Trim wick, reassemble parts, strain the kerosene into the reservoir.


Gas Cookers

In Ghana, the supply of gas is obtained from cylinders which are connected to a cooker by a tube and an adapter.

Gas cookers are built from metal, mainly enamel, but the burners are made from cast iron. They come in different sizes, makes and prices and the choice depends on the amount of cooking to be done and the cost. One can obtain a cooker with only one or two burners or one with three or four burners. Usually, those with more than one burner also have grills, and ovens attached to them. 

Ovens are usually, placed below the burners and are insulated but the grills are positioned either at eye level or under the burners.





Advantages of Gas Cookers

i)  Gas is easy to light, clean to use and cooks quickly.

ii)   Heat can also be controlled to the required temperature.

iii)  It produces clear flames that do not stain the saucepan, cooking pot or walls.


Disadvantages of Gas Cookers

i) The initial cost is high

ii) Gas may not be available when needed.

iii) It can be dangerous if not properly handled.


Care and Maintenance of Gas Cookers

i) Wipe all parts of the cooker as soon as cooking is completed and the burners have cooled sufficiently.

ii) Make sure food does not boil over and thereby block the air jets.

iii) Occasionally, turn off the gas and disconnect the gas from the cooker.

     (a) Take the cooker apart.

     (b) Wash with hot water and soap.

     (c) Dry thoroughly.

     (d) Clear air jets and reassemble parts.

Caution: Gas can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken in its use.

Therefore, for safety:

i. Turn off all burners on the cooker as well as the knob on the regulator immediately after use.

ii. Make sure the flex is properly connected to the cooker.

iii. Ensure chat the regulator fits well and that there is no leakage.

iv. Always strike a match first or turn on the pilot light before turning on a burner.

v. To light an oven turn to the lowest mark first and then to the required temperature once it is lit.

vi. Do not go near the cooker with any naked flame if you think there is a leakage.

vii. If the light goes off while lighting, switch off the knob and do not relight until the gas escapes. This takes one or two minutes. Ask your teacher to show you the parts of a gas cooker and demonstrate to you a safe method of lighting it.

Electric Cooker

An electric cooker provides heat to hot plates through a solid plate, or radiant heat from a quick heating coiled wire or flattened element tubing. The solid plate takes a longer time to heat but gives a higher temperature and retains heat longer. With a simple heating plate it may not be possible to control the heat.

Temperature can be controlled on the knob and the grill, by time-controlled, built-in devices. These cut-off powers when the required temperatures are reached and turn on again when heat is required.





Examples of Electric cooker


Advantages of Electric Cooker

i) Easy to clean, quick to use and efficient.

ii) Can be regulated to obtain the required temperatures.

iii) Can be economical if used well.


Disadvantages of Electric Cooker

i) The initial cost is high.

ii) Can be used only in places where there is electricity supply.

iii) Can be dangerous if home maker does not wipe hands before touching.

Care of electric Cookers

i) Turn off the power. Wipe cooker while it is still warm with a damp cloth.

ii) Wipe the hot plates with newspaper.

iii) Occasionally remove all movable part shelves and the knob and wash separately. Wash the outside of the cooker and the inside of the oven with hot Water and soap, removing all stains. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Clean hot plates with a scourer, dry and apply oil to prevent rust.




A refrigerator is a useful piece of equipment for storing perishable foods. It may initially seem an expensive item but over the years, it can save more money than it costs, because food can be kept. There is less waste and time is saved. It is very useful to a person who is busy and is unable to shop or cook often. Food can be kept in a refrigerator fork varying periods of time. Many refrigerators have freezer compartments in which fresh meat and fish can be kept frozen for short Periods until they are needed. Some models have freezer compartments separate from the main section

Different foodstuffs are stored in different parts of a refrigerator. Foods such as fish and meat are kept in the freezer compartment. Stews, soups and milk are stored on the top shelf which is the next coldest part. Vegetables are usually stored in the tray at the bottom because they have to be kept firm and crisp.

Most refrigerators need to be defrosted and cleaned regularly. Too much ice in a freezer section reduces its capacity to cool things efficiently. Also, the motor will have to work extra hard to keep the refrigerator working. Some refrigerators have a special automatic defrost feature so that the ice begins to deoze, that is melt, when the ice becomes too much. Others do not form ice at all, they are called frost free. Refrigerators which have special features may be more expensive than the ordinary ones.






Storing Food in Refrigerator

All foods should be kept covered to prevent it from drying and also from absorbing flavor from other foods. Food can be stored in polythene bags and plastic containers with lids. For example, bread, meat, vegetables and fish can be stored in polythene bags. Extra milk can be poured into a glass or plastic jar with a lid. Hot foods should be cooled thoroughly before they are put into a refrigerator. The hot vapour from the food will turn into water which is then deposited on the freezer compartment. The water freezes forming ice.

On some refrigerators stars are marked on the freezer compartment. These indicate the length of time food can be safely kept in it.

One star           -        1 week

Two stars         -         up to one month

Three stars      -         up to three months


Care of a Refrigerator

i. In order to keep contents cooled and chilled, cold air must circulate around them. The contents of a refrigerator should not be tightly packed if cold air is to circulate freely around the food for effective cooling.

ii. Spills must be wiped up immediately. Charcoal or sodium bicarbonate can be kept in a refrigerator to help absorb odors.

iii. Refrigerators should be emptied and cleaned regularly. They should be defrosted when ice has formed on the freezer compartment to a depth of about a quarter of an inch. Too much ice on the freezer compartment causes the refrigerator to cool inefficiently.

iv. Do not bang the door as it may harm the motor. Do not leave the door open for long periods since doing so allows warm air to enter.


Uses of the Refrigerator

(i) Used to prevent food wastage and spoilage.

(ii) It is used for the preservation of food.

(iii) It reduces the risk of food poisoning.

(iv) It makes for or brings about variety in meal preparation and service.

(v) Refrigerator can be used to store seasoned food.

(vi)  It is also useful for the preparation of certain foods e.g., chilling of drinks and fruits.


To Defrost

Remove everything from the refrigerator, turn the dial off and switch off the power. Remove racks, vegetable rays and ice trays and wash them with detergent and hot water. Wash the inside of the refrigerator after all the ice has melted.

i. Do not use sharp instruments to remove ice. To defrost quickly, put a bowl of hot water into the freezer compartment and wait for the ice to melt.

ii. Avoid using soap and scourers that will damage the inside. Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.

iii. Leave the door open if the refrigerator is not going to be used for a long time to keep it aired.


The Deep Freezer

There are two types of deep freezer,

i) The chest, cabinet or box type and

ii) The upright type.

The chest type is the more common of the two. Deep freezers can be used to store food for longer periods than is possible in a refrigerator. Food can stay fresh in a freezer for more than three months.

It is important that food is not packed too tightly nor the freezer filled too full. The cold air must be able to circulate around the food. The positions of the food should be changed from time to time. All foods should be wrapped well before freezing. Also, food should be well cooled before being put into a freezer.

       Deep freezer

Care of the Freezer (To Clean)

i) As with a refrigerator too much ice should not be allowed to collect in a freezer. It should be defrosted and cleaned when about a quarter of an inch of ice has formed on the walls.

ii) Switch off the power.

iii) Take out all the food and wrap well in a newspaper to prevent it from thawing.

iv) Leave the ice to melt thoroughly.

v) Placing a bowl of hot water in the freezer will help melt the ice quickly.

vi) Wash with detergent and hot water.

vii) Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.  

viii) Air it for about thirty minutes.

ix) Switch on the power and arrange the food.

x) Do not leave freezers open for long periods.

Caution: Like refrigerators food kept in freezers may lose its flavour if it is kept for too long. Once food is thawed it should not be put back into a freezer. Food should therefore be divided into small portions before freezing. Small portions of food also freeze faster.


Food Safes and Cupboards

These are used to keep foods for short periods. They are wooden cupboards the sides of which have been made with metal or plastic netting. Inside are shelves on which food is stored. They do not chill food but the holes in the netting allow air into the cupboard and to circulate around the food to keep it cool. The net also keeps flies and other pests from attacking and infesting the food.

Food safes can keep cooked foods and vegetables for a few days but you cannot store raw meat or fish in them. All food should be covered.


Care of Food Safes

i) To prevent ants, stand the legs of the safe in kerosene.

ii) Food safes and cupboards should be emptied and swept regularly.

iii) Occasionally, empty all food, sweep, scrub thoroughly, and dry in an airy place.

iv) Disinfect and reline the shelves.

v) Put food back. Refill containers in which it stands with kerosene.

In homes in which there are no food safes, a cupboard made from packing case or baskets can be used to store food.



Cooking utensils include, mixing bowls, pots, pans and casseroles are made in a variety of materials. Traditional utensils for cooking are made from clay which are fired to strengthen them. These are cheap and easy to keep clean.


Points to Consider in Choosing Kitchen Equipment and Utensils

i. The specific use of the equipment: The equipment; to be chosen must be suitable for the job it is expected to do

ii. The money available for the purchase of the item.

iii. The equipment must be durable. It should be able to save labour, time and money:

v. It should be easy to use.

vi.  It should be easy to care for.

vii. If a lid or cover is required for the utensil, it should fit closely.

viii.  The surface of the utensil should not be easily scratched, tarnished or chipped. 

ix. Handles of utensils should not be strong. They should be able to bear the weight of the utensil when it is full.

x. Handles of kitchen knives and spoons should be well fitted.

xi. The home-maker must be skilled in the use of the utensil she is choosing.

xii. The size of the family should determine the type of kitchen equipment to choose.

xiii. The space available in the home for storage of the equipment.

xiv.  The needs of the family.


Care of Pottery Utensils

i) They should be washed carefully and dried thoroughly.

ii) Occasionally they should be left over a low heat, coal pot or swish stove to dry out all the water they have absorbed.



 Example of a Pyrex bowl


iii) They have to be handled carefully since like all items of pottery, they can break easily.

These days, cooking utensils are made from metals such as cast iron, alminium, enamel, steel, stainless steel, clay, and special glass, e.g. Pyrex.


Cast Iron or Steel

i) Cooking pots and frying pans made from cast iron are strong and heavy.

ii) Sometimes they are anodised that is coated with a silvery paint to make them attractive and to prevent them from rusting.

iii) Iron and steel cooking utensil can be used on wood stoves as well as coal pots.

iv) Pots with rounded bases do not sit well on gas or electric cookers.

v) Iron cooking pots can be used for baking and roasting as well as for normal cooking.


Utensil made of cast iron


Care of Cast Iron or Steel

i) Iron and steel utensils should be handled carefully to avoid dropping them because they do break easily.

ii) Wash immediately after use with hot water and soap, particularly if greasy.

iii) Wash stained metal with steel wool and soap, fine sand or lime and wood ash.

iv) Utensils should be kept dry to prevent rusting.

v) Oil if they are to be stored for a long time.



Enamelware is made with cast iron or steel and coasted with enamel to prevent rust.

Utensils come in a variety of colours and are beautiful.

Heavy enameled pots and pans are strong even though the quality can vary.

Enamel utensils can be used for cooking as well as for serving food, e.g. enamel pie dishes and saucepans.


Care of Enamel

i) Care must be taken not to drop or knock them because the enamel will chip exposing the metal underneath which will rust.

ii) Wash with hot water and soap.

iii) No sharp instruments should be used to remove stuck on food because enamel chips so easily. If food sticks, fill with water and leave to stand until food softens.

iv) Use a mild abrasive such as ground ayilo or sifted wood ash to remove stains.



This is used for a wide range of cooking utensils such as frying pans, saucepans, casseroles, colanders.

It heats easily, does not rust, cleans easily and does not tarnish.

Equipment made from aluminum can be heavy and thick or thin. Heavy items are more durable. Aluminium pans and utensils are widely used in many homes in Ghana.

Soda forms a dark deposit on aluminium and also corrodes the metal. Sharp instruments or hard abrasives should not be used as aluminium scratches easily. 


Example of an aluminium colander


To Clean or Care of Aluminium Utensils

i) Wash with hot water and soap.

ii) Stained aluminium should be cleaned with fine steel wool and soap, sifted wood ash, ground charcoal or red clay and lime.

iii) Fill the utensil with hot water and leave it to stand to soften food that has stuck on it before washing.

iv) Dry thoroughly before storing.

Stainless Steel

 Saucepans, frying pans and kitchen tools made from stainless steel are strong, they do not stain or scratch easily, but they are very expensive. Heavy stainless-steel items last for a long time. Burnt food which has stuck on is easily removed with a sponge. Stainless steel does not need much special care.

i) Wash with soap and hot water.

ii) Dry and polish with a dry cloth.


Kitchen tools

These comprise items of equipment such as knives, ladles, metals and wooden spoons, sieves, egg beaters, colanders and can-openers. Except for wooden spoons, all the others are made from metals, generally, stainless steel, steel or aluminium.

i) Cleaning and care depend on the kind of metal used. Tools made from steel, such as knives, should be thoroughly dried before storage. 



Stainless steel utensils

ii) Different items of equipment should be stored separately so that each type can be easily seen. For example, knives should be stored separately from spoons.

iii) Those with handless such as ladles or palette knives, cooking spoons and colanders can be hung individually on nails.

Working Boards and Tables Pastry boards, chopping boards and tables are made from wood. The top surface should be flat. Care should be taken when using and cleaning them in order to preserve a smooth surface. Scraping with a sharp knife or using sand to clean will roughen the surface.

   Kitchen tools

Care of Working Boards and Tables

i) Wash immediately with soap and water after use.

ii) Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap.

iii) Dry in an airy place.


Wooden chopping board


Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls are available in many sizes and are made of plastic, china, pyrex glass, stainless steel, pottery or ceramic. Your choice of size, quality and material depends on how much money you are willing to spend.

Care and Cleaning Mixing Bowls

i) Care and cleaning depend on the material used. It is important not to scratch the surface.

ii) Plastic mixing bowls mark easily and so sharp instruments should not be used on them.

iii) Also, they should be kept away from dry heat or very hot liquids.


Stainless steel mixing bowl


Serving Dishes and Plates

Serving dishes such as plates, casseroles, and ashets are made from china, special heat resistant glass like pyrex, enamel, stainless steel, plastic, ceramic ware and pottery.    They come in attractive colours and designs. The price depends on the quality of the material used and the design.      

The main considerations in the choice of serving dishes are that;

i) They should be reasonably priced

ii) They can be replaced easily

iii) The colour blends well with other tableware

iv) They serve your needs.



Example of serving dishes     


Care and cleaning Serving dishes  and plates

i) Serving dishes and plates should be cleaned according to the material used. However, they should be handled carefully if they are to retain their beauty.    

ii) Pyrex casseroles and dishes should not be put directly on a source of heat.

iii) Harsh abrasives should not be used to clean them.

iv) Serving dishes and plates should be stored separately from cooking utensils. A cupboard or shelves could be set aside for that purpose.



This includes drinking services of all kinds, cutlery, tea services and serving dishes. The   quality and the number of each item that   might be required will depend on each person's need, status and what can be afforded. A few basic items can be   purchased and then more items added from time to time.

 General considerations for the purchase of tablewares are that; items should be well made, attractive and easy to keep clean


Example of tableware


Drinking Ware

The kind and quality you select will depend on the intended use. Cheap but durable glassware, plastic tumblers, enamel mugs or calabashes can be purchased for everyday use and for most needed in the home.  Attractively, designed and unbreakable drinking cups, are useful where there are children in the home. These are cheap and easy to keep clean.


Drinking glasses for serving drinks such as whisky, brandy, wine, sherry or champagne can be purchased if you have the money and for special occasions. These can be made from very expensive or very cheap types of glass. These are not essential to have in the home but they can be purchased if you do a lot of entertaining and can afford them. Expensive glass ware should be handled and stored separately.


Example of glassware


Care of Drinking Cups

Drinking cups and tumblers, regardless of what material they are made from, need care. They should always be washed separately from dishes used to serve food.


i) Wash glassware with liquid soap or any soapless detergent.

ii) Soapless detergent leaves glassware very clear with no water marks.

iii) Rinse thoroughly and polish with a cloth that does not leave fluff.

iv) Store each type of drinking ware separately.

v) For local cups such as calabashes scrub thoroughly with sand, wash with soap.

vi) Rinse with hot water and soap.



You will naturally want your knives and forks to look nice and yet be able to cut food, handle and pick food up easily without being too sharp for comfort, to be easy to keep clean and maintain easily, and to last. Nowadays, there are a lot of stainless steel cutleries on the market. Stainless steel is very easy to clean and maintain. You only have to wash it in hot soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.


Example of cutlery



To keep a house clean, you need a few basic tools. In most of our home, the basic cleaning equipment comprises brooms, brushes of different kinds, dusters, mops, buckets and bowls. In some rich homes, more expensive electrical cleaning equipment may also be found. These include carpet sweepers and vacuum cleaners.



These are made from the veins of palm fronds, grass or straw, bound together. They are usually soft and are useful for sweeping hard smooth floors and surfaces. A harder kind of broom made from coconut frond is more suitable for sweeping yards and drains.


Both the soft and the hard brooms are short and the user has to bend when sweeping. Sometimes the stripped coconut fronds are tied to a long wooden handle and used for sweeping wide areas such as courtyards and drains.





 The materials used for these are hair, nylon, plastic and vegetable fibres such as coconut husks. The materials are cut into equal lengths and bound together with wires or glued into small bundles called tufts. The tufts are folded into two and fixed with wire or glued into holes made in a wooden head. The material used for the bristles (that is the part used for cleaning) depends on the use of the brush.

Brushes needed for hard cleaning such as scrubbing or sweeiping yards or other outdoor cleaning required hard stiff bristles such as coconut fibre or stiff plastic materials. Soft bristled brushes for cleaning hard smooth surfaces are made from hair, nylon and soft vegetable fibres. Sweeping brushes usually have long handles. Short handled brushes are used for dusting and sweeping small areas.


Care of Brooms and Brushes

i.          After use, keep brooms flat to prevent the bristles from breaking.

ii.         Remove fluff from brushes. Store brushes with the bristles up.

iii.        Brooms and brushes used with water should be thoroughly dried.


Special Cleaning

i. Remove dirt and fluff from brush.

ii. Prepare warm soapy water. Beat the bristles in the soapy water to rinse.

iii. Rinse in cold water. Add salt if bristles are made of coconut fibre.

iv. Shake well and hang to dry.



These are made from waste, wick type, absorbent materials which are bound with a metal head and fixed to a long handle. They are used for removing dust from very smooth surfaces, where boxes are not effective, that is places brooms cannot sweep well. They can be used dry or wet. Mops can be treated with oil so that dust sticks to the material easily. Wet mops are useful for cleaning hard wet surfaces such as tiles or smooth cement floors. They are convenient for wiping wet floors because the materials used are very absorbent and so take up water.


Care of Mops

i) Wet mops should be rinsed and dried immediately after use.

ii) Also, dry mops should be shaken to remove dust.

iii) Both wet and dry mops should be washed and dried well from time to time.



Dust settles on surfaces after sweeping or when the wind blows. This spoils the appearance of furniture and other surfaces from which dust cannot be removed, with brooms. A smooth soft cloth which does not leave fluff is the most suitable material to use. At home, an old cloth can be cut into pieces and used for this purpose. Dusters should be shaken after use to remove all dust and washed frequently.


Carpet Sweepers

A carpet sweeper is a useful piece of equipment but is only found in a few Ghanaian homes. It is useful for removing crumbs, dirt and small pieces of thread from carpets or rugs. It is a combination of brushes and a dust pan held together. Some carpet sweepers can be adjusted to sweep smooth floors.

Carpet sweeper



Care of Carpet Sweepers

i. Empty the dirt as soon as cleaning is completed

ii. Wash dustpans with soap and water

iii. Store with the handle upright


Vacuum Cleaners

These are expensive items of cleaning equipment which are found in rich homes. They are used in cleaning all kinds of surfaces in the home. They clean by sucking dirt and dust by means of a pump into containers attached to brushes. They clean more thoroughly than brushes and brooms. There are several attachments for cleaning windows, curtains, walls, cushions and floor polishing floors.


Disadvantages of Vacuum Cleaners

i) They are very expensive.

ii) They can be used only where there is an electricity supply.


Care of Vacuum Cleaners

i. Make sure to remove all dirt by emptying the bag daily.

ii. Store all the parts together.



a. Linen Basket, Box or Bag

Clothing and household linen (either clean or dirty) should not be left lying about. Washed articles may become soiled again while dirty ones may become dirtier. It is important to collect and store them properly before cleaning or ironing them. A large basket, a box or a cloth bag can be used for this purpose. The basket or the box should have a lid while the bag should have a draw string to pull the mouth together. These, placed at convenient spots in the house, make them easy to get at.


Laundry basket


b. Bowls, Buckets and Baths

These are large containers for washing. They can be used to store water and for cleaning purposes. Baths, usually made from galvanised iron, are particularly useful for washing large household linen and clothing. Bowls and buckets are made from plastic, galvanised iron, aluminium or enamel.

Plastic bowls and buckets are light in weight and easy to keep clean. They must be carefully handled and not dropped. They should be kept away from dry heat.

Metal equipment will last for a long time if it is kept well. All metal buckets, bowls and baths must be cleaned and thoroughly dried after use and stored. Enamel baths and buckets should not be dropped. The exposed iron will rust and soil the laundry.






c. Washing Machines

The majority of homes do not have washing machines, but in a commercial laundry, clothes are usually washed in washing machines. Washing machines are very expensive, and one can make more effective use of them if the household is large, the home-maker is busy and there is the need for frequent washing.

Washing machines come in different sizes, shapes and makes. Whatever machine you choose should be suitable in size for the amount of laundry to be done, easy to operate, wash efficiently and easy to move round. If you want to buy one you should make sure that there is a source of electricity and constant supply of tap water.

Washing machine


Care of Washing Machines

(i) After use, the machine should be wiped out.

(i) The door can be left open to air it.

(ii) Follow the manufacturer's instructions.


Advantages of Washing Machines

(i) You can load the machine and carry on with other activities while the washing is being done.

(ii) Small parts of clothing or very dirty areas such as pockets, cuffs and underarm may be robed with hands before garments are put into the machine.

(iii) The machine washes efficiently if fully loaded.

(iv) It saves energy and time



Disadvantages of Washing Machines

(i) The machine is very expansive and few families can acquire.

(ii) Can only be operated in areas with electricity and constant supply of water.

(iii) Family utility bills will increase.


Laundry Brush

This is a small stiff brush which is used to scrub fabrics that are too stiff to rub or clean. For example, denim (dungarees) or very dirty parts of garments such as collars, cuffs and pockets. It should be rinsed and dried thoroughly after use.

laundry brush


Pegs can be plastic, wood or rubbers. Wooden pegs should be thoroughly dried before storage. All pegs should be washed, dried and stored. A bag, a basket or a tin with a lid can be kept for storing pegs.


Clothes Line

A fixed metal line which does not rust is convenient. The condition of the line must be watched as if it rusts, laundry will become stained. Hemp or any fibre used for clothes lines should be taken in after the laundry has been removed. The fibre may be weakened by rain and too much sunshine. A plastic line does not rust. Stronger lines have wires or fibres as the core with a plastic outer covering. A line should be rubbed with a damp cloth before being used.



hanging line with pegs




Flat, charcoal, electric and pressure irons are all types that are used in homes. The latter is not commonly available.

Flat Iron

Flat irons are made from cast iron and are obtained in different weights and sizes.


Flat iron


Advantages of flat Iron

i) Flat irons are cheap as compared to electric iron.

ii) They can also be used in places there is no electricity.

iii) They are heated by placing them on the fire in a coal pot, on a wood fire or on the gas.


Disadvantages of flat Iron

i) They have to be cleaned thoroughly on pads or a tray of sand before ironing with them.

ii) Although they iron well, you cannot control the temperature.

iii) They can be made too hot and do not retain heat.

iv) They have to be heated from time to time when ironing.

v) Flat irons rust, they must therefore be stored in a dry place. For long storage, rub with a little oil before putting them away.


Box or Charcoal Iron

This consists of a box in which charcoal is burned. Heated charcoal is placed at the bottom on which is packed more charcoal. The lid is closed. The draught door at the back is left open. The draught door and the vents or holes at the sides allow air to enter to burn the charcoal and to heat the iron. Continuous heat is obtained as long as there is sufficient charcoal and air is allowed in for the charcoal to burn.


Box or charcoal iron


Advantages of Box or Charcoal Iron

i) Flat irons are cheap as compared to electric iron.

ii) They can also be used in places there is no electricity.

iii) They are heated by placing them on the fire in a coal pot, on a wood fire or on the gas.


Disadvantages of Box or Charcoal Iron

i) It is difficult to control the temperature.

ii) Both types of iron take time to heat.

iii) They need to be cleaned thoroughly for Ironing.

iv) Fuel is wasted.


Electric Iron

Electric irons are being used in many homes today except in places where there is no electricity. They can be obtained in different designs and weights.


Electric iron


Advantages of Electric iron

i) Most electric irons have thermostats which control the heat to suit different fabrics.

ii) They are clean to use.

iii) Easy to heat and maintain.


Disadvantages of Electric iron

i) Electric irons are expensive.

ii) They can only be used in places with electricity.


Care / Guidelines for the Use of Electric Irons

i) Care should be taken not to drop the iron as that may damage the element or the contact pins.

ii) The flex should be free from knots or loops during use; this places stress on the wires and may damage the iron. 

iii) The flex should be long enough to avoid strain.

iv) To store, always leave the iron to cool completely before winding the flex around it.

v) The current should be switched off before any kind of cleaning is done. When cleaning is needed, heat the iron slightly; rub the bottom on a pad until the stain is removed.

vi) Do not use a hard instrument or abrasive to remove a stain, it will scratch the bottom, making it rough. Rub off starch with a damp cloth.




Steam Iron

This is an electric iron fitted with a water tank. The water is heated when the iron becomes hot. The steam comes out through openings in the bottom of the iron to the surface of the fabric damping and ironing at the same time.


Guidelines for the Use of Steam Iron

i) It is not necessary to damp a fabric before iron, and if possible, soft water such as rain water should be used to fill the tank.

ii) Hard water should never be put into a steam iron. This is because when hard water dries up the minerals dissolved in it gradually block the holes, preventing the steam from coming out.

iii) Steam should not be used to iron starched articles.

iv) The water tank should not be filled too full. Usually there is a measure which comes with the iron. This shows the amount that should be put into the iron at a time.

v) Water left in the tank after ironing should be poured away.



Steam iron


Pressure Iron

Another useful iron which can be used anywhere is the pressure iron. Kerosene carried in the reservoir is the fuel used, and it is very clean to use.

Guidelines for the Use of pressure Iron

i) To light, make sure there is enough light, make sure there is enough kerosene, screw tight the pressure pump, and pour a little methylated spirit into the jet leading from the kerosene reservoir.

ii)  The kerosene turns into vapour which begins to burn. This is indicated by a 'pop' sound.

iii) The iron is then pumped to build up more pressure of air which helps to burn the kerosene to heat the iron. There is constant heat as long as there is kerosene and sufficient air pressure.

iv) After ironing release the pressure by opening the pressure pump. This will cause the air to come out and so release the heat.

v) Do not clean the bottom with a hard abrasive.

vi) It needs cleaning, so wash with a sponge and soap while it is still warm.

vii) Store by standing upright.           



Ironing Board

i) Ironing boards are made from either wood or metal. They vary in size and style and the height can be adjusted to suit the height of the person ironing, or to let you sit while ironing.

ii) A good ironing board should be strong, firm and flat at the top. They can be folded and stored using little space.

iii) The top should be well padded with a blanket or a heavy material and covered with a strong plain cotton material. For example, grey baft.

iv) A removable cover can be used which can be taken off and washed from time to time.



Ironing Table

A wooden flat top, firm table is suitable for ironing large household items. An ironing table can be used in place of an ironing board. The top is covered with a blanket and a clean cover when ironing.

Ironing table


Ironing Blankets and Sheets

Separate blankets and sheets can be kept for ironing as the heat and steam from damp laundry tends to weaken sheets and blankets. Grey baft is a suitable material for ironing sheets. Tapes sewn at the corners help keep covers in position while ironing. Ironing blankets and sheets should be taken off and dried after use. They have to be washed regularly. An iron stand should be provided to avoid standing a hot iron on a cover while ironing. Doing so may scorch the cover and possibly mark the ironing table.



Ironing blankets





l. Identify and explain four factors that affect your choice of house hold equipment (1997)

(i) Cost:- Income or money available determines what one can buy.

(ii) Effciency:- It should serve the purpose for which it is bought and save time and energy during use.

(iii) Care and maintenance:- The equipment should be easy to care for and maintain.

(iv) Durability:- The equipment should be durable. It should also last long without any damage or deterioration.

(v) Safety:- The equipment should be safe to use in the home.

(vi) Space:- There should be enough room or space to house or accommodate the equipment.

2. (a) Explain the following   

(i) Soft furnishing

(ii) Hard furnishing (2000)

Soft furnishings are the curtains, cushion covers, floor coverings and household liner which bring colour to the house. They are usually made from fabrics.

Hard furnishings include the furniture in the home or office, storage cupboards, beds, wardrobes, etc. They are normally made from metal, glass and wood.

(b) Give the three basic points to consider when choosing furniture in furnishing

(i)         Money available or income or cost of the furniture.

(ii)        It should serve the purpose for which it is intended.

(iii)       The size of the room should be considered.

(iv)       'l'he design and colour of-the inrnlture.

(v)        The durability and comfortability of the furniture.

(vi)       Taste and lifestyle.

(c) Name the four main elements that govern the choice of arrangement and furnishing of a room

(i) Color        

(ii) Space

(iii) Texture     

(iv) Line

(d) What is the importance of color in the art of furnishing a room?

(i) Color may be used to emphasize the good points in a room or disguise less attractive features.

(ii) It can make a room cheerful and welcoming.

(iii) It can also appear to change the size of a room. That is it reduces or increases the size of a room.

(iv) It creates a feeling of coolness or warmth.

3a. What is involved in furnishing  home? (2004)

Furnishing a home includes the provision and use of items such as tools, equipment, furniture devices and other accessories which make the home pleasant and comfortable.

b. Identify the three groups of equipment needed in every home.

i) Cooking equipment. ii) Cleaning equipment. iii) Laundry equipment.

3c. State any four activities that take place in the sitting or living room.

i)  It is used for receiving and entertaining

visitors or guests.

ii)  Family members relax in the sitting room.





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