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NC State Extension

Presentation Guidelines: Interior Design and Home Space

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  • To acquire knowledge of energy efficiency and conservation techniques.
  • To help people understand how energy is used in their homes.
  • To demonstrate ways to improve the health, safety, comfort, and durability of the home.
  • To develop necessary skills in making home improvements.
  • To acquire knowledge of design and art principles and materials involved in making the home more attractive and convenient at a minimum cost.
  • To create an awareness of the benefits of recycling, and improve water, land, and air quality by properly disposing of waste materials.
  • Gain knowledge about the contaminants that can threaten our residential drinking water and methods to correct it.
  • Gain knowledge of home water treatments.
  • Gain knowledge of home septic systems.
  • To develop self-confidence and public speaking skills.


Individuals or teams may compete.

  • 8-10 – 4-H’er must be 8 years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their eleventh birthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 11-13 – 4-H’er must be eleven years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their fourteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 14-18 – 4-H’er must be fourteen years of age prior to January 1 of the current year, and not have reached their nineteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.

Presentation Ideas

Limited Living Space

  • Closet make-overs that expand storage space (using inexpensive storage devices, replanning the way space is used, adding rods and shelves for specialized storage)
  • Storage ideas for special areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, family rooms (open storage, inexpensive shelves, decorative containers, do-it-yourself projects, furniture pieces)
  • Little storage ideas that can make a big impact (baskets, decorative containers, plastic dividers, hooks, etc.)
  • Using color to make a small room look larger
  • Using color to separate areas in a house
  • Make one room work like two
  • House design with smaller areas of living space
  • Space that is adaptable as family needs or lifestyle changes
  • Furniture arrangement to make a small room look larger
  • Small-space decorating ideas – to make little rooms look bigger
  • Window hang-ups – new, inexpensive window treatments; how to update window treatments
  • Develop outdoor living areas (decks and patios) that expand living space

The Healthy, Safe House

  • Residential indoor air quality (identifying air pollutants)
  • Radon in NC homes (is it a problem, how to test, how to control)
  • Household cleaners and chemicals – making a home audit, how to use and store them safely
  • Mildew of furnishings, walls, in closets-how to remove and control
  • Moisture problems and prevention inside the house
  • Moisture problems and prevention outside, under, and around the house
  • Ways to improve ventilation in the home
  • Ceiling fans to help you feel cooler in summer, warmer in winter
  • Picking the right house paint
  • Exterior paint pointers (brushes, when to paint, etc.)
  • Decks and patios need special treatment (types of wood, waterproofing)
  • Home improvement and maintenance jobs in and around the house
  • Home cleaning and care
  • Simple home repairs
  • Housing “facelifts” or inexpensive ways to change the exterior of a home through color/trim/accents
  • Making a small house look larger with color
  • Shutters, window boxes, trim can change the appearance of your home
  • Energy-efficient and decorative lighting
  • Lighting and color can give a room a new look

Residential Water Conservation and Water Quality

  • Ways to save (conserve) water in your home-big and small
  • Installing water-saving devices (low-volume shower head or faucet aerators)
  • “Tuning Up” the toilet to save water
  • Making a water use/conservation home audit
  • Stop water waste by fixing leaking faucets and toilets
  • Insulating the water heater to save hot water use and energy
  • Water heater watch-draining sediment, setting back thermostat, wrapping with insulation
  • Home water treatments
  • Residential drinking water contaminants and methods to correct

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Tips

  • Walk-through energy audit
  • Home insulation-new materials and methods
  • Building a new energy-efficient home
  • Storm Windows in the house (new “shrink film” storms, rigid plastic, inside-mounted units)
  • How to make a storm window
  • Draft dodgers-a decorative way to improve comfort
  • Caulk for comfort-types, tools, selection, use’ application
  • Weatherstripping-new types, where to install, how to measure and apply
  • “Smart” windows-double-glazing, Low-E windows, frames with thermal breaks
  • Window treatments that can be decorative and have insulating benefits
  • Home furnishings and energy saving
  • Summer shading to reduce high cooling costs (awnings, screens, overhand, natural materials, louvers, window films, shutters)
  • Use of load management programs to save on energy costs
  • Special utility programs that help save heating and cooling dollars apply

Alternative Energy Application

  • Passive and active solar systems
  • Growing with the sun-greenhouses (passive solar system)
  • A window greenhouse-Warming up a room in a small way
  • Furnishing a sun space
  • Solar water heating (active solar system)
  • Solar hot water systems
  • Have a solar home (projects for existing homes)
  • How a house plan can be designed to use the sun
  • Decorating a solar home
  • Fireplace accessories that improve energy efficiency
  • Energy-efficient home designs
  • Alternative heating appliances

Waste Management

  • Recycling-Are you buying the package or the product
  • The Three “R’s”-Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
  • Pre-cycling (or source reduction) before/with recycling
  • Household “Trash” Audit
  • Enviroshopping-The importance of packaging and how to select packages that have the least waste
  • Waste reduction-How to reduce the trash in your home by decision-making, recycling
  • Planning a recycling center for the home-location, how to store the recyclable materials
  • Household hazardous waste-How to recognize, how to manage, and how to reduce in the home

Accessible Housing

  • Physical disabilities which may require adjustments in a home
  • Making a house accessible and most important areas
  • How to design an exterior ramp
  • Make doorways accessible to people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or need assistance
  • Re-arrange or re-organize a kitchen for someone with a mobile disability
  • Adapting a house for a person who has limited or no hearing
  • Low-cost accessible aids for any home
  • User-friendly furnishings for an accessible house
  • Re-arranging furniture to aid a blind person, a person who uses a walker, someone in a wheelchair
  • How to make steps safer for everyone

These areas will have to be simplified for some age groups and may require your assistance to “translate” into a workable presentation. An example would be “making a house accessible.” The younger 4-H’er could talk about low-cost, accessible aids for any home such as tools that would help reach things on high shelves. He/she might include information on the three major disabilities (physical, visual, audio) and how they may affect other family members. The middle 4-H’er might develop a presentation that looks at stair or step safety. He/she could show several things which could be done to stairs to improve safety, or he/she could talk about the need for ramps, where they should be placed, how they should be designed. The advanced 4-H’er could discuss the ADA and its implications for businesses and residences, ways to evaluate the needs of people in home county or community, and how citizens could impact public policy decisions.

Resources: Topics selected from these areas are supported by such materials as:

  • Reference materials from housing and furnishings in-service training
  • Extension publications, bulletins, and visual resources
  • Water conservation and quality materials
  • Water quality and waste management information found in Water Quality and Waste
  • Management Notebook
  • Water Quality Home Page on the web


  • The demonstration must be no more than 12 minutes in length.
  • Each participant must furnish all his/her own supplies and equipment.
  • The score sheet is the standard 4-H Presentation score sheet.

Suggestions/Helpful Hints:

  1. Have a neat appearance. No special costuming required.
  2. Types and usefulness of visual aids are determined by the type of presentation. No extra credit is allowed for “professional” visuals.
  3. Speak loudly, clearly, and not too fast! Try to talk to your audience like you would to family or friends, rather than just reciting from memory.
  4. If you use posters, don’t put too much information on them, use large letters, and just show the main points or keywords.
  5. Use an outline, posters, or props to guide you through the presentation, instead of reading a script.
  6. Look at your audience as much as possible, smile, and have fun!


  1. Judges will watch the presentation, ask the presenter a question or two, then fill out the standard judge’s score sheet. Once the division winners have been announced the judges will provide some positive, constructive, verbal feedback to the participants about their presentations.
  2. After Congress, the score sheets will be mailed to the assisting 4-H agent so they can go over the scores and comments with the 4-H’er to help them improve their presentation skills.