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14 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

If you’ve ever bought a heating appliance only to find it woefully inadequate for the task at hand, you need Christian Hoerning’s advice. A technical expert at EECA Energywise, he tells us how to stay toasty without getting burned by the end-of-month bill:

For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than a small electric heater can provide.

Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally.

Hang on the wall electric fires can be two or three sided and have floating shelves such as those in the Skope Trento Suite from The Fireplace.Hang on the wall electric fires can be two or three sided and have floating shelves such as those in the Skope Trento Suite from The Fireplace. Photo: The Fireplace

Avoid unflued gas heaters (either portable or with pipes fixed to the walls) that release toxic fumes and moisture, and open fires that are draughty and inefficient.

Match the size of your heater to the space. An oversized or undersized heater won’t work effectively, and can cost more to run.

To minimise the environmental impacts, choose a heating option that uses renewable energy, like wood, wood pellets or electricity (which is about 80 per cent renewable on average).

An Escea outdoor cooking fire completes this outdoor kitchen by Dravitzki Brown Architecture, it comes with an adjustable cooking plate for flame grilling.An Escea outdoor cooking fire completes this outdoor kitchen by Dravitzki Brown Architecture, it comes with an adjustable cooking plate for flame grilling. Photo: Escea

Choose the most efficient model for the job, and use and maintain your heater properly – for example, have heat pumps serviced and regularly clean the filters.

Fireplace: The expert advice

One reason wood fires have fallen somewhat out of favour is increasing clean air regulations in our cities. But wood is a renewable resource – and a real wood fire has romance on its side. So if you’re a sucker for the crackle and the ritual of stoking the logs, look for one that is clean air approved for urban areas.

“For large, open-plan rooms you can’t go past double-sided fireplaces as room dividers. They visually connect two spaces, and add intimate zones to the setting.” – Alex Hodge, Escea.

Escea's double-sided DX1500 gas fireplace adds its magic to both the kitchen and living space of this home, designed by Product X Architecture.Escea’s double-sided DX1500 gas fireplace adds its magic to both the kitchen and living space of this home, designed by Product X Architecture. Photo: Escea

“Electric fireplaces, using sophisticated LED technology that mimics flames with different effects and colours, are no longer confined to in-wall options. Products such as the Gazco Skope Outset fires can be installed as a two- or three-sided fire so they make a stunning visual centrepiece.” – Geoff Dunn, The Fireplace

“A fireplace in the bedroom is the ultimate luxury, but definitely a better option with gas due to its on/off button convenience and controllable temperature. No one likes to sleep in a room that’s too hot. Escea’s multiroom DX Series has the ability to duct heat into different rooms – a good option for bedrooms as 90 per cent of the heat is ducted, not radiant. – Alex Hodge, Escea

“A fireplace in an outdoor room will add value to your home and extend your living space. Fireplaces provide a central social hub and make alfresco dining a lot more inviting. Escea’s EF5000 outdoor gas fireplace is an easy-to-install option that doesn’t need a flue, so it’s great for balconies and roof gardens that have views you don’t want to obscure.” – Malcolm Burton, Stoke Fireplace Studio

If you love the authenticity of wood fireplaces but live in the city, you'll need one that's clean air approved. Stovax Studio wood fires can be in-built or freestanding.If you love the authenticity of wood fireplaces but live in the city, you’ll need one that’s clean air approved. Stovax Studio wood fires can be in-built or freestanding. Photo: The Fireplace

Other ways to heat

Sarah Moore from Rinnai says whole home heating (or central heating) is can be unusual, as most of us are used to spot heating just the living area. “Whole home heating allows you to have a warm, comfortable dry house and we have seen strong growth in this space over the last few years. We expect this trend to continue as more people understand the benefits of heating their whole home.”

Fan heaters are ideal for small spaces such as home offices or powder rooms that measure around 15sqm. Installed in a bathroom, they also reduce steam and should be turned on before you take a shower.

Wall mounted and perfectly quiet, convection panel heaters are a good choice for hallways and bedrooms. Choose one with a timer and an accurate digital thermostat.

Radiant heaters are for personal warmth; if you work from home in an open-plan space you could possibly do with one in the depths of winter but they will make no difference to the ambient temperature of the room.

Don’t forget to move the heat outdoors. A 2400W electric outdoor patio heater, for instance, provides heat for areas up to 10m away.

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01 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


popsugar.com.au

How to Get Ready For a PartyImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

 

If the idea of getting your home company-ready is keeping you from hosting a dinner party or even your out-of-town in-laws, we can help. Sure, you could spend all day cleaning and decorating in anticipation, but who has the time? Here are the only things you really need to do before your guests arrive. Don’t worry — they are nothing but easy.

 

The Scent of Your Home

The Scent of Your HomeImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Brinton Parker

Decor isn’t the first thing guests
notice when they walk through your door — it’s the smell. Whether you’re
concerned about the fish you cooked the night before or your dog skipping a
bath — or worse, the scents you’ve become nose-blind to — put your
mind at ease by lighting a candle or simmering a small pot of citrus peels and
cinnamon sticks a half hour before guests arrive. We can’t get enough of these yummy-smelling candles.

A Well-Stocked Bar

A Well-Stocked BarImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

After greeting guests, the first
thing that you will want to do is offer them a drink. You don’t need to be full
service, but make sure you have the home bar basics covered.

 

Fresh Flowers

Fresh FlowersImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich

Flowers are the only decoration a
house really ever needs, no matter the occasion (although we feel pretty
strongly about candles too!). To get the most bang out of your buck, buy potted
flowers, like orchids. They may look delicate, but with proper care, they
will last for a month or longer.

 

The Lack of Clutter

The Lack of ClutterImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

Even if you don’t have time to do a
deep cleaning, you can still organise your clutter. Get a tray or a set of
lidded boxes for each room and corral all the odds and ends — remotes,
keys, mail — in one place. Guests will feel relaxed in a space that
appears organised, even if it is just for show!

 

A Tidy Bathroom

A Tidy BathroomImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

Before guests arrive, make sure your
bathroom has clean hand towels and enough toilet paper. Extra points for wiping
down surfaces and lighting a candle

 

An Organised Entryway

An Organised Entryway
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

Not only is it the first place and
last place that your guests will see, your entryway is also where they will be
dropping their coats and bags. Depending on how much room you have, add a coat
rack, umbrella stand, and a place to sit while taking shoes on or off.

 

 

 

 

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01 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


popsugar.com.au

You’ve worked hard to make your bedroom a welcoming sanctuary, but beneath its pretty facade, there could be serious health hazards lurking. Read on to uncover the bedroom dangers that could be harming you while you sleep and learn what you can do about them.

Air Quality

  • Open Windows

Let your bedroom air out by opening the windows as weather permits each day. It will refresh the space and void it of noxious gasses that can build up indoors over time.

  • House Plants

Not only will a potted plant or two beautify your bedroom, but they will also release oxygen and help filter out harmful compounds emitted by everyday cleaners, detergents, and fragrances. Studies show that these 10 houseplants can even improve your health.

  • Purify

A quiet air filterer is an efficient way to purify your bedroom of dangerous pollutants and agitating allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.

Cleanliness

  • Clean and Dust

Even with an air filter, it’s important to keep dirt and dust mites at bay by cleaning regularly. Pay special attention to areas that tend to accumulate them the most, including the floor, baseboards, windowsills, and upholstery. Even “clean” people often forget to wash these eight things.

  • Wash Bedding

The amount of dead skin, grime, and dust mites that collect on your bedding is rather horrifying and can cause problems from asthma to acne. The good news is it’s easy to get rid of by cleaning your sheets, duvet, and pillowcases every 1-2 weeks. Case in point? This horrific study reveals the horrific result of not washing your pillows for just two years.

  • Air Out Bed

Keep moisture from getting stuck in your bedding and mattress and causing problems by airing it out briefly before you make the bed in the morning. Pull back the sheets, fluff out the pillows, and give everything a few minutes to dry before they’re closed back up for the day.

Hidden Toxins

  • Chemical-Free Pillow

Bad news for memory foam pillow-lovers. These ergonomic head rests often outgas dangerous Volotile Organic Compounds or VOC’s that can cause headaches, nausea, and eye irritation. You don’t want your face, mouth, or nose anywhere near them. Swap them for pillows filled with organic materials, like wool or feathers, or at least a safer foam like a natural latex foam.

  • Flame Retardant-Free Mattress

Considering how much time you spend in close proximity with your mattress each day, it’s a no-brainer to make it a safe one. While many products, including mattresses, were once doused in flame-retardant chemicals, it’s come to light that these chemicals are doing much more harm than good. They’ve been linked to types of cancer, birth defects, and fertility issues. Scary stuff, and reason to seek out an organic, chemical-free mattress.

  • Move Office Equipment

In small apartment or studio, space is at a premium and spaces may have to do double duty – but do your best to keep office equipment away from your bed, especially if it’s running all the time. Research has shown that laser printers emit tiny particles into the air that may be dangerous.

 

 

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21 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

Decorating Ideas For Small HomesImage Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

An old home with a lack of square metres might feel limiting to some, but the 83-square-metre, 1900s-era Sunset Smart Cottage proves any space can be transformed with strategic decorating and innovative home gadgets. Even the interior design concept for the cottage involved an emerging tech trend: virtual interior design services. Sunset tapped designers Jessica McCarthy and Emily Gaydon from Decorist, a virtual decorating service that offers a fresh approach to the design and remodelling process. “Online services such as Decorist are often budget friendly and more accessible to the masses. We liked the idea that users can get matched up with designers based on their personal style and goals and can work through the process over email, FaceTime, and even texts,” says Sunset home editor Chantal Lamers.

So what exactly was the design strategy behind this tiny tech oasis? POPSUGAR caught up with Decorist designer Jessica McCarthy to get her insights on the smartest solutions for living large in a small home. Read on to discover the optical illusions and space-planning secrets she used in every room!

  1. A Bold First ImpressionA Bold First Impression

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Even the tiniest cottage can have major curb appeal. Jessica suggests painting your front door in a bold hue and replacing the exterior hardware. The cost-effective upgrades are details guests will definitely notice. Keep landscaping affordable and low-maintenance by planting drought-friendly shrubs and perennials from the Sunset Western Garden Collection. Top off the look by adding a few potted plants to the porch for an extra touch of greenery.

  2. Layered TexturesLayered Textures

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    To combat the claustrophobic feel of a narrow living room, Jessica suggests opting for a neutral colour palette and avoiding bold patterns to make the room feel large and airy. Since colour and pattern take a backseat, you can go wild with texture. Grasscloth wallpaper, leather seating, linen curtains, and a variety of throw pillows give the space a rich, layered feel. To complete the look, add a semi-flushmount instead of a hanging pendant or chandelier to make the ceilings feel even taller and hang curtains as high as possible.


  3. A Discreet Media Station

    A Discreet Media Station
    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Take advantage of precious wall space by creating a media station that is discreet and beautiful. Jessica suggests thinking outside of the gallery wall box by incorporating gorgeous baskets instead of framed art to distract from the floating TV screen. Keeping baskets in the same colour family is Jessica’s trick for achieving a clean and uncluttered vibe.

  4. Stylish StorageStylish Storage

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    While Jessica wanted to keep the colour minimal, she used an accent colour throughout the house for fluidity. In this case, a custom-built cabinet in navy ties in with the sofa pillows and kitchen, but it also conceals clutter behind cabinets and displays beautiful objects on shelves.

     

     

  5. A Mini Breakfast Nook

    A Mini Breakfast Nook

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t eat in it. Jessica loves the idea of pushing a narrow console against a wall and adding bar stools for a makeshift dining nook.

  6. Open Shelves
    Open Shelves
    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Eliminating upper cabinets can visually expand a small kitchen. Jessica leveraged the brightening power of counter-to-ceiling white subway tiles paired with white floating shelves for an airy and undeniably stylish effect. If a remodel isn’t in the works, Jessica suggests painting cabinets and installing new hardware for a customised look.

     

  7. Plug-In Sconces
    Plug-In Sconces

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    If spacious nightstands aren’t in the cards, swap in petite side tables and free up table space by installing plug-in sconces that don’t require expensive or permanent electrical work.

     

     

  8. A Calm Colour Palette
    A Calm Colour Palette

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Like the living room, the bedroom also follows suit with a calming colour palette. Jessica chose a single tone and explored a range of shades on the walls, bedding, rug, and accent decor.

  9. Statement Art
    Statement Art

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Small bedrooms don’t necessarily require diminutive art. In fact, Jessica recommends doing the exact opposite by hanging large baskets, textural pieces, vintage finds from travels, and oversize prints to really make a statement.

  10. Well-Utilised CornersWell-Utilised Corners

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    To make a big design impact in a corner of the room, mix pieces with varying textures. Jessica especially likes the way the leather wall object, wicker chair, and fur throw create a cosy effect that feels curated.

  11. A Modern Murphy BedA Modern Murphy Bed

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    A murphy bed can be the perfect solution for children’s rooms that require space to play or a guest room that can double as an office. Jessica likes the idea of hanging something dramatic but soft above the bed, like the woven wall art. The texture adds interest but won’t break or budge when the bed is closed.

  12. Customised Closets

    Customised ClosetsImage Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Katy Milton of California Closets designed the built-in cabinetry to make the most out of a tiny closet. Jessica recommends adding baskets and bins to cleverly conceal clutter while keeping things in order.

     

  13. Multitasking Work Space

    Multitasking Work Space

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Multifunctional pieces like a small desk, which can be used as an extra table surface for displaying decor, doing homework, and being creative, are one of Jessica’s favourite small-room staples. If you have multiple pieces of children’s art or a group of family photos without the space to hang them, consider investing in the Meural. It’s a digital canvas that gives you instant access to over 30,000 works of art, but which also allows you to upload your child’s drawings and rotate between images.

  14. Wall StorageWall Storage

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Jessica believes shelving can double as eye candy when you mix in your favorite artwork and accessories.

     

     

  15. Minimal AccessoriesMinimal Accessories

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Create the illusion of more square footage by selecting the right colour palette and working in some cosmetic details. Jessica likes to use large mirrors and extra layers of lighting with sconces to make the space appear larger. Keeping the space clutter-free and minimally accessorised is another tricks she recommends for small bathrooms.

  16. Small-Scale Patio Furniture

    Small-Scale Patio Furniture

Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

If you don’t have room for an outdoor sofa or settee, consider using an Adirondack chair with a foot stool that can be moved. Pair it with a small table and you have the basic comforts needed for lounging

 

 

 

 

 

 

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04 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

Which trends from the eighties are worth a second chance, and which ones should you forget about?

Thought 1980s interior trends were destined to stay in the past forever? You might be surprised to see how many of the interior fashions of that decade are popping up again in our homes now – albeit in very different ways.

Capture Ditch frills for refined florals
Pattern went to town in the 1980s, and in turn took city dwellers away to the countryside. No bed was complete without a pillow and bedspread adorned with florals – and of course a frilly edge and valance in an accent colour. Alas, the twee pastoral look was sadly chucked out with the chintz in the 1990s to make way for a plainer aesthetic.

But florals are back, and this time the look is more sophisticated. Take this gorgeous sleep space, for example. The pattern has been used sparingly on the bedhead and cushion, and tones with the plain surfaces elsewhere. The effect is pared back, elegant and a far cry from the Little House on the Prairie look of the ’80s.

Capture2.JPG
Play with pastels
Nothing sums up the ’80s love of pastels more than the dapper outfits adorned by the stars of Miami Vice. Who can forget the lilac and pink t-shirts that Crocket and Tubbs wore under their laid-back cotton suits? And our homes were resplendent in pastel shades too – pale pinks, mauves, aquas, blues and yellows all vied for centre stage in 1980s interiors.

We’re loving pastels again, however, with aqua, peach and dusty pink seeing a recent revival. Contemporary pastels are muted and look great with soft shades of grey, while peach works well with copper accessories. The key is to choose just one pastel shade and tone it with more neutral hues, rather than going for an ’80s-style pastel extravaganza.

Capture3

Go for a country kitchen – just not in orange
While 1980s florals aimed for a rustic ambience, so too did many of the decade’s kitchens. The farmhouse kitchen was a big look in the ’80s. Cook spaces packed out with wall-to-wall pine cabinets might look cosy, but the orange shade of wood could also put you off your microwave dinner.

We still love our country kitchens, but the look is completely different, mainly because of the paler, more stylish oak we opt for in favour of varnished pine. We can also experiment with other surfaces, mixing and matching for a more interesting look. The kitchen here has all the elements of a rustic design, but it has been given a twist. Wood is teamed with painted surfaces, while a concrete work surface adds an industrial edge.

 

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04 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

How to Decorate With ColourstrologyImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

When it comes to astrology, let’s admit it: who doesn’t love reading their monthly horoscope? Gaining insight into your future relating to your career, relationships, health, and beyond is not only intriguing and exciting, but often, it can be extremely accurate. So, when we heard about a mashup that existed between astrology, design, and colour theory, we had to know more.

This hybrid idealism, coined “colourstrology” by astrologist and numerologist Michele Bernhardt, is thoroughly mapped out in her book Colourstrology: What Your Birthday Colour Says About You. Michele has created a comprehensive chart of Pantone colours that are assigned to every single day of the year as well as one colour for each month. Using ruling planets, sun signs, and the influence of numbers and other important dates, Michele has determined which colour creates the highest benefit for each.

So locate your birthday month ahead, and read on as we break down your most beneficial colour as well as exciting ways you can incorporate it into your home space for an extra boost of positive energy.

January: Caramel

January: Caramel
Image Source: Anthropologie

Hues of caramel can connect you back to the earth and keep you centered and focused. If you are a January baby, try investing in some terra cotta planters and arrange them on your patio or near your windowsill for the ultimate energy boost. Plus, the dark brown colour of the plant soil will also add to the effect.

 

February: Sheer Lilac

February: Sheer LilacImage Source: West Elm

Sheer lilac can improve friendships and cast a vibe of kindness across you and any of your home visitors. Using lilac-coloured mugs and tableware can be the perfect way to receive the benefits of this colour while you enjoy tea or a meal among pals.

 

March: Fair Aqua

CaptureImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Fair aqua can increase relaxation and encourage meditation, so it is just the right colour to include in your bedroom design scheme. Choose a bedding set with bursts of aqua, or try to find a solid aqua blanket that can come in handy both at bedtime or for any lazy Sunday naps out on the couch.

 

April: Cayenne


Image Source: Williams-Sonoma

Cayenne is a bright and intense colour, so be sure to implement it in a space that definitely requires a burst of vitality. If you have a home gym, try painting one wall this bold colour, or add a vibrant table runner to your kitchen nook for an extra pick-me-up in the mornings while you eat breakfast.

 

May: Bud Green

May: Bud Green
Image Source: Anthropologie

The colour bud green is closely linked to prosperity and success, so if this is your birth colour, be sure to incorporate it into your home office or desk space. Try including a green upholstered side chair to maximise this colour’s benefits or, if you’re cramped with space, a sleek green laptop cover or mouse pad will do just fine.

 

June: Aspen Gold

June: Aspen GoldImage Source: Designer Living

Aspen gold can promote successful communication, so think about which room in your home receives the most conversational activity. Painting the walls of your dining room a nice golden colour could be a good touch, or hanging art with bold yellow features is another way to get the most of June’s assigned colour.

 

July: Coral Blush

July: Coral Blush
Image Source: Wayfair

July’s coral blush colour is extremely calming and promotes love and sensitivity, so adding this colour into areas of your home that you closely share with a partner is key. An area rug in a gorgeous blush hue placed in either your living room or bedroom is a genius way to infuse this colour into your space.

 

August: Sun Orange

August: Sun Orange
Image Source: Wayfair

A happy, bright sun orange is the best way to promote playfulness and fun, so recreational areas in your home are the best place to feature this colour. Placing a bold orange umbrella out on your patio will not only liven up your space, but it will definitely encourage lots and lots of outdoor Summer fun.

 

September: Baja Blue

September: Baja Blue
Image Source: Grandin Road

The distinct baja blue is synonymous with both beauty and attractiveness and is an amazing color to feature right in your entryway. Grab a welcome mat in this hue, or hang a framed print duo near the door to gracefully (and charmingly) welcome your guests.

 

October: Cerulean

October: CeruleanImage Source: PB Teen

Cerulean is another colour heavily linked to relaxation and tranquility, so it is an ideal choice for your master bathroom. Whether you decide to paint the walls in this shade or find a towel set in a similar hue, you are sure to enjoy the calming benefits.

 

November: Claret Red

November: Claret RedImage Source: Wisteria

This deep claret red is strongly linked to the libido and nurtures physical connection, so incorporating it into your bedroom space can do wonders for you and your partner. And since this colour is quite bold, focus on finding some smaller claret red accents, like a ring tray or small sculpture, to place on top of your nightstand or nearby dresser.

 

December: Pagoda Blue

December: Pagoda Blue
Image Source: Anthropologie

Pagodea blue symbolises vision, wisdom, and travels, so it is the perfect colour to feature in a bookcase display or wall collage to promote interest and vision. Try locating blue bookends or decorative coffee table books with bold blue accents or even a hanging picture frame with blue rims for an extra dose of imagination in these spaces.

Loving colourstrology? If you are interested in finding out today’s specific colour, just click here!

 

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23 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

When was the last time you ventured to the very back of your bathroom cupboards? Here are some tips to declutter and organise this area to save you time (and money).


Photo by Dulux Paint

Whether you’ve been living in your home for 15 years or 15 weeks, a bathroom declutter will save you time getting ready in the morning. Plus, you’ll be surprised by how much accumulated clutter you can easily let go of, giving you much more open space.

1. Empty out

First, grab a rubbish bag for anything that needs to go directly into the bin. Ensure some wipes are nearby to clean the cupboards and drawers down once everything is out. Then create space on the floor or benchtop where you can sort things. I usually use the floor, as you can empty every single item out of the bathroom cupboards, drawers, shelves and off the vanity top and lay them out so you can see what you have.

While the cupboards are empty, take the opportunity to give them a wipe out, as bathroom cupboards often end up covered in product, dust and hair. No doubt you’ll find some lonely hair clips living at the back of the bathroom cupboard too.


Photo by Zeitgeist Photography

2. Dump expired products

Once you have everything on the floor, the next step is to throw out any expired products. In almost every bathroom there are products that have expired (sometimes ones that are decades old) that need to be thrown away. Grab your rubbish bag and you’ll be surprised how many items end up in it.

Remember that you put these products on your skin, hair and nails, and you don’t want to absorb out-of-date chemicals into your body. If you can’t remember when you purchased it, the chances are it’s time to discard.

This is also a good time to dispose of products that you keep thinking you’re going to use, but probably never will. Orange nail polish? Out. Purple eye shadow? Out. Self-waxing kits? Unless you’ve used them in the last six months, say bye bye.


Photo by Capital Closets

3. Categories and containers

My key organisational advice for bathroom cupboards is to use storage baskets inside the cupboards or drawers, so that you both contain categories and are able to access items quickly and easily. The following categories are common to almost every bathroom I’ve ever helped declutter and organise:

  • Make-up
  • Hair products
  • Sunscreen
  • Tanning sprays and lotions
  • Moisturiser
  • Basic first aid
  • Sanitary products
  • Shaving
  • Nail polish
  • Eye care
  • Medications
  • Perfumes

I suggest using baskets with handles to make accessing things at the back of the cupboard easier. This way you don’t have dead space at the back where products fall out of sight and out of mind. Use either a black marker or label maker to label the containers, so you can quickly and easily see what is there. You can then put things away quickly, without having to pull each basket out first.

One added advantage of having products stored like-with-like is that when you want to paint your nails, for example, instead of rummaging through a drawer trying to find the polish, file and top coat you can quickly and easily grab the basket where everything is kept.


Photo by MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.

If you have a large make-up collection, it’s even more helpful to further categorise the contents into different types of products. You might like to have smaller containers, keeping lip colours, eye products, foundations and blushes separate. This will also help you know what products you have, and will save you money. When you run out of one eye liner, you can quickly and easily find another one that you already own instead of buying a replacement.


Photo by Dettling-Architekten

4. Use it

Now that you know what you have, a useful tip is to use the products you already own rather than buying new products. Use the sunscreen you have before you buy any extra. Finish the hand cream you have before you trying a new product. Rediscover lipstick colours you forgot you owned. Your wallet will thank you for it.

You may also rediscover forgotten products that inspire you; think massage oil, a pedicure set, bubble bath or hair treatments. Take some time out one night to pamper yourself a little bit… it can be your reward for doing a great job of decluttering your bathroom cupboards.

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20 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

7992823943c6fa91_IMG_8843
Image Source: Woods & Warner

Sleep is important. Like, really important. It contributes to your physical and mental health, happiness and all-round well-being. Step one of getting it right, is creating a space that relaxes and lulls you to sleep, rather than triggering or reminding you of all your to-dos and stresses.

Before you figure out what should be in your snooze palace (yep, that’s what we’re calling it now), it’s good to know what should definitely not be making an appearance behind the palace doors. So we asked interior designers, a lighting scientist and a sleep brand founder (who knows a thing of two about getting a good night’s sleep) to lend their expertise. Heed their advice and nights of perfect rest are all yours. And yes, you will totally feel like a princess. Princess Snooze.

1. Pets

Research shows that 30 percent of pet owners who share their beds report waking up at least once a night because of their furry loved ones. If you want a night of wondrous, uninterrupted sleep, the pooch has to sleep in his own room.

2. Food

“Avoid eating in your bedroom as it sends the wrong signals to your brain,” says Shea Morrison, co-founder of The Goodnight Co.

3. Any work

“Leave your work out of the bedroom, lying in bed processing your work will more likely make you nervous or agitated, or fill your mind with things you’ll need to do in the morning rather than letting you wind down,” says Shea, and interior designer Melita Mayvn of Mayvn Interiors agrees. “Don’t have your office in your bedroom,” she says, “Your bedroom is your sanctuary, not a working space.”

4. Phones and all other electronic devices

After significant research, we now know that staring at the blue and white light emitted from digital screens prevents your brain from releasing the melatonin, which is exactly what you need to for your body to feel sleepy. Without it it’s hard to fall, and stay, asleep. Plus, receiving notifications can be disruptive (especially if you don’t keep your phone on silent).

5. Blue and white light

Other than the sleep-zapping blue and white light that comes from our screens, eliminate all cool white and blue light. “Shades of white light have different impacts on our circadian rhythms,” says Dr Luc Schlangen, scientist and Philips lighting research expert. “Exposure to cool, blue white light suppresses melatonin, and hence makes us feel more alert and awake. That’s why offices, gyms and operating theatres use this shade of white light, whereas exposure to warm yellowish white light increases melatonin levels, and is used in places of relaxation like our living rooms and bedrooms, and also bars, restaurants, and hotels.” Ensure the light bulbs in your bedroom are warm, soft and ideally, adjustable. Try out a Smart Bulb like Philips Hue, $29.88.

6. Bold feature walls

Interior designers Sonia Warner and Jacinta Woods of Woods & Warner say the single painted feature wall is a thing of the past (that they hope never comes back). “Be brave and paint or wallpaper the whole room . . . it will feel more connected and sophisticated.” Not to mention more relaxing, which is exactly why Melita says to steer clear of red, orange or hot pink in the bedroom, “Your bedroom should be soothing and relaxing rather than vibrant and busy.”

7. Oversized furniture

Over crowding your sleep space is a sure way to make yourself restless. Melita warns against furniture that’s too big for your space, “This will make your bedroom feel smaller and cramped.” While Sarah Cichy, director of Piccolo PR says over accessorising or mixing too many patterns will also make things feel cramped. “It’s hard to relax with too much clutter, so keep things open. Select a signature piece and then use a mix of quieter neutrals for the remaining furniture so that the space feels light and open.”

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13 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

The Best Home Decor For Small Spaces

There’s an art to living thoughtfully in cramped quarters, but there’s a science to choosing pieces that will make the most of your square footage. These decorative essentials seem to pop up in the most stylish small spaces again and again. So tell us, are these space-saving pieces in your home?

Source: A Beautiful Mess

Nesting Tables

Nesting TablesImage Source: Decor Fix

Three tables for the space of one? That’s the beauty of nesting tables. Fan them out when you need more surface area, move them around if you have guests, then tuck them in when you’re done.

Bonus tip: choose an acrylic option, like the set Decor Fix blogger Heather Freeman has to take up less visual space!


Poufs

Poufs
Image Source: House*Tweaking

If you’re a pouf pessimist, you’re underestimating their versatility. Set snacks out on your coffee table, and watch your friends flock to the poufs for prime seating. Position one in front of a chair, and you have an instant lounger. Place one next to your sofa, set a tray on top, and admire your new side table. Best of all, they can be stacked or stored under your coffee table when you aren’t using them.

Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves
Image Source: Little Green Notebook

Floating shelves are ideal for adding more storage than your floor plan allows for. This cramped bedroom didn’t have room for a nightstand, but Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook created a smart floating-shelf alternative.

 

Large Mirrors

Large MirrorsImage Source: Love Grows Wild

If you can’t knock down walls, add mirrors. They have the power to reflect light and visually expand a room, so it looks much larger than it actually is.

Pro tip: try styling a large mirror (like the one in Jillian Harris’s home) by layering it behind another piece of furniture.

Hanging Storage

Hanging Storage
Image Source: SF Girl by Bay

You may not have a walk-in closet, but even an unused nook or corner can serve as an impromptu closet if you hang a DIY copper-pipe rack.

 

Baskets

BasketsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Whether you choose larger lidded options to slide under a console table or line shelves with smaller versions, baskets are essential for organising clutter.

 

Rolling Carts

Rolling CartsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

There are a myriad of ways to utilise a rolling cart. It can be used as everything from a bar cart (or better yet, coffee station!) to a nightstand. Wheels make it easier to move to different spots . . . like the living room, if you’re entertaining.

 

Pretty Boxes

Pretty Boxes
Source: Manuel Rodriguez for One Kings Lane

The key to making any bookshelf look immaculately streamlined is to load it with beautiful boxes. It’s the perfect way to hoard anything from receipts to your washi tape collection without having your belongings look like a mess.

Under-the-Bed Storage

Under-the-Bed StorageImage Source: Tony Vu for One Kings Lane

A bed skirt and a plastic pull-out container is your ticket for storing seasonal clothes without anyone having to know. You have the space, so why not use it?

Hanging Coatracks

Hanging CoatracksImage Source: iStock

Sure, you could hang coats or hats from these racks, but there’s no need to stop there. Display a set of cabinet-hogging mugs in your kitchen, or organise necklaces in your bedroom. The possibilities are endless.

 

Stackable Storage

Stackable StorageImage Source: West Elm

If you’re short on counter space, think vertically. This stackable apothecary set is ideal for keeping bath and beauty supplies within reach.

 

Slim Hangers

Slim HangersSource: Justin Coit for Domaine Home

Former-reality-star-turned-fashion-designer Whitney Port uses these slim hangers to pack in as many clothes as possible in her cute closet space.

 

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06 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


Best Home Decorating Apps
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Julia Sperling

Home decorating is a hefty investment. Whether you’re renovating or rearranging a room, shopping for a new piece of statement furniture, or designing a new home, there’s always plenty of what ifs to consider. Where to put the lounge? Will it even fit? Ivory or eggshell? It’s a process that can make the best of us question our decision-making abilities.

Of course, like any educated 21st-century citizen would do to make life easier, you turn to apps. And of course, like any 21st-century dilemma, there are plenty of technological solutions for it. Below, we’ve found the five best apps to help you in whatever decorating rut you may find yourself in.

For Inspiration and Ideas

For Inspiration and Ideas

Try: Houzz Interior Design Ideas, Free on iOS and Google Play

Browse through countless photos for inspiration, use the sketch feature to bring your dream room to life, or find a local home professional to help you out with all your decorating needs. The app’s also got a nifty product section to make sourcing products easy.

For Colour Selection

For Colour Selection

Try: Color911, $5.99 on iOS

Whether you want to create a colour scheme for a room, or can’t decide what shade of turquoise will match your throw pillows, Color911 makes colour selection easy. Choose and download from more than 100 colour themes, or build your own custom palette library from photos.
For Collecting Measurements

For Collecting Measurements

Try: Photo Measures, $10.99 on iOS and $4.99 on Google Play

Love the look of a couch but aren’t quite sure if it’ll fit in the space you have? Photo Measures takes the guesswork out of this and allows you to snap photos of every room and draw measures on it. Record and save everything from your living room space to bookshelf width.

For Room Planning

For Room Planning

Try: Mark on Call, $4.49 on iOS

Who said floor plans were intimidating? Mark on Call is like having a personal interior designer at your fingertips, allowing you to map out each room to precision. Enter your room and furniture dimensions and you can rearrange pieces until your heart’s content, even with your skin or finish of choice.
For Real-Time Visualisation

For Real-Time Visualisation

Try: IKEA Catalogue, Free on iOS and Google Play

The app’s 3D and augmented reality feature allows you to visualise what pieces of furniture will look like in your home, meaning hassle- and worry-free shopping. You can even pull pieces directly out of current catalogues, or choose from iconic IKEA pieces in the library.

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26 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

Money-Saving Tips For Decorating Your First ApartmentImage Source: Studio McGee

Sure, graduation and your first job are huge steps towards adulthood, but what’s the true sign that you’ve officially made it? When you get the keys to your very own apartment. Moving into your first (or second) place is a big deal, but we all know it can come at a high price. It was a rude awakening the day we realised our Pinterest-fuelled dreams didn’t exactly fit our budget. But don’t give up hope! Having an apartment that’s chic and affordable is totally possible. The key is knowing the tricks and hacks that will help you save money without skimping on style. That way, you’ll save your money for what’s really important . . . the housewarming party.

1. Upgrading your wall art? Don’t spend a fortune

Image Source: Domino

Building up an art collection doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. If you can’t bare white walls, there are plenty of websites that specialise in affordable art.

2. Add Something Old


Image Source: Melanie Acevedo for Domino

Add character and save cash by buying your decor secondhand, a trick from former Bachelorette star Jillian Harris. Local thrift stores and flea markets are all full of fun and practical finds that won’t cost a fortune.

3. DIY When You Can

Image Source: Dana Miller / House*Tweaking

If you’re up to the challenge, take on a DIY project — the beautiful results might surprise you. This bar cart is actually an inexpensive Ikea kitchen cart that was repurposed with green paint, wood stain, a bottle opener, and a towel bar.

4. Think Long-Term, Not Just For Now

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Since it is likely you’ll be moving around for the next few years, pick items that can travel with you. Avoid oversize furniture and be sure to invest in pieces you’ll love for years to come.

5. Master the Art of Paint

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Even the grungiest flea market piece has potential to be beautiful. A fresh coat of bright paint can make all the difference and will help your space look dressed up, even though you’re on a budget.

6. Do Double-Duty


Image Source: Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

Short on space and money? Make sure the few pieces you do invest in can serve more than one purpose. This coffee table doubles as extra seating when guests come to visit.

7. Make the Mattress Your Splurge

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Money is tight when you’re moving into a new place, but the one thing you should never skimp on with quality is your mattress. Not only will it get a lot of use, but going cheap can lead to back pain and health issues. Check out these tips for buying a quality mattress.

8. Raid the Garage

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

If you have relatives nearby, get busy exploring the garage or attic for handy items you can commandeer for yourself. Things like silverware, old furniture, or art could make their way into your stylish studio.

9. Get Creative With Storage

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Yes, your first apartment is probably pretty tiny, but use organisation to your advantage. While you can keep big items tucked away in a box under the bed or in your closet, keep jewellery, makeup, and other small collectables stored out in the open.

10. Buy Budget-Friendly Essentials

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

No adult should have to live with paper plates and sheets for curtains, but if you’re worried about all the little things adding up, there are ways to get what you need while staying on budget. Shopping for affordable apartment essentials means that you can squeeze everything you need into your budget.

 

 

 

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23 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

It’s no wonder the co-founder of Done & Done NYC, a professional organising, de-cluttering, and staging business, is just as organised in her personal life as her professional life. Abby Löfberg has the scoop on how Kate Pawlowski’s daily routine stays on track.

Image Source: ShopStyle Photography

Our co-founder Kate Pawlowski is 28 years old and the most high-functioning person I know. (Read her bio here) What’s great about her is that she gives advice that someone like me (who doesn’t “run a home” and is not naturally organized) can actually follow and implement.

I grilled her about her entire day, and gleaned a couple of great habits that she does unconsciously and without thinking. She says that these are so easy, they don’t feel overwhelming — they become ingrained into your habits, and you end up looking forward to the feeling of relief you get after such little effort, like brushing your teeth in the morning.

1. Morning

When she wakes up, Kate fills her kettle and turns it on. During the three minutes it takes to boil for her morning tea, she unloads the dishwasher, so she never has to keep dishes in the sink and just pops them straight in the dishwasher all day. Imagine never having to have a terrifying sink full of dirty dishes! (I actually do this too. It works!)

2. Showering

She keeps a magic eraser in her shower and wipes down the walls right after she shuts the water off to keep it clean and mildew-free. This prevents slime and grime from building up in the grout, and she never has to do a deep shower clean other than during her seasonable deep cleaning sprees.

3. Getting dressed

She is all about stylish basics that work for multiple purposes — especially with her underwear. When Kate buys her undies, she makes sure they match a few of her existing bras, so she can quickly pull out a pair and be in a matching set. When she takes off her clothes at night, her bra and undies go right into the mesh delicates bag she has hanging on her closet door, so they’re ready to pop in the wash once a week. (She actually has a bunch of these bags in different sizes and washes most of her clothes this way to take care of them). This way, she never runs out of underwear and has to do a last-minute wash while wearing granny panties.

4. Evening

She spends seven to 10 minutes every night tidying her desk, her coffee table, folding throw blankets, and starting the dishwasher so she can wake up fresh in the morning and get right to coffee and work.

5. Shopping

Living in an organised way is not just about where you put your things — it starts with what you let into your house in the first place. Kate is vigilant about her shopping habits — she does research on clothes and reads reviews before she buys them. She knows what cuts work for her and which materials she is most comfortable wearing. She also takes care of her clothes really well by washing everything on a delicate cold-cold cycle. This way, her clothes stay in top condition and she doesn’t have to buy as much. This is part of a philosophy we at Done & Done NYC call Owning Well — in other words, how to own less things that work perfectly for you is a more efficient and less expensive way to have an organised space.

 

 

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16 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

In a world of flat-packed and mass-produced, how do you know if your new furniture is made from the real deal?

Before navigating a market flooded with fake wood and faux fabrics, consider the following expert tips and buy with confidence.

How to recognise real timber

“As makers we have the opportunity to use a variety of beautiful hardwoods,” says designer Nathan Day. “Australian timbers like jarrah and blackwood, and North American species like oak and walnut are classics. People love them because they machine beautifully, are stable, and age gracefully.”

"As makers we have the opportunity to use a variety of beautiful hardwoods," says designer Nathan Day.“As makers we have the opportunity to use a variety of beautiful hardwoods,” says designer Nathan Day. Photo: Nathan Day Design

Designer Karl Young from Saltwood Designs uses solid timbers that are sustainably sourced and recycled. “There is demand for furniture made from existing pieces of the house. I’ve made vanities and tables from old roof timbers!”

While 100 per cent timbers are readily available in various guises, Day has noted an increase in man-made versions. “Reconstituted timber products, plastics and other materials are creeping into the market. They are processed to look like wood with stains, which is meant to make them look expensive.”

Despite the inferiority of laminates and particle boards, Young maintains that they do serve a purpose. “The substrate may not be a sustainable one, but in using veneers you are cutting down less trees, and if done right they will still last and look beautiful.”

Walnut and oak bedside tables.Walnut and oak bedside tables. Photo: Saltwood Designs

Origin

Check the material’s origin and buy from someone who represents trusted design brands. “Ask them to point out differences in quality in material, construction and finish,” says Day, “and avoid replicas. They are nothing more than a cheap imitations.”

Designer Karl Young from Saltwood Designs uses solid timbers that are sustainably sourced and recycled.Designer Karl Young from Saltwood Designs uses solid timbers that are sustainably sourced and recycled. Photo: Saltwood Designs

Meet the maker

“Find out their values,” says Young. “They should understand your needs and as the client, be involved from the very beginning – from design through to finished product.”

Weight and firmness

Consider the product’s weight and press your nail into its surface to gauge denseness, before comparing your findings with authentic wood species.

Grain colour 

If the colour of the wood isn’t natural or stained, it may not be 100 per cent genuine.

Price

“You get what you pay for,” says Day. “Quality generally costs more.”

Patina

Check for surface colour. Most woods turn a shade of gray, darken, become redder or lose colour, if exposed to the elements.

Grain lines

Grain lines should run consistently over the edge of the table. If they don’t, it could be veneer imitating timber.

End grain

Check for growth rings formed by the yearly growth of a tree. They are difficult to properly replicate.

How to recognise natural fabrics

When it comes to soft furnishings, plant-based fabrics like cotton and linen, and animal fibres like silk and wool are the most coveted. They look expensive, offer breathability, natural temperature regulation and superior durability.

“Fabric choice comes down to its end purpose – colour, pattern, texture and budget,” says Sarah Elshaug from Maitland Interiors. “By starting with the end-in-mind we ensure the fabric is fit for purpose and durable.”

Polyester blends masquerading as linen are the most common misrepresented fabric says Elshaug. “Using a synthetic means you are sacrificing on comfort and that luxurious feel of a natural fabric.”

Elshaug says while inferior, cheaper blends do have their place. “They offer stain resistance and colour fastness, so in a family home, opting for a sofa covered in polyester blend fabric will ensure longevity. To the untrained eye it can be hard to tell which fabric is what when looking at it,” says Elshaug.

Need-to-knows when purchasing natural fabrics:

The burn test

“Find a safe spot outside or in your laundry trough where you can burn a section of fabric,” she says. “When you burn a fabric and it turns to powder, it’s natural. If it melts and beads up like plastic with a sweet odour, then it’s synthetic.”

Feel and weight

“Gauge weight, quality and content,” she says. “I pay attention to how a fabric feels in my hand or moves when I give it a shake. Not only does it help determine its authenticity, it also tells me how it will behave.”

Australian standards

“Fabrics sourced from a reputable show room will have a data sheet specifying its composition and testing that has been done to meet Australian standards,” she says. “Sight this documentation and if you’re not satisfied, move on. With a global economy, we are spoilt for choice and can source beautifully made fabrics from around the world.”

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09 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au


Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

The way Shannon Smith transforms a bare apartment into a cosy home might cause you to confuse her for a magician, or an interior design fairy godmother at the very least. The Homepolish interior designer can do wonders to a space no matter how tight the budget or small the square footage.

The secret to creating a stunning home, she says, is to focus on three things when decorating. “I am a firm believer that you don’t need a lot of stuff to make your space feel finished. If you consider these three things — texture, colour, and scale — you can make any space feel cosy.”

Keep reading to hear what Shannon has to say about approaching each.

  1. Texture: The More The Merrier


    Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

    “Add texture with area rugs, drapery, vintage pieces, or natural fibers,” Shannon advises.

  2. Colour: Layer Three


    Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

    “Layer colour in your space to add depth, even if it’s neutral,” she says. “I always try to choose three colours — a light colour, a dark colour, and something in between — and scatter them throughout the space.”

  3. Scale: Go Big, or Go Home

Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

“Large art pieces, leaning floor mirrors, and big area rugs accentuate the height of the ceilings or the width of a room,” explains Shannon. “If you are worried about living in a small space, focus particularly on this tip as it will usually make your space feel larger.”

 

 

 

 

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26 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

5 Design Trends That Need to Be on Your Radar If You're Renovating in 2018Image Source: GIA Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations

 

In 2018, interior style is all about rejecting conformity to a particular “look” and embracing imperfections. Individual touches have never been so big and anything with a touch of whimsy gets full marks. Basically, 2018 is bringing about the death of monochrome and minimalism and the rise of eclectic hygge-ness.

Here Houzz Australia zone in on what that all means exactly — with a community of 1.5 million design and reno professionals, they seemed the right people to ask.
1. Handcrafted Wall Treatments

Handcrafted Wall TreatmentsImage Source: Suzi Appel Photography

Whether tribal or handmade-looking, tiles that add a handcrafted touch to an otherwise sleek and modern kitchen are on the rise. It takes modern kitchens, which were on the verge of looking like spacecrafts, back to that "heart of the home" space. Bang on for the hygge trend.
Image Source: Space Craft Joinery / Jonathan VDK

Whether tribal or handmade-looking, tiles that add a handcrafted touch to an otherwise sleek and modern kitchen are on the rise. It takes modern kitchens, which were on the verge of looking like spacecrafts, back to that “heart of the home” space. Bang on for the hygge trend.

2. Cabinetry With Personality

Cabinetry With PersonalityImage Source: Woods & Warner

Houzz has seen a rise in cabinetry and handles that give a room character. Oversized and elongated wooden knobs work in kitchens or bedrooms.
Image Source: Kyal and Kara and Wideline Windows & Doors

Houzz has seen a rise in cabinetry and handles that give a room character. Oversized and elongated wooden knobs work in kitchens or bedrooms.

3. Anti Mass-Manufactured Furniture

Anti Mass-Manufactured FurnitureImage Source: Decus Interiors / Justin Alexander

Linen bean bags, curvy lines and puffy sofas culminate to make a non-uniform, more organic living space. This means mixing an eclectic selection of seating and tables in your living areas.
Linen bean bags, curvy lines and puffy sofas culminate to make a non-uniform, more organic living space. This means mixing an eclectic selection of seating and tables in your living areas.

4. Brass Is Still the Metal of Choice

Brass Is Still the Metal of Choice
Image Source: GIA Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations

Houzz are seeing no signs of the metallic trend abating. Copper and gold will still be coveted in 2018, but they predict brass will take the cake.
Image Source: GIA Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations

Houzz are seeing no signs of the metallic trend abating. Copper and gold will still be coveted in 2018, but they predict brass will take the cake.

5. Dual-Material Benchtops

Dual-Material BenchtopsImage Source: Art of Kitchens Pty Ltd.

Kitchen counters and islands that are a mix of marble, concrete or wood rose to popularity on this season of The Block, and that was just the beginning.

 

 

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22 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

9 Decorating Mistakes Even Design Lovers MakeImage Source: The Makerista

 

Switching up your decor can make a surprisingly huge difference in the way you feel at home, but beware of common decorating traps. Before you tackle these bold design updates, be mindful not to do these 9 things:

       1.Don’t Forget About Lighting

Don't Forget About LightingImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Even the most beautiful of rooms can be thwarted by bad lighting. The most welcoming spaces are filled with soft layers of flattering lighting at various heights (a chandelier, floor lamp, desktop lamp, etc.), not just one harsh light source. If the space has little natural light, use mirrors to brighten it up by reflecting what natural light there is around the room.

    2. Don’t Hang Pictures at the Wrong Height

Don't Hang Pictures at the Wrong HeightImage Source: Honestly WTF

You’ve found the perfect picture, paired it with the perfect frame, and now it’s time to hang it at the perfect height. The centre of the image should be at eye height, around 144cm — lower than most people expect. If you’re putting up a gallery wall, you not only need to be thoughtful with the height of the image but also the layout. Take care to mock up where each picture will go before you start putting nails in the wall.

       3. Don’t Have Tons of Throw Pillows

Don't Have Tons of Throw PillowsImage Source: Sarah Hearts

They’re affordable, easy to swap out, and a great way to transform the look of a room; however, it’s easy to get carried away with them, picking up one or two every time you’re shopping until you have no space on your sofa left to actually sit. If throw pillows are deflated and flat, or more tired than trendy, it’s time to toss them. As a rule of thumb, only buy a new pillow if you’re willing to part with an old.

      4. Don’t Blindly Follow Trends

Don't Blindly Follow TrendsImage Source: The Makerista

Of course, you want your interior design to be up-to-date, and it’s great to keep an eye on the 2016 trends — but beware of incorporating every trend into your home. Rose quartz and serenity might be the colours of the year, but that doesn’t mean you need to repaint all your walls. Just as with fashion, certain trends work better for certain people, so adopt and adapt as best suits your home and needs. If the season’s dark and moody hues are too much for your space, paint a single accent wall and incorporate edgy leopard in an occasional chair that can easily be swapped out as tastes change.

 5. Don’t Go Overboard With Decorative Painting

Don't Go Overboard With Decorative Painting
Image Source: StyleMutt

With a bucket of paint, you can do many a wonderful thing to a wall. You can also do many a horrible thing. Stencils, brushes, and the like have their place, but be careful not to gild the lily. In other words, keep decorative paint elements simple. That mural or stenciled design should enhance the room, not dominate it. And leave the sponge painting in the ’80s. Period.

    6. Don’t Hang Onto Pieces That No Longer Serve You

Don't Hang Onto Pieces That No Longer Serve YouImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

It can be hard to get rid of belongings that have sentimental value or that you shelled out big bucks for, even if they’ve outgrown their purpose. If you don’t, however, they’ll begin to overwhelm your home until its more cluttered than cute. Be honest with yourself and sort out the pieces you can really use, and get rid of the rest.

7. Don’t Push Furniture Against the Walls

Don't Push Furniture Against the WallsImage Source: The Decor Fix

Pro designers cringe when they see living room furniture pushed flush against a wall. Not only does it create awkward, empty space in the middle of the room, but it creates a formal, unwelcoming vibe. Make better use of the the space and warm up the room’s vibe by arranging furniture within the room instead of against it. Trust us, no one will mind seeing the back of your sofa.

8. Don’t Ignore Practical Needs

Don't Ignore Practical NeedsImage Source: Inspired by Charm

Get realistic about your family’s needs and budget, and design accordingly. While you may be lusting after the glam mirrored Hollywood regency coffee table, your young children mean you must forgo it for a soft, upholstered ottoman. Blowing your room budget on a single item is equally as devastating to your design. A truly great space is one that functions well for you.

  9. Don’t Design Without a Plan

Don't Design Without a PlanImage Source: Sarah Hearts

Every space has its own distinct style and purpose, and it’s important to figure out what that is before you begin to decorate. Even eclectic-style rooms have a cohesive design theme that holds them together. Without any overarching purpose or theme, a room quickly becomes chaotic and adrift. You don’t need to know exactly where each piece of decor will go, but you should have a general idea of what you want.

 

 

 

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15 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

15 Easy Ways to Make an Old Home Look Like NewImage Source: Inspired by Charm

This past weekend, my husband and I moved from the 94-year-old home we’ve been renting in the Berkeley Hills to a 58-year-old home around the corner. I have always had a soft spot for old homes — the architecture, the charm, the doorknobs! — but they definitely come with their quirks. Love ’em or hate ’em — if you’re living in an old house, you know there are some issues to contend with. Read on to find a list of 15 (relatively) quick fixes to make your old home feel new again.

Paint the Cabinets

Paint the Cabinets
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess

This is a big project, I won’t lie. I painted my cabinets once despite being spectacularly DIY averse. But that monotonous oak was killing me, so I persevered. And it is so worth it! A few cans of paint (and many hours of your life) will completely transform your kitchen — in fact, your whole home.

Paint a Tile Backsplash

Paint a Tile Backsplash
Image Source: One Kings Lane

Boring white tile backsplash? No matter — geometric patterns are hot this year, and you can make your own in a weekend!

Give Your Pantry a Makeover

Give Your Pantry a MakeoverImage Source: Polished Habitat

What with layers of paint and warping wood, old house pantries can definitely be lacking, so give yours a makeover! Make it the happiest place in the house.

Paint a Brick Fireplace

Paint a Brick FireplaceImage Source: Inspired by Charm

If your brick surround is an eyesore, not to worry — just paint it.

Cover a Popcorn Ceiling With Wood Planks

Cover a Popcorn Ceiling With Wood PlanksImage Source: Domino

Is this a major project? Yes. But then everything related to the ubiquitous popcorn ceiling seems to be. This is a doable DIY if you plan ahead. And the outcome is gorgeous!

Replace Ugly Doorknobs With Vintage Versions

Replace Ugly Doorknobs With Vintage Versions
Image Source: House Tweaking

This is an easy fix, but buying reproduction doorknobs can get pricey fast. To keep the budget down, shop local salvage yards or source an eclectic collection on Etsy.

Paint Kitchen and Bath Hardware

Paint Kitchen and Bath HardwareImage Source: Brittany Makes

Old kitchen and bath hardware can look pretty tired, and it’s no wonder, what with all the heavy lifting they do for us every day. But with a little sanding, primer, and paint, you can give them a new life. Check out this tutorial on how to spray-paint hardware for some inspiration!

Paint the Floor

Paint the Floor
Image Source: Little Green Notebook

Check out this great tutorial on how to paint a tile floor. Let your creativity run free with multiple colours and a repeating pattern.

Paint a Wood Fireplace

Paint a Wood FireplaceImage Source: The Makerista

Does your old house have a room (or rooms) full of wood siding? Can there be too much of a good thing? Sometimes a focal point is all that’s needed to draw the eye.

Dress Up a Cinder Block Wall With Chalk Paint

Dress Up a Cinder Block Wall With Chalk PaintImage Source: Sarah Hearts

Are you cursed with a dated cinder block patio wall? Do this now! Cutest solution ever, although definitely opt for paint over chalk to make sure your hard work lasts and lasts.

Paint Your Trim

Paint Your TrimImage Source: The Makerista

Old homes often have intricate architectural details — show them off by painting them a dramatic contrasting colour.

Container Garden in Place of Landscaping

Container Garden in Place of LandscapingImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

If your landscaping looks as old as your house but new landscaping is not in the budget, try a container garden instead. Add a few at a time (just remember to water them from time to time), and soon your garden will be looking cheerful.

Spray-Paint ’80s Brass Light Fixtures

Spray-Paint '80s Brass Light FixturesImage Source: Brittany Ambridge for Domino

Sometimes a can of spray paint and an afternoon is all it takes to update an old light fixture.

Tile Over Your Countertop

Tile Over Your CountertopImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Dated tile? Yucky grout? Tile over it! Click here for the DIY.

Paint Your Stone Patio Tiles With Pops of Colour

Paint Your Stone Patio Tiles With Pops of ColourImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Leave it to the bloggers at A Beautiful Mess to make even an ugly concrete patio look adorable.

 

 

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08 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

The Perfect Plant For Every Room in Your HomeImage Source: Armelle Habib

When it comes to the upsides of green thumbs, many of us are well-versed. Plants can be air-purifying, calming, insect-repellingsleep-inducing, or lighten up a space. Bringing parts of the outdoors in though, can often present challenges — where are the plants going to go? Will they suit the room? What if I’m already short on space? What about the temperature?

To save you spiralling into an endless Google search for answers, we’re breaking down the best indoor plants for every room, right here. With some handy styling tips, too, so now, there’s really no excuse not to go green.

This is an edited extract from Plant Society by Jason Chongue, published by Hardie Grant Books ($29.99) and available in stores nationally.

Living Room

Living RoomImage Source: Armelle Habib

The living room is the perfect place to go wild and use multiple plant types when styling. Use plants both individually and in groupings to get different effects. Tall, tree-like plants, like the rubber plant and dinner-plate ficus, are great specimen plants if you want to add drama into your room. You can also mix plain-leafed plants with more textured types.

Some good living room plants include:


Bedroom

BedroomImage Source: Armelle Habib

We spend a large portion of our lives in our bedroom, but it is often the last place we consider when introducing plants into our homes. Your bedside table is perfect for a compact plant that will help aerate the air while you sleep. Textural plants like devil’s ivy, philodendron and monstera make a nice addition to your bedroom and are a great thing to look at when you first wake up.

Some good bedroom plants include:

  • Arrowhead plant (Syngonium)
  • Begonia
  • Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Fruit salad plant (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
  • Wax plant (Hoya)


Dining Room

Dining RoomImage Source: Armelle Habib

There is nothing more special than having guests sit around your dinner table when it’s adorned with some delicate plants. The best plants for your dining room are plants that will remain small and compact. There are several well suited species with a range of colours and forms.

Some good dining room plants include:

Bathroom

Image Source: Armelle Habib

The bathroom is the perfect location for growing plants that love humidity. If you’re short on space, try hanging devil’s ivy or pitcher plants from shelves or the ceiling. Plants like peace lilies, queen of hearts and arrowhead plant are great for creating small groupings of plants placed next to your shower or beside your vanity.

Some good bathroom plants include:

  • Arrowhead plant (Syngonium)
  • Devil’s ivy (Epipremnumaureum)
  • Peace lily (Spathihyllum)
  • Pitcher plant (Nepenthes)
  • Queen of hearts (Homalomena)
  • Tassel fern (Huperzia)
  • Zebra plant (Aphelandra)

Office / Desk

Office / DeskImage Source: Armelle Habib

Compact plants are perfect for decorating your desk at home or at the office. There is often limited natural light at work and air circulation is poor. Try using some hardier table plants such as the Zanzibar gem, cast-iron plant or peace lily.

Some good office plants include:

  • Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Fruit salad plant (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Peace lily (Spathihyllum)
  • Zanzibar gem (Zamioculcas).

Meeting, Hallway and Reception Areas

Meeting, Hallway and Reception AreasImage Source: Armelle Habib

Plants make for a nice welcome when placed in hallways in your home and in reception spaces. They are comforting and create a calming first impression. These spaces are often used heavily and have limited natural lighting so try using plants like the cast-iron plant, rubber plant or umbrella tree.

Some good hallway or meeting room plants include:

  • Bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai)
  • Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)
  • Lady palm (Rhapis)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)

 

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30 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


This Is What an Organised Linen Closet Should Look Like

Image Source: Target

The linen closet: if you are lucky enough to have one, you’ve likely asked yourself the question, “So what goes in here, anyway?”

In most homes, it’s the junk drawer of closets, but if stocked correctly, your hall closet can be a sanctuary and a one-stop shop all in one. At least, that’s what the founders of The Home Edit are determined to show us with their latest project. Professional organisers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are teaming up with Target to reveal simple, stylish ways to make over the typical linen closet using affordable finds from the retailer.

So, what should every linen closet have? And what needs to get tossed for good? Read on for their expert recommendations.
What should every linen closet have?

What should every linen closet have?

Image Source: Target

Although most of your storage potential depends on the size of your space, a bare-bones closet should have the following, according to Clea and Joanna:

  1. Extra sets of sheets
  2. Extra towels
  3. Toiletry items, especially toilet paper rolls
  4. Bins and labels to easily sort and identify each category

Everything else — from extra pillows, blankets, and spare toothbrushes to hair straighteners and phone chargers for guests — are optional.

And as for those must-have bins?

It’s all about picking items that are practical and fit the dimensions of your space. “If your shelves have extra height, you want to choose something stackable,” they said. “If your shelves or drawers are extra deep, pick a bin with depth. Once you determine what makes the most sense, then make a selection that matches your aesthetic. Some people prefer natural materials to clear plastic, or opaque to transparent.” Bottom line? “The style of the bin should always come second to the function.”

What should every linen closet not have?

What should every linen closet <i>not</i> have?
Image Source: Target

There’s such a thing as too many bath towels, the two pros told POPSUGAR. “People often avoid editing items out before organizing the contents,” they revealed. “Purging duplicates, damaged items, or items you no longer use will ensure you have room for your necessities without overstocking.”

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25 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

Welcome to our new series, ‘3 Things I Wish My Clients Knew’, where we’ll be asking a range of experts in the design world to reveal three things they wish every client understood, whether it’s answers to questions they’re commonly asked, practical considerations that would speed up the design and installation process, or knowledge gaps they’d love us to fill… plus a useful golden nugget for you to store away in your memory bank.

We kick off with interior designer Stephanie O’Donohue from smarterBATHROOMS+, who talks us through the things she wishes every client knew before starting a new bathroom.

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1. Minimalism is (almost) never cheap

‘Clean, sleek lines’ is what my clients ask for – think single sheets of material, no joins, no handles and no grout lines. The most common misconception I come across is that this is a cheap look to achieve. People are fooled by the apparent simplicity of the aesthetic. But to achieve a truly beautiful, minimalist look the detail in the build needs to be precise.

Some of the simplest-looking spaces I have worked on have been the most expensive, due to the immense detail and meticulous planning required.

 

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Specifying no cabinetry handles often means expensive opening mechanisms or hand-cut joinery. No joins in stone means buying oversized slabs and having an expert stonemason on hand to book-match the ends perfectly. And no grout lines means either huge, expensive tiles that take two tilers to lay (which doubles the labour cost) or porcelain sheets that can only be cut and installed by a stonemason – onto a wall that most likely has to be straightened instead of just packed.

 

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2. Don’t DIY your tiling – ever

It’s just not worth it. Planning the tiling and tiling itself are both art forms. I have seen far too many new bathrooms that only look good when you’re not wearing your glasses. Once you see a crooked tile or uneven grouting it cannot be unseen.

A tiler who plans the space, tile by tile, to ensure the placement of cuts and grout lines will be perfect is worth their weight in gold. You may be tempted to tackle a job that seems straightforward, but don’t do it. Especially if you have contrasting grout.

 

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A good tiler will work more quickly than you could ever hope to, and they will be able to correctly use epoxy grout, giving you a superior and longer-lasting finish than you’d achieve yourself with a regular cement-based grout. They will also be able to disguise an uneven wall or an unsightly edge to a degree.

The tiles and grout are your first defence against water damage. Inferior tiling puts your whole room and subfloor at risk. Step away from the tiles and call an expert. 


53. Tight budget? Stuck for a design idea? Go big!

This is one of my favourite tricks. Sometimes you can’t afford the Rolls Royce of every element in your space. But if you can distract from your more economical, practical design decisions with a wow feature, you can save yourself thousands in upgrading everything unnecessarily.

Oversized handles, for example, can add a touch of drama and interest to an otherwise plain bathroom. Have you got a high bathroom ceiling? Find the biggest pendant light your electrician can lift and fill the bathroom with an object so demanding of attention that it develops a personality of its own. You’ll find it gives your bathroom a real designer edge and detracts from the cheaper elements in the space.

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You could also distract the eye with repetition, where you take one design idea and use it several times over in a space. Do you love penny round tiles? Pick a round basin, rounded tapware, a round mirror and towels with a circular pattern. Repetition of a theme will give the space a cohesive, thought-out feel where every design decision is deliberate.

It will also help you shop better as you won’t fall into the trap of picking 10 things you love and finding none of them work together.

 

7 The one thing I always get asked is…
‘How long does a bathroom renovation take?’ Many people are surprised when they hear that a quality bathroom renovation takes about four weeks. Renovation shows are not reality!

Many people don’t have a spare bathroom they can use while the renovation takes place. If that’s the case for you, plan ahead. Hire a portable toilet or shower from a reputable builder, join a nearby gym (there are often free trials you can take advantage of), or consider renting elsewhere for a month while the job is done.None of these are ideal, but if you’re going to build a bathroom to last 20-30 years, that month of inconvenience will quickly be forgotten when you step inside your gorgeous new space.

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My golden nugget…

Unless it’s a colour other than chrome, a tap is a tap. Something basic will be fine, so don’t spend your hard-earned cash there. Funnel your money into custom cabinetry instead. Having a smart drawer that fits your lipstick collection perfectly, in a colour you love and with a concealed bin, will be worth so much more than the bragging rights for Italian taps.

 

 

 

 

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