13 January 2020
The summer break is a perfect time to tackle those neglected DIY tasks. Photo: iStock
There’s no time like the summer break to get around to all those tasks you’ve been meaning to do. Without the busyness of work and general life, focusing on some of those neglected areas of the home means you’ll start the year fresh, updated and accomplished.
It’s key to decide which home DIY projects you’ll invest your time and money into. Are there any that have really been on your mind? What will add value to your home?
Between beach trips and pool-side relaxation, here are some ideas for home DIY that are easy enough to complete over your summer break and won’t break the bank.
Freshen up your interior painting
Anyone can work some magic with the right colours and a paintbrush. With warm weather on the agenda, your coats will dry fairly fast, making it an easy summer fix.
If you’ve got wallpaper to remove, holes or dints to patch, make sure you do that before you start on the painting.
Typically, prep and painting take anywhere from three to six hours per room, depending on the size and direction to the sun.
It doesn’t take long to give the walls a fresh coat. Photo: iStock
Planting and landscaping
Who doesn’t enjoy a sunny afternoon in the garden or stroll through the nursery choosing new flowers? Your garden refresh could be as simple as replacing furniture or as complex as constructing an entertainment area.
For the budget-conscious, planting cuttings from friends and family is a great way to get your garden started and add in some new species.
While it can be difficult to estimate the time frame of a landscaping job, small jobs such as replacing furniture or planting could all be knocked over in a day. For larger tasks such as laying pavers or grass, allow a few days.
Who doesn’t love an afternoon in the garden? Photo: iStock
Re-tiling kitchen splashback
Make sure to weigh up your experience here. Nobody wants to end up with an uneven, less than perfect splashback in their kitchen.
Another thing to pay attention to is the type of tiles you are going to use before you dive straight in. Some tiles are harder to both lay and align.
If you’re unsure but keen to give it a go yourself, YouTube is a great place to gather info, get tips and watch how the professionals do it.
Before you start, make sure you consider the knock-on effect, so it doesn’t turn into a mountain of a job. For example, if your tiles sit behind your benchtops, it will become a much more complicated task. If the colour is quite polarising, will it mean eventually replacing all the tiles throughout the home?
Curtains are an easy way to transform a room. Photo: Stocksy
Updating the blinds
Blinds have the power to transform the whole room, adding colour, light or texture with minimal effort or costs involved. If you’ve already got tracks in place, then it’s just a case of replacing the curtains, which can be done in half a day.
When it comes to choosing your curtains and the hooks, make sure to seek advice from staff in-store. The different styles of hooks can be confusing, but with the right advice, you’ll be set for an easy DIY task.
Just like curtains, lighting also has the power to change a room entirely. Lighting can be a statement piece, add ambience and is an economical way of sprucing up the home. Be sure to call on a licensed electrician for any installation that needs to be done.
03 August 2018
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Luke Menzel, chief executive officer at the Energy Efficiency Council, shares some practical tips for keeping a lid on your winter heating consumption and costs.
Stop heat escaping
For most homes in colder parts of Australia, heating is by far the biggest slice of the energy bill pie. Insufficient insulation and draughty homes mean that heaters have to work much harder to keep you warm, which adds to power costs.
Draught-proofing your home to prevent heat escaping is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to save energy, allowing you to stay warm and toasty without cranking up the thermostat.
Turn the thermostat down
Turning the thermostat too high can be a huge drain on energy and your finances, with each degree adding around 10 per cent to your heating bill. For maximum efficiency, aim to set it between 18 and 20°C. If this feels too chilly (most of us prefer a more comfortable 25 or 26°C in winter), try moving away from uncovered windows, sealing draughts and popping on a jumper.
Having too many cold surfaces in your home can add to the chill factor too – in fact, it can have just as much of an effect as air temperature.
To make your home feel warmer, consider installing secondary glazing and adding heavy curtains to windows, laying rugs on cold, hard floors, and moving your favourite armchair so it’s not right beside a cold window.
Open curtains during the day to allow the winter sun to warm the surfaces in your home. Draw curtains at night to keep the heat in.
Only heat the rooms you’re using
Rather than heating your entire home, zone your heating so it only warms up those rooms you spend time in. Do this by closing doors to keep the heat where you need it. If you’re installing a new heating system, consider a ducted system that can be zoned for individual rooms.
Tip: Check ducting before the start of winter to check that it’s leak-free, well-insulated and in proper working condition. This can sometimes be done with thermal imaging cameras, to save crawling around in dark spaces.
Halogen downlights can be a huge energy waster in winter. Aside from their high energy consumption, these lights need to be kept far away from insulation as a fire-safety precaution. This means there is an uninsulated patch of ceiling surrounding halogen downlights that provides an easy escape route for heat.
The heat that rises from each downlight can also create a chimney effect and suck warm air out of your house, which leads to chilly draughts.
Replace old appliances
That old, second fridge in the garage or dated reverse-cycle air conditioner in the living room could be costing you more than you realise. Consider the numbers; a new, energy-efficient fridge can cost half as much to run as one that’s 15 to 20 years old – this equates to a saving of about $150 per year. Meanwhile, most reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems are between 30 and 40 per cent more efficient than those of 15 years ago.
Splashing out on new energy-efficient appliances can cut your energy costs considerably.
Be star savvy
Most major appliances, such as fridges and reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems, come labelled with an energy-star rating, which tells you how efficient they are and how much energy they’ll consume. It ranges from one to six stars (although in recent years, four additional high-performance stars have been added to many products). The more stars, the more efficient the product. Appliances with more stars may cost a little more, but you’ll save the money back in running costs.
Be aware that if you have an older appliance at home with a three-star label, it might only rate as two stars by today’s standards – and may not even be allowed to be sold under current minimum standard rules.
The number below the stars on the label is a calculation of how much electricity the appliance will typically consume in a year. Multiply this number by your electricity tariff to get annual running costs.
Tip: Tariffs can differ significantly at different times of day, so choosing when to use your appliance can help save you money. You might find it more cost efficient to run your washer, dryer or dishwasher at night or early in the morning.
Reduce pump time
If you have a swimming pool, halving the pump-timer duration in winter can result in substantial savings. However, do check with your local pool or spa specialist to ensure you maximise energy efficiency while still meeting all the health requirements required with a pool.
What’s your winter energy-saving tip? Tell us in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to like this story, share it and save the photos. Join the conversation.
20 July 2018
Passionate about technology? A home-automation system is likely to be on your wish list – here’s what you need to know
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. A premium home-automation system – also known as a smart-home system – allows you to control multiple functions in the home, such as lighting, heating and cooling, audio, security, door locks and even kitchen appliances – from a single device, be it a touch-screen remote control or an app on your phone or tablet, from wherever you are in the world.
Tempted? Here, Trevor Rooney, director of residential markets at Crestron, reveals everything you need to know about setting up a home-automation system in your own abode.
Home automation is all about convenience. Having the ability to control core elements in your home remotely, such as lighting, heating, entertainment and front-door access, can save time and make life run more smoothly.
What sort of things can a home-automation system do?
- Give you remote access to door locks so you can control who has access to your home when you’re not there.
- Switch lights on and off remotely or connect them to a timer or sensors, so they go on automatically (also great for security when you’re not home).
- Control heating or cooling so you can come home to a warm interior in winter or a cool one in summer.
- Give you remote access to alarms and surveillance systems; you will be notified if anyone approaches your home and can see who is at your front door. You can also switch surveillance on and off remotely.
- Change the television channel or switch the set on or off via voice command.
- Set your coffee machine to turn on automatically in the morning (it will even brew you a cup before you get out of bed).
- Automate your pool and pond cleaning, with the ability to adjust settings from your smart device while you’re not at home.
For even greater convenience, you can pre-determine the settings on your automated system for lighting, heating and entertainment to suit different situations. For example, you could set the system to control various elements simultaneously, so that when you go to bed it turns off all the inside lights, switches on the security camera at the front door, adjusts the kids’ night lights, and switches off the heater – all with one swipe of your smart-screen remote or an app on your phone.
Can automation cut my energy bills?
Absolutely. Here’s how:
- Accidentally left your lights on when you left the house? With home automation, you can switch lights off from wherever you are.
- Connecting blinds to a sensor-controlled system means they’ll close automatically when the temperature reaches a certain point, keeping your home cooler and reducing air-conditioning costs. You can also keep your home naturally cooler by setting up an automated shading system for overhead or exterior window shades.
- No more overheating your home unnecessarily; by installing a smart thermostat, your heating will switch off automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level.
How is a home-automation system different to a smart-home assistant?
Devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are great for convenience. They can perform simple tasks by using voice recognition, such as checking the weather, reading out the day’s headlines or performing Google searches.
A premium home-automation system is far more sophisticated. It allows you to automate several different devices through one simple-to-use interface or an app on your phone. So, instead of having five different remote controls to manage your various devices, you just have the one platform, which can be controlled by voice or touch.
How does voice control work?
Systems such as those at Crestron can be connected to Amazon Echo’s Alexa Voice Service to enable voice control. This allows you to give voice commands, such as ‘Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights’ or ‘Alexa, raise the temperature in the family room by five degrees.’
You can also control multiple systems simultaneously through a number of preset scenes. For example, in the morning you could say ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Morning Theme,’ and the blinds will slowly open, the lights will switch on and a warm shower will start running in the bathroom. Or, if you want to set the mood for an intimate dinner party, simply say, ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Intimate Dinner.’ The dining room lights will dim, the window coverings will adjust and soothing music will play from your speakers.
What should I expect to pay?
This depends on the level of automation you want. Crestron’s new PYNG 2.0 platform (available later this year), which controls audio/visual functions, such as the television, Foxtel, Apple TV and Sonos, starts from around $3,500. This would include the processor and a touch-screen remote control. Incorporating lighting and shading solutions into a home-automation system would see this cost rise to around $10,000, depending on the size of the space.
A fully connected smart-home system starts from around $25,000, depending on the size of the property.
Can I retrofit an automated system?
It’s best incorporated during the building phase. However, it’s certainly possible to install after the build.
06 July 2018
Image Source: A House in the Hills
If there are rules that you as a renter must follow, make it these 10 commandments. Because, while paying your rent on time is important, so too is making sure your place is personalised and stylish. Working within the boundaries of your landlord, it’s little things like a new light fixture that will make an impact without costing a lot of time or money. And, the best part about this entire list is that you’ll leave with your security deposit intact once it’s time to move up and on.
- Thou Shalt Add Storage
Let’s get real, custom cabinetry is not an option if you don’t own the place. Since rentals usually lack storage, add your own with affordable Ikea bookcases, simple shelves, or these organising solutions.
- Thou Shalt Change the Hardware
Rental hardware is basic . . . your style, not so much. Switching out cabinet pulls and bathroom hardware will make a huge difference. Just remember to keep the original pieces to swap back in before moving out.
- Thou Shalt Ditch Vertical Blinds
Image Source: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
They are the ultimate decorating sin! To prevent your space from looking like a hospital room, take them down or hide them under curtains. Again, don’t toss — they’re essential if you want your security deposit back.
- Thou Shalt Line Cabinets
This might seem trivial and a bit annoying, but lining your cabinets is a must. Not only will it make your kitchen look clean, but also it will mask worn and grungy cabinets without having to paint. Adhesive liner works, but a softer grip liner is better because it’s easy to install; it will also prevent glassware from chipping.
- Thou Shalt Accessorise Like Crazy
It’s true, and that’s the only way you’re going to get a truly personal space. Go to town with throws, pillows, and accents that reflect your style.
- Thou Shalt Avoid Wallpaper
Well, in most cases. Sure it’s stylish, but in all honestly, wallpaper is really inconvenient to remove, especially if you won’t be in your place for long. If you love the patterned look, consider the removable wallpaper seen in this studio or these alternative wallpaper ideas.
- Thou Shalt Hang Art
Image Source: Love Grows Wild
No excuses — get your art on the walls! Patching up a tiny hole come move-out day is nothing compared to the impact it will make on your space. No need to create a full-blown gallery wall either. Try hanging one statement piece and resting photos on a mantel or shelf, similar to this home.
- Thou Shalt Invest in Rugs
Especially if your place has carpet! Rugs are an easy way to cover up that not-so-cute carpet and can be packed up with you come your next move. Rugs are also a necessity to keep noise down, especially in older apartments with wood floors.
- Thou Shalt Emphasise Lighting
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
This is another trick that many renters often overlook. Take it from HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri who suggest you use lighting to set the tone and make an impact in a rental. Get creative with floor and table lamps that can easily be moved from place to place.
- Thou Shalt Make the Most of Plants
No yard? No problem. Pots are a great way to achieve the bohemian jungalow look or even have your own urban garden. The best part is you won’t have to fret about leaving any of them behind.
22 June 2018
If searching for your keys is a part of your morning ritual, it’s time to break the cycle. Being organised is more than just a personality trait, it’s a lifestyle decision that’s easier to achieve if you stock your home with the right tools. These 15 clutter-busting essentials will make your days feel longer and less stressful. Cheers to that!
Idea: If you don’t want to hang a key hook, do yourself a favour and get a key catchall. Having a designated place to place your keys when you walk through the door will save you from the “running late” syndrome. Don’t be that person.
Get it: Making your own leather catchall is easier than you’d think. Follow this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess to DIY your own
Image Source: Bahar Yurukoglu for Domino
Idea: You know how it goes . . . You take the time to meticulously fold sheets and towels, and by the end of week, it looks like a bomb exploded in your linen closet. Here’s where clear shelf dividers come in. They’ll keep your stacks of linens in order without creating an eyesore.
Get it: Stock up on these acrylic shelf dividers to tame your most unruly closet.
Idea: Put your pantry on display by keeping dried goods and other treats in lidded glass jars.
Get it: You can get her kitchen jars at Ikea.
Idea: If you’ve seen these used to hang pots and pans, you’ll be happy to know that the idea translates for any room in the house. We love how Sugar + Cloth blogger Ashley Rose used one for above-the-bed storage and decor.
Image Source: Paul Costello for Domino
Idea: If shuffling through a drawer to find a tube of lipstick gives you anxiety, you’ll be amazed by the efficiency that a simple drawer organiser can offer.
Idea: Forget the space-saving allure of forgoing a knife block — we’re crazy about the fact that you can see the shapes and sizes of your most utilised knives while keeping them in reach.
Idea: It’s amazing how quickly a tray can corral clutter. Bonus points for turning the top of your toilet into an extension of your medicine cabinet (with the addition of a slim bud vase and framed picture, of course).
Image Source: Cahan Eric For Domino
Idea: Labelled boxes are a great way to organise the things you want out of sight.
Idea: Sure, you can use them to hang a curtain, but they work wonders in making the most out of shelves. Follow Martha Stewart’s lead, and use them to organise kitchen items like pot and pan lids, trays, and cutting boards.
Image Source: Lesley A. Unruh for Domino
Idea: Whether you need more storage space for clothes or craft supplies, these wall-mounted mesh drawers allow you to customize your storage and easily see what you’re storing.
Makeup Brush Cups
Idea: Instead of cramming makeup brushes into a messy drawer or makeup bag, keep them within easy reach in a stylish cup.
Idea: Whether it’s a drawer filled with neat rows of spices or a creative DIY that frees cabinet space, every organized cook seems to have their spice collection under control.
Get it: A Beautiful Mess has an easy-to-follow tutorial for making these nifty magnetic spice jars.
Clever Toilet Paper Storage
Idea: Running out of it when you need it is the worst, but stacking it in plain sight can cramp your bathroom’s style. Kill two birds with one stone by turning a basket into a toilet paper organiser and dispenser.
Image Source: Monica Wang for The Everygirl
Idea: A lack of cabinet space doesn’t have to stop you from owning bulky appliances like KitchenAid mixers and high-powered blenders. Some of the cutest rentals we’ve seen use stainless steel shelves for stylishly organization, making it easy to keep everything within sight. The best part? You can extend them or shorten them for a customized height.
Get it: This shelving unit is a great starter package.
01 June 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
18 May 2018
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
Have you ever come home from a long day of work, stepped through your door, and noticed that your home smells a little musty? Between lingering food smells from the kitchen, damp towels in the bathroom, and other day-to-day activities, there are lots of things that contribute to your home smelling a little less than fresh. It happens to the best of us, but luckily it’s an easy fix! DIY air fresheners, houseplants aplenty, and some essential cleaning tips are some of our favourite ways to get a fresh home that smells amazing.
Burn a Candle
Image Source: Francois et Moi
Scented candles add a whole lot of cosiness to your room and can make your entire home smell fresh or festive, depending on the scent you choose! Try this DIY soy candle to get a fresh scent while skipping the harsh chemicals.
DIY an Essential Oil Diffuser
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
Candles should never be left unattended, so if you want something that you don’t have to pay much attention to, DIY an essential oil diffuser instead. They can make your home smell great for months and you can choose your own scents.
Deep-Clean Your Bathroom
Image Source: Studio McGee
How often do you actually deep-clean your bathroom? You should really try to get behind all those nooks and crannies that you don’t always pay attention to once a week. Without a good, regular deep clean, your bathroom will eventually start to smell.
Get an Air Purifier
Image Source: Love Grows Wild
There are lots of things to love about air purifiers, from getting rid of harmful pollutants in your home to making your home less dusty. They also help contribute to a crisp, fresh smell in your home.
Make a DIY Air Freshener
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
When it’s not really possible to crack a window for fresh air, try a DIY air freshener instead. You can also use them to freshen up fabrics and get rid of musty smells.
Bake Some Bread
Image Source: Damn Delicious
What can make your home smell better than baking a fresh loaf of bread? There are plenty of simple bread recipes out there, like this no-knead rosemary bread recipe that will instantly make your home smell amazing.
Rid Your Kitchen of Grease
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
If you cook often, grease can really start to build up, even in places you never expected. Citrus-based cleaners work wonders for cleaning up grease on your counters, range hood, microwave, and more, leaving your kitchen smelling fresh.
Create Lavender Sachets
Image Source: House*Tweaking
These DIY lavender sachets are a great option if you have specific rooms or areas in your home that need freshening up. Just hang one wherever you want your home to smell good!
Simmer Your Favourite Scents
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
One of the best air fresheners you can make is one on your stove. Combine your favourite scents, like citrus, cinnamon, cloves, or anything else you like, and simmer it on the stove in some water for as long as you like.
Image Source: Sarah Hearts
It’s no secret that houseplants are one of the best natural air purifiers on the market! Many houseplants help to produce more oxygen in your home while ridding the air of toxic chemicals and carbon monoxide, giving your home a fresher scent.
Make Dryer Balls
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
DIY dryer balls are a great, less toxic alternative to dryer sheets, but you can use them in similar ways. Put them strategically around your home, like in your linen closet or in your drawers, to keep things smelling super fresh!
23 April 2018
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:
- Hair products
- Tanning sprays and lotions
- Basic first aid
- Sanitary products
- Nail polish
- Eye care
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.
20 April 2018
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.
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.
“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.”
04 January 2018
If lavish roof gardens and expansive backyards are only a reality on your Pinterest boards, that doesn’t mean your chance at outdoor living is crushed. If you have a balcony, a front porch, or a little patch of grass to call your own (if only on a “renting” basis), then you’ve got potential.
We’ve rounded up outdoor decor ideas for tiny spaces. From the dual purpose, to the fold-up, to the mini, there’s even something for those balconies that have a one-person-at-a-time limit.
Wheel it out, and wheel it back in.
Yes, it’s instantly an Summer party when you’re drinking from a cherry-printed cup.
Party Drinkware Set ($39.95)
Party Drinkware Set
Stools that are as much seats as tables and completely stackable.
VÄSTERÖN Stool ($14.99)
Fold up the legs and keep it with your ironing board.
Ikea PS 2014 Bench ($75)
Ikea PS 2014 Bench
Load it up with everything you need for dinner under the stars, and then take it all back to the kitchen in one go. Box also charade as a planter, lift, tray and storage unit.
KNAGGLIG Box ($9.99)
Pull it out for max relaxing, then fold it up and hang it on the wall when you need to make space for the washing.
MYSINGSÖ Beach Chair ($39.99)
MYSINGSÖ Beach Chair
The answer to wall gardens for renters, this apparatus is a bench and storage box, and it allows you to keep plants vertically, leaving more floor space.
ÄPPLARÖ Bench Wall Panel and Shelf ($159)
ÄPPLARÖ Bench Wall Panel and Shelf
Opt for lighting that hangs, and requires no power (other than the sun).
Smokey Bulb String Lights ($10)
Smokey Bulb String Lights
The top of this table is a a removable tray. So smart.
Metal Tray Table ($15)
Metal Tray Table
Torres Outdoor Lounge Chair
This bench could be the only piece of furniture you need for lounging, reading with a cup of tea, playing cards with a friend or painting your toe nails.
Woven Bench ($39)
All that bulky BBQ equipment in one multi tool.
BBQ Multi Tool ($49.95)
09 November 2017
If you’re still using budget furniture and a duvet from your university days, despite the fact you’ve been working for years, it may be time for a bedroom upgrade. Even if you only have a limited budget, quick upgrades to your bedroom can make all the difference. Paint the walls a fresh new hue; invest in new bed linen, throws, and cushions; or go the whole hog with a statement bed frame or dressing table for an instant revamp. These inspirational bedrooms from Instagram show you just how many options there are for a bedroom overhaul, whether you prefer minimalist Scandinavian design or all-out bohemian excess. Scroll on through these chic sleeping spaces, then start planning the next steps for your room.
1. Blush and Grey
2. Statement Bed Frame
3. Golden Wonder
4. Buttercup and Grey
5. Jungle Hues
6. Golden Accents
7. Feature Wall
8. Chunky Knit on White
9. Peacock Bedspread
10. Shades of Beige
11. Muted Layers
12. Into the Blue
13. Pink Brickwork
14. Bohemian Swirls
15. Greyscale Glamour
16. Pinwheel Boho
17. Green and Navy
18. Cubes and Cushions
19. Dark Wood
21. Purple Reign
23. Teal Touches