Your company account is blocked and you cannot place orders. If you have questions, please contact your company administrator.

Home Improvement and DIY

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Any Tiny Kitchen

mom and daughter working in white kitchen with veggies on kitchen island
For anyone who loves to cook, a tiny kitchen can be their worst nightmare. It seems as though there is never enough counter space to cut, chop and mix foods and when it comes to reaching for just the right spice, somehow, it’s always tucked away just out of reach because of limited shelving.



mom and daughter in white kitchen with vegetables on kitchen island

Are you plagued with this problem? If so, you might be interested to know that with some reorganisation, a few minor renovations, and a bit of creativity, you can turn your worst nightmare into a dream come true. Here are just 10 ways to make the most of any tiny kitchen you might want to consider.

kitchen counter sink and stove with brick splashback

1. Rid the Room of Wasted Space


If you start by taking an honest look at your kitchen, you will probably find that even your tiny kitchen has lots of wasted space. How can that be when your cupboards and drawers are packed beyond capacity?

Start with your walls and ceiling. Instead of those cutesy little pictures you have hanging, why not use hanging clips to keep your utensils and cutting boards on? And, as for the ceiling, why not suspend a hanging rack upon which you can easily keep your pots and pans? It’s amazing just how much space you can free up in that cabinet just by finding new homes for the overflow.

baby with dad and mom in white and wood kitchen

2. Drawer and Cabinet Organisers


Let’s move on now to your cupboards and cabinets. Do you often find that there simply isn’t enough room to stack all your dishes and food staples? Perhaps you should consider hanging wire cabinet organisers which would literally add another shelf upon which to stack other items. This is, perhaps, the easiest way to make the most out of every square cm of space available to you.

kitchen with white cabinets wood counter succulents pendant lights and sink window

3. Corner Shelves


Just take a look at your cupboards and you will see that those drawers and doors aren’t doing you much good when it comes to space. The traditional design leaves a lot of empty space not being used, so if you replace those corner doors and drawers with a rotating corner shelf, you’ve just gained more storage space than you knew was there waiting to be filled.

mom dad and daughter having fun in the kitchen with cabinets in background and red and yellow bell peppers on kitchen island in foreground

4. Multi-Purpose Kitchen Island


In an effort to plan an open-space living environment, many of the newer homes have simply left a tiny kitchen open to a living room area. There is no room for a conventional table and chairs and certainly no counter space as mentioned above, so why not transform that tiny kitchen area with a multi-purpose kitchen island? These can be used for prepping food and with the addition of a couple of stools, they also make for a lovely breakfast bar which does away with the need for that awkward table that just doesn’t fit – no matter where you place it.

woman wearing orange in front of fridge with fruits and veggies

5. Don’t Forget Your Fridge


Everyone has seen pictures of homes where there is everything taped to the fridge, from Johnnie’s first finger painting to this week’s calendar of family events. Those are always nice sentimental touches, but that space could be put to better use.

Perhaps one side could hold an adhesive paper towel holder and a few stick-on hooks for hot pads and dish cloths. By all means, keep those precious mementos of Johnnie’s junior years, but perhaps it would be better to scan them and use a digital picture frame you could easily sit on that kitchen island without taking up usable space for organising.

mother and daughter working on wood island counter in white kitchen

6. Carts and Moveable Islands


Whilst you may want to undergo a total home renovation to get the counter and storage space you need, there are other ways to make the most of what you have available to you. Many families with tiny kitchens use smaller rolling carts and/or movable butcher block islands they can tuck neatly into another area of the home. With so many homes being of an open-space design in recent times, simply roll it against a wall in the living area where it can also be used as a serving cart when entertaining.

kitchen with white brick tiles and cream cabinets

7. Shelves Above the Upper Cabinets


This idea may require a step ladder approach, but have you looked lately at how much wasted space there is above your upper cabinets in the kitchen? Typically, you will find that there is ample room above those cupboards to add a shelf or two upon which you can store those items you don’t use often enough to take up space below. Why store them in the garage when there is still plenty of space above the cabinets?

kitchen with black and white tiles black counter and white cabinets

8. Vertical Foil and Plastic Wrap Hangers


Lest we forget the inside of cabinet doors, what about all that space which is being wasted? Not only can you utilise vertical hangers for aluminum foil and plastic wrap, but you can add hanging shelves to hold your cleaning liquids and other items which never seem to find the right home. In fact, you can usually find some use for the inside of every door because most cabinetry is designed with plenty of space between the shelves and the inside of doors.

black kitchen sink with water flowing from black mixer tap

9. Expandable Rods Under the Sink


Speaking of cleaning liquids, an expandable rod is ideal for hanging all those sprays you use daily. Simply expand the rod with as much tension as you can muster and then hang the spray handles on the rod. This frees up more space on the bottom of the cabinet where other things can be neatly stacked.

kitchen in white and neutrals

10. Wall-Mounted Dish Drainers


This is an ideal way to keep the countertop free to use as a workspace. Have you thought of using a wall-mounted dish drainer instead of the traditional drainers with those unsightly draining boards? Of course, these wouldn’t work well for a family of six, but neither would a tiny kitchen unless you began your organisation from day one.

 

Where once homes were built to add tons of living space, there is a concerted effort going on in society now to make everything tiny. From tiny homes to tiny kitchens to tiny cars, in an effort to build an eco-friendly living environment, most designers are going small and even smaller. The point is, it is more energy-efficient to keep tiny spaces climate-controlled and this is why you may be faced with such a tiny kitchen. Nonetheless, with these 10 tips, you can make the most of even the tiniest of kitchens you never thought would be possible. Now then, isn’t that a dream come true?

Inexpensive Ideas: Delightful Fixtures to Freshen Up Your Bathroom

bathroom with large mirrors ceramic basins and artwork
Most bathroom renovations result in a total upgrade, ranging from replacing the fixtures to expanding the floor size of the bathroom. If you’re considering a bathroom renovation, what are the things that you’d probably improve?



bathroom with large mirrors ceramic basins and artwork

It’s better to upgrade your fixtures as well when renovating. Go for a wholesome new look for your bathroom by going for an overall makeover. If you bought the house from a former owner, the bathroom might be one of the rooms which you should prioritise.

Check the shower and sinks in your bathroom. Upgrading these specific fixtures will boost your bathroom’s appeal. Read on to get helpful ideas on new installations for your newly renovated bathroom.

Shower Fixtures


If the shower in your bathroom isn’t functional or if you want to change to another type, there are some suggestions you can consider. Whether it’s bathroom renovations in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, or Canberra, you have to be very specific when it comes to the companies that specialize in renovation services.

Vale-Round-twin-shower-rail-shower-head


  • Wall Mount




This type is the one that you’ll commonly see in bathrooms which you can buy for as low as $99. Wall mount is the type of showerhead that’s fixed on the wall at a certain height. This showerhead is hard to use if you live with people who are taller or shorter than you. Since it’s fixed on the wall, this type leaves little room for adjustment.


  • Hand Held




This type is more flexible compared to the wall mount type, and you can buy this for $27.50. The showerhead comes with an attached hose to the wall attachment, which means that you can remove it from the holder and adjust it to your preferred height. Elderly or disabled people will benefit the most from this type, as well as your housemates who are taller or shorter than you.


  • Body Spray




If you’re not satisfied with one showerhead, there are other fixtures you can choose such as swivel heads. It can be installed at various heights and allows for a massage-like bath.

The body spray type comes with more than one water spray or showerhead. The swivel heads are placed at strategic locations so you can have an easier time while taking a bath, compared to a single showerhead which you have to move around for you to clean your body.

square-rain-shower-head-black


  • Rain




This showerhead is larger than the other types, which means that you also receive more water when showering. This type will help you feel as if you’re taking a bath in a downpour at the comforts of your bathroom.

Sinks


Sinks might seem like a minor detail, but installing a new one during renovation will help you achieve a comfortable bathroom. Check out these types and choose the best one for you.

ceramic bathroom basin with chrome mixer tap


  • Self-rimming




This sink has rounded edges which are used to support the sink installed on the countertop, which is why it's called 'self-rimming.' It's also fastened to the countertop by a minimal amount of caulk. You can easily install this type. If you’re adding a new sink to a pre-existing counter, you can comfortably fit this type.


  • Vessel




This type adds a unique design to your bathroom. Unlike the typical sink, this sink looks like a bowl and is put on top of a counter. It requires a pop-up drain because it doesn’t need undermount installation.

aguzzo siena oval bathroom basin


  • Wall-mounted




If you’re aiming at saving space in the bathroom, go for this type. This sink doesn’t require a counter or floor space. Attach it directly to your wall at the most comfortable height for you.


  • Pedestal




This type is similar to the wall-mounted type. However, it differs in shape. It resembles a birdbath with its vast basin and narrow base.


  • Undermount




This type requires a solid surface countertop for installation. It’s easy to clean, and it lets you use your countertop to its full extent.


  • Console




This sink is similar to both the wall-mounted and pedestal types. It’s fixed on the wall, but it also has legs attached to it. You can use it as a sink or a counter, and you can even use the space beneath for shelf purposes.

white and grey bathroom mirror sink towel

Ideal Fixtures


Maximize the potential of your bathroom renovation by investing in inexpensive but quality fixtures. Choose the type that will add beauty and comfort to your home without draining your cash.

 

Author Bio

Phoebe Jones is a writer by passion. She writes articles on any topic, but more often focuses on home improvement. She shares helpful tips for her readers on how to make their homes a beautiful place. During her free time, Phoebe likes taking walks on the beach and snapping pictures of the sunset.

Above Ground Pools: Things to Consider in Choosing a Modular Swimming Pool

bathroom with large mirrors ceramic basins and artwork
Modular swimming pools are a fantastic way to enhance your home in an affordable way. Not only can they provide you and your family with a refreshing break from the scorching summer sun but they also offer a wonderful space to play and entertain that can be easily modified to fit your garden. Above ground pools can also look great to prospective buyers if you ever wish to sell your property.

But what factors should you consider before buying your above ground pool?



above ground pool with trees plants and wooden planks

WHEN: The best time to buy a modular pool


Even though the products themselves don’t change, prices tend to fluctuate depending on the season. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that modular pools are in higher demand during the summer and warmer months. So, if you’re thinking about getting one, start browsing during the winter to ensure you get the best possible price.

WHERE: The suitable site for your pool


The main advantage of modular pools is that they can be modified to fit the space you have. This doesn’t just mean physically fitting the pool into your property, it also refers to the layout you use to make the most of your pool in the most functional and aesthetically pleasing way possible.

Before buying your pool, think about where you’d like it. Think about how it will look and fit in the space. Take measurements and think about various shape and size options. Think about how it will function within that space and how you can make the most of the rest of your garden.

man and child swimming in a modular pool

WHAT: Reasons for getting an above-ground pool


Think about the purpose of your pool. This may sound like a simple question but consider when it will be used, how many people will be using it and for what purpose. This will help you identify what size and type of pool you need.

Drainage That Works


Above ground pools are popular because they are generally cheaper and easier to install. But they do still need proper drainage channels. When considering drainage options, make sure you think about functionality and durability as well as aesthetics.

pool drain channel

Budget That’s All-Inclusive


Modular pools vary in prices. Think about your budget and don’t forget to include all the related maintenance equipment in your calculations. Also, consider the installation costs. Remember, safety at all times so keep that in mind when budgeting your pool and ask the professionals as they will know what the regulations are.

Water Preference That’s Well-Suited


Above-ground modular pools can use salt or chlorinated water. Think about which type you would prefer. Each has its own pros and cons, from the chemicals used and their effects on users’ skin to the amount of maintenance each water type requires. Before making your decision, think about who will be using your pool, what conditions it will operate under and what your maintenance routine will be.

girl with goggles swimming in pool with blue water

Local Laws on Swimming Pools


Depending on your location and the depth of your pool, there may be some safety regulations you must adhere to. In most cases, Council approval may also be required. Make sure you do the necessary research based on your local area and the features of your pool. Your pool supplier should be able to point you in the right direction and provide you with the model specifications and engineering paperwork to submit with your application.

Conclusion


Above ground pools are a great addition to your home. Don’t rush into buying the first one you see. Think about the space you have and how your pool will look and operate within it. Seek professional advice before installing an above ground pool and remember to check in with your local council before making any purchases.

 

Author Bio

Treacy Koster is a passionate blogger who frequently writes about tips related to living and lifestyle. She is also a travel enthusiast.

Blocked Drains: How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

Fix that clogged kitchen sink fast before it becomes a real annoyance. We’ve gathered here several ways to unclog those blocked drains, which you could try in the order presented.



close-up of kitchen sink with flowing water

WORK SAFE: Before You Begin


These DIY tips may not work if your main sewer line is the problem (that is, all drains in your house are affected). In that case, you’ll need a plumber.

⚠ Warning: Do not proceed if you've just poured drain cleaners into the sink, as the chemicals they contain could cause serious burns to your skin.

protective gloves and goggles on wooden board construction

Otherwise, slip on those rubber gloves and wear your goggles for protection, then let’s get on with it. Ready?

detail of the plumbing system under a modern kitchen sink, with a plumbers tool tray and equipment

Drain Unblocker #1: GARBAGE DISPOSAL FIX


If the garbage disposal is clogged, follow the steps in the instruction manual that came with it. If the blockage remains, try these steps:

  1. Shut off the power switch of the garbage disposal.

  2. Shine a flashlight into the unit and use pliers to try pulling out any stuck object.

  3. If no object is removed, use a long dowel or wooden spoon to move the garbage disposal blades side to side.

  4. After removing an object or being able to move the blades, wait around 15 minutes for the disposal motor to cool.

  5. Turn the power back on then push the reset button.


blue hanger isolated on white background

Drain Unblocker #2: BENT HANGER TRICK


This could be your magic spell if you have a double-bowl kitchen sink.

  1. Get a coat hanger wire and bend a small hook on its end that will fit through the basket strainer.

  2. Push the bent hanger hook first into the drain.

  3. When you feel the clog, twist and pull the hanger wire until you have it out.

  4. If you are not able to remove the obstruction, try steps 2 and 3 one more time. If it still does not work, read on for other solutions below.


plunger in the hands of a plumber

Drain Unblocker #3: PLUNGE, PUMP, AND POP


Here's how to use a sink pump or plunger on your clogged sink drain:

  1. Clear the area over and around the drain, ensuring that nothing is blocking it.

  2. For those with a dishwasher, clamp the drain hose first. Fill the sink with up to 8cm to 10cm of water. Seal the other drain opening tightly with a wet rag.

  3. Plunge the sink pump vigorously over the drain for several times, forcing water (rather than air) into the drain. Make sure you’ve got the whole drain covered.

  4. On the last pump, pop the plunger off the drain for a sudden added pressure.

  5. If the water does not flow down or moves slowly, repeat the steps above. If the water still does not drain after a couple of tries, move on to the other solutions below.


double-bowl-granite-kitchen-sink

Drain Unblocker #4: STUFF A SNAKE IN THE SINK


You can use a drain auger or plumber snake in this manner:

  1. Uncoil the auger and extend it down the drain.

  2. When you feel a resistance, move the coil up and down to remove any blockage.

  3. Remove the drain auger.

  4. Turn on the tap to check if the drain has been unclogged.

  5. If the clog remains, repeat steps 1 to 4.

  6. When the blockage has been cleared, pull out the snake and rinse off with running water as you do so, then wipe with a rag.


p-trap and plumbing under a kitchen sink

Drain Unblocker #5: CLEAN UP THE P-TRAP



  1. Clear the area under the sink and place a bucket directly below the P-trap.

  2. Wear a pair of plastic or rubber gloves.

  3. Loosen the slip nuts and wiggle the trap free. If the nuts are hard to loosen try to gently use pliers.

  4. Remove the P-trap (the curved part). Your bucket should catch any flowing water.

  5. Thoroughly clean the interior of the trap using a straightened coat hanger wire or a large bottle brush.

  6. As you clean, check if the washers are still soft and supple. If not, you may need to replace them.

  7. If the trap was clear and did not have any clog to start with, insert a small drain snake into the pipe in the wall. Move the snake in and out with a clockwise twisting motion.

  8. Remove the snake.

  9. Reassemble the P-trap, making sure you don’t tighten the connections too much.


 

After all the DIY solutions are done and your sink drain is still clogged, it’s time to call in a plumber. But if you’ve succeeded with one of the fixes, we’ll be happy to hear about it. Got other ideas for blocked drains? Just send us a quick message below.

How to Install a Towel Rack on Ceramic Tile

Updating your bathroom involves new fixtures, lights, taps and rails. Now when most of us know, by common sense, that there are just some jobs that require a tradie. There are also some DIY tasks that we may do on our own, like installing a towel rack on ceramic tile. Just make sure to practice safety at all times.



two folded towels on towel rail

Step-by-Step Instructions:


1. Measure


Measure the wall where you wish to install the towel rail and place masking tape on the areas to be drilled. The tape will help the drill stay in place, keeping it from slipping on the tile glaze.

yellow measuring tape

2. Drill Bit


Selecting the drill bit is an important step.  You need to consider the hardness of the material you are drilling through. In many cases, a carbide drill bit will do the job.  Hardware stores usually have "glass and ceramic spade bits" and "diamond" drill bits too. Our testing on normal spade bits highlighted they get very hot and do not last long. The diamond drill bit is probably the best for very hard tiles - although it requires a bit of skill to use.

Ensure you use the correct size drill bit for the anchor plugs you are installing.  It is better to be half a millimetre less than more as you can always shave a bit off the anchor.

using a cordless drill on wall

3. Drill


Make a pencil mark on the tape where you wish to drill. Place the drill bit on this mark and drill slowly into the ceramic tile.  It is usually best to pick a point away from the edge of the tile or the grout line, as it is more likely you will shatter or chip a tile if drilling on its edge.

Do not drill too quickly, or you risk overheating the drill and removing too much of the tile from the drill site.  And do not use the "hammer" setting on your drill or you risk shattering the tile.  It can be helpful to spray a mist of water on the drill hole while drilling - this is essential for a diamond drill bit.  For a diamond drill it is also helpful to start the hole with the drill bit at 45 degrees until it pierces the outer layer, then straighten the drill.

aguzzo-heated-towel-rail-round-matte-black-with-three-towels

3. Anchor


Push plastic screw anchors into each drilled hole to firmly secure the screws inside the tile, and keep the towel rail from slipping out once installed.

4. Balance


Line up the rail and screw directly into the rail's escutcheons evenly on each side, if you're installing a one-piece towel rail. Do not tighten down the screws until all screws have been inserted at least part way and the rail is balanced.

montangna-double-towel-rail-brushed-900mm

5. Brackets


If installing a rail with brackets, screw each bracket into the wall, tightening them down securely. Look at the side of the towel rail's escutcheons for a small grub screw, and unscrew it until it clears the inside of the escutcheon.

Place the escutcheon over the bracket and use a screwdriver or supplied hex key to tighten down the small grub screw on the side. This will attach the escutcheons to the brackets. Leave the escutcheons slightly loose.

Insert the rail into one escutcheon at a time, tightening each one down completely once the rail is in place to hold it securely.

 

Happy Renovating!

 

(If you would like to know how to choose a heated towel rail that's just right for your bathroom, read these Tips For Choosing A Heated Towel Rail.)

Fix a Leaking Tap Easily in 4 Steps

Don’t let this day pass without repairing that leaking tap! A drip rate of 10 per minute means more than 20 litres of water wasted in a month, so now is the time to get that fixed.



dripping stainless steel tap

Why is your tap dripping?


The most likely cause of the leaking tap is foreign material that has lodged in the internal cartridge and could cause damage. Debris could come from the water supply, which is common where the water lines have not been properly flushed during installation or if the property does not have filtered water.

What can you do to fix the leaky tap?


In that case, it is merely a maintenance issue that can be done without a plumber. It can be resolved by simply cleaning the internal cartridge or replacing it if necessary. The Products Team at Renovator Store provided these steps to let you access, inspect, and clean the cartridge inside a mixer tap:

removing the lever handle of a mixer tap using a hex key

1. Remove the lever handle.


Start by turning off the water supply to your leaking tap. Then remove the lever handle using a provided hex key or similar tool. Sometimes the grub screw is located behind the small button/cap located underneath the handle. You can simply remove this using your nails to pull it out.

removing the metal collar of a mixer tap

2. Twist off the metal collar.


Beneath the lever handle is a metal collar that you can easily twist off with no tools required. You will see a second collar that's hex threaded. Get your shifting spanner to take this one out.

removing the hex-threaded collar of a mixer tap

3. Remove the cartridge.


The cartridge can now be removed, and you can rinse the exposed cavity with water. The flow restrictor (if present) can also be cleaned or removed to maximise flow. Inspect the cartridge for blockages or splits in the rubber rings and flush it with water.

the flow restrictor of a mixer tap

4. Replace the cartridge.


Check that no foreign material or debris remains in the cartridge or within the cavity. Fit the cartridge back in, then do steps 1 to 3 in reverse. Test your tap for leaks, and if there's none you’re finally done!

cartridge of a mixer tap

What if you need a new cartridge?


In case your ceramic cartridge has been damaged by debris or sediments, you can always get a new mixer tap or just purchase a replacement cartridge from wherever you bought your tapware, or from Renovator Store if you've got a brand we stock.

Quadro-single-lever-basin-mixer

Other leaking tap issues


Maybe you’ve cleaned up your cartridge or replaced your tap and still experience dripping issues. The problem could be with the valve seat, or your water pressure is too high, or you may have some damaged pipes. In those cases, it’s time to call in a professional plumber.

If you have any further questions feel free to email us at service@renovatorstore.com.au and our friendly Customer Service team will gladly assist. You may also call (03) 9544 3003 or 1800 RENOSTORE from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm AEST on weekdays.

How to Turn Your Garage into an Awesome Man-Cave

With kids, pets and family, your house can sometimes feel surprisingly small. Many homeowners forget that one of the most under-utilised areas of their house is the garage. While normally being occupied by a car or unsorted storage, with a little planning it can be converted into the ultimate relaxation area.



suburban garage mess with boxes, tools and toys in disarray

Work With Your Garage


One of the most common mistakes to make when dreaming up the perfect man-cave is forgetting an important point: You need to work with your garage, not against it.

Your garage is unlike any other room in the house. Lighting, plumbing and electricity are all things that could be missing from its original design. Other choices like your type of garage door can also impact the security and insulation of your garage.

By staying aware of these limitations, you can use them in your favour to overcome the challenges of your garage in interesting and creative ways.

Maximise Space


When planning your man-cave, space is at a premium. The size of a typical garage is quite small and will only be able to fit the essentials, especially when considering space for a car.

Cleaning up and decluttering your garage is the first step in finding space. This means throwing out or selling old and disused items and finding better ways of storing essentials.

tools, hammer, nails on floor

Once you’ve cleaned up, a little clever thinking can make more space. Ceilings, for example, can be fitted for hanging storage, which can be done between joists that are already installed. Putting up storage racks along the wall is another good idea and makes use of space above the floor.

One of the biggest decisions to make is whether you’ll still park in the garage. This decision is different for everyone and will depend on your type of car, availability of outside parking and need for weather protection.

Plan Your Man-Cave


Once you’ve found out the limits of what you can work with, it’s time to start making plans. Don’t go overboard, but make a list of all the essentials that you’re looking for, along with a rough estimate of costs.

Draw out a basic floor plan. If you’re planning to install a home theatre system, where will the TV go? How will it be wired? Following each step of the plan in your imagination will help you find problems and save you a lot of time and money before putting it into action.

Remember to leave some space behind for storage or other excess stuff in case your needs change in future. Depending on your home, the garage may be the only place for these things.

home theatre with wine tasting room, big screen, wood cabinets, photo on screen a shot from yosemite

Know Your Limits


Make sure you start with the right tools for smaller jobs in the garage such as drilling. Don’t try to do any work that you’re unsure of, because if anything goes wrong it will only slow things down and end up costing you more overall.

If you aren’t an experienced handyman, make sure to leave the dangerous stuff to an expert. There are many licensed contractors who are experienced in outfitting electrical work to garages and will have done similar projects. While it may be slightly more expensive, it means you’ll get the job done properly, legally and without any risk to your health.

pool game among friends in man-cave

Insulate Your Garage


Insulation is essential for turning your garage into a livable space and will protect you in both hot and cold weather. Insulating properly can also soundproof your garage, meaning you can play your music as loud as you want, or turn up the sound system when watching movies.

Carpets, rugs and rubber tiles all insulate your floor well and can add a certain style to the garage. Smaller, moveable options are generally better, as they can be shifted, replaced or removed if necessary. The garage door is a big culprit for letting in cold and should be properly insulated. Garage insulation can be retrofitted, but will only work on panel and not roller doors.

Have Fun


Converting your garage into a man-cave can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding projects you ever undertake. Enjoy the experience and celebrate with your friends when it’s done.

 

Author Bio

This piece was written by Daniel Defendi, who recommends Pinnacle Garage Doors in Perth. You can catch Daniel on Google+ to discuss this piece.

How to Upgrade to a Modern Outdoor Kitchen

The popularity of outdoor kitchens is continuing to rise. Over the years, there has been an increase in quality furnishings and appliances available for open-air eating, which has made it possible to create fully-functional outdoor kitchen spaces. Well-appointed outdoor kitchens can now provide the same practicality and convenience as their indoor counterparts. You can keep your modern outdoor kitchen design can be as simple or luxurious as you’d like. It all depends on your budget, the size of your section and of course your own personal taste. Here are some key ways to upgrade to a modern outdoor kitchen.



[caption id="attachment_14581" align="alignnone" width="1200"]outdoor kitchen in backyard patio Photo Credit: Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain License[/caption]

Update Outdoor Cooking Appliances


Outdoor cooking goes far beyond the classic charcoal barbecue. From wood-fired pizza ovens to stylish freestanding gas barbecues, the availability of quality outdoor cooking appliances is constantly growing. Purchasing a new high-quality cooking appliance is a worthy investment that transforms both your kitchen design and outdoor dining experience. Just make sure to do your research on the different types of grills before buying a new one.

stainless_steel_sink_kitchen_laundry_strong_modern_contemporary

Use the Right Materials for a Modern Outdoor Kitchen


The materials you use to design your outdoor kitchen play a critical role in its durability and style. In particular, the right type of flooring can really take the whole space to the next level. Tiles are a popular choice because they come in a variety of colours and so can be easily matched to the indoor flooring of your home. Porcelain is a good material choice for outdoor tiling, as it doesn’t absorb much moisture. No matter what type of surface material you use, you will need to ensure that it is specified for outdoor use.

Every modern outdoor kitchen needs a surface area for food prep, complete with a functional sink and faucet. The best materials for outdoor kitchen countertops include stone, tile and concrete. Concrete is fairly popular due to its clean, contemporary look. When you first install concrete, you must make sure that it is sealed properly – and subsequently reseal it regularly. If it’s not installed correctly, it runs the risk of cracking.

swedia-isak-sink-mixer-polished-stainless-steel

Sinks and faucets come in many different styles and are made from a range of materials. For an outdoor kitchen, high-grade stainless steel sinks and taps are ideal. Stainless steel is stylish, easy to clean and made to stand the test of time. The thickness of the steel is a key factor to consider. Thicker steel offers better resistance to heavy objects placed in the sink and will last longer in outdoor environments.

[caption id="attachment_14582" align="alignnone" width="1200"]outdoor dining setup Photo Credit: Pxhere under CC0 Public Domain License[/caption]

Create an Outdoor Dining Area


You can create a fantastic outdoor dining area perfect for BBQs and parties by adding some simple furnishings to your kitchen space. Keep in mind that any outdoor seating you use needs to be heavy and durable enough to withstand changing weather environments. Fortunately, today’s outdoor furniture offers a great variety of stylish, weather-tolerant fabrics.

When you create your outdoor dining area, take ambience and lighting into account. Most outdoor lights are easy to install – and a few well-placed outdoor lights will let you and your guests see better at night and also illuminate your outdoor kitchen with a romantic glow. To save money on your electricity bill, opt for LED lights instead of incandescent lights. They last longer and require much less energy to operate. However, if your outdoor kitchen space has no electrical source, solar power lights are a good alternative. The combination of tasty cooking, landscape lighting, and a comfortable dining area will offer the perfect balance of function and ambience.

 

About the Author

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who loves discussing travel, home and lifestyle topics. She enjoys spending her free time working on her DIY home improvement projects or hosting backyard BBQ parties for her friends. Find more of her work https://johannacider.tumblr.com/

Teaching an Old House New Tricks (or, Tips for Staying Safe While Renovating Old Houses)

Whether you’re buying a fixer-upper or revamping the home you’ve lived in for the last 25 years, there are some things you should take into consideration when kicking off any renovation project. Renovating a house into a home is an incredibly rewarding feeling, but older homes naturally require more attention to detail. To help make the process easier, we’ve come up with four important tips for staying safe while renovating properly.



removing plaster during a home renovation

Be on the Lookout for Lead Paint


Repainting a few rooms around your home is a fairly easy and common renovation that can drastically change the look, feel and atmosphere of an entire house. Using light colours can create the illusion of more space in a room, and a good tip is to paint the trim and mouldings a lighter colour than the walls.

lead paint

While painting may not seem overly hazardous at first, it’s important to keep in mind that houses built before 1970 have a high probability of containing lead paint. Scraping or sanding down old paint without having a professional test it first may create dust and lead paint chips, which can linger and eventually cause lead poisoning. Houses built between 1970 and 1997 were allowed to contain lead paint toxins up to one percent,  so it’s not a bad idea to have those homes tested as well. In Australia, the recommended amount of lead in domestic paint has declined from 50% before 1965, to 1% in 1965, 0.25% in 1992, and 0.1% in 1997. (Read more about lead in house paint in Australia.)

closeup of asbestos roof pattern in background

Check for Asbestos


Due to its high durability and fire resistant “miracle” properties, asbestos was commonly used in domestic buildings well into the 1980s. Before starting your renovation project, it would be a wonderful idea to hire a professional to test for asbestos. The toxin may be lurking in your home’s insulation, popcorn ceilings, walls, and flooring. Exposure to asbestos can lead to a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma, which has the potential to develop in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. (Read more about the Australian government's guide on asbestos.)

3d rendering of an empty room with open window

Know the Importance of Ventilation


Proper ventilation is key to a healthy DIY home renovation, and the more fresh air the better! It’s a good idea to have your windows open at all times and to be cautious of indoor air quality. Working long periods of time without a break can be especially dangerous when working with paint. Any room lacking windows should have a standing fan set up to increase air circulation. If you start feeling lightheaded or dizzy, stop immediately and take a break. Wearing a face mask when working with paint, dust or any other types of particles can save you from potential breathing difficulties.

old pipe outdated plumbing

Fix Outdated Plumbing


Plumbing problems are also typically common in older homes, and ones built before the 1960s often used galvanised piping. Houses with this type of piping often have a slower drain system and pipes tend to clog more frequently. The lifespan of galvanised pipes is said to be around 40 years, so if they haven’t been replaced already the time has already come! If you are going to replace old pipes, it is recommended you use PVC or copper piping. For a bunch of fun ways to improve the bathroom check out the bathroom, tapware and accessories page. You’ll find the best basins, tapware, floor wastes and more!

Renovating a home is a very special time no matter what stage of life you’re in, and following these simple tips will help you create the home you've always wanted. No one ever said you can’t make an old home feel new again, it just may take some extra time and care to do so.

 

About the Author

This article was contributed by the team at Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, which aims to raise awareness about "mesothelioma, a rare but preventable cancer, and advocate about the dangers of asbestos exposure in hopes of one day seeing a ban on this carcinogenic material worldwide."

Major and Minor Investments to Help Increase the Value of Your Home

Regardless of your home’s size or age, there are always things you can do to increase its value – and it’s much easier than you think. Some investments might be a bit costly, while some might cost you nothing but your time. However, what you really should be looking for are the kinds of projects that will result in bigger ROI. So, if you’re planning on selling it in the near future, or you just want to improve it for other reasons, here are a few things you could do to get the most bang for your buck.


increasing the value of your home


Plan ahead


First, you need to plan your remodel. Now, you might be thinking, “what does this have to do with the value of the home?” The thing is, you’re more likely to make the right choices if you upgrade your home according to a premade plan than if you do it on impulse. Also, upgrading your home is a process, it won’t happen overnight, so there’s no reason to rush. Get to know your place, and list the things you want to change. Be realistic about the possible cost of everything on your list. After you organize everything by price, see what's the most important, and what you will do only if there’s money left after the more important upgrades. Finally, do some research or talk to a professional, and see which of those improvements can increase the value of your home the most.

investments to help increase the value of your home

The curb appeal


Installing a new steel door might not sound like the most important addition to your house, but research has shown that it is one of the financially best upgrades you could do. Moreover, it’s all about the first impression and if your exterior doesn’t look impressive, the potential buyers might assume that the interior won’t be much better either. Besides the doors, you should also replace your windows, do some landscaping, repaint the house, etc. In short, your curb appeal can really make or break your ROI, so you should make sure your home looks as great on the outside as it does on the inside.

Think about sustainability


Nowadays, more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious, so it might not be a bad idea to invest in eco-friendly upgrades. You can install double-flush toilets and low-flow faucets to preserve water. You can also try to get more details about low-flow toilets in the market that flush powerfully and thoroughly.

It may also be a good idea to add some LED lights, insulate your home properly so it doesn’t waste too much electricity on regulating the temperature, and you might even want to consider installing a solar power system. There are many innovative companies such as Australia’s leading solar energy installer Skylight Energy that can provide you with the best solar panels that are guaranteed to efficiently serve your home for a long time.

sustainable homes

Add more space


A research from 2005 has shown that every 1,000 square feet you add to your home is likely to boost its sale price by more than 30 percent. Nowadays, everybody needs an extra room, which they can turn into their home office, private movie theater, or something similar. So, if your budget allows it, consider enlarging your bathroom, building a nice patio or an outdoor kitchen, or perhaps a room or two extra for people’s hobbies. Just try not to add so much that your home’s price skyrockets way beyond your neighborhood’s average – you can be at the high end of your neighborhood’s price range, just try not to be the leading value.

increase property value

Clean your home


Another thing that only takes time – yet is extremely important – is your home’s cleanliness. A clean home will attract more buyers than a home that is obviously full of dust, mold, dirt, and whatnot. It’s not just about the appearance though – by cleaning your home from top to bottom, you might also notice some maintenance issues that need to be taken care of before they turn into bigger, more expensive problems. Mold, for example, can become a huge problem if it spreads, so it’s always best to catch it as early as possible. Also, cleaning includes decluttering, so don’t leave any boxes lying around – get rid of everything you don’t need, and move out of sight everything you do.

There are many different ways in which you can increase your home’s value, from cleaning and planning, which takes nothing but your time, to investing in your exterior and building extra rooms, which does require a thicker wallet. Therefore, plan wisely, don’t rush, and have no doubt that your home will be much more valuable after you’re finished.
Google