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10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office

If you are among the growing ranks of those working from home, the one thing you are probably interested in is a way in which to set up your home office to increase productivity. While working from home does have its advantages, there are some setbacks that can be easily remedied once you have a workspace created that enables you to work efficiently. Here are 10 tips for designing your home office to help you maximise your productivity.

home office black desk beige chair lamp wood floor

1. Keep Your Home Office Removed from Distractions


One of the biggest detriments to being productive when working at home is the distractions you may be subjected to. Try to set up your home office in a location that isn’t too near where the family will be interacting and if you have a garden building, a loft or a room in the garage, those might be ideally situated to convert quickly into a home office.

white office desk mac notebook glasses cup

2. Use a Proprietary Computer for Work


Never use your home computer for work. There are a number of reasons why, but the biggest being that it is easiest to safeguard your files and client information if no one has use of your computer but you. Don’t let the kids play online games on your computer and as a matter of fact, you shouldn’t do anything but work-related tasks as well! It’s altogether too easy to get a virus that would compromise your sensitive client files, and that would be a nightmare in the making.

man with glasses using laptop on wood table black walls

3. Set up Space to Receive Clients or Peers


Most professionals working from home need to meet with clients, sales reps or even peers from time to time. Always ensure that there is a place for clients to sit comfortably when visiting you at your location. You do want to keep this as professional as possible and that would include designing your office with a professional level of appeal and functionality when receiving work-related visitors.

mac screen with time white table white wall black lamp wood bookshelf

4. Keep Wires Neat and Tidy


Always ensure that wires are tucked away and/or run in a neat and tidy manner. You don’t want to be tripping over them and nothing is as unappealing as wires running everywhere. Look back at the offices you have worked in and you will see that most have wires hidden from view or neatly bundled together and run along a baseboard.

wood themed office table chairs shelves cabinets

5. An Ergonomic Chair Is an Absolute Must


If you will be sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time, it pays to invest in an ergonomic chair. This puts less strain on your back which, in turn, will enable you to focus on working rather than running out for a quick kip on the couch.

office desk computer monitor phone keyboard be creative sign

6. Invest in a Large Flat Screen Monitor


No matter what style of computer you use, always opt for a large screen monitor. This will enable you to have several windows running at the same time so that you can keep multiple files and/or tasks opened simultaneously.

wood table mac air glasses white mouse white chair

7. Two Desks Are Better than One


Some interior designers advise you to invest in a standing desk. While this is a good idea for those who tend to get drowsy after extended periods sitting at a desk, it wouldn’t be good for someone working from home for eight to ten hours a day. A second desk that allows you to stand for a period of time would be the better choice but an adjustable height desk, if available, would be the best option of all.

white themed office table chair mac windows wall speakers

8. Use Natural Light as Much as Possible


While natural lighting can help reduce your power bill, that isn’t the only reason you would want to take advantage of natural light. The truth is, your vision improves under natural lighting and there is something invigorating about sunlight if it isn’t too overpoweringly bright. Studies have shown that working in natural light increases productivity.

person on office desk mac ipad dark glasses iphone

9. Keep Regular Office Hours


While many people claim that working from home enables them to ‘make their own hours’ around their otherwise busy schedule, this could be a serious error in judgement. If you are going to work from home, you need to be no less professional than you would be at a nine to five. This means, keep your hours of operation as regular as possible and this might even include being ‘closed for business’ one or two days a week. Everyone deserves a weekend, don’t they?

man on desk holding pen with mac screen lamp headset window

10. Never Use Your Home Office for Anything BUT Work


Finally, never use your home office for anything BUT work. If you can’t step into your office with a mindset ready to work, you will be defeating the purpose of having one. After all, you don’t step into your office at a place of employment looking to play an online game of poker or two, do you? Keep work and home tasks as separate as possible to be your most productive when ‘on the job.’

There you have 10 tips for designing and using your home office. If you think of this office as your place of employment and set it up in a way that enables you to work as efficiently as possible, you will find that it really is a joy to work from home!

 

Author’s Bio

Alex Morrison has been a digital marketer in Melbourne for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in-depth understanding of many different industries including printing, graphic and web design. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals. Social Profiles: Facebook Google+ Linkedin Twitter

 

8 Smart Ways to Save Money on Plumbing Problems

There’s nothing like a plumbing disaster to ruin your day. They always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times — a small leak you thought was harmless can suddenly turn into a big problem just when you’re getting ready for work.

To avoid being confronted with a plumbing problem, there are smart things you can do. Keep reading for eight ways to prevent a water disaster in your home.



plumber hands with a wrench

1. Don’t ignore the small things.


Take preventative measures to ensure you don’t develop a plumbing problem. If you see a small issue like a leaking tap or a crack in your water pipe, seek professional help before it turns into a larger problem. It’s best to bite the bullet and pay to fix a small issue, as chances are it’ll worsen later down the line and the plumbing bill will be considerably larger.

What’s more, leaking pipes may seem benign, but they will be reflected in your water bill. Get them fixed ASAP — think of it as a smart investment.

2. Look for plumbing problems.


Leading on from the above point, you should actively seek out plumbing problems around your house that have the capability of turning into something troublesome. Don’t turn a blind eye - “out of sight, out of mind” is not the mentality you should have here. Get on top of the condition of your plumbing. You should regularly check your taps and toilets for any leaks and check your water meter. If it is moving when there is no water being used, you may have a costly leak. Check your water heater for any water around the base, smell of gas, and temperature if applicable.

plumber working on bathroom basin tap

3. Keep your ears open.


You should also listen for any unusual sounds or leaks. The key is to not ignore anything. Even if you think something isn’t broken, getting it looked at early on will save you some serious cash.

4. Learn how to shut off your water.


When you move into a new house you should acquaint yourself with your water valve. This is so that in case of a plumbing emergency you can shut off your water to prevent any further leakage or damage.

What’s more, if you call for a plumber to come and fix a leak and you haven’t already shut off your water valve, you will be worsening the amount of work for them and they may be inclined to hit you with a larger bill for their trouble. Instead, mitigate the severity of the leak by shutting off your water before they arrive. Making the conditions easier for your plumber may result in a smaller bill.

To shut off the water, turn the valve clockwise to tighten it. If you don’t know where your valve is, consult a plumber who has worked on your home previously or ask a neighbour.

plumber working with wrench on pipe

5. Watch what you’re flushing.


One of the biggest culprits for plumbing disasters is blocked drains. Washing food debris down the sink will block your drain; flushing sanitary products down the toilet will block your pipes (and is not environmentally friendly), and washing long hair down the shower will clog your drain.

To save money on plumbing, be mindful of what you are putting down your plug holes and toilets. If trying to unblock the drain by yourself, remember using a plunger is not always wise. It may temporarily fix the problem, however, it may simply push the blockage further down the line. It can also be risky to use chemical drain cleaners without professional advice.

6. Protect yourself from gas leaks.


Gas leaks can not only be dangerous but expensive. A small leak can very quickly become large and end in an explosion or fire. It’s always a good idea to inspect all cabinets and surrounds of all your gas appliances regularly, and your gas meter for gas smells. Every gas appliance should have a valve or tap that will shut gas off to the unit.

If you think there is a gas smell or leak present, if possible, turn off the gas valve and call a plumber immediately.

7. Don’t trust online information.


If you spot a problem and consult YouTube tutorials and online forum threads for guidance, you are putting yourself at risk. The internet is brimming with misinformation and unlicensed guides purporting to fix household problems. The best advice is to call a registered and licensed plumber, saving you time, and the risk of making your issue worse.

plumber fixing kitchen sink

8. Call an emergency plumber.


You will definitely save money and decrease the need for a plumber by following preventative maintenance. There will always be times though, when a plumbing issue eventuates that requires professional attention. In this case, the key is to keep calm and review your options. It may only require a very simple fix, which many reputable plumbers may be happy to help with over the phone, so don’t be afraid to call!

In case of an emergency, or if in doubt, it’s best to seek professional attention, so call on a reputable emergency plumber to take a look.

The best way to avoid plumbing problems is to take preventative measures. By following these eight tips you can mediate any potential plumbing problems!

 

Author Bio:

Tom is an online marketing enthusiast, who works as a Digital Marketing Manager at Watermark Plumbing. From his 7 years of experience in this industry, he has gained enormous knowledge and expertise in web marketing. He is an always-updated digital marketer! Tom loves to share his online marketing agendas and mantras among new businesses and marketing enthusiasts. He likes to write blogs while sipping his favourite coffee, and you'll often find him debating over various digital marketing trends over different online portals.

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 a Removalist Can Help You Save Money During a Major Renovation

Renovating your family home can be hugely beneficial in the long term: You can capitalise on much-needed living space for your growing family, restore the structural integrity of your property, or ensure you get the best possible return on of your investment. The only drawback is that renovations can often be tricky, both logistically and financially.



Luckily, enlisting the help of professional removalist services is one of the easiest ways to reduce both the costs and the stress of any home renovation. Here are some of the advantages (and cost-saving benefits) that you can expect when entrusting your valuable goods and property with seasoned removalists.

removalist men loading box onto truck

Secure Storage


One of the key advantages to hiring a removalist service is that they’re likely to offer affordable, secure storage solutions. You can rest easy knowing that all your household goods will be safely stored in an environment free from wear, tear and weather damage.

Effectively, you end up getting two services for the price of one – storage and transportation. You don’t need to invest time and money in multiple companies with varying standards of protection.

Self-Packing


If you can find a removalist company that offers a self-pack removal service, this can save you a pretty penny during your renovation. In fact, when you perform the packing yourself, you can save hundreds to thousands on the associated labour costs. Opt for a provider that will deliver strong and durable shipping containers in which to store and transport that you can pack and load yourself.

While this may require some additional planning, you’ll be assured that all your most precious and valuable items get into storage scratch-free, and without stretching the budget. This is by far the most cost-effective way to get your goods where they need to go during a house renovation!

empty boxes on sofa and floor

Cover Your Goods


The last thing you’d want to happen to any of your goods and valuables is to sustain some sort of damage while you’re completing your house renovation. Removalist insurance can seriously reduce the costs associated with having to replace damaged goods. This means that if the worst happens and your household goods do become damaged, you won’t be spending out of pocket.

This is especially important for products that are either very difficult to replace or need to be used immediately as soon as you reach your home renovations are complete. Things like white goods, personal electronics and books – all of which can be cumbersome and unnecessarily difficult to transport in a plane or scenic drive – can be personally and financially valuable individually, so it’s worth getting them covered for the cost of what they’re worth.

Reliable Transport


If you happen to be renovating your home while moving interstate, enlisting the help of a professional removalist company can really help you save money.

While you could freight your goods completely on your own, this isn’t always the most economical or even convenient solution (especially if you factor in children). Not only will have to hire a moving van or truck, and deal with the stress and strain of moving on your own, you’ll also need to cover the cost of:

  • Food and water

  • Petrol (which vary considerably from state to state)

  • Temporary accommodation (which may not have the appropriate storage for a trailer)

  • Vehicle maintenance

  • Road tolls

  • Insurance on the moving van or truck

  • A whole range of other miscellaneous costs


woman packing a table lamp

Taking everything into consideration, the costs can add up considerably. This is before you begin to think about having to account for the discomfort of travelling in a very tightly packed car with an anxious family in tow, braving some of the nation’s toughest roads.

Furthermore, accidents or damage sustained to your moving van or truck will need to be covered, which can in some cases put you out of pocket by hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. Obviously, you’ll be able to avoid this with smart and safe driving but that puts a considerable bit more risk and strain on an already stressful process.

A removalist service can help here by taking care of the process of relocating your property to where it needs to go while your renovations are underway. Removalist services will insure your property for damage, vastly reducing the risk of any out of pocket payment being necessary.

How to Build a Family Room Addition to Your Home

Is there anything better than spending time with your family and friends? Only maybe spending time with your family and friends in a bigger, airier and more comfortable space!



So, if you think your home is lacking some space for quality family time or friend entertainment, consider building an additional family room. This addition will provide you with extra space, boost comfort and fun, and even increase your property's value. Here are some great family room addition ideas just for you.

home-living-house-windows-view-family-room

Bump-out Room


One of the most common ways people choose to enlarge their interior is to add a bump-out room. An average bump-out usually adds around 4 to 5 square meters (50 square feet) to your existing space which is perfect for introducing bigger furniture, extra entertainment or simply providing you with a bit more elbow space.

This is without a doubt the most affordable way to add a room to your home, though still not cheap. However, since the final square footage isn't very big, the costs will not skyrocket!

family room white ceiling walls wood floorboards grey carpet

Basement Remodel


Another quite practical way to add living space to your home is to repurpose and renovate your basement. That is, if you already have a basement that doesn't play a significant role in your household, of course.

It's quite affordable since you're not exactly adding extra space, you're just repurposing your existing space. You don't need new foundations, new roofing, or new walls.

However, basements are often full of moisture and mould that needs to be taken care of before you start putting up drywall. Also, basement insulation is very important. Exterior walls and ceilings should be properly thermally and acoustically insulated.

sunroom as family room

Sunroom


Sunrooms can be an amazing way to add living space to your home as long as they are built in the right way. In the past, sunrooms have usually been too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. However, today, with prefabricated elements, insulation is much better and sunrooms are getting more comfortable and practical.

New frames are cut more precisely than ever and the whole structure can be much more stable. There are plenty of steel frame options for all sunroom sizes and types and they can help create a really amazing addition to your home. And when you combine these frames with thermal-resistant glass, proper ventilation and good lighting, you'll never want to leave your new family room.

teamwork and people concept - group of smiling builders in hardhats with tools indoors

Garage Addition


Another addition that can be super practical (and resembles a sunroom in a way) is a garage repurpose. The most important part of this addition is definitely insulation. Garages are usually not built as living spaces, so you need to add proper thermal and acoustic insulation. However, many people choose to leave the garage doors during the remodel, so that they can open up the space in the summer and create a cool atmosphere.

period family room with pool table yellow walls tiled floors winding stairs

Think Multipurpose


A good family room is definitely versatile. So, make sure to add plenty of storage for your collections, introduce a few entertainment elements you've always wanted, and invest in comfy modular furniture that can be easily arranged and rearranged according to your needs. Another great way to multipurpose is to use one corner of the family room as your home office or kids' study area.

family room with bookshelves tv sofa sculpture lamp blinds carpet wooden floorboards

Cherry on Top


Once you know how you will use your additional space, it's time for the best part—decoration. For instance, if you're planning to use the space for late-night movie watching, you can invest in a comfy fireplace that will create just the right ambience. It's a beautiful touch, especially if you live in a colder climate.

If you love to read, you can install plenty of bookshelves and create a little reading nook. Put up a comfy chair, add a warm throw and a stylish reading lamp. If you wish to use your room for entertainment, first decide whether your aim is mingling or dining. There are furniture arrangements that allow people to socialize and those that allow plenty of seating for comfy dining. Parties with a lot of action can greatly benefit from a wet bar with a counter, sink and some storage for glasses and drinks.

So, if you're ready to provide yourself and your family with some extra breathing space, make sure to consider one of these additions. These can make your home more comfortable and interesting and also make it more attractive for buyers and renters.

 

Author Bio

Derek Lotts is a Sydney-based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business — he thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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."

How to Choose the Right Colours for Your Home

When it comes to home interior design, choosing the right colours is often the most difficult part. Your whole house colour scheme can dramatically transform the way your home looks and feels, so it’s important to get it right.



colour wheel

There are endless ways to use colour to reflect your personality and style at home. Here are some tips and important things to consider when choosing colours and patterns for your home.

Use the Colour Wheel


In order to choose the right colour combinations for your home, you need to have a basic understanding of colours, shades and undertones. The colour wheel is a favourite colour scheme tool used by interior designers and decorators. On the colour wheel, different colours are laid out according to their relationships with each other. For instance, colours opposite each other like red and green are complementary to one another, while colours near each other are analogous to each other. Understanding how different colours and shades affect each other will help you choose a colour scheme that works well in your home.

Consider Lighting


lighting

One of the most important things to consider when painting your home interior is the impact of natural lighting in each room. The type and amount of natural light that hits a room can significantly alter the colour’s appearance. Window blinds like roller blinds or Venetians are a great way to control the amount of light that enters each room. You can use these to make the room as dark or bright as you need.

Before you decide on a room colour scheme, experiment with the colours by placing fabric and swatches in your home to see how they change throughout the day and into the evening. You should also take into account that these colours will be altered as the light changes through the different seasons.

Decide on the Mood of Your Home


living room

Before choosing colours and patterns for your home, you will need to figure out what you want the general mood of the space to be. For instance, if you want your home to feel vibrant and lively, then look for bold, contrasting colours. A contrasting colour scheme is dramatic and helps to bring more energy into your home’s interior design. If you would prefer a more homey and comfortable feel, then a warm, soft colour scheme may be the way to go. These types of colours help to create a cosy and welcoming vibe and are a popular choice for home interior design.

The elegant, modern look is another popular trend within contemporary home interior design. This is achieved through a light, neutral colour scheme like varying shades of white or beige. These subtle colours help to create a space that feels quiet and relaxing and match well with natural elements like wood or stone. It also tends to be a safe choice for interior design if you’re considering selling your home. A neutral colour scheme on the walls also leaves a lot of flexibility to bring out the colour in other ways. Adding some patterned accessories throughout your home like throws, pillows, artwork, rugs and window dressings is a great way to balance out the lack of colour on the walls and add personality to the room.

Finding Colour Inspiration


colour inspiration

If you’re not sure what you want the look and mood of your home to be, try using Pinterest. Pinterest is a popular online platform used for sharing pictures and ideas. You can discover loads of family room design ideas by looking through the hundreds of pictures posted by other users. This is a great way to find style inspiration for your home and figure out what colour schemes you like or don’t like.

You can find colour inspiration all around you. For instance, you could get inspiration from the colours and patterns of your favourite furniture, fabrics, rugs or artwork on the walls. Beautiful colour combinations can also be found in nature, like the colours of the early sunrise, the beach or a garden filled with flowers.

Start by picking a colour that you love for the central, biggest room in your home, like the kitchen or living room. Try to use varying shades of your dominant colour for a more dynamic and interesting look. Once you’ve figured out the colour palette for the main room, you can start putting together your whole house colour scheme. If you need a little extra help selecting the right colours, talk to a salesperson at your local paint about the look that you want.

 

About the Author


Alex Cordier is a freelance writer, who has been published across various sites on topics including home, travel, health and lifestyle. She is most passionate about home design and is always on the lookout for the latest interior design trends. See more of her work here.

 

 

Upgrade Your Door Furniture By Replacing Those Door Handles

We often snub little things, including door hardware. But what’s a squeaky-clean bathroom, enhanced room lighting, or new wireless security system, if you don't replace those grimy, rusting, peeling door handles?


Time To Change Door Handles


Don’t fret if you see a broken or corroded door handle that is just about to fall off anytime. That is your go-signal for an upgrade! Quick check: Mark all that applies to your door handles below:

  • Tarnished exterior

  • Rusted areas

  • Coating is peeling off

  • Loose or broken

  • Faulty mechanism

  • Chipped / nicked surface

  • With thick grime

  • Old / worn out

  • Door knobs

  • Old-fashioned

  • Does not match interiors

  • Lost keys


One reason is enough to replace your door handles, but if you marked two or three, you need to upgrade shortly. If there are more than three – do it now!

pelican-door-lever-handle


Door Handle Functions


Door handles help you open and close doors, so it is vital to upgrade to ones that work perfectly for a longer time. Get more durable handles that are manufactured from quality materials, those that are a perfect match for your home design, and built with excellent architectural features.

royce-security-door-lever-handle-kit-with-key-mortice-solid-stainless-steel

Hansdorf combines durability, functionality, and design. Its solid construction gives that European car door feel. The superior stainless steel material is great for coastal environments. It has no coating that will scratch off with use (like brass, chrome, or nickel). There are door handles for various uses:

  • For your interior doors, a non-locking passage door handle that includes a latch set,

  • For bathrooms, a door handle with a privacy button (lockable from inside the room),

  • For the front/entrance door, a handle with security mortise lock and key cylinder, and

  • A dummy set, which is a fixed handle without a latch (used on cupboards).


Door Handle Designs


Door hardware are utilitarian, but they are also part of your decor. Your interior door handles can add charm to any room, and a designer door lever handle on your entry door can instantly impress anyone.

To enhance your door, Hansdorf has a variety of door lever handles, some with soft-looking round roses and others with square roses with bold edges. Delf has door handles on long plate.

jasmine-round-tube-door-lever-handle

If you want an uncomplicated design that exudes clean interiors, you will want a round tube lever handle that rests smoothly in the hand.

zara-bold-door-lever-handle

If you have a modern styled home, you should go for a bolder look (Zara or Kudos series).

Some may choose Kaiser’s ergonomic curves, which is a comfy fit to your hand. If you prefer a soft, fluid design, a Royce door handle is the way to go.

kaiser-ergonomic-door-lever-handle

All these have a timeless brushed finish that is easy to clean and does not distract from the room décor.

A change of door handles is like an instant makeover for door furniture. Renovator Store is proud to stock Hansdorf contemporary door handles, with options for heavy duty latches, privacy latch, and escutcheons (for a mortise lock). Another smart choice is the trusted Delf brand, with its wide range of handles that’s good for customization.

Staying Current with Construction and Design Trends In 2018

Good news! Next year’s trends are both beautiful and practical! Don’t you love it when it happens? Here is how to make your home fit your lifestyle and your sense of fashion.


Green as a state of mind


This is an important thing to point out before we move further into the topic. Everything eco-friendly and energy-efficient is a trend in the next year, and probably every other year to follow. This includes everything from building materials to solar panels. One of the major and most commonly found construction trends in this area is making a sustainable home. This means that it is energy efficient and has windows and insulation that prevent energy losses. As well as, that it harvests reusable sources of energy such as sun, wind and geothermal energy. A construction trend which impacts the décor the most is using natural and reclaimed materials for the interior.

planning your renovation

Function over luxury


Not being wasteful, is yet another way of preserving the environment. This forms a unique set of mind. That and the current economy together, have led many people to live frugal lifestyles. We now tend to have smaller and more functional homes. You do not necessarily have to downsize your living space on account of privacy and comfort, but simply cut out the space that serves no purpose. Instead of having a large entranceway, treat your home with an inviting hallway and a mudroom. A mudroom is practical and perfectly suited for families with children. They will also help you get clutter and dirt further away from your hall.

functional kitchen

A functional kitchen


Big kitchen islands are another upcoming trend. I am sure that a lot of you already have it, but here we are talking about kitchen islands that serve the purpose mentioned in the previous paragraph. An island is both decorative and multi-functional. The first function is that of a work surface. The second is storage, as you can install cupboards and drawers in it. The third is the dining table. A lot of small homes do not have enough space for a dining room. This is why having an island will increase both the functionality of the kitchen and the overall use of space. You can even make an island bar with bar stools and use it as a barrier between an open kitchen and the lounge area.

Patterns


Moving slightly away to the field of décor, there are certain interior trends you need to know about. Geometrical shapes and patterns are the next year’s must.  You can have them present on your walls, furniture and furniture upholstery, lights, plant hangers, shelves and pretty much anywhere you can fit them. Apart from the geometry, an everlasting trend of using floral patterns still on. The only difference is that next year, instead of using gentle, soft and complementary hues, you need to focus on creating contrast.

materials and colours for the home

Materials and colors


To adhere to the green lifestyle, natural materials are the following year’s trends including wool, wood, stone, and hemp. Leather is also very fashionable but note that most people will opt for using fake leather. You can now use mixed metals but brass is the dominant one. Innovative advice from experienced renovation company can help you apply the trends and combine these materials.  Natural materials go with natural colors so earthly hues are the ones to go for. However,   some of us, including your children need vibrant colors. The experts at Pantone have announced that Ultra Violet is the color of the year 2018. As a color, violet gets its warmth from red as well as the calming effects of the blue. This particular hue is neither too dark nor too light. It is a perfect accent for any room but it can also be a perfect choice for a teenager’s bedroom or a playroom. Enjoy it as colors are now allowed everywhere, even your kitchen.

High-tech homes for millennials


As millennial generation is maturing into homeowners, technical advances are becoming an important part of every household. This is something you should also keep in mind if you’re looking to adapt your real estate for rent to millennials. Devices that control your lights, appliances, heating, security cameras, doors, windows and everything else you possess and can imagine, are the type of modern-day-change you can expect in the following year.

Lights, fixtures, and amenities


Big vintage pendant lights are something you need to try in your home. They are perfectly suited over your coffee table, dining table or a kitchen island. Again, look for geometrical shapes, something that belongs outside, or 1950s vintage. The sinks in both bathroom and kitchen are no longer out of your way, but in your face and practical. This means that they are wide and deep. Also, you should move on from the classical steel look and use heavy duty materials such as granite and stone combined with copper.

2018 is a year to look forward to, as it brings some changes that will stay around for a long time. Happy holidays and enjoy the decorating!

5 Things To Know Before Replacing Your Doors And Windows

There are many reasons as to why you may be considering replacing the window and door systems of your home. It could be to improve insulation and lower energy bills. It could be to eliminate draughts and to help keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It could be to improve the look of your home. Or it could be to replace existing worn, faulty or damaged fittings.



Whatever your reasons, there are five things you really need to know before you embark on this project if you want to avoid costly mistakes and regret down the line.

1.     Are replacements really the best option?


Replacing your doors and windows is one of the more costly renovation projects you can undertake, so before you commit, you need to be certain that it is truly necessary.

Consider whether replacing hardware elements or individual panes may be more cost-effective, even if they need replacing in large numbers. Some older homes have incredible windows that are well worth restoring rather than replacing, too. If you’re looking to slash energy bills, consider alternative ways such as insulating attics and basements.


2.     Are you able to maintain or improve your home’s beauty?


Doors and windows are a hugely important architectural feature of your home and they play a huge part in its curb appeal. If you are considering replacing your doors and windows for whatever reason, will your proposed replacement maintain or improve the look of your home?

If you replace your doors and windows with a less attractive replacement, the whole look of your home will definitely be affected. This can decrease its value and would certainly put off potential buyers. Replacing your doors and windows with a superior, better looking product can, in turn, increase your home’s value.

3.     Know whether you need new construction windows…


There are two types of replacement window: new construction and retro-fit. And you need to be sure of the one you need as this decision will seriously affect the work required and the cost. New construction window replacement involves removing the entire trim around the window, taking it right back and replacing the whole unit, before reinstalling the trim and sealing the gaps.

This option is essential if the area around the window is rotted out, but regardless of whether this applies, it has the advantages that your new windows can be identically sized to the previous, and that any draughty gaps are taken care of.


4.     … or whether you need retro-fit windows.


For retro-fit windows, the perimeter frame of the old windows is not removed and a new window is fitted inside the old casing. The main advantage of this installation method is the significant difference in cost, but a minor disadvantage is that the new window will need to be fractionally smaller than the old (although this is often not particularly noticeable).

5.     Know which material your current windows are made from.


This final detail makes a significant difference if you are installing retro-fit windows. Replacements for metal windows come with a flange that conceals your existing frame, whereas replacements for wooden windows are specially designed to cope with the slope of the wooden sill. This sill can be wrapped in aluminum, although the most aesthetically pleasing option is often to paint the sill.

AUTHOR BIO

Carmen Vellila is an experienced Brand Manager currently overseeing the strategic development of multiple brands as part of the Epwin Group. She is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (ACIM), specialising in Corporate Communication and Digital Marketing.

She works with directors and managers at companies across Europe, utilising her ability to speak four languages, and works extensively with professionals across a range of industries to drive and deliver leading-edge strategies.
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