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How To Choose The Best Air Purifier For Your Home

air purifier with plant

Believe it or not, your indoor air can be even more polluted than the air outside of your house. Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. And since we spend most of our time indoors these days, we breathe this all in and it can affect our health adversely. It leaves us susceptible to many ailments, including allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues.

However, if you use an air purifier to create cleaner, healthier air in your home, you can improve your health. But how do you choose the best air purifier for your home? We have some tips to help you make the right choice for your situation. First, let's talk about why air purifiers are important for your living space.

Why You Need An Air Purifier

Clean air equals better health. Does your pet fish swim in dirty water? No, of course not. That would kill it. Well, your home is your aquarium and your air affects you in a similar way. This is why you need an air purifier. Put simply, when your air is full of nasty things, so are you. When choosing an air purifier, you need to consider your indoor air quality needs. For instance, do you have allergies? If so, you want an air purifier designed to remove allergens from the air.  These models usually have HEPA filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters). These eliminate 99.97% of common airborne allergens that are 0.3 microns and larger. Things like pollen, dust, dust mites, mould spores, ragweed, and pet dander to name a few.

In the same way, if you suffer from asthma, you'll want an asthma air purifier or an odour and chemical air purifier if that is what triggers your symptoms. These models have odour and chemical filtration along with HEPA filters. Other models remove smoke, fireplace soot, and other fumes that irritate you.

As you can see, with many types available, it is important to choose the right kind of air purifier for your situation.

What Size Is Right?

To choose the right size air purifier for you, you simply need to know the square footage of the room you want to purify. A good way to do this is to measure the length and width of the area in feet and multiply the 2 numbers together. Then buy an air purifier with a recommended square foot coverage that matches. Also, keep in mind that these machines are designed to be clean one room only. If you have multiple rooms that you want to purify, you will need more than one air purifier.

white air purifier

What Features Should It Have?

Air purifiers come with many features these days. These features can include wheels and handles for portability, digital controls, filter change indicators, various fan speeds, remote controls, programmable timers, air quality sensors, and much more. Take a good look at the features and choose the right model based on your needs.

Where Should You Put It?

Different needs will dictate different placement areas for your air purifier, but the best place is generally in your bedroom because we spend so much time there. Air purifiers are designed to purify the air in one room only, so it's a good idea to use one for each room that you want the air cleaned in. One in your bedroom and one in your living room is a good idea.

How Hard Is It to Care For An Air Purifier?

Air purifiers are very easy to care for and maintain. If you are using one that has a filter, you should replace the filters when the manufacturer suggests. Some require a filter change once a year, others every two months. It varies by model. Some even have filters that you can clean yourself and put back. Others have no filter, instead using heat or ultraviolet light to purify your air and kill germs.

With these tips it should be a breeze to choose the right air purifier for you so that you can breathe easy.

By Connor Flynn

Bushfire Protection: How Roller Shutters Can Keep You Safe

Australian bushfire

Being an Australian homeowner in a bushfire prone area means that every summer is a stressful time. When the mercury nudges up towards 40 degrees and a hot Northerly wind starts to blow, everyone starts to worry about our friends in the bush.

While most of us associate bushfires with horrible images of walls of flame marching through paddocks and bushland, it's actually flying embers that cause the most damage to homes. All it takes is one ember for a house to be burnt to the ground.

But, did you know that one of the best types of protection against embers could be roller shutters? Here’s how roller shutters protect your home during a bushfire.

Protecting Vulnerable Points

Windows are a common entry point for flying embers. If an ember enters through the window, it can light the carpet, drapes and furniture and quickly create a fire that will spread throughout the entire home.

As the fire approaches, the intense heat can smash the glass, Once the glass is shattered, your home is entirely open to attack. Aluminium roller shutters with a BAL-40 rating offer extra protection and prevent your windows from bursting or cracking open. BAL-40 is the highest rating, so if you live in a bushfire prone area, you need this rating.

It's not bushfires that burn homes down, it's house fires started by embers that burn down homes. Protect the entry point, you protect your home.

Keeping Heat Out

The other danger to your home is heat radiation. If your house gets too hot, elements of the building can reach ignition point and simply catch on fire. Everything has an ignition point, and roller shutters help to insulate your home against heat and give your home more chance of staying intact.  

Preventing Flame Contact

Of course, if flames start licking at your home, you're in trouble. Homes built in a bushfire prone area tend to be designed for protection against flame contact, which is why flying embers are the biggest danger.

Fire-resistant roller shutters add to that protection and mean that flames can’t come in contact with wooden window frames and other vulnerable areas.

house with roller shutter

Choosing The Right Shutter For Fire Protection

If you live in a fire-prone area, you absolutely need a BAL-40 rated aluminium shutter. Steel loses structural integrity at 600 degrees and fails at 1500. BAL-40 shutters won't fail unless they are in direct path of the flame zone, and if that happens, there really is nothing that can save your home.

You should also check that the roller shutter meets Australian Standards of fire resistance, which means compliance with Australian Bushfire Construction Standard AS3959-2009. These Standards have been drawn up to prevent tragedy, and they are an accurate guide into how well the shutter will perform if placed in a bushfire situation.  

What About The Aesthetic Of My Home?

Roller shutters are an incredibly stylish addition to your home. That means you can arm yourself against a bushfire, without worrying about how your home will look from the outside. Your house won't look like a prison, in fact, the colour and design of modern options will actually make it look better.

Roller shutters give you the extra peace of mind you need in bushfire season. They're an instant means of buffering against embers, heat and flames and giving your home the best chance of survival in the event of a fire.

Living in the Australian bush means living with fire, roller shutters are part of an intelligent and effective defence against that reality.

Settling Into Your New Home: 5 Actions Steps to Take

mopping the kitchen floor

After going through that tumultuous experience called moving, it’s now time to face the last hurdles of your new life in a different city: settling into your new home.

Making your new house feel like home is an effective way of helping you and your family adjust to your new place faster. By making your abode feel more familiar and comfortable, everyone will find it easier to get used to life in a different neighbourhood. And in no time, everyone will be calling the new house truly their home.

Seasoned interstate removalists share below the five important steps you have to take to settle into your new home quickly and successfully: 

1.    Clean the house

If you didn’t clean your new house before moving in, take some time to do this now.

Begin by cleaning the kitchen then work on the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, and other areas. Make sure you use an antibacterial or disinfectant cleaning product, or create your own to get rid of any germs still lurking around.

Additionally, pay particular attention to cleaning the ceiling, walls, floors, and fixtures that are touched or handled frequently such as the door knobs, light switches, and faucets.

You can always hire professional cleaners to clean your home if you’re too exhausted from the move to do this task.

2.    Unpack and fully set up one room at a time

Making your new house more appealing and comfortable always starts with unpacking.  To be able to organize your home faster, unpack and arrange items one room at a time

Start by setting up the kitchen since everyone will be spending a lot of time here to eat, drink, or do other activities. This will be easy to do if all the boxes marked kitchen and all the large kitchen appliances have been placed in this room by the movers.

Next, move to the bedrooms. Make sure you and everyone else has a bed ready to sleep in. If you have kids, you can let them design and decorate their own rooms. By doing so, you will help them recreate their own private sanctuaries in your new house.

Once done, set up the bathroom, living room, and other remaining rooms.

No matter which room you choose to organize first, make sure you fully set it up before moving on to the next one. This means you should organize the bedrooms only after you’re done with the kitchen. Don’t start setting up another room while you’re still in the middle of arranging the previous one.

woman carrying a box

3.    Change the lighting to improve the ambience

Light is a powerful component that can make a new house feel different instantly.

Start by letting in more natural light into your home. Replace dark window treatments with lighter ones. Installing new curtains, blinds, or your choice of window treatments will also give each room a more complete and cohesive look.

You can also change the lights in your home to make it feel cozier. Choose warm white lights that give off a gentle hue especially for living areas – they will instantly give any room a friendlier and comfier ambience. Cool white lights are good for household work areas like laundries and garage. (Find out more about the difference between warm white and cool white lights.)

4.    Arrange your favourite artworks and décor

Hanging paintings and framed photos you brought from your old home is a great way to help everyone acclimatize to the new house. Once you have set up your shelves and cabinets in the living room, kitchen, and other rooms, arrange all the family heirlooms, trinkets, lamps, and other décor you have.

Once you have arranged all these items from your old home, you will instantly feel a sense of the familiar in your new abode.

If you think your living room and other rooms still feel sparse, buy new ones. However, make sure anything you add will mesh with the current design and theme of your home. Don’t forget to avoid over-decorating as well.

5.    Add your personal touches

Once you are satisfied with your new home décor, you can work on injecting your personal style and preferences in the house.

If there is a spare, unused room, you can turn it into your office, a study or reading nook. You can paint it in your favourite colour. Next, fill it with furniture, decorations, and fixtures that showcase your preferred colour or decorating style. 

Whichever look you choose in updating this room, make sure to let your personal touches stand out.

Settling into your new home will take time. The upside is you don’t have to rush things; take one step at a time to turn your new place into something that is organized, familiar, and comfortable.

Pretty soon, you and your family will have fully adjusted to and love your new abode. 


Author Bio

Craig Jones is the Managing Director at Aussiemove, Australia’s largest independent moving alliance. Craig is a respected member of the removalist network in Australia, having served in senior positions, including the President of the removal industries governing body, the Australian Furniture Removals Association (AFRA). With 23 years of experience at Aussiemove, he has the skills and the highly trained team to move families safely and reliably, in Adelaide, across Australia and around the world.


10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office

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.

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

Why You SHOULDN'T Hire An Interior Designer

Kim Dugina of Harp Interiors
This guest post was shared on Renovator Mate by an interior designer who believes "you can have a chic, polished, clutter-free home that meets both your schedule and your budget delivered straight to your inbox".

Why You Shouldn't Hire An Interior Designer

Why I SHOULDN'T hire an interior designer... WHAT?!?

I bet you’re surprised to hear this from an interior designer! But there are some very good reasons why full-service interior design is not for everyone.

Having a beautiful home that fits your style and budget IS for everyone, but that doesn't mean that you need to hire an interior designer for a full service. In fact, there are certain types of people who could and should save their money to spend on the all-important furniture and décor items. Keep reading to find out who...

I love shopping in heart shape

You Love Shopping

If you love spending your weekends scouring furniture and décor shops searching for that perfect piece, that’s the right colour, size and price etc. — then hiring a designer may not be for you.

Working with a designer is more like dining in a 5-star restaurant: You place your order and the chef works his magic in the kitchen before serving your meal — you don't see every detail of how they made it happen.

When you hire a designer for a full service, they don’t expect you to shop for the "ingredients." If you would prefer to mix up your cake yourself, then perhaps you shouldn't hire an interior designer. 


Have a consultation with a designer who can send you to the right sources, with the perfect shopping list for your next shopping adventure. An e-design package is perfect for you if you love hearing that beautiful sound of the courier knocking on your door, without the fear of hoping it will fit where you want it or if it will look how you imagined.

hand holding alarm clock

You Have Heaps of Free Time

Designing, sourcing, renovating and installing any space takes a LOT of time. You might love this type of challenge, and want to dedicate all of your free time to doing just that. Maybe you have taken the time to educate yourself on the technical software that designers use to document and illustrate their designs.

Interior designers spend countless hours staying up to date on the latest product offerings and continuing education. We take a substantial amount of time attending workshops, markets and courses to be sure that we can provide you with the best solutions.

If you have tons of free time that you can dedicate to doing the same, then perhaps you don't need any interior designer. 


Consider a virtual consultation with an interior designer that can fill in the gaps where you need it from the comfort of your computer.

 pink piggy bank

You're Not Ready to Make the Investment

If you haven't taken the time to think about how much you would like to invest into your home, you probably shouldn't be hiring an interior designer. Although having a beautiful home is something that everyone can achieve on ANY budget, working with a designer is making a choice to hire a professional.

When you go to the dentist, you expect to pay dentist fees.  The same goes for an interior designer! We love what we do but that doesn't negate the fact that we are business professionals providing both an experience for our clients and an expertly tailored end product.

When you're ready to invest in your home and your lifestyle, hiring an interior designer will help you get amazing results.


E-design packages start at only $499 and you'll get a detailed plan and a shopping list. You can design one room at a time and you are then free to purchase the recommended furniture and décor pieces in your own time and when your budget allows.

Save your coins and when you're ready, call an interior designer. I promise it will be worth the wait!

mood board

You're A Control Freak

It’s ok, it’s not always a bad thing and I’m guilty of it too. However, working with a designer requires a measure of trust that you have to be able to give. Designers will always have your budget, lifestyle needs and timeline at the very top of their priority list.

The advantage of working with a designer is that we juggle all the little pieces that need to be coordinated for you to be able to get the results you want. In order for us to do that, you have to let go!

As the saying goes, too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth. Yes, the process is collaborative, but you have to allow yourself to rest in the fact that your designer's got the big picture handled.


Empower yourself and let your inner control freak shine first with an e-design package. After our collaboration and the design is in place, the ball is in your court. You get all the information, floor plans and shopping lists that you need for you to take control of the project whenever you’re ready.

 hammer paintbrush hex screw drivers on a clipboard

You're A DIYer

When hiring an interior designer for a full-service design project, you would never be expected to lift a finger. That means everything from the shopping, to the deliveries, to the installation is left up to us. If you would prefer to do it yourself, then hiring an interior designer may not be the best fit for you.

Lucky for you, many designers (me included!) provide e-design services where we provide a detailed design plan for you to implement yourself! That allows you to flex your DIY muscles and save a few coins too.


Tap into a designer's tips and long list of retailers (with furniture pieces you will never find at your regular shops), with a detailed plan prepared just for you in an e-design package.


You're Too Attached to Ugly Things

Yep, I said it! Some of you are holding on to things that just don't belong in your home anymore. I know it has sentimental value, or you paid a pretty penny for it 20 years ago but sister, it's gotta go!

Interior designers can do some amazing things with your existing beautiful furniture, art and accessories. But we can’t work magic on the things that just simply do not fit your current design goals.

If you prefer to hold on to grandma's vintage quilt and grandpa's dusty recliner, then working with an interior designer may not be for you.

Allow a designer to help you edit and enhance what you have so that you can live your best life! Let's chat!.


Did you see yourself in these reasons? If you did, that's ok!

The beauty of the design industry today is that there are so many ways that you can work with a designer.

Even though a full-service interior design may not be the best option for you, I encourage you to seek out a design service that will suit your personality, time and budget. (Hint: See Author Bio below.)


Author Bio

Kim Dugina of Harp Interiors helps homeowners create the beautiful, organised homes that they really want to live in and can’t wait to come home to. She likes to hang with her husband and kids, going to the gym, cooking for her teenagers, and watching UFO documentaries.

Kim Dugina of Harp Interiors

Why It's Time to Indulge in a Heated Towel Rail

There is no better feeling than jumping out of the shower into a dry, soft, warm towel. A heated towel rail provides the utmost luxury at little cost and is able to make your early morning routine that much more tolerable.

square tube heated towel rail on bathroom wall

The extra beauty of a heated towel rail as well as warming up your towel is that it will dry your towel for you too so you will never have to pick up a damp towel again.

Heated towel rails will also keep your bathroom warmer, reducing your energy bills by avoiding the need to turn on your heating system and they can also be used to hang items of washing to dry.

towel warmer with two pink towels

Do I get a plug-in or hardwire?

Most heated towel rails come as a hardwired option, plug in with cord or sometimes battery operated. If doing a serious renovation, it is advised to get your heated towel railed hard-wired as it will look more professional and hide power cords and electronics. This, however, requires the work of a licensed electrician.


If you are simply replacing your old towel rail with a new one, a plug-in is the easiest option, however, make sure you do not have power cords close to water or along the floor as tripping hazards.

Aguzzo matte black heated towel rail

When purchasing, it is important to take into consideration the energy costs associated. Different towel rails will provide different heat at different energy wattage. Be aware of the material that your towel rail is made out of as some will convey and retain heat better than others making them much more energy efficient. Stainless steel towel rails will hold their heat very well.

Also, be aware of the sizes available, some towel rails will only fit 2 standard sized towels if folded which will inhibit their ability to dry.

woman with baby in bathrobe and towels after washing and spa has heated towel rails, all of which are of highest quality and most competitive prices. Made from quality stainless steel in both square and round designs, the Aguzzo heated towel rail range are some of the best value on the market!

Read up on the details of selecting a heated towel rail.

aguzzo round freestanding heated towel rail




Tips For Choosing A Heated Towel Rail

Would you like warm fluffy towels on a cold winter's morning? Is your current bathroom cold when you hop out of the shower? Heated towel rails are mainstream and one of the most sought-after fixtures for the bathroom these days. A heated towel rail will not only warm up your towels but can warm up the bathroom temperature, reduce condensation and add an element of style to any bathroom. This indulgence is now an affordable option for any bathroom.


These days electric heated towel rails are the way to go. They are energy efficient and an easy to install alternative to towel rails connected to a gas central heating or hydronic heating system. In the old days, heated towel rails were often connected to the central heating system and only worked if that system was turned on. Electric heated towel rails are independent operating systems and can be connected to thermostats and switches to only heat up when you require it.

infographic showing things to consider in choosing a heated towel rail


There are three main types of heated towel rails.

LADDER RAIL: This is the most common type of heated towel rail having 2 vertical rails with several horizontal rails creating the ladder. They come in a variety of widths and heights to fit any bathroom. Wall mounted units are fantastic for bathrooms with limited floor space and can take the place of conventional towel rails.

INDIVIDUALLY HEATED RAILS: Instead of having vertical rails, these have a connector strip inside the wall and all you see are the horizontal rails. This is a minimalist style rail system.

FREE STANDING: These are the traditional type of heated towel rail systems providing great flexibility in placement and use. Installation is easy and the unit typically just plugs into a standard household outlet to operate.

aguzzo round freestanding heated towel rail


Heated towel rails can come in a range of materials and finishes from chrome, stainless steel, nickel, brass and copper. The most common are stainless steel or chrome plated brass.

Chrome is perfect for modern and minimalist style bathrooms. Chrome is also hard wearing, however, it can peel or bubble off over time.

Stainless steel is the most efficient and resilient rail on the market. It is more energy-saving as stainless steel holds heat very well. Stainless steel comes in brushed and polished finishes. The polished finish will show fingermarks more easily.

Matte black is highly popular with new modern bathrooms and architects specifying the latest in trends. It has a real appeal because of its neutral matte tone and its contrast with other colours and surfaces in the bathroom or kitchen.

aguzzo matte black square heated towel rail


This will depend on three factors:

  • the size of the bathroom,

  • the number of people using the bathroom, and

  • how many towels you want to keep dry and warm.

Too big a rail can be a waste of energy and too small can mean your towels overlap and don't dry effectively. For busy family bathrooms, I would opt for the largest size available so several towels can be hung at any time.

Heated towel rails can also be used to keep clothes dry so bigger is often better if you have the room to install one. Hanging bathers over the towel rail is far better than putting them in the dryer which could cause them to shrink.


Heated Towel Rail Styles

Heated towel rails come in all kinds of styles these days. There are traditional designs for older, period style homes and modern, sleek design towel rails in chrome, white or matt black finishes.

Other features to consider in a heated towel rail are whether you want curved or straight rails, arched or straight tops.




There are several options when installing a heated towel rail.

A plug-in unit is like any other electrical appliance and plugs into the power socket. A plug-in unit is not as safe as the hard-wired system and you need to ensure proper precautions are taken to keep the environment safe. A heated towel rail should never be installed inside a shower or directly above a bathtub as can increase the chance of electrical shock.

Hard-wired units will need to be integrated into the house's electrical system and require a licensed electrician to install. Hardwire conceals the wiring to a wall switch or smart timer.

Both systems can be operated with an on/off switch or with a timer. A timer will allow you to turn on your towel rail before your bath and shower each day so it's warm and toasty when you get out.

hotwire touch xcreen thermostat for heated towel rail


This feature allows users to keep the temperature at a particular level.

Other benefits of heated towel rails are they can help prevent the musty smell when towels are damp for too long. They are more hygienic and minimize damp-loving bacteria which can form on damp towels. They also provide more comfort when drying yourself versus a cold wet towel.

So what are you waiting for? - Invest in a heated towel rail to add some style to your bathroom and dry your wet towels quickly and conveniently.

900mm flat tube polished heated towel rail

To see Renovator Stores' large collection of heated towel rails, click here.

Passive Housing: A Smarter Way of Living [Infographic]

Our friends at EZ Living Interiors created an infographic about passive housing and they're delighted to share it here with you!

Passive housing is an innovation that maintains an ideal temperature in your home and reduces utility costs. This is known to produce energy savings of almost 90% on conventional homes, which is better for the environment and for your bank balance.

With this infographic you can quickly learn about:

  • What passive housing is about,

  • Its characteristics,

  • The benefits you can gain from it, and

  • What experts think about it.

Read away!

[caption id="attachment_14744" align="alignnone" width="800"]infographic on passive housing to help reduce home heating costs Source: EZ Living Interiors[/caption]

How to Blend Natural and Modern in Your Home

Can you mix natural and modern in your house? How can sleek appliances match natural elements? What can you do to harmonise nature with geometric shapes?

modern interior rendering of living room with green sofa coffee table plant shelf

Natural and modern styles can actually look swell together. You can integrate these two design types and enhance your home in the process. In fact, you can use contrasting styles (or what seems that way) in a single room and achieve an impressive look. It’s just a matter of how you do it.

So how do you bring nature into a modern home? Here are some ideas to spark your imagination.

fabrics with earth hues and patterns

Use Fabrics with Earth Hues and Natural Patterns

Black, white, and other neutral colour schemes are common in a minimalist house, but it’s highly advised to add a few highlights here and there. Some experts would suggest bright and bold accents, so how about orange floral throw pillows on a plain black sofa? Or a carpet with leafy patterns?

You may also consider these:

  • Upholstery with earth tones like raw sienna, deep Indian red, or forest green

  • Natural fabrics like a jute rug in a room with plain white walls

  • Curtains with animal-inspired patterns (think giraffe spots or zebra stripes)

  • Bed covers designed with seashells or aquatic animals

You can surely come up with a few more ideas! Just remember to use these on accents, as they are meant to beautify and not to distract or dominate.

hammock with plants in background

Choose Pieces That Bring Peace

Studies show that spending more time with nature lowers your pulse rate, blood pressure, and concentrations of cortisol (a hormone released during stressful situations). Think of each room in your house and ask, “What can I add here that will give me a more calming and relaxing feeling?” It can be as simple as family photos on your living room wall, or it can be a cosy bed that brings you restful thoughts even before you lay your body down.

elegant egg shaped limestone bath tub freestanding_preview

In a contemporary style bathroom, you could consider a handcrafted, egg-shaped bath. The one shown here evokes comfort and luxury as you imagine yourself taking a soothing bath. It is made from limestone and painstakingly hand-sanded down to get a smooth textured matte white surface. Freestanding stone baths from Aguzzo even come with basins to match, in egg, oval, rectangular, or square shapes. These minimalist artstone baths and basins are perfect for your own peaceful bathing sanctuary.

Aguzzo Brennero rounded rectangle limestone white bathroom basin on black benchtop

You can also add natural home furniture to your house like a grass-coloured sofa in the living room, wicker dining room chairs, and nature-inspired Zen-style furniture.

mosaic of a vine leaf with white and black pebbles

Display Stone Decor or Landscape Art

Rocks and stones provide a solid connection with nature. It’s convenient that these are now readily available and there is a range of ideas to add these to your decor. Here are some:

  • Rocks or pebble as knobs on cabinet doors

  • Natural stones on your bathroom floor

  • DIY painted rocks picked up from the river or beach

  • Different kinds of unique stones on a display shelf

painting of sunset on the Dnieper

Shells, sand, driftwood, and other finds from nature can also be part of your home decor. Of course, you could also hang landscapes, pretty sunsets, and other wall artwork depicting nature if that’s your preference.

You can also expand on this idea and use rock doormats, stone mosaics, or even white brick walls.

Jazz D200 black granite kitchen sink one-and-one-half bowl with reversible drainer

Use Modern Fixtures Made from Natural Materials

Another simple way to get nature into your home is by installing fixtures that are actually designed for a modern home but made from natural materials. There’s handmade contemporary lighting, bamboo bathroom basins, or a hexagonal mirror with a wooden frame.

A granite kitchen sink with a contemporary design is another such fixture. The sink above is made from natural quartz granite and a very hard acrylic resin, making it eco-friendly and a natural bacteria repellant. Many such granite sinks in the market are specifically designed for modern kitchens, like those made by Cino. They design premium Italian-made sinks that use environmentally safe, composite materials. These are available in black and in white, any of which will match a minimalist or modern kitchen.

If you want to include just a subtle hint of nature amid contemporary, you can also do it with your tapware:

  • A matte black waterfall bath spout,

  • A rustic tap with stone or wood parts,

  • A square rain shower head, or

  • An animal-shaped tap.

Terrus Waterfall Spout Black

Feature House Plants

Plants are for all home design styles, and they blend especially with modern interiors. You can either work with a single large plant or several smaller plants.

For a feature plant, you can choose from the following:

  • Bird of paradise (strelitzia reginae)

  • Fiddle leaf fig (ficus lyrata)

  • Madagascar dragon tree (dracaena marginate)

  • Weeping fig (ficus benjamina)

  • Norfolk island pine (araucaria heterophylla)

house green plant succulent Senecio serpens or Blue Chalksticks in bathroom close up

For smaller plants, try these:

  • Air plants (tillandsia)

  • String of pearls (senecio rowleyanus)

  • Chain of hearts (ceropegia woodii)

  • Rubber plant (ficus elastica)

  • Maidenhair fern (adiantum)

table top indoor decorative miniature garden in clear glass bubble with cactuses and succulents. Decorative glass vase with succulent and cactus plants glass interior terrarium with succulents and cacti

The great thing about plants is that you can have them in many different ways — potted, hanging, or in a vase. Other wonderful ideas for houseplants are:

  • Terrariums, which are very low maintenance and a favourite of creative people,

  • Indoor vertical gardens (living wall) or framed succulents,

  • Hanging eucalyptus on a shower head, which is good for aromatherapy, and

  • High-quality artificial plants that look like the real thing, if you don’t have a green thumb or have no time to take care of real ones.

oak floorboards interior living space

A Billion Ideas for Blending Natural with Modern

If you just look around, there are really a billion things you can do to introduce natural elements into your contemporary home. We’ll add here installing wood backdrops or floorboards, using environment-friendly and sustainable products, or simply by letting natural light into the room.

Anything you want to pitch in? Leave a comment below if you have other ideas, something that you’ve already done in your house, or if you need some advice.

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.


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


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.