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Maintenance Tips to Help Extend the Life of your Deck

Timber decking is exposed to the elements throughout the year – heavy downpour, scorching sun, and high and low temperatures. This makes the wood expand and contract, which can cause it to deteriorate.

To help extend the life of a deck, regular maintenance is important as it helps the timber handle extreme conditions while revitalising its appearance.

It is fast and easy to make an old deck look brand new, starting with a nice finish. There are several finishes you can choose from to achieve the look you’re looking for.

Whichever finish you choose, regular maintenance is important to make your deck look great and last for a long time.

The Best Timber for Decks

There are many types of timber available. Selecting the same type of timber for both floor and decking can make the feel and look of indoor and outdoor spaces harmonious while giving a visual connection to the surrounding vistas and grabbing the attention of people who love nature.

One of the popular choices is lighter-blind timbers, like blackbutt, tallowwood or white mahogany offer a clean, neutral backdrop for outdoor design plans and landscaping. To make small spaces look big, choose lighter-coloured timber boards.

Some types, including blackbutt and spotted gum, are more ideal for locations that are susceptible to bushfires. Also, blackbutt is also resistant to termites, which is the right quality for Australian conditions.

No-Maintenance Decking Boards

Composite decking is suitable for you if you will not be able to keep up with regular maintenance. This type combines 95 per cent recycled timber and plastic, needs no upkeep except for random washing with soap and water, and is available in various colours and textures.

Because it is termite-resistant, composite decking won’t decay, warp or break. It is also resistant to fading, stain, scratch and mould, making it suitable for high foot traffic and uninterrupted summer of entertaining.

Signs That Your Deck Needs Refinishing

Dripping some water directly onto the boards is the fastest way to determine whether your deck needs work. If the timber absorbs the water, then it’s time to re-coat it. If the beads of water remain on t

he board, then no work is required yet.

Tips for Refinishing Decking Boards

Preparation is key to a great result from refinishing your deck.

If you have a new deck or your deck has been stained or oiled previously, use a stiff scrubbing brush to apply deck cleaner to get rid of tannins and oils from the timber. These products are good alternatives for algae or moss for eliminating dirt.

Because some cleaners can be detrimental to plants, protect the surrounding shrubs and trees by using plastic to protect the soil around them.

Let the deck cleaner be absorbed by the timber for 15 minutes before hosing it off and let the timber dry for a minimum of one hour before applying the finish.

If you use oil, mix it thoroughly before applying two or three coats with a lambswool applicator. To avoid a blotchy finish, apply the finish in long strokes the entire length of the board. The ends of the board should also be coated because they also need to be protected from the elements.

Read the manufacturer’s recommendations to learn the different varying times and techniques of applications of the stain, oil, paint or varnish you’re using.

Finish: Water-Based Vs Oil-Based

The choice between water or oil-based finishes often depends on the ease of use and longevity.

With water-based decking oils, you can re-coat your deck faster, and they normally last longer than the usual oil-based decking oils. The tools you’ve used can simply be washed off with water.

Oil-based decking oils usually take longer to dry than water-based coatings. You will also smell a strong odour while it dries. To clean your equipment, you need to use mineral turpentine.

Sanding a Worn or Painted Deck

For splintered, previously painted or severely damaged decks, sand the surface back to raw timber to revive its look. Make sure all nails and screws are countersunk to prevent the sandpaper from tearing while you work the deck.

Use a belt sander and coarse-grade belt to sand the surface, making sure that you move in the direction of the grain of the timber. To have a smooth finish, continue sanding with finer-grade belts.

For the hard-to-reach areas and edges, a finishing sander can do the job, but start with coarse-grade sandpaper and then a finer grade.

When you’re done with sanding the surface, then you can begin applying the finish.

How to Maintain Your Deck

To prolong the life of your deck finish, sweeping it or hosing it regularly avoids build-up of dirt and other moisture-retaining residue on the timber.

If your deck has potted plants, place a saucer underneath them to catch any excess water and prevent water from sitting under the pot as this can result in rot.

 

The Hottest Garden and Landscaping Trends for 2021

With people on lockdown for most of 2020, there is no doubt that many of us spent more time in our backyards and gardens, or looking for green spaces. 

Local hardware stores and nurseries were definitely not hurting as people tried to revamp their outdoor spaces and create a haven.


For 2021, here are a few trends that we can expect to see according to some top landscape designers.

 

Structural and Sophisticated

Combining lots of big leaf plants, such as fatsia, philodendrons, alcanterias and succulents, with architectural concrete is a trend that continues to increase in popularity.

But more than just your average slab, architectural concrete has steps with a shadow line, clean edges and profiles.

This style is a clean, severe landscape aesthetic at the ground level but made soft by plenty of plants. This is a perfect contrast between hard, solid surfaces and a gentler landscape with leafy plants.

 

More Garden, Less Lawn

The “less lawn, more garden” trend will become popular because it is low maintenance.

More people are using plants within the landscape, not just to serve as borders along the fence line or around the lawn.

This is very different from a decade ago when people would have asked for minimal plants and a really big lawn.

 

More Natives and Plant Biodiversity

Australian gardens have always been influenced by English or European styles, but landscaping professionals are seeing a move away from this trend and more into adopting the Australian native garden, by using plants that are more accustomed to our climate.

Not only will Australian native gardens become popular, but they will also become more diverse as people plant natives and combine them with European, South African, and South American plants like succulents and cacti.

The use of plants that are relatively low maintenance and don’t need plenty of water makes sense as they are a lot friendlier to the environment and less stressful to take care of.

 

The Australian Meadow

A good way to create biodiversity in your yard is through a European meadow-style garden, which involves the layering of shrubs, grasses, perennials, and trees.

An increasing number of Australians are adopting this style, so expect this to become relevant.

And landscape designers are putting their unique perspective with the use of native plants like eucalyptus, banksia, grevilla, callistemon and acacia, and more.

 

Crazy Paving

Crazy paving, or random stone paving, is becoming a top trend again but not as people remember it.

People have a memory of it as being large slabs of brown or Castlemaine slate, but a variety of materials are being imported from abroad with grey, nearly granite-looking random stone, or those grey shades that look great with concrete and timber.

If you want to create a textured, clean and contemporary look that sends a strong visual impact, go for random paving in natural stone then combine it with natural timbers and smooth-finished concrete.

 

Outdoors an Extension of the Indoors

Australians are all-about outdoor living, and this is something that will never go away.

Due to the lockdown, people are beginning to look at their outdoor spaces in a different light, with questions such as “how can we turn it into something that is more practical and more functional?”

Outdoor kitchens are becoming even more essential, the same with barbeques and even pizza ovens.

In the past, people were content with built-in barbeque, but now people want to put everything outdoors. People want to experience that relaxed lifestyle at home – without having to go too far for it.

Insiders expect an increase in flexible furniture that fit both indoors and outdoors, as people adopt a style that connects the indoors with the outdoors.

 

Pools Will Become Smaller

As Australians’ outdoor spaces shrink, so too does our pool size.

But what is important is to make sure the pool is properly designed for the space allotted to it and that it is practical and useful.

Whatever size the pool is, what’s important is to make so that people want to use it, and use it for a long time.

 

 

 

Serene Shades are the Top Colour Trends for 2021

The pandemic has changed the way we see the walls of our home and as many people are continue working from home, the line separating work lives from home lives have become notably indistinct.

While you may lack the funds to undertake a total renovation involving adding a new room or a ‘She Shed” for your new home office, there are a few understated updates you can do that will make a huge difference.

Sure, your productivity might get a boost from having a brand new coffee machine, but changing the colours of your space can impact it as well.

Dulux’s Colour Forecast 2021

Staying at home for most of last year has led to people preferring their homes to echo their personalities and for it to be a haven that functions both for working/studying and relaxing.

In past years, trends had been mostly influenced by European design and architecture shows, but most of these were cancelled in 2020. This resulted in the trends being dictated by the adjustments of our homes towards new ways of living and working in one space.

Colour evokes emotions and actually helps people relate to their space. At the moment, people would like to be cheerful and secure in our homes and colours can help bring that feeling of contentment, relaxation and happiness in your home.

Consisting of three soothing patterns, the 2021 forecast is inspired by nature together with instances of stronger colour to ease the mood and improve our outlook.

Retreat Palette

This palette comprises warm whites, brown-based neutrals and dusty blues that evoke a feeling of soft luxury, together with vintage-inspired shades of burgundy and deep ocean blue.

Nourish Palette

This palette depicts our rejuvenated enjoyment of natural beauty, with mellow, buff neutrals and bits of tan, soft olive and muted ochre.

Natural shades sooth and can bring out a sense of being more grounded and safe. These subdued shades, with an earthy undertone, are super calming and takes us back to our natural surroundings and can bring a feeling of harmony and peace.

Reset Palette

This is an inspiring and positive range of stirring and more upbeat colours; lush blues and coral, warm rust and lively mash-ups of pink and terracotta suggest a 1970s nostalgia and bring about recollections of travel and fun.

Starting your Colour Journey

If you’re having a hard time relaxing after a hectic day, colour can help you differentiate spaces, particularly if you work from home and prefer to have a distinctive vibe between your work area and relaxing spaces.

Where is the ideal area to start your colour journey?

Start in the master bedroom by creating a feature behind your bed. To create a lovely, moody vibe, use a deeper or darker tone and combine this with lighter bed linens and accessories.

You can also start in your home office or study area. Colours will help you feel motivated and give you a reminder that this is a working space. Start with a mid-tone or deeper tone.

To improve your mood, you can paint your front door in a bold or dark tone.

These are simple ways to introduce colour and personality into your home and separate your home from that of your neighbours. Colours reflect you and the people who reside in your home, so make it exciting and keep in mind that it’s just paint and it is not permanent.

For more inspiration on colour palettes visit my Colour Combinations board at Pinterest.

8 Ways to Increase the Value of your Home

The location and size of your property will affect how much it’s worth, but there are some tips to help you boost the value of your home.

Here are 8 tips to boost home value:

  1. A fresh coat of paint

The easiest and least expensive way to update the look of your home while raising its value is a new coat of paint. Choose whether you want to redo the entire house or do just two rooms, or maybe a feature wall? In terms of colour, experts say that ivory is the only colour that boost the value of your home however, I personally feel that most neutral colours will work just the same.

  1. Put in storage

If you’re not going for extreme minimalism, the lack of storage space will be a major turnoff for prospective buyers. Consider open shelves for the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. In addition, putting hooks on the back of doors is a simple convenience that is usually ignored.  Also think about any ‘dead’ areas of your home that could be transformed into new storage nooks.

  1. Upgrade the outdoor

The desirability of your home will increase with an outdoor area beautifully designed for entertaining. Shade and shelter are important, but fire pits have become a standard feature in many backyards.

  1. Add gas heating and appliances

There are a couple of reasons why gas appliances are a popular home feature. Gas heaters, especially flame-effect fires, provide warmth and comfort while being environmentally friendly. Gas cooktops can boost the value of your kitchen as they are generally favoured over electric cooktops because they can provide immediate heat and even temperature compared to electric. Gas also generates less greenhouse gas emissions compared to electricity, making it eco-friendly.

  1. Easy switches

You can build an entire new bathroom with no renovation. Minor, but current updates, like swapping handles and taps, can easily improve the appearance of your bathroom. Old and grubby tiles could be repainted. For an outdated vanity, installing a more contemporary one can make a huge difference to the vibe of the space.

  1. Curb appeal

The desirability of your home can also be influenced by how it looks from the street. Putting up a fence may be aesthetically pleasing, but it won’t automatically add value to your home. However, repairing and painting any existing fence around the property is worth it. Another easy and cost-efficient way to boost curb appeal is by replacing or repainting your letterbox and front door to a different colour.

  1. Décor and interior design

The look and feel of your home can be greatly benefited by adding items such as cushions, rugs and throws. Update old-fashioned lampshades and think of investing in some artwork. If you put your home for sale, it’s important that prospective buyers can imagine the space where they will potentially live.

  1. Add a granny flat

The concept of generations of families living together and dividing the cost of living is becoming popular. If space allows, building a granny flat in your property can boost the overall value provided it is done right. It is also a good way to earn extra income that you can use for your mortgage repayments.

 

I service the Newcastle and the Lake Macquarie regions and have been offering my clients sound recommendations and  professional advise since opening One Agency Pinkerton Properties in 2013.   If you found this article helpful or know someone who may benefit from it, feel free to share it.  

 

 

 

Tips to Prepare your Outdoor Space for Summer

We always look forward to a change in season, particularly when it’s summer. Sunblock is used more than usual. We impulsively buy ice cream from the service station. We also stretch out in our backyard under the sun as we watch the bedsheets dry out fast.

The beach and day trips are not the only activities that can give us the greatest taste of summer. Our home can also offer similar experiences by preparing your outdoor spaces ahead of the summer season.

Use mulch

One of the simplest and low-maintenance ways to spruce up your garden for summer is to add mulch to your plants. Mulch helps suppress weeds, keep moisture in the soil while keeping it from becoming dry, and will make you garden look tidier.

Use organic mulch if possible because it adds organic matter and nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.  I particularly like to use leaf litter mulch.

When you add mulch to your garden, make sure to weed the area first and add the mulch at 75 millimetre depth. Unlike with compost, there is no need to dig it in.

Replace with fresh mulch every 12 to 18 months.   

DIY garden renovation

Start small and work on one area at a time and when you decide what to plant, choose ones that you’d like to eat, see and smell.

This is a system that can easily work. For example, plant blooming flowers and integrate them with herbs.

Herbs are highly recommended. Plant lots of them because they grow easily and can easily shift effectively from a summer salad to a cocktail garnish.

For fragrance, plant gardenias, and for shade & colour think about a Japanese Maple.

Al fresco style

If your style leans towards some al fresco atmosphere for your outdoor space, whether a backyard or an apartment balcony, determine how you intend to use it first.

For example, do you want to use the space to gather a large group of friends for dinner, or do you prefer to host people for coffee or drinks?

For a smaller event, a lounge seating and a coffee table is ideal. Use stackable furniture if you need to store it after use. You can buy wooden stools that can also be used as tables and coffee tables.

To get value for your money, consider stools that can be used for both indoors and outdoors and can withstand any weather. This will allow you to move it from outdoors to indoors and vice versa.

You might also encounter unwanted guests – mosquitoes. To address this rather annoying situation, use repellents such as citronella candles or throw a few stems of rosemary on the barbeque. The mosquitoes will stay away due to the herb’s woody scent.

Garden pots

When you use garden pots to style your garden, opt for clusters of pots at different heights and sizes, as well as ones that are hanging or affixed to the wall with cascading foliage, in odd numbers.

Pots are considered ideal for renters as you can take them with you when you move.

You can be creative by turning found objects into pots. Just make sure the objects have drainage holes, or you can drill small holes in the base if they don’t.

As summer approaches, it’s better to use big pots because the smaller ones will dry out fast.

Lighting

It is also important to add a lighting feature to your outdoor area, especially when afternoon drinks shifts to an evening barbeque. Your choices are outdoor lamps, floor lamps, and hanging and strand lamps, which are sold at different price ranges.

You can also opt for LED lights from hardware stores, or designer lights that can be used for both task and ambient lighting.

This year I’ve opted for solar battery Christmas lights along the balustrade and fairy lights from the ceiling.

 

So get creative and just because it’s almost Christmas – don’t think it’s too late…..  There is still Boxing D

Organise your Home Before Christmas. Here’s How

Christmas is a busy time of the year and also magical. To keep the merry side of chaotic, start on the right foot by organising your home before Christmas.

Have you ever been asked this question: “What do you want for Christmas this year?” Well, it’s a question on many people’s minds and many may be asking it right now but think about a slightly different question. Change the word “for” to the word “from” and see how your viewpoint changes: “What do you want from Christmas this year?”

The one-word replacement makes the question take on a different meaning – and one that is more important and will bring you more happiness.

As you prepare your home for Christmas, think about how you want your friends and family to feel when they come visit your house and what it is you want to get from the celebrations and get-togethers.

Even if you’re not planning to hold any get-togethers this year, think of how it would make you feel if you organise your home for the holidays. Let’s repeat the question: “What do you want from this holiday season?”

Here are some tips to help you organise your home this holiday season.

Lessen the stress

Making lists. One of the things that stress us is keeping too many things in our head. Write things down or use an app to record your list. The common lists are gift lists and party preparation lists, but also consider creating a “connect” list.  Especially this year when some may be feeling the effect of Covid-19 isolation more than yourself.

Who are the people who want to see this time of year (either face to face or via phone)?

Make sure this season doesn’t pass without you seriously considering the meaning of this month to you and who you want to get in contact with.

Holiday decluttering
Look at your home and remove any item that is no longer of use to you. The holidays are the time to give and receive gifts, but it is also the time to host friends and family.

Keep it simple
Go for just the basics. In the same manner, follow the advice “less is more” to avoid filling your home with decorations.  If you’re not planning to compete in a TV show for the best holiday lights, simply put up a few nice decorative items to focus the eye.  A home or space jam packed with Christmas decors can make you feel a little dizzy and even divert your focus away from what Christmas really means. The fewer décor items you use the easier it is to organise your home.

Avoid going overboard
Make sure your parties are manageable. You may be unable to properly interact with your guests if there are too many people in your parties and too many things to take care of.

Think about this when you’re planning your party. It is possible to host dinner for the entire week. Invite six or seven people every night for one week so you can talk to each of your guests.

But how do you do this? Cook the same meal each night. Yes, it sounds like too much work but it’s also practical. You can make some of the dishes in advance and freeze them. Then, you just heat them up for dinner. And don’t work yourself up thinking how the meal will turn out since you’ve got everything planned out.

Make it memorable for your guests
If you have people staying in your home during the holidays, do things that would make them feel content in the room where they’re going to sleep.  Envision your home as one of those luxurious hotels. What would you like to see in that room? Probably put a fluffy robe, water, chocolates, or new toiletries?  Or consider putting up framed photos of you with your guests. Set up the room in the way that would make your guest feel that you thought about them.

Make this holiday season your own
If decorating or hosting parties is too much for you, there is no stopping you from making a getaway to a beautiful beach and not telling anyone where it is exactly.

Get someone else to handle your holiday tasks. If you are leaning towards this path, then do it!

Have a Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year! May you be content, relaxed and a little bit organised this new year.

 

For some simple decorating ideas visit our Pinterest Page.

 

Interior Design Tips for Spring

Spring is here. The sun is up longer, the temp is becoming hotter, temperas are getting brighter – start redesigning your home to complement your renewed outlook on life.

So, what’s popular? And how do you get the vibe you want in a cost-effective way. Here are six design tips for restyling your home and bringing an uplifting feel to match your mood.

  1. Channel your inner “Marie Kondo”

Spring boosts your mind and body. So if something in your home doesn’t spark joy, maybe they should be out for this season.

Check out every room – bedroom to kitchen, kitchen to living area – look in detail at everything from the furniture to rugs, artwork, knick-knacks and towels. It’s time to discard them or store them, especially if they no longer bring you joy.

  1. Don’t be afraid of change

At this stage, you should only see things that give off an invigorating vibe. Now, search for new ways to fall in love once again.

Look at every room in your home from various perspectives. This will allow you to think about how switching up objects or re-pairing items from other rooms can create new energy.

Will putting the sofa to a different location in your living area help you view your home in a new way? Even minor adjustments like moving the rugs to different areas can reinvigorate a space.

  1. Up-cycle furniture

What is an enjoyable, sustainable project that lets you save money and more importantly, helps in reducing landfill waste? Yes, it is up-cycling! It generally involves transforming unused, pre-loved furniture and materials into something fresh. Imagine a picnic bench sawed in two and installed on the wall to create a useful workstation, or giving an old wooden ladder a fresh coat of paint and turning it into a carefully curated bookshelf.

Here are some tips if you are new to up-cycling:

  • Begin with wood furniture. Working on wood is pretty simple. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can move to the next level, like resurfacing iron vintage bathtubs.
  • Give your old furniture a new, contemporary look using Annie Sloan chalkboard. (Don’t hesitate about experimenting with colours.)
  • Use tools that you are comfortable with. Some people prefer traditional tools such as sandpaper and manual hand drills, while others spend on the latest power tools.
  • Enjoy – up-cycling is all about trying out new things.
  • Check out my Pinterest Page for inspiration
  1. Switch to your heart’s content

Seasons change. So when designing your home, consider purchasing two sets of items in varying mood styles that you can change over when it’s summer and the sun is out to bring a brighter atmosphere.

Spring this Year:

  • White or pale pink hand towels
  • Throw blankets made of cotton or linen
  • Natural textures like jute
  • Inspiring artwork that stresses growth and renewal

Winter next Year:

  • Thick, comfortable hand towels
  • Heavy imitation fur throws
  • Cable knit blankets
  • Darker, moody artworks
  1. Green landscape

Colourful blooms come to mind when you think of spring, so there’s no reason not to bring them inside. One of the simplest ways to breathe life into your home’s new season décor is with fresh flowers.

Some of the popular spring flowers include King Protea, Peony, Scabiosa Flower, Brunia, Kangaroo Paws and Geraldton Wax. Organise them in a beautiful dining table centrepiece to create a cheerful explosion of colour in your home.  Here are some more inspiration at my Pinterest Page.

  1. Use colours all around you

More than a season, spring is a feeling. When decorating, use colours that create the vibe you want to feel at home.

Cool tones combined with light neutrals bring a breezy mood. Crisp white is simple and classic, letting light bounce inside your home so you can softly layer hues. To achieve a brighter atmosphere, use tropical colours such as fuchsia pink and tangerine orange.  Check out some other Colour Combinations here!

 

 

 

Add Style to Your Home with These 26 Simple Ways

Balancing functionality, coziness and style seems challenging when it comes to decorating your home. Regardless of the amount of money we spend on good furniture, there seems to be something lacking in the rooms and don’t look like the perfect spaces that appear in magazines.

Sometimes a few small tricks that only need a little of your time and don’t involve spending money are needed to solve the situation.

Here are some tips to make your home look more stylish with little effort.

  1. Give the same treatment to the front door as the indoor

Don’t overlook the first impression you make about your home, even if you reside in an apartment building. A good way to add style to your home is to give the outside of the entrance the same attention as the inside.

Put an object from the interior of your home (not anything precious though), hang a seasonal wreath or decors, refresh your house number sign. It’s also a good idea to use plants, but be sure they get adequate light.

  1. Present items in threes

Like in various fields and disciplines, the rule of three is greatly utilised in styling and decorating. Displaying in threes appear to be more attractive visually and more composed, particularly when heights, sizes and materials offer some diversity.

Start small by experimenting in a tiny nook or table and then employ the idea to various spaces in the entire house. But don’t overdo it, or else the effect won’t come across right.

  1. Layer your rugs and carpets

Professionals employ this trick often to save on costs for client projects or to “cheat” on shoots. Aside from being an inexpensive way to bring a space together, it doesn’t prevent you from having the pattern you like if you can’t find the correct size. It’s also an effective method to determine what you think about a bolder selection and it creates a cosier and more stylish vibe to a room.

You can begin by layering a small vibrant bold rug on top of a larger neutral rug or carpet.

Bathroom renovations can force you to make hard decisions because sometimes the things you want to do are outside of your budget.

  1. Pile your books in different ways

While the typical vertical or a tad tilted pile in bookshelves is usual for a timeless home, other arrangements tell of a bolder style.

Try rotating between vertical and horizontal book stacks in bookshelves. Horizontal piles will interrupt the pattern of the vertical lines and bring more visual attention, so that it is much simpler to design the shelves with other items. Just make the pattern random and not similar throughout, so as not to look heavy on the eye.

  1. Showcase conversation pieces

This trick is more complicated than it seems because you want to avoid displaying your beloved items throughout your home only to find out that nobody is interested.

To grab people’s interest, conversation pieces should stick out from the surroundings and instantly attract attention. You don’t need to travel far to find an object worth talking about. What’s important is that there is a cherished memory attached to them, distant or recent, any object can spark a conversation (even a random photo or a thrifted item.

  1. Create decorative liquid soap bottles

Save your fancy bottle of hand wash after you’ve used up the soap and refill with an inexpensive one. For a simple fix, soak the plastic bottles in warm soapy water until the labels are easy to remove. A clear bottle looks less cheap and much upscale than a labeled one, even if it is inexpensive and is still plastic. Put these fancy bottles in the kitchen sink and bathroom sinks.

You can also add a bottle of random lotion by each sink, to apply on your hand after you finish washing the dishes. This will keep your hands soft and feel more luxurious yourself.

  1. Don’t let dust accumulate

Dust is a style killer. You might think it was only yesterday when you cleaned your house from top to bottom, but dust just collects regardless of how much you clean.

Try to find which surfaces are more noticeable in normal light at home and make sure to wipe them down more frequently in between general cleaning. This will let you enjoy your home and keep stress-free and not get worried when guests come by. So as not to forget, keep an easy cleaning tool, like wet wipes, placed somewhere close to the problematic areas.

  1. Display fresh flowers at random

Put fresh flowers in a vase somewhere in the corner of a room, nothing too central. Much better if the flowers are of different varieties. With the casual look and random placement, you are conveying that it’s something you do normally and for your own enjoyment, without trying hard in impressing others.

  1. Move items between different spaces

We typically employ the logic of moving stuff around in the same room and don’t think about moving things from room to room. The latter is a new way of repositioning furniture and layouts. Plus, many items might look better in a new room or might provide a better use. When you have no time or budget to go shopping, this is the quickest way to update every space in your home.

  1. Have white towels in the bathroom

This is a personal preference, but white-coloured towels create a sense of freshness and cleanliness (make sure they are really clean though). In addition, it’s good to keep more than one towel in the bathroom, as it brings a sense of effortless hospitality and curated details.

  1. Put books on the coffee table

You can instantly add style to a room and provide great entertainment for your guests with books. To ensure everyone enjoys, include books that you love and a couple of different genres. You can have only books piled low, various magazines, table books and photo books. This is also a situation where you can use the rule of three and combine books with decorative objects and small items.

  1. Use a pitcher to serve water

Using a pitcher whether you drink water from the tap, refrigerated or bottled allows for easy access and also looks fancier. It looks cool to take out a pitcher during meals with family or with guests. For a quick, very fancy touch, add slices of cucumber or lemon to the water.

  1. Use the same paint colour and finish on mismatch pieces

If you have plenty of mismatched pieces of furniture that don’t go well together because of their different finish, colour or style, consider painting a few in a similar colour and finish to create unity in the room. Pick a couple of items that are strewn across the room and not too near each other. Don’t go overboard, as even a tiny dose can create unity.

  1. Have placemats on the table even when it’s not meal time

Though it might seem counter-intuitive, this tip actually creates the sense of tidiness at home and order in the family, especially those with children. Another great way to add colour and pattern in minimal doses is by using placemats (only if you like them). The placemats can be plastic, rubber or paper that you buy in stores at low prices. You can also do your own by repurposing old sheets or cutting fabric.

  1. Display a group of identical element

Pick one type of produce in large quantities. Fruit is great and the more intense the colour the better. Vegetables or simple elements found in nature, like stones or wood pieces, also work.

Put several of them in a large vase or bowl and display in a visible location (like a shelf or kitchen counterpart), but not too central, except if you are using it as a table centerpiece. The objective is to create a large visual effect by having an identical element in bulk, so it’s a good idea to use uncomplicated shapes and materials, such as for a glass vase or porcelain bowl.

  1. Light candles in clusters

Collect all your candles and set them in small clusters throughout the house. Examples of good places to apply this trick are the living room and entrance.

Rather than display them individually, it is better to light candles in groups because they will bring a bigger glow, which looks beautiful during the evenings and when you have guests. Additionally, having a cluster of candles burning creates a sense that you do this at random times and don’t do them just for special occasions.

When purchasing candles, avoid the fancy smells and pick the plain white ones, which look timeless and elegant and great for grouping.

  1. Use indoor plants

Take any space to the next level effectively with plants. Aside from offering freshness and colour to a space, plants help add style points to a space when you treat them as decorative pieces when picking their placements.

Experiment with various scale plants and various leaf designs, if possible. Place large plants close to large pieces of furniture or put them in empty nooks. With undersized plants, mix them with furniture parts or use them to complement larger ones (when the rule of three is used). Make sure they receive sufficient light to make them thrive.

  1. Eliminate a few accessories

If you like the “more is more” look, you have a more eclectic style or you’re just trying to identify your style. This is a quick tip for you. Remove a few objects that are on display. Rugs, pillows, decorative items, wall art can be removed one by one until what’s left is a clean slate. You can change things up until you’re satisfied with what you see.

  1. Place throw pillows and blankets over the sofa  

Aside from making a home look cosier and lived-in, light blankets and throws offer a natural way to add texture or colour/pattern to a relatively flat or neutral space. If you prefer only one throw, ensure that it’s carefully folded, but thrown a little freely. If you’re going for two or more, play with the arrangement until the space looks balanced.

  1. Place baskets around the house

Use baskets to fill with stuff before visitors turn up or cart from room to room to collect objects and take items back to their original placements. They look much more luxurious and interesting than they actually are. Placing them strategically around the house makes them feel part of the design.

You can use different sizes and shapes, but make sure they are of the same material or have a common tone to keep noise at a minimum in a quite hectic looking home. In contrast, baskets can be utterly flamboyant in a neutral room.

  1. Take out all packaging and keep products in containers

This simple tip has a lot to do with stylish homes that are defined by a not many details. For all food-related items that you purchase and place on display, take them out of their packaging and put them in neat looking containers. Glass containers are nice, but they can be costly if you need a lot. An inexpensive option is repurposed jam or sauce jars or buying plain porcelain ones. The objective is to avoid a whole matching set, but to use similar materials or colours in order to create a coherent and clean vibe in a pantry or kitchen.

  1. Hang items on the walls

If you’re avoiding dressing your walls because you think art and frames are expensive, then don’t. Frames and even art aren’t needed because any object can be art as long as it impacts you in any way and draws out emotions.

  1. Showcase your hobbies

Don’t hold back on displaying your hobby creations or even equipment. It will, for sure, spark interesting conversations, likely lead to more quality time if you successfully get another person to join and plenty of character added to your home effortlessly. Hang items on the walls, put arbitrarily on shelves or just set it down on the floor.  

  1. Use something surprising to fill a non-functional fireplace

The typical area to experiment with its purpose is a fireplace. Place any item other than firewood inside it and you immediately add style to the space. You can also use the same trick in small nooks, architectural elements, windows with partial or zero view, outdated appliances, and even sections of large furniture.

  1. Layer, layer and layer some more

Layering is the answer if you want a full magazine styled home. Start modestly and add more layers as you feel more at ease with the dynamics of your home. Begin experimenting on your sofa or coffee table. Try the rule of three and various textures, materials, colours until the it you get the vibe right.

  1. Let your home show your personality

The most elegant properties I have seen are either decorated for a photo shoot or are actual homes of fascinating people, that appear a bit dissimilar to what we commonly see, but show plenty of character and style.

The simplest and most effective way to add more style to your home is to integrate more of your personality and your tastes. Create a beautiful space that you’re keen to spend time in and treasure as much as you can. When you wholeheartedly “embrace” your home’s peculiarities, it is easy to impress others.

Wallpaper Bedroom

Make Your Room Look Expensive with These 6 Ideas

When it comes to elevating the interiors of your home, the simplest approach for this is to use rich finishes and textures that will immediately bring a little wow-factor to any space.

From a touch of brass or copper, or tactile textures like velvets and linen, you don’t need to buy big-ticket items to bring a bit of beauty and appeal to your home.

Draw attention to statement pieces and artwork by making thoughtful vignettes on your display surfaces, and purchase sculptural relics that can start conversations.

Here are six budget-friendly ideas to elevate your home interior.

  1. Make a feature wall using wallpaper

A charming design can play a big role in elevating a neutral palette and add soul to a room. On an entire or small section of a wall, place a design that appeals to you factoring in the vibe that you want to communicate. For example, for an airy, open-plan space the perfection choice is a monochromatic ‘New Contemporary Two Woods” wallpaper from Cole & Son.

  1. Hang a Large Framed Artwork

A bland space can easily turn stunning with a beautiful print or painting. For example, an Ubabub Sundae framed print not only revitalises a space it also serves as a main focus at the base of the dining table.

  1. Roll out a rug

A rug can help bring a room together, resulting in a well thought-out space. You don’t need to go bold or colourful to create an impact, just lay out a simple rug to bring instant elegance.

  1. Bunch a group of pendant lights

Whether they are installed in a row or a cluster placed at different heights, pendant lights on top of the dining table, kitchen bench or in the bedroom bring drama and an elegant vibe to a room.

  1. Adorn your windows

Not having quality window dressings can harm what would otherwise be a beautiful space. Dressing your windows is essential if you want your room to look perfectly elegant.

  1. Add a bit of charm

A space can instantly look more luxurious with a side table or lamp in copper brass. An understated example for this concept is accessories like a tray or candle holder to add a metallic touch.

For more inspirational and value adding ideas, ask Annette to visit your home!

Interior Decorating Ideas for Winter

Though the grey skies and wet mornings of winter have arrived, that shouldn’t be a reason for you to give up on style. With the change of season, you can restyle your interior.

Here are winter interior decorating ideas that you can use to help you feel snug as a bug even in the dead of winter.

  1. Colour and texture

If you are thinking of buying new homewares for the winter, reassess your interior colour scheme. Rich, saturated colours like dark green, jewel tones, reds or oranges fit this season. In the same manner, fabric choices reaffirm the richness of winter, with velvet, wool, cashmere and faux fur are the material of choice to direct warmth and texture to a space.

  1. Add greenery

Australian winter suppresses the people’s cultural desire for outdoor living, no thanks to strong winds, frost-bitten lawns and icy evenings. Bring a little of the outdoors inside your home using hardy indoor plants, or bring a sunny atmosphere to the gloomiest of corners with a bouquet of flowers that you can buy at the farmers market each week.

  1. Rearrange and reconsider

You don’t need to go on holiday in an exotic place to escape winter. Some change in your home is all you need. Look at your living room, dining and bedrooms to see if there is a way the space could be laid out. Could the seating arrangement be changed to promote conversation, or to congregate around an open fireplace? Fashion new snippets of vessels and trinkets on the sideboard in the dining room. You can also consider adding a textured bedhead to cosy up your bedroom. Sometimes breathing new life into an old arrangement can be as simple as rearranging a space or the accessories filling it.

  1. Layer

Introducing layers is one of the simplest ways to create a cosy atmosphere in your space. Use elements such as throw rugs, cushions, faux sheepskins, floor rugs and heavy curtains to create a cosy vibe in a space as well as give you easy access to all creature comforts.

  1. Lighting

The days are shorter during winter compared to summer, but don’t feel disheartened. Take advantage of the absence of natural light to create a mood with various kinds of lighting. To create a warmer overall cast to a space, use lamps, candles and bulbs with warmer tones for overhead lighting. If your lamps have visible bulbs, mix in classic decorative ones.