Category

Home Improvement

Our homes are our refuges. They’re providers of respite from external stress and chaos. Home is where we retreat after a long day, to sit back and watch our favorite series or cook a healthy dinner. In an age when we’re constantly plugged in, it’s crucial to have a physical space in which to breathe and mentally unwind.

Attaining peace of mind is difficult, though, when our would-be havens are actually anything but. This is also an era of accumulation, after all, where impulse buys are available at the tap of a button.

As a result, clutter has an unfortunate tendency to conquer our homes and transform our surroundings. Dwellings morph from sources of relief to causes of anxiety. It’s difficult to cook a nourishing meal when the fridge is crammed with wilting veggies. And you can’t exactly recline on the sofa when it’s covered with last week’s laundry.

Sounds familiar?

Maybe it’s a fear of letting go that’s preventing you from donating unworn items in your closet. Or perhaps you’ve accrued a morning blindness to a collection of chipped mugs in the cabinet. Either way, piles of stuff can quickly convert to clutter, preventing you from attaining total tranquility.
Not convinced that stack of tissues is standing between you and mental clarity?

Have a look at this intriguing infographic from full-service storage company MakeSpace (here’s their website). It details the hazards of over-accumulation, which range from safety threats to relationship stressors.

Australians love the great outdoors, but it’s all too easy to neglect our outdoor spaces when we think about rejuvenating the design of our home. We tell ourselves, it’s too big a job, no one sees the backyard anyway, and besides, it’s too expensive.

But an outdoor renovation can breathe new life into your home like nothing else, so we talked to Steve Jovcevski, property expert at financial comparison site Mozo.com.au, to get some top tips on refreshing your outdoor spaces – without sending you broke. Here’s what he had to say:

Assign the space a purpose

If you’re working to a budget, the first thing to do is sit down and think through what you want to achieve with your outdoor space. Will you be hosting big groups of people? Relaxing on your own? There’s no point spending a bundle on beautiful lawn furniture that you have to pack away every time family comes over because the kids want to play backyard cricket.

Choosing a centre piece for your outdoor area – say a classic BBQ – and then working out from that is a good way to create a cohesive, useful space. Decide what you want to use the space for, then make sure all your effort – and money – is going toward that purpose.

barbecue grill

Keep up with maintenance

Another easy thing that will give your outdoor areas an immediate boost is making sure you keep everything – from lawn, to garden beds, through to outdoor furniture or decks – well maintained. A nice neat lawn that’s mowed and watered regularly looks a thousand times better than one that’s been neglected, and old patio furniture can often be rejuvenated with a good scrub down and a bit of elbow grease.

Make an escape from the weather

One key way to make your outdoor space more useful and versatile is by putting up some kind of cover to keep it safe from the weather. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown pergola – a fabric sail can work just as well to keep the hot Aussie sun off and transform your backyard into an oasis.

It’s important to make sure your design elements all compliment each other and unify the space, and getting this major element right can help you with the design and tone of the rest of your outdoor entertaining area.

man mowing grass

Light up your life

When it comes to fairy lights, I find people either love them or hate them, but there’s a reason they’ve been a hot trend lately – if you often entertain at night, stringing fairy lights above an outdoor seating area is a quick, relatively cheap way to add a touch of magic to your backyard.

It’s a good idea to plan out where you’ll place the lights before you start, and as you do, keep in mind that the more lights you have, the more expensive it will be to buy and then run them. And remember – if you’re leaving them up permanently, make sure they’re not too exposed to the elements. Stringing them up under a pergola is a good way to keep lights dry.

Get creative with outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture is one aspect of home design that I think you can really afford to get creative with. So instead of heading out to IKEA with a shopping list, think about DIY options, like repurposing old cinder blocks, tree stumps, or barrels as seating and tables.

The beauty of using these objects – aside from giving new life to what might have otherwise ended up as rubbish – is that you really get the chance to put your own style into it. It can be as rustic or luxurious, colourful or elegant, eclectic or streamlined as you want to make it.

old garden chairs

Opt for remnant stone

Hardscaping – putting in features like retaining walls, walkways and edging – can be one of the most expensive parts of sprucing up your outdoor areas. If you like the quaint, cottage-y look, one way to refresh your hardscaping while keeping a handle on your budget is to use stone leftovers that you can get cheap at building supply auctions.

This look isn’t for everyone though – so before you go ahead, make sure remnant stone will suit the overall look of the space. If the rest of your exterior design is ultra-sleek and modern, it’s going to look pretty out of place. A nice, modern alternative that might suit your look better is a green wall.

Look underfoot

The design of a great outdoor space often starts at the bottom. Choosing the right paving material can make a big difference to both the look of your space and your budget. Generally, crushed rock or gravel is a less expensive option than traditional pavers, and with the right styling, can look just as good – just don’t forget to lay weed mat first. Polished concrete is another good, low-cost and low-maintenance option that I personally favour.

If you prefer traditional pavers, think about interspersing them with grassy areas to cut back on the amount of expensive material you’ll need.

Steve is Mozo’s property investment and lending expert. With an extensive knowledge of home loan products and property trends, Steve is full of practical tips to help first homebuyers, refinancers or investors build and get the most out of their property portfolio.

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most challenging home improvement tasks. Being one of the focal points of your home, the kitchen deserves your full attention and maximum effort. Moreover, kitchens are usually packed with tons of things and include more appliances and utensils than other rooms, so you must make sure your newly redecorated kitchen has enough space for all these items. The best way to conduct a successful remodeling job is by making a detailed list of all the things that need to be taken care of – from the choice of materials and colors to the overall look you’re trying to achieve. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind.

kitchen

Define the purpose

Not all families use their kitchens the same way – some just cook there, others use it for a quick snack as well, while there are also those who organize a complete meal right next to their fridge! Because of this, not all kitchens can look the same. So, before you start remodeling, define what you’ll be using your kitchen for.

For instance, kitchens used only for cooking and not serving food are much easier to remodel – they only need some maneuvering space between the sink and the stove and can therefore accommodate more appliances and cupboards. However, with big kitchens that include an island as well, you need to think about circulation paths and how you’ll get from the stove to the island or the dining table.

kitchen remodeling

Keep the heat up

Even though kitchens are usually small spaces packed with appliances that warm up the space, that’s not enough; therefore, choose and design your heating first. Whether you prefer radiators or underfloor heating, ensure you know how to incorporate them into the final design. Think about the position of your fridge, freezer, stove, cupboards or cabinets, and decide which areas of the kitchen need heating and which don’t.

If you choose underfloor heating, you’ll need to come up with a detailed layout as soon as possible because this part of the remodeling job is done before everything else. Remember that you don’t need to install underfloor heating beneath the fridge or the dishwasher since this might negatively affect their efficiency.

kitchen remodel

A harmonious design

Once you take care of bigger issues, you can move onto the smaller and more interesting ones – which materials to choose, which colors to pick, how to find the perfect pattern, etc. It’s also quite important to match the kitchen with the rest of your home. For example, modern apartments can’t have an old-school kitchen from the 1930s and adding a high-tech kitchen to a mid-twentieth century house is a big no-no. Just consider the whole picture and don’t go overboard.

If you decide to remodel on your own, you’ll be the one making all of these choices, which gives you full control over the design. Even if you make a mistake or two, don’t worry – as long as you’re handy and equipped with a set of trustworthy woodworking tools, you’ll be able to fix any problem. If you have any problems or just need some advice, you can always contact an interior designer for help.

kitchen renovation

Choose colors and materials

Picking the color of your walls and cabinets might be the hardest part of kitchen remodeling, but it’s also quite vital. Pick the wall color according to the type of your kitchen, the amount of direct sunlight and the color of the cabinets. Combining earthy tones with darker wood will produce a nice contrast and make your kitchen more exciting.

When it comes to the materials you can use, it’s essential to find a perfect countertop – this will definitely be the most noticeable part of your new kitchen. More importantly, you’ll be using it day after day, so it has to be up to the highest standards.Some of the materials you can use are quartz, polished granite, marble, wood and laminate, but check their prices and quality before deciding which one to purchase.

Other considerations

Other things you have to keep in mind are lighting, appliances, space for all your utensils and, of course, your budget – spending a small fortune on a kitchen is easy, but it’s also completely unnecessary.

Home staging is the art and science of preparing a home so that it looks as attractive as possible to prospective buyers. Interior design has a huge and often unexpected impact on how desirable a property is to a viewer. Ultimately, the goal is to have a prospective buyer walk into the house and immediately want to own it.

Staging a home can have a dramatic difference on its entire character. Home staging isn’t just about cleaning and removing clutter, it’s about creating an entire feel and ambiance that makes someone who walks through each room think “This house looks and feels great! I’d love to live here!” A staged home looks not only more attractive but also more spacious, more vibrant and more alive.

Staging a Home Yourself

You don’t need to spend a lot of money hiring a professional home stager who will charge between $500 and $5,000, depending on the size of your home and other factors. If you have a good eye for interior design, you can save yourself money by staging your own home and you may find it to be a fun and rewarding way to see your living space transformed before your eyes.

With a little inspiration and creativity, you can stage any house yourself to make it a true work of art. In spite of the benefits of home staging, many home sellers are reluctant to change the interior of their house to make it more desirable to buyers, and this gives anyone who does decide to stage their house a huge advantage over other sellers.

You can effectively stage a home no matter its size or what style of furniture and home accessories it currently has. The key to creating beautiful interior spaces is to arrange the large items of furniture is such a way so they are effortless to look at (i.e. everything looks completely natural in its place) and then to arrange small items and accessories around the furniture to create the desired effect. One of the best ways to get ideas is to look online for photos and design blogs and then make some notes on what you think you could apply to your home. There are too many good websites to name here but even just a Google image search can give you plenty of ideas.

Using Small Details to Transform a Home

Naturally, there’s no point in spending a lot of money staging a house just to sell it. Home staging is about making high-impact but low-cost changes to the small details in each room. For example, changing sofa cushions and adding an attractive table lamp and two accent chairs next to a side table can completely change the character and feel of a living room. In a bedroom, changing the bed covers to a subtle shade such as vanilla or teal and adding matching side tables can make a huge difference to how the room feels. A table runner and candles can add elegance and sophistication to even the humblest of dining rooms. It’s these details that can truly transform a house. None of these changes are hugely expensive and can be the difference between a property selling in 6 weeks and 6 months.

Very often, you can make more out of less. Small details such as changing old curtains for some luxuriant satin designs, adding patterned rugs or even some fresh flowers to a table can make a huge difference. You may find you don’t need to purchase many additional items at all. By just rethinking the way your home is currently arranged you can come up with many new ideas.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that home buyers are more likely to buy a property that has been staged than one that’s empty. Most buyers like to see houses that are loved and well cared for. Vacant houses can feel lifeless and cold, despite appearing larger by being empty.

Home Staging Doesn’t Hide Problems

Unfortunately, many homeowners are under the impression that staging will effectively hide problems a property has (especially older neglected properties). Trying to make buyers unaware that problems exist usually backfires. Buyers may be unaware of problems for a short while, but a property inspection will make that short-lived.

If a building has structural problems or even serious health hazards such as lead pipes or asbestos ceiling tiles, staging is not going to be a solution to those problems. Homeowners may even need to get rid of any pests or bugs that may have infested the home by hiring a professional pest control company. Once any major issues with the property have been resolved and cleaning has been completed, you can get to work on staging rooms to bring out the best in each. Staging a house is only going to effectively speed up its sale when any serious issues have been resolved first.

When in Doubt, Go for Simplicity

Simplicity and minimalism are always attractive qualities, and this is even truer if you are working with limited space. A cluttered room is hardly ever attractive, and the more items in a room, the less attractive it appears to someone who’s never seen it before. If you have small rooms to decorate, less is definitely more. Simple, neutral colors and designs are usually the most effective. This doesn’t mean that you have to decorate every room with dull gray; light shades and subtle patterns can often speak louder than bold colors and strong designs.

Vibrant color can be used in moderation to bring some spice and uniqueness to rooms. Bright curtains and rugs can be used to make drab rooms come to life, but just make sure any strong colors you use don’t contrast. The last thing you want is room to look like an explosion in a Sherwin-Williams warehouse! Simplicity can be harder to achieve in interior design, but it almost always makes a room look more attractive.

All in all, you can stage just about any home beautifully without spending much money at all. The old saying “creativity over capital” is as applicable to interior design as much as anything else. By making some simple changes to how furniture is arranged, replacing some accessories and adding some new details, any room can be given a powerful “wow factor”. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and that first impression can often be the most important.

Renewable energy is energy that can be gathered from naturally replenished resources. Renewable resources include sunlight, waves, tides, rain and wind, and energy harvested from these resources is important in many areas, including electricity generation, transportation and air and water heating or cooling.

Nowadays, many companies have switched to using renewable energy, mostly solar, to power their businesses. This change has proven to be successful and green building has spread all the way to our homes. Many homeowners are finding new ways of using the same renewable energy in their homes for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is to save some money on bills, but going green and using mainly solar power to run your home has many other benefits as well.

 

Rooftop solar panels

If you are looking for ways to incorporate solar power into your home, solar panels are probably the most obvious method. They are typically installed on your roof, but you can also set them up in your yard. They harvest the sunlight and its energy and further transfer it in the form of electricity throughout your home, satisfying all of your daily needs. Generated watts per square foot will vary, depending on the orientation of the panels and your latitude, but they can generate 10 or more watts per square foot, which is more than enough. Another way to harvest the sunlight through your roof is by installing solar shingles. You can set them up if your current roof needs replacing. Solar shingles are actually solar panels that are mounted on your roof and serve as your roof tiles.

Unfortunately, solar power has a weakness–it works only when the sun is up. However, in order to power your home when the sun is down, you can pay for grid electricity or invest in another type of renewable energy. Nevertheless, solar panels will greatly contribute to decreasing your utility bills and saving energy.

 

Solar water heating

Besides generating electricity, solar power can also heat your home. Many homeowners opt for solar water heaters, which use the sun’s energy to heat the reserve of water. Water heated in such a way is then pumped through your radiators and pipes all the way to your faucets or showerheads. This system is easy to install and it can save you plenty of money and energy since it is cheaper to heat your water this way than with electricity or gas. However, there are many types of solar water heaters and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to conduct a thorough research before you make a decision.

Solar AC

It might sound odd that you can use the sun to cool your home, but it is possible. Solar air conditioning works similarly to solar water heating, but it uses the hot water in AC systems. If summers in your area are too hot to bear, you are bound to spend plenty of energy and money on air conditioning, which only increases the utility bills. However, if you switch to solar AC, you can cut down those bills significantly. By using hot water to actually cool down your home, you will both save money and help the environment. What is more, the hot water that is produced in AC systems can also be used for other purposes. For example, you can harvest that hot water and use it for solar water heating as well, depending on the setup you have.

Climate is drastically changing and that can cause plenty of troubles for the environment and residential building. Due to environmental awareness and higher utility bills, more and more people are choosing to go green and use the renewable energy. Solar power is one of those sources and it can drastically change the functioning of your home as well as bring many benefits to you and to our environment.

 

 

If you are planning to renovate the apartment where you live or you’re willing to buy one, for sure you need to have your mind clear about the style you want to adopt.

A Swedish couple wanted to renew their love nest in London so they relied on Pillar, the first crowd sourcing platform of interior design in the world with a community of more than 50 thousand designers and architects. Their request was to remove the cold English style and use the Nordic style of their country.

The apartment had a single flaw on a structural level: it was exposed only on two sides. So the designers needed to project, having to enter the living area, kitchen and dining area and even a small double bed in a space with only two windows.

The couple received 12 projects from different parts of the world, 12 proposals to choose among the winning idea, as always all designers have met the expectations of customers. Anja Nina won the competition. The main color of the Nordic style is white.

Nordic style

This colour is predominant in the entire project, we can see it in the kitchen doors associated with a soft sea water colour, in the furniture that act as a filter between the entrance. Also, all the furniture of the living room and the bedroom are white. She put white in contrast with black in all its shades: in the pattern of the pillows and in the bed linen of the room, in the carpet that covers the floor near the sofa and in the bookstore.

Another key element of the Scandinavian style is wood: this material gives warm feeling and it has the feature to illuminate all the space that surrounds it, an essential condition for this apartment.

entire area

Other designers used wood in their projects. Annie Yakimova decided to use the oak, which is a almost yellowish that releases even more warmth to the entire apartment. The strategy was to use it as a cover material. Indeed, the living area seems to be covered by an oak line that goes from the side of the kitchen and it continues as a work surface and as shelves. This line turns into a small bar table with two stools.

Stylistic tone

Aleksandar Stosic used the same strategy. He decided to add a stylistic tone to wood. All the elements as shelves, panels, frames or supports are in oak as well as the legs of tables and chairs, the interior of the library and the TV stand.

In short, the designer has made a choice of expression. One of the main characteristics of the Scandinavian style is to use geometric shapes. The bathroom is indeed full of colours and shapes that recall famous paintings of MC Escher. Also, the rugs and frames are with geometric shapes.

View projects here:

http://gopillar.com/contests/open-plan-living-area-with-kitchen-hall-bedroom-and-toilette/submissions/signuparchitects

http://gopillar.com/contests/open-plan-living-area-with-kitchen-hall-bedroom-and-toilette/submissions/annie-yakimova

http://gopillar.com/contests/open-plan-living-area-with-kitchen-hall-bedroom-and-toilette/submissions/aleksandar-stosic

Buying a property is a big step, and prior to making such a step, you need to do extensive amount of research in order to avoid possible risks. Since foreign investors are bound by a government policy prescribing that they can purchase only new properties, those properties are usually of great interest, and, therefore, at a high price, which means that you can end up paying a sizeable amount of money. You can avoid this by opting for purchasing an existing property, however, in either case, you need to research the market thoroughly in order to make an informed decision.

Forming the Image

Real estate

Prior to starting your research, you need to know exactly what you want, which means that you should try to form an image of the property in your mind. This can help you be more efficient in your research, because you can immediately focus on the real estate that is of interest to you, rather than wasting your time or energy on something irrelevant. You can do this by asking yourself some questions that will help you form a clearer picture; for example, “do I need a house or a flat?”, “how many bedrooms do I need?”, and “in which part of the city would I like to buy a property?

Setting the Budget

budget

When determining what you can afford, you need to be as realistic and objective as possible. You can consider taking out a loan, but make sure to consider every factor there is, including the interest rate, the mortgage, etc. Consulting a realtor, mortgage broker or a bank can be helpful, but keep in mind that it’s in their interest to have you get the biggest mortgage or the most expensive house. The higher the price of your house, the greater percentage they are paid. Therefore, be honest with yourself and try to figure out how much you can spend on a monthly basis for your new house.

Determining the Area

neighbourhood

Another important aspect to be considered is the area where you want to purchase a property. Start by making a list of suburbs and then try to get as much useful information as possible that might affect your decision. You should look up the taxes for each suburb you are interested in, find out what the taxes cover or when they are due, and make sure to pay attention to school taxes, since they can be quite expensive. Additionally, check out the local statistics, including demographics and crime estimates, consider whether the community is growing, and talk to the neighbours, since they can give you valuable information about the area. Finally, don’t forget to research the schools in each area. If you have children, you need to know about the program, the distance from your home, the graduation rate, etc. On the other hand, if you don’t have children, this is an important aspect to be considered, since it affects the value of your property.

Where to Look?

real estate apps

Traditionally, you would look up properties in the real estate sections of newspapers and magazines, and this is still a viable option. However, the technological advances have made it possible for you to obtain even more data via the Internet, that is, by checking numerous real estate websites. Additionally, online real estate applications have lately had an important role in researching the market, enabling you to find your dream house while you’re on the move. You can read the full article to find out more about real estate apps that best suite your needs. Remember, it’s important to cover as much ground as possible, so using all resources available is of utmost importance.

Conducting thorough research is a prerequisite for making an informed decision when buying a property. Such a big step comes with a lot of risks, so make sure to do everything you can to minimise them and maximise the benefits.

When it comes to interior and exterior design everything has a role in making it successful, from large surfaces such as walls and floors to the tinniest pieces like knobs and light switches. On the other hand, as the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. The first thing everyone will  notice when entering your home is the front door and anything you did in making your house not-so-basic will be in vain if the entrance is not representative, as well. These are the front door paint trends that guarantee you the ‘wow’ every time.

Stone gray and a contemporary surrounding

When it comes to contemporary exterior and design in general, the choice of color plays an equally important role as it does with traditional environment. Still, from a somewhat different angle. Since contemporary design tends to be somewhat harsh, a proper choice of color will soften the intensity without taking anything away from the aesthetics. Stone gray with its untimely elegance will do the  job. Adding matte black hardware will further harmonize everything and reinforce the overall effect.
Stone gray door

Eclectic design solution

Mixture of various styles that the eclectic design successfully embodies is often the choice for people who want to own a not-so-basic house. Sporting all of the various design influences without taking away any of them or emphasizing a single one at the expense of the others can be rather tricky. The safest bet when it comes to front door paint would be to opt of a soft yellow paint. Its low-key finish will be perfectly neutral and at the same time contribute with a freshening and welcoming effect.
soft Yellow door

Red brick emphasis

Making a difference when it comes to homeowners fond of red brick facades or living in a row of ones surely is challenging. The usual mistake that is made is trying to do something bold with the front door design and color which ends up in a complete mishmash in the majority of cases. Taking just the opposite direction promises more success. A calming shade of charcoal gray is the perfect color to impart the traditional red brick exterior making it stand from other houses in a row, without ruining the neighborhood compactness.
charcoal gray door

Ivy exterior

If you happen to own a house that is fully covered in ivy, choosing a suitable front door color is another specific task. Narrow your choice to contrasting color palette. Even though ivy changes its color throughout the year, for the majority of time it has one of the shades of green. Having this in mind, the best choice would be either full white or black. The proper choice depends on the rest of your exterior design and the message you wish to send. White is more inviting and warm, while black radiates elegance and distance. Reinforce idea with the hardware in the same color.
Black froont door

Rustic looks

Sometimes the best paint is no paint at all. If you own a traditional design house that has a wooden front door, rustic looks will feel perfectly at home. Peel the paint off the wood all the way down to its natural paint. Then apply a protective layer of transparent wood lacquer. It will protect the door and at the same emphasize the natural grain and bring out the patina, adding a touch of class to the entire house.

Rustic wooden door

The proper choice of the front door paint will have a strong positive impact on the overall outlook of the house and make your not-so-basic house even more extraordinary. Still, the style dictates the choice of color and it is strongly advisable to follow the standards. Being too bold will only take away from the house instead of contributing to it.

For homeowners planning to install hardwood flooring, the high price tag involved can be quite off-putting. The total cost for the average home can easily reach $5,000 or even more. But did you know that you can enjoy the look and style of hardwood flooring without paying the high cost of one? Faux wood tile is a type of tile that is designed to resemble real wood in almost every way.

Put the wood-looking tile and actual hardwood side by side and you cannot tell the difference. The tile has been engineered to resemble hardwood flooring in color, patterns and even texture. If you really wanted hardwood flooring but the cost puts you off, wood looking tile is a great alternative.

Durable

flooring

The biggest advantage of choosing faux wood tile over actual wood flooring during your home remodel is the added durability. Tile flooring is hard and can resist most types of damage, whether from moisture, pets or traffic. This means that it lasts longer without requiring frequent maintenance. Essentially, you enjoy the warmth of hardwood flooring and the durability of tile.

This type of tile can be especially beneficial for high-moisture areas like the bathroom and kitchen and high-traffic areas such as the entryway and hallways.

Cost Effective

While the cost difference between faux wood tile and real hardwood is not that big (some high-end tiles are even more expensive than hardwood), tile proves to be far more cost effective. It does not require expensive or frequent maintenance, making it a lesser financial burden on the homeowner.

Variety

floor

There is no shortage of variety when it comes to choosing wood looking tile. Whether you are going for a chic urban look, a more formal contemporary style or a cozy countryside décor, you will find the perfect tile for your needs. The process used to manufacture faux wood tiles allows the makers to create virtually any pattern they want.

What About Real Hardwood

hardwood flooring

Real hardwood of course has its advantages. Before you make a decision on which one to go with, we recommend that you compare the pros and cons of each. For example, real hardwood has a certain warmth that just cannot be matched by tile. There is also the fact that wood is not has hard as tile. If you stand too long on tile, your feet and ankles will complain. Wood is much friendlier towards your legs, especially for people with feet problems.

On the downside, hardwood requires a little more work in maintenance. After sometime, you need to polish it to get rid of any wear and tear. Over several years, the maintenance costs can add up.

Making a Decision

wood looking tile VS hardwood

None of the options is the best and none is the worst. The best choice depends on your needs, preferences and budget. Talk to your contractor for advice on the best choice for your home. For example, you may find that tile is better if you have pets that tend to scratch a lot.

For a more comprehensive comparison, take a look at this article from Sebring Services, “Tile That Looks Like Wood vs Hardwood Flooring.

This article was written by Bryan Sebring, the owner of Sebring Services, which is located in Chicago’s western suburbs.  Bryan is very passionate about educating homeowner’s.  From design ideas to hiring contractors, his goal is to help homeowner’s in the process of remodelling their homes.

Given the market price on homes a lot of first time buyers look for fixer uppers to save on the purchase price or do up and flip. No matter what your reason for doing up your home, this is a great way to take stock and see what improvements you can do to make your home more energy efficient.

Follow the list

  • Ensuring the shell of your home is prepared for whatever the season will throw at you would be the first step. Check and see if your walls and roof are insulated, this is the first step to trapping in that warm or cool air.
  • Next check your windows and doors, if you can feel air coming through the gap your warm/cool air is leaking out. Air leakage can account for up to 10% of your heating and cooling bills. You don’t always have to replace the windows and doors in your home, simply sealing up these gaps and cracks will prevent the air escaping. It can be as simple as getting the right sealant from your local DIY store and applying it yourself. Ensure you do your research and use the correct sealant for the material you are working with. If your applying it outside ensure that the sealant you are using is water proof.
  • Once your walls and windows are taken care of look through your home and ensure any loft hatches or fireplaces are correctly sealed up. Fire places are great in winter but can end up costing you during the warmer moths when all the cool air is being sucked out.
  • If you don’t have them already, install celling fans and ensure they have a reverse function so you can use them to circulate cool air in summer and push warm air down in winter. While you’re on the renovating journey get all or your appliances serviced annually to ensure they are working efficiently.
  • Any appliances you find haven’t aged well should be replaced for a more energy efficient model. Save Energy, Save Money (SESM) allows you to not only compare prices on thousands of electrical appliances, you can also compare the energy consumption at the same time. If you’re in doubt you can use the SESM website to compare the annual running cost of your old appliance and the new appliance you wish to buy.

Seek help from experts

If you’re luck enough to be building your own home you should consult a sustainable builder who can talk you through your options for passive cooling and other great design attributes you can incorporate into your new build.

Good Luck renovating and reducing those energy bills!

Julie Moore director of Save Energy Save Money