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6 steps to a better night’s sleep

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6 steps to a better night’s sleep

Feeling sleepy today? You’re not alone.

Almost 40 per cent of Australian adults suffer from inadequate sleep, according to a recent Sleep Health Foundation report by Deloitte Access Economics.

The report details the huge burden of inadequate sleep, which costs Australian’s $66 billion a year ($1.8 billion in health bills, $19.9 billion lost productivity, $6.5 billion other financial costs and an estimated loss of wellbeing cost of $40.1 billion).

Even scarier is the fact that sleep deprivation was linked to 3,017 deaths in 2016 and 2017, causes ranged from falling asleep at the wheel to workplace accidents and medical conditions linked to sleep disorders.

If you’re one of the 7.4 million Australians experiencing inadequate sleep it’s time to do something about it to safeguard your health, productivity and general well-being.

Here are seven steps that’ll ensure you get a better quality of sleep.

1. Mattress matters

Seeing as we spend around a third of our lives in bed, life’s too short to be on an old, lumpy and downright uncomfortable mattress. Test out a few different types to find the right mattress for you. Maybe that’s a traditional pocket spring model or an innovative memory foam design, or a mix of both!

The SIMBA Hybrid has just launched in Australia which is a spring and memory foam mattress combo where its springs move horizontally and vertically to fit the shape of your body to give you the best sleep possible.

Matt Taylor, Australian Managing Director of SIMBA says, ‘Our mattresses are a complex layer cake of unique sleep surfaces tailor-made for you and your sleep partner. The Simbatex layer provides cool, gentle support, while the Visco memory foam moulds expertly to anyone’s body shape - designed to support a hippo on one side and a mouse on the other’. So, no more being woken up by your partner’s tossing and turning!

Plus, it conveniently comes rolled up in a compact box, so it’s easy to manoeuvre on even the tightest of hallways and staircases.

 Image: SIMBA Stylist: Heather Nette King Photographer: Mike Baker

Image: SIMBA Stylist: Heather Nette King Photographer: Mike Baker

2. Natural remedies

There are a number of houseplants that can work wonders to aid in getting a great night’s sleep. Some of mother nature’s best sleeping aids to introduce onto your nightstand include:

  • Aloe vera- As one of the best plants for purifying air, a NASA study found that as the sun sets aloe vera starts to emit oxygen and the more oxygen there is in the air the easier it is to fall asleep.
  • Japanese peace lily- NASA also found that Japanese peace lily helps to rid your room of harmful toxins (such as benzene and formaldehyde) and increases the humidity in the space by up to 5 per cent. Higher humidity levels help to suppress airborne bacteria and microbes that can aggravate allergies at night.
  • Jasmine- A study by Raudenbush et al. showed that jasmine was very effective in reducing stress and anxiety, allowing for better quality sleep, reduced movement in the night and even increased cognitive function.
aloe.jpg

3. Curb clutter

A cluttered and untidy bedroom doesn't assist in promoting rest and relaxation. SIMBA sleep psychologist Hope Bastine advises the removal of anything non-essential and anything work related to de-stress the sleep space.

Regularly clean out and reorganise your closet, to avoid disorganisation and a ‘floor-drobe’ situation from arising. Invest in tubs, baskets, hanging organisers and maybe even an extra dresser to improve the functionality and make keeping your bedroom organised a breeze.

4. Mood lighting

Hope Bastine emphasises the importance of the right lighting for creating a sleep sanctuary. A warm ambient glow from a bedside lamp is ideal for after-dark use to create the right ambience for rest. Also, consider adding in a dimmer switch to your main lighting so you can adjust the amount of light at different times of the day.

It’s also important to ensure your bedroom is as dark as possible when it comes time for some quality shut-eye. Consider installing blackout blinds if your bedroom window is close to a busy road or streetlights for optimum darkness or if you do shift work and sleep during the day.

5. Decor dos

Invest in some quality bedding that’ll keep you cool or extra warm and cosy depending on the season. Keep the palette of bedding and the rest of your bedroom on the neutral side (greys, creams, whites, beiges, pastels) to promote a tranquil atmosphere.

Artwork is also the perfect opportunity to create a calming feel in your bedroom. Select a piece that makes you feel at ease (think rolling waves, organic prints or tranquil landscapes) and use the colours in the work to accessorise the rest of your room to further enhance the relaxed vibe.

6. Screen ban

Studies show that the blue light emitted from the screens of computers, tablets and smartphones wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm, make it harder to fall asleep and cause a poorer quality night’s sleep. Hope Bastine suggest storing all electronic items out of sight to ensure standby lights and notifications don’t interrupt sleep.

The Harvard health letter recommends making your bedroom a screen-free zone and avoid looking at bright screens for two to three hours before retiring to bed. If you must use your phone for work late at night or close to bedtime install an app that helps reduce blue light eye strain by filtering the blue light your device emits, such as Twilight or f.lux. Alternatively, try reading a book, meditating or taking a warm bath to wind down before bed instead of staring at a screen.

phone blue light.jpg

We hope these simple steps help you to wake up better-rested tomorrow and have a better quality snooze in the long term. 

Sweet dreams!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to winter-proof your home & outdoor area

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How to winter-proof your home & outdoor area

Winter-proofing your home has many benefits that can save you money, keep you comfortable and improve the lifespan of your home. Whether you choose to tackle this yourself or hire a professional, it’s important not to neglect to prepare your home for the colder months. If you do, it could result in water damage, higher energy consumption and a bunch of wasted money.

Save time and money in the long run by safeguarding your house. Read on for eight tips to keep in mind when winter rolls around.

Protect your patio

If you have patio furniture, a BBQ or other items outdoors, bring them inside or shelter them if you can to protect them from damage. If you don’t have anywhere to store them, at least cover these items up for protection from the elements.

Cover firewood with a painter’s tarp so it doesn't collect water and become too damp to burn in your open fireplace or firepit. Use a rope to secure it in place in case your area faces any heavy winds and rain.

Drain the water out of any garden hoses and store them in a shed or another protected place. If not, in particularly cold areas of Australia water inside can get frosty and weaken the hose’s lining and create punctures.

Don’t forget about gaps

This is an important time to seal any gaps and cracks you see in your window frames, doorways, walls or foundation to prevent cold air or small rodents and possums sneaking in. Foam and caulk fillers are great investments for smaller cracks or openings, and it’s easy to use yourself. For larger openings, use an expanding foam filler that can also be sanded, painted and stained. If you're filling in cracks around windows, stick to a white paintable caulk that will last for many years.

Add insulation

Insulation has a lot of benefits – reduces draughts, sound and cuts down heating costs. Pay close attention to your roof, underfloor space and around any pipes. Use either foam, fibreglass or cellulose insulation to insulate properly, and make sure you wear a mask to protect yourself from dust and other particles. If you don’t feel confident enough for the job, hire a professional to assess your home's insulation needs.

roof insulation 3.jpg

You can also close curtains, blinds and shutters when the sun goes down to help keep heat inside. If you do have curtains, the thicker, the better. If you don’t have thick curtains, consider lining them with a thick fabric. Insulating the home can be expensive but is well worth it to save money on heating costs long term.

Protect your exterior

Although you may be overwhelmed with all of the things you need to do inside your home to winter-proof, don't forget the outside. Your roof is especially vulnerable to damage during winter months. If your roof is in bad shape and needs work, have repairs done before winter hits. If your roofing needs replacing, consider also having that done beforehand to prevent any further damage to it and your home.

Compare roof repair and replacement prices before making your decision. The cost will vary depending on the amount of damage and its age. Although a repair typically costs less than a replacement, a damaged roof is a damaged roof. How much money do you want to invest in a damaged car when you could just put it towards a new one? Same idea. A new roof also increases the value of your home, so that’s another reason you may want to replace your roof instead of repairing it.

Change out your doormats

It’s time to switch out your usual doormats for those with rougher textures, so they can remove mud and other gunk before you enter the home. To protect carpet and clean floors from muddy footprints and water damage add a bench or chair, rubber mat, shoe rack or plastic boot tray by the front door so guests and other members of the household can easily remove and neatly store their dirty shoes.

front door winter.jpg

Bring plants inside

When cold weather arrives, move potted plants inside. If you have flowers, relocate them gradually to reduce shock. Start by bringing them in at night, then taking them back out in the morning. This will decrease any leaf loss that would occur if you were to just switch their environment permanently overnight.

Remember to inspect all plants and flowers before bringing them inside. Look for any fungal diseases or bugs on leaves, branches or in the soil. If you detect any of these things, give your plants a hard spray of water or use insecticidal soap.

Keep filters clean

Dirty filters can negatively affect ventilation, heating efficiency and are a fire hazard. If you have a gas heater (indoors or outdoors) arrange to have it serviced before use every one to two years. This way you’ll have peace of mind there are no carbon monoxide leaks, faults or dust build up in filters. Also, test the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors to be on the safe side.

Don’t waste money on heating bills

During the winter months when it gets cold, heating bills tend to go up – way up. Don’t fall victim to this. Invest in a programmable thermostat, and use it. When you're at work or gone from your home for a long length of time, set it to turn the heat down and then back up before your return. Some smart programmable thermostats even let you control them from your phone.

Don’t turn your heat all the way off because if your thermostat has to go from one extreme temperature to another, your central heating system will have to work twice as hard, thus costing you more money. Try to keep it around 18 to 21 degrees while you're gone.

Another thing to keep in mind – keep doors shut to rooms you don't use, that way the heat from rooms you're using won’t escape.

Winter-proofing your home and outdoor area is super important because it can save you lots of money – just by doing these basic things. While getting a proper doormat or filling in that small crack by your kitchen window may seem small, these are things that can heavily impact your heating bills and the lifespan of your home.

For more ways to prepare your home for winter check out these cool winter outdoor living ideaswinter home colour scheme inspo and cosy autumn home decor ideas.

Author bio:

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine.

Kacey Updated Author Headshot.png

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Yarraville real estate for sale and properties for rent in Melbourne.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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First home buyer options – Renovate, move-in ready or build – Which is right for you?

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First home buyer options – Renovate, move-in ready or build – Which is right for you?

One of the primary reasons Australians choose to move is better housing. Who doesn’t enjoy living in a beautiful home that meets your individual taste and needs?

Your first home should meet both your practical and psychological needs and in order to accomplish that, you might need to renovate, buy further afield or perhaps build from scratch.

FHB XL build.jpg

So, a dilemma arises for the Australian first-time buyer: what option is the best one? Renovating, buying something that’s move-in ready or building?

We’ve outlined the pros and cons associated with each option below to help determine what would work best for you.

Renovating-

Pros

To start with, if you choose to get a home that requires improvements, this means that it will be more affordable than a similar home that already looks excellent in the same location. That is to say, if you’re eager to get a house but your budget is limited, this option might be better suited for you.

Moving forward as you invest money in your home by renovating you’ll increase its value. This might not be a priority for every buyer. Still, you should consider this if you want to sell the house in the foreseeable future.

Concurrently, renovating your own home gives you total and complete freedom. In other words, you can make all the specific modifications you want to suit your reno budget and needs. You may do them one step at a time as you gradually build your savings back up, as well – if that would work better for your circumstances.

Cons

The downside to renovating your home is all the legwork involved in the process. Although it might not seem like it, renovating can be a tiresome, messy, expensive and a time-consuming experience. So, you have to be prepared for a bit of chaos in your home.

What is more, renovating might slow down the settling in and moving process. Depending on the amount of work you’re having done to the house, a complete overhaul may prevent you from moving in right away.

At the same time, renovations can sometimes include hidden costs that you may not anticipate at first glance. That being said, you should always assess that the approximate figures are likely to go up and be sure to leave some room for contingencies in your budget too.

 Renovator's delight- For sale:  56 Shamrock Street, Brunswick West, VIC

Renovator's delight- For sale: 56 Shamrock Street, Brunswick West, VIC

Move-in ready-

Pros

A move-in ready home is the definition of convenience. All you have to do is tell your real estate agent what kind of house you want and where and that’s about it. This way you’ll only have to deal with the exciting stuff tied to moving in.

At the same time, most move-in ready homes are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Newer builds are often more energy and cost efficient, as they’re better insulated than older properties, and have the latest appliances and heating systems installed. If you want no fuss no muss, move-in ready could be the way to go.

Cons

Let’s cut to the chase, the thing with buying a move-in ready home is that it can be on the pricier side. Therefore, this could be restrictive to some first-time buyers.

Of course, when you buy a move-in ready home, as much as you’d like it, it isn’t entirely customised to your specifications, style and taste. That simply means you may have to compromise on some stylistic or practical elements of the property.

 Move-in ready- For sale:  7 Paine Street, Newport, VIC

Move-in ready- For sale: 7 Paine Street, Newport, VIC

Building

Pros

Another option worth considering is building a house from scratch. A notable benefit is first home buyers receive a discount on land stamp duty or in some states are even exempt entirely from paying stamp duty (up to a certain purchase value). In some states, first home buyers may even receive a government grant to put towards building a new home (E.g. The First Home Owner Grant is $20k for new homes built in regional Victoria valued up to $750k).

Most importantly, designing a home allows you to add in every finish, design element and layout feature you want. Many buyers choose this option because they cannot find anything on the market that meets their individual needs and preferences exactly.

Did you know that the average Australian household emits five to 10.5 tonnes of energy on a yearly basis? Still, when you build a house from scratch, you can use the newest, most innovative building techniques and materials – meaning you’ll have a more cost-efficient home long term.

 Image: XL Building

Image: XL Building

Cons

Some people are unaware that building a home requires a lot of time. Plus, weather can often delay the construction at one point or another, which might further prolong the process.

According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, building a new home might last up to 7.5 months. The more complex the house design, the longer it will take.

The thing is that many lenders restrict borrowers, requiring them to have the house built within a specific timeframe. If something unexpected comes up and the process is delayed, the borrower must get an extension. Having your application for extension approved can take much more time.

That is not all, getting a construction loan requires much more paperwork, which equals more time and stress. You should also take into consideration the progress fees that apply to construction loans – this depends on the lender, though.

What is more, the cost of building a home isn’t fixed. Of course, a contractor might estimate the total investment cost, but those are just figures. Not to mention that land in Australia tends to be on the expensive side.

 Image: XL Building

Image: XL Building

As you can see, each decision comes with a set of pros and cons – as with all things in life. It’s up to you to analyse your given circumstances and choose what works best for you. Is it a move-in ready home, renovating or building from scratch? You alone can make that decision.

For more tips for buying your first home here's everything you need to know about conveyancing, a first home buyer's guide to negotiating and strategies for buying at auction.

About the author

Luke Oleenik serves as the Managing Director of XL Building, a trusted building company specialising in second storey additions and custom home construction across Melbourne. Prevent your dream home from turning into a nightmare with his ultimate building guide.

Luke Ol.png

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Yarraville real estate for sale and properties for rent in Melbourne.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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What is the ‘fair market value’ of my home?

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What is the ‘fair market value’ of my home?

When selling a home, we all want to achieve the best price possible, while the buyer is usually after the best deal they can get.

However, in the end most houses sell for what I would call fair market value – the price a willing buyer will pay, and a keen seller will accept, given that neither the buyer or seller is under pressure to close the deal.

Of course, sometimes buyers get a great deal and at other times they overpay. In both instances, this is usually because emotions come into play.

Pressure or motivation comes from life changes such as divorce, a sudden job transfer, difficulty meeting mortgage repayments or a death in the family can compel either the buyer or seller to act quickly.

But getting back to fair market value – the price you’re most likely to achieve; let’s get one thing clear…it may not always be 'fair' to you.

It may not be what you call 'equitable' because the fair market value is impartial, it takes no sides and it doesn’t care about what you need or what you want.

Let’s look at it this way…Suppose there are two identical homes next door to each other in the same street. One was purchased by Pat and Ken 20 years ago. They paid $200,000 for their home and over time have slowly paid off their mortgage. Their neighbours, James and Katie bought their home five years ago and paid $500,000 for it.

During the last few years, the value of their property remained fairly static as James and Katie bought in a suburb where there was an abundance of new properties. However, they have done some improvements to the home and even put a swimming pool in the backyard.

Both couples now decide to put their homes on the market. Because they are both very similar, almost identical houses – the same size, the same age, the same condition, the same location – other than the improvements James and Katie made, you’d expect they’d have similar fair market value.

Under the circumstances, the fact that James and Katie paid a lot more than Pat and Ken doesn’t really matter. Even though they put a swimming pool in, this won’t necessarily increase the value of their home by the $50,000 they paid to have it installed.

In fact, some buyers won’t even be interested in looking at their house because they don’t want the extra maintenance that comes with an in-ground pool. So the fair market value of their home may be $5,000 to $15,000 more than Pat and Ken’s because of the pool, but in the eyes of many buyers, it in fact won’t be worth any extra at all.

When both couples sell their homes, Pat and Ken will walk away with a pocket full of money because they’ve paid off their mortgage, allowing them to go off and buy their next home. Whereas in the case of James and Katie, they’ll probably only have a little left over after repaying their mortgage because house values haven’t increased all that much since they bought their home.

So now you can see why we say that despite the term 'fair market value', it’s not always fair or equitable to you – it’s simply unbiased.

In today’s market, your house is worth what the current market deems it to be worth – not what it’s worth to you in ‘your’ opinion.

The value of your home is NOT related to:

  1. How much you paid for it.
  2. How much you owe on your home mortgage.
  3. The renovations you have done to your home. It’s the things that you can’t easily change or enhance that add value to your property - things like north facing windows and sunshine all day or proximity to the beach or the water. 
  4. How much you love your home.

Instead, its value will depend on factors such as:

  • Location,
  • the neighbourhood,
  • its age and condition,
  • and the number of other comparable properties for sale.

How to best determine the fair market value:

A great way to determine the fair market value of your home is to get a comparable market analysis from an active local real estate agent who will compare your home to all the properties in the same neighbourhood as yours that sold in the past six months and that were approximately the same age, size and condition as your house.

real estate agent appraisal.jpg

For more advice on maximising the sale price of your home check out these ideas to boost your kerb appeal, five ultimate value adds when renovating, tips to renovate for your target market and must-dos for holding an open house.

Author bio:

Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He is a best-selling author, one of Australia's leading experts in wealth creation through property and writes the Property Update blog.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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6 spaces that need a dreamy daybed

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6 spaces that need a dreamy daybed

You can never have too many places for downtime and lounging around at home, right?

Enter the daybed. A daybed is the perfect indulgent and versatile modern furniture solution. It can be used for sitting, meditating, studying, reclining with a book and maybe even getting a quick forty winks.

 Image: Australian House & Garden

Image: Australian House & Garden

Originating in ancient Greece daybeds, aka klines back in the day, would be placed in common areas of the home where guests mingled, serving a similar function to couches today. Daybeds were a place for leisure, lounging and socialising. They were commonly fashioned out of stone or marble adorned with lots of pillows and cloth for comfort.

Thankfully we’ve come a long way since ancient times and we're spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting daybed styles and materials for our homes.

Whether you’re considering a cosy custom designed built-in piece or purchasing a timber four poster daybed, there’s sure to be a style below that’ll inspire your choice.

Home library

Add some instant decorative panache to a study or reading zone with an enticing upholstered daybed (or two!).

 Image: Jessica Helgerson Interior design

Image: Jessica Helgerson Interior design

Make the space extra inviting and homely with the addition of a cosy quilt, plenty of throw pillows and a sheepskin rug.

Up your daybed’s functionality by adding built-in drawers and shelving for additional storage of documents, knick-knacks, stationary and reading materials.

Don’t forget to place a small coffee table or shelf close at hand to stow extra books, magazines and a cup of coffee as you while away hours on end.

Poolside

There’s nothing that screams luxe resort-style living quite so well as a poolside daybed. It’s the ideal spot for soaking up some vitamin D, keeping an eye on the kids as they play in the pool and enjoying a poolside picnic.

Ensure you pick out waterproof and weather resistant cushions and materials, to keep your daybed looking fresh, even after a few stray splashes escape the pool.

Depending on the layout of your pool, the addition of a long built-in bench-style daybed (as pictured below) can also help provide loads of extra seating when hosting a pool party or BBQ. 

Living room

As one of the most used and sociable rooms in the home, the living area will definitely benefit from a daybed addition.

Snuggle up for a movie night or cheer on your team in a big sporting event from your ultra-comfy daybed.

Wow guests when you hang out by making an oversized hanging daybed design the decorative focal point of your living room.

 115 Kalgoorlie Street, Mount Hawthorn, WA

115 Kalgoorlie Street, Mount Hawthorn, WA

Patio

Add whimsical flair to your porch or balcony by hanging a super chic daybed from the ceiling so you can swing gently back and forth while you lounge and take in the fresh air.

Imagine perusing the morning paper, watching the sunset or stargazing with the little ones from your special hanging patio daybed.

 Image: Nor Wazwaz

Image: Nor Wazwaz

Spare room

A daybed is an ideal space saving solution for that spare room you don’t know what to do with. The daybed can serve a dual purpose as a couch in a kid’s playroom, TV room or den and as overnight guest accommodation when you need it.

Pushing a daybed up against a wall offers you more floor space than a typical bed would, so you have more freedom with how you use the rest of the room.

Opt for a daybed with trundle for your spare room, so you have double the spare sleeping space for those unexpected overnight guests and kid’s sleepovers.

She shed

The ultimate space to hide away at the bottom of the garden or a ‘she shed’ wouldn’t be complete without somewhere super comfy to put your feet up away from the noise of your household and enjoy some serious me time.

Whether that means binge-watching your favourite show on the iPad, knitting a scarf or simply having a cup of tea, a daybed will help you do all these things and unwind in optimum comfort.

We love the feminine feel of this curvy white wrought iron daybed. Take it to the next level of pretty with the addition of a floaty canopy and fairy lights.

For more lust-worthy interiors check out these wonderful window seats, laid-back hanging chair ideas and amazing outdoor reading nooks.

Happy daybed hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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5 advancements in building & construction to watch out for

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5 advancements in building & construction to watch out for

The construction industry has come a long way in recent years. Not only have the physical tools and machinery continued to advance, so has the technology used for both small and large-scale projects. With technology moving to the cloud, collaboration and management capabilities have advanced to new heights.

If you’re planning to build and want to be hands-on during the process, it’s always a great idea to keep up with the latest construction trends. This will give you a better understanding of what’s involved in the planning and building of your new home – allowing you to better understand the thought processes and decisions made by your builder.

While the list of advancements in the construction industry continues to grow, here are five of the most notable advancements in recent years.

1. Surveying methods & technology.

Traditionally, the most basic construction surveying would involve workers on foot measuring distances between multiple points. However, surveying companies have made the move towards advanced LiDAR scanners to provide accurate and detailed geospatial information. This form of laser scanning can be carried out in a fraction of the time and usually provides more precise data than traditional surveying methods.

Laser technology is also starting to be more widely used in a range of other industries as well, such as archaeology where it’s been monumental in finding ancient ruins such as the hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala. As it continues to be used in a range of industries, it’s expected to continually improve becoming more accurate and advanced than ever seen before.

 Image: Veris, LiDAR scanning

Image: Veris, LiDAR scanning

2. Building information modelling (BIM).

Planning took a big step forward when Computer-Aided Design (CAD) was introduced, allowing construction professionals to move away from traditional 2D blueprint planning. This software allowed them to make accurate 3D modelling of construction projects while assigning costs, material types and more advanced data with ease.

This then advanced further to what is commonly known as building information modelling, or BIM for short. BIM allows users to access the data in a more collaborative setting and from any location with internet access. When users make changes to a project through their BIM software, it will automatically update the account so all other users see the changes in real time. This improved collaboration makes for more accurate and precise data, helping projects stay within schedule and budget.

 Image: Engineering.com

Image: Engineering.com

3. Improvements in safety.

While construction is the third highest industry for Australian workplace fatalities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is continually advancing to meet the demand for safer, and more user-friendly equipment. The improved hardness of materials and advanced designs makes for improved health and safety conditions for construction workers.

Recently, there has also been a lot of research, prototyping and design in PPE to advance safety ratings even further. This involves the development of smart wearables and sensors to alert workers to potential safety hazards. While the technology is still undergoing crucial testing, these advancements are sure to provide improved safety throughout the construction industry.

 Image: Corvex Safety

Image: Corvex Safety

4. Prefabrication.

The prefabrication of materials offsite has contributed greatly to the construction industry, speeding up build time without compromising on quality. This also helps to reduce noise and disruptions on-site, which reduces complaints and issues from surrounding homeowners. With many construction companies improving the efficiency and production rate of prefabricated materials, it’s likely to continue as an advancing trend. Prefabrication usually also results in a reduced-cost benefit for people looking to build a new home on a tight budget.

 Image: Prebuilt Residential

Image: Prebuilt Residential

5. 3D printing.

What started as small machines which had the ability to print 3D objects using plastic materials, 3D printing is now being used on large scale construction works. One of the most noticeable is the construction of the world’s first 3D-printed office building in Dubai. The office was built layer by layer using a special cement mixture and only took a total of 17 days to complete.

It’s fast-moving and innovative projects like this that are continually changing the shape of the construction industry. As newer and more advanced machinery and applications are being created, we will likely see more advancements in the world of 3D printing.

 Image: Digital Trends

Image: Digital Trends

These advancements in the construction industry show a trend towards more machinery and computerised projects. This may result in construction workers and home builders needing to adapt and retrain to operate new innovative technology, many moving away from a solely labour-intensive role.

It’s hard to predict what’s next to come but one thing is for sure, there’s a lot changing in the building and construction industry. If you’re only just building your first home or have been building investment properties for years, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the latest emerging construction technology and trends.

Author bio:

This article is written by Alex Hamilton, on behalf of Veris – Professionals in the latest LiDAR scanner 3D surveying technology. You can catch Alex on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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10 interior design rules you need to know

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10 interior design rules you need to know

Those before-and-after shots make decorating look so easy, don’t they? As if someone just came along, waved a magic wand and every room turned out perfectly. Sadly I can’t give you the magic wand, but I can share some basic decorating principles that will help you create your own piece of magic at home. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Choose a hero

Every room needs one hero piece – something that will surprise, delight and make an impact. It might be an oversized piece of furniture in a bold colour, a fabulous rug, a work of art, or a feature wall.

Your hero piece is designed to steal the limelight. It should be the thing you fell in love with the moment you saw it, and that you might be prepared to splurge a little more on. Remember, however, to make sure it has space to breathe.

Tip: If your stage-stealing piece is a bold colour, try using hints of it elsewhere for a cohesive look, such as the pink flowers in the vase on top of the candy-coloured sideboard in this dining room.

2. Mix up shapes

Most living rooms will have a lot of rectangles and squares – it’s simply the nature of those bigger furniture items such as sofas, sideboards and shelving units. If you notice your space has lots of lines and right angles, think about adding some circles. A round coffee table, a pair of round side tables, a round rug, a round wall hanging – the options are endless.

Tip: A round mirror is a great way to break up all those straight tile lines in a bathroom. Go as big as you can. Large-scale mirrors make a real statement and can visually enhance the sense of space in a small bathroom too.

3. Hang it right

A beautiful painting or artwork will look far better when hung at the right height. Also, having a consistent centre line throughout your home helps create a sense of harmony.

As a general rule, the centre of the artwork should be at eye level, which for the average person is 145 centimetres from the floor. Remember, that’s 145 centimetres to the centre of the art, not to the hook. Yep, I’ve made that mistake before.

Of course all rules are made to be broken, so when it comes to a feature picture wall, well, anything goes. But a top tip is to centre the first piece – your statement artwork – at eye level and spread smaller pieces outwards from there.

4. Fake height

Do you have low ceilings? Choose low-profile furniture such as sofas and coffee tables to create the illusion of room height. Boost this with tall, slim bookshelves that draw the eye upwards and make walls and windows appear taller.

Mixing different heights in this way will also help create a relaxed vibe in your home.

Tip: To create an illusion of more space, paint the walls, skirting boards and ceiling in the same colour. This will blur the lines of where the walls end and the ceiling begins.

5. Anchor your room

A rug is the one thing I frequently note is missing from my clients’ homes, which means they’re usually high on my list of items to purchase as part of a restyle. Why? Because rugs help anchor a room, plus they’re a great way to add colour, texture and softness. Need to carve up a large, open-plan space into separate zones? A rug is your number-one tool.

Rugs are also relatively inexpensive for the impact they create.

Size matters! Be generous with the size of your rug. Remember the on-the-rug rule for your living room: go bigger to ensure that at least two legs of every furniture piece in the living area are sitting on the rug.

Make sure the rug extends at least 15 to 25 centimetres from either side of the sofa to create a balanced look. And remember, a rug is not wall-to-wall carpet – never lay a rug right up against the wall or window. Aim to leave at least 25 centimetres of visible floor around a rug.

Tip: Don’t forget about your dining table. It’s a great place for a rug too. And if you’re worried about little-people spills, go for a reversible rug for double the lifespan.

6. Love it or lose it

I’m surprised by how many times a client points to an item in their home and says “Hate that!” We so desperately want our homes to feel finished that we often rush decisions and give in to impulse buys (or sales) that weren’t really right.

But you can and must love your home and every room in it. That means filling it with things that have meaning and memories attached to them, and replacing those things that frustrate you.

7. Take a step back

Can’t put your finger on exactly what your room needs? Step back and see the room as a whole. As interior designers know, viewing a room from a distance often makes it easy to see what needs to be replaced, added or removed; whether it’s the empty wall that needs to be filled, the wall that needs colour or the corner that’s crying out for a tall plant.

8. Off the wall

A sofa need not be right up against your wall. If you have the space, pull it out a metre or two and put a shelving unit or console on the wall instead. This not only offers up styling opportunities behind the sofa, but it breaks up the room and can make it feel cosier and more inviting.

9. Include negative space

If you’re big on colour, make sure you include some spots to rest the eye. Aim to include some empty space in a room, or balance your brights out with plenty of neutrals. Here, the owners have used white-washed walls to balance out all the brights.

10. Mirrors are actually magical

You don’t need a wand, you need a mirror! Not only do they add light and depth to a room, but they can reflect views, visually expand a space, be the hero piece of a room… plus, of course, they’re practical too.

A mirror is a great investment and one that will make a huge difference to the look and feel of your space. Now, go create some magic…

This article was originally published on Houzz.com.au. Read the original article here.

Author bio:

Laura Downie is a Houzz Australia Contributor. A Sydney-based Interior Decorator & Stylist with a passion for all things creative. Happiest when I’m designing, travelling, writing or adding to an ever-growing indoor plant collection!

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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6 reasons to choose roller shutters to protect your home

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6 reasons to choose roller shutters to protect your home

If you're an Australian homeowner, you'll already be aware of the high level of domestic burglaries around the country, and seeing as your home is a large investment and contains all of your prized personal possessions, it makes sense to organise a suitable level of home security.

While there are video surveillance, smart home technologies and state of the art infrared alarm systems, the best way to protect any property is by creating an impenetrable barrier at all access points.

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By installing roller window and door shutters, your home will not only be protected against forced entry, the sleek units will also complement the property and add value when it comes time to sell. Key advantages and considerations when installing roller shutters include: 

Aesthetically pleasing

While it is essential to have adequate home security, the appearance of the home does not have to be compromised. In fact, with the right product and right installer, roller shutters on the windows will add a touch of elegance to the property.

Bespoke creations

It matters not the style or shape of your windows, as made to measure solutions enable any window size or shape to have roller security shutters added, and with the roller mechanism contained in a streamline fascia, the shutters look like they belong by matching your home's exterior.

Your local supplier will be able to recommend a design that is in line with the overall look of your property and ones that'll give your home maximum benefits.

Thermal & sound insulation

Bespoke roller security shutters offer a lot more than a secure impenetrable barrier, as they help to maintain a cool temperature in those hot summer months, something your a/c unit and power bill will be very thankful for.

Also when in the closed position, the shutters will reduce external noise. This is the ideal solution for a shift worker who needs to sleep during the day, for those who live on busy roads or near a noisy train line. With made to measure roller shutters in place, that barking dog or noisy lawn mower will no longer be an issue on weekend sleep-ins or during the little one's nap time.

The insulation properties also benefit you in the winter, helping to keep the warmth inside your home. With glass being one of the main sources of residential heat loss, another layer of thermal insulation dramatically reduces heat loss through the windows.

 Image: Eurotec Window Shutters

Image: Eurotec Window Shutters

Protection from the elements

If your region is prone to cyclones, bushfires, hail or severe storms, roller shutters provide the perfect protection for both windows and doors. This type of protection is ideal for coastal and bushfire prone areas, and with a special coating of durable enamel, the surface is guaranteed not to fade, rust, crack or peel. The wide range of colours allows you to easily complement the look of your home, while also ensuring the longevity of your windows and doors and top-notch security.

Roller window shutters not only provide an additional layer of protection from the elements and home invasion but also protect against accidental window breakage, from a stray cricket ball for example. 

Don’t forget the doors

It's pointless providing protection for the windows if the doors are not protected from intruders, and the wonderful thing about bespoke solutions, is any type of door can be fitted with a roller shutter, and whenever you and the family are away for that much needed holiday, you can be sure that your home remains intact and secure.

Motorised solutions

As one would expect in this era of automation, there are motorised roller shutters available that offer smooth and silent operation, and with the tracking mechanism in a protective box, the system is well-protected against the elements. This means that the shutters can be finely adjusted, and there are manual systems that incorporate a small winding handle that is inserted into one end of the fascia box, making for effortless operation if required.

automatic roller shutter.jpg

For most Australians, their home is the biggest single investment they will ever make, and it makes sense to protect that investment in the best possible way. With so many additional benefits, one would be hard pushed to find a better home security system than roller shutters. Having your home protected in this way really is a fit and forget solution, and wherever you are, at any time, you can be sure that the contents of your home are safe.

Author bio:

Martin Gracewell is a Melbourne based writer who specialises in articles for home and garden magazines, blogs other digital media. Outside of writing, he enjoys helping his wife run her interior design business and taking his son to watch the Collingwood Football Club compete in the AFL.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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7 decluttering tips for the insanely busy woman

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7 decluttering tips for the insanely busy woman

For a long time, I tried telling myself to ignore the clutter and get on with things, but the mental games it played on me were hard to ignore. I started doing small amounts of decluttering here and there and noticed a change. 

I thought I was a bit strange to feel so glum because of clutter, but a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin proved my feelings right. The study looked at 60 women in their homes. Those women who lived in cluttered homes or homes that had unfinished projects were more likely to feel depressed and fatigued than the women in tidy and finished homes. The study also found that the women living with clutter experienced higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

When you’re busy, often the last thing you feel like doing is decluttering, but let’s look at it as an essential approach to better health. Even just a small amount of decluttering can work wonders. Here are a few places you can start.

Decluttering tips for better health

Start small

When you’re busy, it’s essential that you don’t overwhelm yourself by pulling absolutely everything out of every cupboard. Break it down into small tasks and focus on each task for a set amount of time each day/week/weekend. Clear your bathroom benchtop, clean out the pantry, organise your coffee table or sort out your junk drawer to get started.

Go paperless

Rates notices, telephone bills, bank statements, they all become clutter on your kitchen bench that gets moved around and around and eventually stuffed somewhere else only for it to pile up. Opt to receive them via email and don’t print them. The same goes for things like writing lists or jotting down messages. Opt to use an app instead of a pen and paper.

One in, one out

The 'one in, one out' rule is very clever when it comes to managing clutter. If you buy something new, you’re likely buying it to replace something. If this is the case, you should always get rid of the thing it's replacing.

Baskets, lots of baskets

For me, baskets are a life saver. When I need to do a quick 10 minute declutter, all I have to do is throw all the things into their relevant basket. It’s not one of my minimalist living tips because it’s more like hiding the clutter instead of getting rid of it, but it gives me a tidy house with little effort.

Schedule & prioritise

When super busy, a routine is a lifesaver and ensures that things not only get done but that it’s just part of the flow of things. Scheduling in 'declutter' time on the same day and time each week gives it priority amongst all the other tasks on your busy schedule.

Delegate

I know what you’re thinking, ‘but my husband won’t do it properly’. Yes, that’s probably right (sorry guys), but as insanely busy women we need to forget our idea of perfect, right? If it means asking your husband to go through his wardrobe and pull out what he wants to be donated or getting him to pick out the books he no longer wants, that’s better than no help at all!

Mindful purchasing

I’m certainly guilty of hundreds of purchases made on a whim, but now, I try to catch myself in time and ask myself some important questions like - Do I love it? Do I need it? Will I use it? Do I already have it?

neat closet.jpg

What if just a little bit of decluttering could fend off fatigue, depression and stress? Are you going to give it a try?

For more ways to get organised check out these clutter busters, secrets to your most organised closet ever and 20 storage tips for your home.

Author bio:

Eva Lewis runs a successful lifestyle blog for working mums- The Multitasking Woman. Eva is an experienced social media manager, digital consultant, article writer and copywriter and has written for various publications and business websites over the years. When Eva doesn't have her head in the digital space, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, reading, gardening and chatting with her chooks.

Eva Lewis Headshot.png

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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The top 5 dog breeds suited to apartment living

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The top 5 dog breeds suited to apartment living

As one of the top 20 countries with the largest population of dogs in the world, there’s no denying Australians love their four-legged friends.

dog on couch.jpg

Many Aussies living in small houses or apartments simply assume that they don’t have the space to keep a dog entertained and comfortable.

With the apartment boom we’re seeing all around the country, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, more people will be occupying apartments than ever before over the next decade.

Additionally, with sweeping changes to rental laws last year in Victoria where tenants now have the right to have a pet, more and more VIC apartment dwellers may be considering bringing a furry friend into their home.

PETstock vet Dr Melanie Kuehn reminds apartment dwellers that living in a smaller space is no reason to give up their dream of pet ownership.

‘Cats, rabbits, birds and even some caged reptiles are fantastic pet choices for apartment living, and people may be shocked to know some dog breeds (big and small) are well suited to life in a high-rise’, Dr Kuehn says.

Dr Kuehn explains, ‘contrary to popular belief, some of the larger low energy breeds including Great Danes, Greyhounds and Burmese Mountain Dogs are suitable choices for apartment living. They’re often big couch potatoes and are happy with just an hour or so of exercise twice daily’.

Here are Dr Kuehn’s top five quiet, calm and low energy dog breeds suited to apartment living and tips on how to keep them content.

 1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Attributes- Small in size and light shedders. Good with children and other pets. Playful, affectionate and love human interaction.

Exercise requirements- 20 minutes a day.

king ch.jpg

2. Greyhounds

Attributes- A larger dog breed, average shedder. Quiet, gentle, calm and remarkably lazy for such an athletic breed.

Exercise requirements- Love their walks. Have a strong chasing instinct (games of fetch in the dog park are a must). 20 to 40 minutes a day.

shutterstock_1019423641.jpg

3. Poodle (toy or miniature)

Attributes- A very intelligent, easy to train, friendly and compact breed that sheds little hair. Active and fun-loving dogs that thrive on attention.

Exercise requirements- 40 minutes a day. 

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4. Shih-Tzu

Attributes- Small in stature with happy temperaments. A great lap dog breed that loves cuddles and attention.

Exercise requirements- 20 minutes a day.

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5. Dachshund (aka sausage dog)

Attributes- Short limbs and low stature makes them ideal for indoor living. Loyal, good watchdogs and good with children. However, can be aggressive toward strangers and other dogs.

Exercise requirements- 20 to 40 minutes daily.

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PETstock’s key tips to keep an apartment dwelling pooch happy:

  • Set up a special area or quiet nook where your dog can relax. Add a soft surface so they can get comfy and cosy.
  • Play indoor games when you're home. Leave out toys when you’re away to quell boredom. E.g. Try a treat dispenser like the Kong Puppy.
  • Switch up the routine. Change the times and routes you take your pup on walks to ensure exposure to new stimulation and interesting smells.
  • Explore dog parks in your area and surrounding burbs. This is the perfect way for your dog to exert their energy and socialise with other pups.
  • Look into doggie daycare or a dog walking service to meet your dog’s exercise requirements.

We hope these insights help you make the right choice of dog breed for your home environment.

For more tips on living comfortably with a dog here are Australia's most dog-friendly suburbs and home upgrades for your furry friend.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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What to consider when renewing your strata agency agreement

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What to consider when renewing your strata agency agreement

The role of a strata manager is complex. Their job involves several skills and specialities, but if you live in an apartment or strata managed building, and are unhappy with your strata manager, you can have them replaced - and it’s not as difficult a process as you may think.

The number one reason why people tend to switch strata management companies is that they're unhappy with their current strata manager. This unhappiness can be from a variety of issues such as poor building maintenance, unresponsiveness, mismanagement of funds, unnecessary or overspending of capital works funds.

To encourage committees to review and renew their strata agreements based on merit, rather than just allow them to roll on without proper analysis of the efficacy of the incumbent strata manager, the NSW Government recently introduced new legislation that changes the way in which strata managers are appointed.

Some changes to note

Strata management contracts that were agreed before 30 November 2016 will still end on the expiry date of the agreement, but only if that date is within three years, otherwise they will expire three years after the start date.

A strata agreement entered into at the first AGM, can only be awarded for a maximum initial period of 12 months, then a further three years thereafter. Also, if a strata manager was appointed by the developer, their tenure will only be allowed to run until the first AGM, at which time a new agreement will have to be put in place either with the current manager or another strata management provider.

What to look out for

The legislation is partly designed to prevent strata management providers from locking committees into long-term contracts which prevent termination for unsatisfactory service.  It’s therefore worthwhile to avoid companies that try to steer your strata committee into signing a long-term agreement, as it’s no longer legal for any agreement to go for more than three years without having to go through a tender submission or renewal process.   

The new legislation also makes specific reference to strata manager arrangements with tradespeople and other service providers, specifically outlawing the practice of strata managers receiving a commission from any contractors appointed to carry out maintenance and repairs to the building.

'This new legislation is ushering in a new era of transparency around all aspects of strata management, which we wholeheartedly welcome,' said PICA Group CEO, Greg Nash.

'We feel the changes will help position our strata managers as relationship managers and professionals within the industry by driving an improvement of strata management service levels and standards', Nash says.

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Before you sign up

So, before you enter into a new strata agreement, make sure that agreement is no longer than the new legal requirement of three years, and find out if your strata management company has any preferential deals with trades that may preclude you from putting contracts out to tender and getting a better price.

Also examine the scope of services they provide to ensure that everything you need from them is covered under the terms of the agreement, and make sure you can terminate the agreement quickly and easily if you're unhappy with the level of service they're providing, so that you're not liable for financial penalties for early termination. Ask for a fixed price agreement so you know what you will be billed for at each payment interval.

The right strata manager can make a world of difference, so revisit your strata management agreement and ensure it reflects the current needs of the owners corporation to protect and maintain your property investment.

For more information on strata take a look at the differences between strata managers and property managers explained, strata manager vs self-managed strata pros and cons and how to dismiss your strata manager.

Company bio:

PICA Group is one of Australia’s leading property services companies. As a market leader, we aim to continuously redefine the experience of owning a property for the better through a range of businesses offering strata management, facilities management, receivables management, and property development services. Follow the 'PICA Group' on Facebook and LinkedIn.

PICA LOGO colour new.jpg

Disclaimer: The information provided is a general guide only, and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company disclaims all responsibly and liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided by the company.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

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If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Cheap thrills: Budget-friendly living room styling tricks

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Cheap thrills: Budget-friendly living room styling tricks

In my time as an interior stylist specialising in home staging, I’ve met so many people confused about why their house won’t sell, only to see a mish-mash of decor, poorly placed furniture (or lack of) and spaces overwhelmed with personal stuff!

The impact home styling has on buyer perception is huge. The way a room is styled has a massive impact on how they imagine themselves living in that area. It’s not just the decor either, the positioning of furniture also plays a huge part in buyer perception. Position a sofa one way, and it can make a living room look smaller than it is, position the sofa another way and it'll make the same space look twice as big. Styling a home for sale is all about playing to the buyer’s mindset.

If you’re keen to give property styling a go to sell your house quickly or if a living room makeover is well overdue, here are my budget-friendly home styling tips.

 Image: Grace & Co.

Image: Grace & Co.

1. Faux greenery.

If you’re not much of a green thumb or will rarely be at the property when it’s listed for sale, opt for some faux greenery indoors to get that fresh 'living' green feel. Put the greenery in beautiful pots; you can purchase these anywhere quite cheaply. Gold and silver pots are always effective.

2. Avoid the walls.

Try pulling living room furniture away from the walls; it makes the room seem more spacious and luxurious.

3. Rugs.

Rugs are quite inexpensive these days and add texture and definition to an area. Rugs also add softness where needed.

4. Old & new.

Don’t be afraid of mixing old and new pieces. Avoid the ‘matchy-matchy’ catalogue look by sourcing products from a variety of stores and pairing new pieces with your older furnishings to introduce character and interest.

5. Art.

Large living room walls are easily brought to life with art. There’s no need to visit an art gallery though. Simply add a beautifully framed black and white family photo to add depth and interest to the room.

6. Add character to a table.

Do yourself a favour and search Pinterest for coffee table vignettes. A vignette is a group of items in different sizes and heights that you typically put on your coffee table or side table. Usually, in odd numbers of three or six, the different sizes and heights draw the eye in.

7. Books & magazines.

Beautiful books and magazines add a feel of inviting people to relax and read. They will entice potential buyers to imagine themselves in that particular room reading a good book. Look for beautifully illustrated second-hand books at your local op shop or garage sales.

8. Side table.

Never underestimate the power of a humble little side table. It can instantly change the look of your living room and is also the perfect place to stage a vignette or include a cosying lamp.

 Image: Grace & Co.

Image: Grace & Co.

Where to source budget decor items

When shopping for home decor, aim to buy a few things from different retailers instead of buying all of them from one shop. Here are a few places I recommend:

TK Maxx Outlets – TK Maxx constantly change their stock and you never know what you'll find.

Ikea - Ikea is great for frames and basics including faux greenery stems and pots.

Adairs – If it’s cushions and throws you’re after, Adairs always seem to have great quality ones on sale.

Kmart – Yes, Kmart is popular, but it’s important not to have your living room appear ‘Kmart staged’. Avoid the marble and furry Kmart cushion look and instead shop at Kmart for smaller items such as pots, vases, candles, storage boxes and baskets.

Freedom - While a little more expensive, Freedom often has sales, and their artwork is perfect to brighten up any space.

If you stick to these top tips and ensure you maintain a layered and thoughtful mix of materials, textures and vintages, your living room will take on a custom-designed, luxurious look for a lot less. Not only that, it’ll excite potential buyers, and because people buy with their eyes, you’ll likely have an offer (or two!) before you know it.

Author bio:

Melanie Grace is an Interior Stylist and the creator of Grace & Co. Property Styling. Grace & Co. works with reputable Brisbane real estate agencies to transform houses going under the hammer into every buyer’s dream.

Need an experience property stylist with a great eye for what sells? Contact the team at Grace & Co. Property Styling today.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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10 Easter traditions kids love

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10 Easter traditions kids love

Easter traditions can be broken into two distinct categories – traditional, celebrating the origins and the meaning of Easter and contemporary, celebrating the chocolate and the bunnies!

We’ve listed five of each to help you honour the history of the event as well as enjoy a modern twist to Easter that kids love getting involved in.

Here are 10 Easter traditions kids love and you'll enjoy creating with your family at home!

Traditional Easter celebrations

Don’t wait until the eggs start to appear in the shops to talk about the meaning of Easter. Be proactive. Make the conversation with your child a fluid and evolving one.

Here are five traditional Easter celebrations that will help kids understand the meaning of Easter.

1) Create an Easter story wreath.

When your children are very small, the story of Easter needs to be simple but also accurate. Most kids love drawing and colouring-in, so this Easter story wreath should hit the mark.

2) Stained glass Easter cross craft.

This is a great craft activity to use as a starting point to talk with children about the cross and its meaning at Easter. These 'stained glass' crosses are great to display in windows and watch the sun shine through. All you need is tracing paper, coloured tissue paper or cellophane and black poster paper. The crosses are perfect for Lent and the bright colours are perfect for decorating kids' bedrooms! Find the instructions here.

 Image: Kinder Craze

Image: Kinder Craze

3) Read Easter stories for kids.

With so much attention given to the Easter bunny and chocolate on television and in stores, children can easily forget that traditionally Easter is about Jesus. There are a number of great books that help kids understand more about Easter. Try: What is Easter?, The Beginners Bible to the Very First Easter, The Story of Easter and From the Bunny to the Cross.

This charming book will help parents remind their children about the reason we celebrate Easter. Children will love the colourful pictures and parents will be able to help their kids appreciate the meaning of Easter, not just for the Easter bunnies and chocolate, but also the historical significance.

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4) Watch age-appropriate videos.

Finding the right words to explain the meaning of Easter a challenge? Did you know that there are age appropriate Easter stories that families can watch on Youtube that can help you explain the meaning of Easter to your kids? A quick google will bring up a range of choices, but we particularly like this one.

5) Church services.

As a family it is up to you to decide when your kids are old enough to participate in various services run by churches. At Easter time churches hold multiple services to commemorate Easter: Stations of the Cross, Good Friday, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday services.

Some of these services are solemn commemorations of the death of Christ and those attending need to pay respect to the importance of the messages.

Contemporary Easter celebrations

More and more these days, Easter is about chocolate, bunnies, chicks and Easter egg hunts! So, we confess, we are fans of these things too and the joy that Easter brings our children.

6) Easter egg hunts.

Whether you're planning an ‘at home Easter egg hunt’ or joining a prearranged one in a suburb near you, there is no denying that kids love Easter egg hunts. As the kids get older, why not plant ‘clues’ around the house and yard to help them seek and find rather than just ‘stumble upon’ their eggs.

If you're joining a suburban Easter egg hunt, these are often whole day events with face painting, petting zoos and kids’ activities. Remember to be conscious of the number of kids there. Teach teens to be careful around little ones and be respectful with the number of eggs they manage to hunt down. These suburban hunts are tonnes of fun when everyone plays fair.

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7) Easter Sunday gift traditions.

In some homes, Easter Sunday morning has become a tradition to rival Christmas morning! On Saturday night, many families delight in decorating the house with Easter decorations and dropping chewed up carrots around the house or leaving white ‘bunny prints’ that lead to the delivery of the Easter egg stash for the kids.

The present haul for the kids ranges from books to chocolate bunnies and eggs to clothing. I wonder if that bunny needs my address?

8) Cooking Easter treats with kids.

There are so many Easter-themed treats that you can make with your kids in the lead up to and over the Easter break. The one pictured is called ‘Bunny Down a Hole’ and they are mini carrot cakes – how perfect! You can also try your hand at making your own Easter Eggs using rubber moulds and melted chocolate or even marsh mellow bunnies where you use desiccated coconut dyed green for grass. So. Much. Fun!

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9) Easter hats.

Yup, whether you have kids in childcare or primary school, you will understand the pain (err… I mean fun!) of the Easter hat making scenario. Get out your craft box, fold up some cardboard and create the best Easter bonnet you know how. Feather, glitter, stickers, glues, fluffy chicks, more glue and some tulle and you are the proud owners of an Easter hat…for your kids…of course!

10) Decorating Easter eggs.

Decorating Easter eggs has been a tradition for many families for years. However, the tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs pre-dates Christianity. In many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth.

Today families gather their hard-boiled eggs and place them in food colouring to dye them various colours…experienced egg decorators may try to outdo each other with variations including tie-dyed, checked, glittered and hand painted animals and more!

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What about you? What are your Easter traditions? We’d love to hear from you!

For more things to do at home these school holidays check out these awesome backyard play ideas to keep the kids occupied and how to create a kid-approved play area for redecorating fun.

Company bio:

Families Magazine is a print and online resource for parents with children aged 0-13. Families Magazine is the Clever Resource for Thinking Parents. Find all the best things to do in Brisbane for your family and visitors.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

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If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Kitchen plumbing hacks that'll boost functionality

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Kitchen plumbing hacks that'll boost functionality

As the heart of the home, the kitchen is an area where homeowners spend a lot of time. Whether it’s to prepare and cook meals, eat breakfast, socialise, or do the dishes, you’ll want your kitchen to be as functional as possible. Especially when it comes to your plumbing.

So, what are some kitchen plumbing hacks that'll boost the functionality of your space?

Improve your butler’s pantry

One trend that has seen a steady increase in popularity is the butler’s pantry. Just imagine how fantastic it would be to have a separate space to prepare your meals and stash dirty dishes so your guests don’t have to see all your cooking mess! What makes this space even better is the addition of a sink. With a sink, you can properly clean your veggies and wash your dishes.

Better still add a dishwasher because let’s face it doing the dishes by hand is never fun! To achieve the plumbing in your butler’s pantry, consider using a product by Saniflo Australia. Saniflo’s grey water pumps make installing plumbing anywhere in the home possible and cost-effective, all without the need to break your floor. Once your butler’s pantry is fully equipped with plumbing, you’ll never want to prepare food anywhere else.

Clean your dishwasher (so it'll clean your dishes better!)

As wonderful as dishwashers are, there comes a time in their life when they just don't clean your dishes as well as they used to. Soap scum, food particles and bacteria build up in our dishwashers and they need to be periodically cleaned so you once again have sparkling crockery and cutlery every wash.

It’s recommended that you clean your dishwasher once a month to keep it operating as it should. To easily clean your dishwasher, start with clearing the drain, which is accessed by removing the bottom rack. Chances are, food scraps will have become caught in the drain, so you’ll need to remove any gunk to improve functionality. Next, place a cup of white vinegar in the upper rack and put your dishwasher on a hot-water rinse cycle. This will keep your dishwasher grease free. Finally, for that extra sparkle, sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher then put it on a quick rinse cycle. Your dishwasher will be shiny, odour free and cleaning as good as new!

Add a pot filler faucet

A pot filler faucet is a game-changing kitchen addition. So much so, you might wonder how you lived without one in the first place. With a pot filler faucet, you’ll no longer need to carry a heavy saucepan from the sink to the stove, struggle to fit a vase in the sink and under the faucet or carry your kettle or coffee machine to the kitchen sink. A pot filler faucet easily solves all of these problems! When researching your options, be sure to select a pot filler that's retractable, so it can easily lie flat against the wall, as well as being able to swing from side to side to fill nearby appliances and pots.

Clear a blocked sink

Sinks inevitably block, it’s just what happens when we use them. No matter how careful we are, food and other materials get caught in the sink. You can buy a range of drain cleaners from the store, or call a plumber, however, not everyone likes to use harsh chemicals in their home.

One easy at-home remedy to clear a blocked drain is to use vinegar and baking soda, just like with your dishwasher. For your blocked kitchen sink, pour boiling water down the drain, then pour half a cup of baking soda and let it sit for about three minutes. Next, add a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup almost-boiling water and cover your drain with a plug so the bubbly reaction occurs in the drain where it’s supposed to. Once this has sat undisturbed for about ten minutes, pour some more boiling water down the drain to clear.

Install a fridge with filtered water

A fridge with filtered water is one of the best plumbing hacks. With this nifty fridge, you don’t need to worry about having a jug of filtered water in your fridge taking up precious shelf-space. Instead, your fridge door will dispense cold, filtered water and ice ready for you to consume or serve to guests.

For more ways to up the functionality of your kitchen check out these 20 decluttering tips and six practical must-haves for your next kitchen reno.

Author bio:

Clarissa Dimitroff works for Home Renovation Ideas, the go-to site for tips on renovating and improving your home, brought to you by Saniflo Australia. When she isn’t researching the latest home trends, she enjoys spending time at the beach and trying to keep her houseplants alive.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Parramatta real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Low-key, utterly beautiful backyard wedding ideas

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Low-key, utterly beautiful backyard wedding ideas

If you’re thinking of a low-key, but an oh-so-lovely wedding, saying ‘I do’ in a garden space can be utterly romantic and beautiful. Backyard wedding celebrations are equally relaxed as they are special. From the details in the décor to the personal touches, it’s the kind of heartfelt party your friends and family will be hanging out to attend. Plus, it’s much kinder on the wallet and your sanity, too!

Whether you’re planning on holding the wedding at your home or someone else’s, the two essential ingredients for a lovely backyard wedding are the same: Embrace both casual and luxury vibes and always have a plan B (in case of bad weather).

Ready to transform your backyard into bridal bliss? Here are some of the most elegant, charming and easy-going ideas to incorporate.

backyard wedding.jpg

Create a ‘pop-up’ wedding venue

If you don’t already have a freestanding structure in your garden, you can create a pop-up wedding venue through a hired gazebo, arbour or marquee. A simple suburban backyard is a perfect backdrop for an intimate pop-up wedding ceremony and celebration. Deck your outdoor area out with dining settings, lawn games for the cocktail hour and whimsical outdoor accessories to give the space a magical and unique touch.

wedding marquee.jpg

Colour cues

Taking advantage of the beautiful outdoors means you can use nature as your colour inspiration. Pick a palette that coordinates with the season and location. Fresh greens and light neutral browns combined with pastels make a striking combination or add a pop of colour for extra personality. A vivid blue, sunny yellow or candy-apple red pair nicely with the typical garden colour palette and break up the softer hues. If you want to up your luxe factor, add rich coppers, golds or silvers to your decor.

Feature romantic lighting

Great ambience will transform your home wedding from good to gorgeous. From the first dance under twinkling fairy lights to exchanging toasts under the romantic glow of melting candelabras and lanterns, the right lighting really can set an enchanting mood.

The best thing about outdoor lighting is you can get as creative as you want. String lights through the ceiling of your patio or pergola space and wrap them around nearby trees and shrubs. Hang filament light bulbs under the patio or marquee roof and line garden beds with tiki torches. Oversized lanterns and candles are great alternatives to spotlights too. They’ll offer a warm ambience, ample light and elegant atmosphere. For safety reasons make sure all walkways, paths and entries are well lit.

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Comfort is key

Backyard weddings ooze relaxation and easy-going comfort. Not only do you want it to look the part (swap the princess ball gown for a fuss-free elegant slimline dress), but you want to cater the space for it too. Provide a comfortable place to lounge with cushions and cosy blankets to keep guests warm well into the night. If the weather calls for it, a fire pit or outdoor gas heaters may be necessary for cooler evenings.

If you're getting hitched in summer, you may want to invest in some pretty customised paper fans, parasols, outdoor fans or misters to keep everyone cool throughout the day too. Utilise shady tree areas for the ceremony, eating and drinking spots or encourage guests to congregate under the patio area.

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When it comes to time to bust a move, prompt a bustling dance floor by setting up a flip-flop station by the band or DJ to help your friends and family feel comfortable to kick their heels up.

Make a statement with seasonal blooms

Stick to seasonal blooms or even homegrown foliage to complement your backyard wedding. This will also ensure you have the freshest flowers for the special occasion. Wildflowers can be perfect for the bouquets and as centrepieces for tables, working exceptionally well in outdoor weddings. If you’re after something more relaxed, a bridal bouquet made of leafy greens, air plants, eucalyptus and white roses is ideal. Once you know what season you’re getting married in, have a look at the best wedding blooms for that time of year for inspiration.

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Encourage picnic style dining

For a cosy yet stylish occasion, you want to get the dining set up just right. Casual seating is key, but it must be comfortable too. Depending on the number of guests, you can hire food trucks, tables and chairs to cater for your event. Set up under shady trees or dine under the patio or marquee space. Scatter picnic blankets around the backyard for guests who want to lay back and lounge around while you tie the knot or are off taking photos. It’s always a good idea to keep a row of chairs set up too for those who aren’t comfortable on the ground.

Set up good lighting over the tables so guests can see their food and each other. Low-hanging Edison bulbs strung from a floral chandelier above the dining space adds a cool rustic touch. Don’t be afraid to bring some of the indoors outside as well. A couch, dining table or a couple of armchairs can provide perfect casual outdoor seating and food serving space for the evening. An indoor rug runner, for example, can make a pretty aisle to walk down on the lawn.

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Turn the patio into a dance floor

What’s a backyard wedding without a dance floor? Another great alternative for a patio or pergola space is to turn it into a dance room. Whilst this area is good for exchanging your vows or wining and dining in, a smooth and flat patio or deck surface for dancing feet is perfect. Function companies hire out dance floors or you can set one up a flat grassy area, provided there are no stilettos!         

Backyard weddings are a fantastic alternative to pricey wedding venues, especially if your carefree energy demands something low-key yet breathtakingly beautiful. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest to get those creative juices flowing too. From decorating ideas to refreshing cocktail recipes and buffet-style food. What ideas will you be using for your special day?

Author bio:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Great Aussie Patios – Perth’s leading patio builders with a unique design and cost-effective solution for any outdoor space. You can catch her on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Springfield Lakes real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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 The pros & cons of different types of decking

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The pros & cons of different types of decking

Decking is a perfect addition to every backyard. Decking extends the living space of your home by turning a section of your yard into an extra useable room for relaxing, dining and entertaining. It also significantly increases the value of your home and makes your garden look considerably more inviting by providing the perfect focal point to organise your landscaping and outdoor furniture around.

Here’s a rundown of the most popular materials for decking, and each of their pros and cons.

Hardwood decking

Hardwood is probably the most popular material choice for decking. Hardwoods include Jarrah, Merbau, Spotted Gum and Cumaru.

Pros

  • The undeniable beauty of hardwood makes decking instantly appealing. Hardwoods are the warmest and most vibrant woods, full of natural hues and variations.
  • A high-end product that looks and feels great and is just like having an indoor product outdoors.
  • Incredibly durable, naturally-resistant to splitting and other issues.
  • Pliable, thereby able to be crafted to meet multiple needs.
  • The possibility of invisible fastenings, so no need for nails and screws.
  • Most hardwoods are FSC-certified.

Cons

  • Quality hardwoods are expensive, and high material costs can make for a costly deck installation.
  • Requires maintenance and will need oiling and staining on an annual basis.

Softwood decking (treated pine)

Softwoods, like treated pine, are another popular choice for decks.

Pros

  • Cost-effective.
  • Incredibly durable thanks to the tightly-packed wood fibres.
  • Can be stained in a variety of colours, thanks to the light-colour of the material.
  • Available in a variety of designs – smooth, gripped, grooved.
  • Eco-friendly as it is grown in plantations.

Cons

  • Requires maintenance and will need treating and staining on an annual basis.
  • Not as instantly-impressive as high-end hardwood options.
  • Can quickly deteriorate and turn grey due to lack of maintenance.

Composite decking

Composite decking is becoming an increasingly popular option thanks to its ability to provide a timber look with a few added benefits.

Pros

  • Made of recycled plastic and wood grain, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Naturally resistant to mould and insects, as well as being less prone to rot.
  • Quicker (and therefore cheaper) to install due to uniform plank sizes.
  • Lower maintenance requirements with no staining required.

Cons

  • More expensive than softwood, especially if a composite is used for the frame as well as the deck.
  • No option to change the colour once an initial stain has been selected.

Floating deck

Floating decks provide another popular decking option, because of their ease of relocation.

Pros

  • Removable, as they are not fixed in place, so can be moved around the backyard or even between houses. The flexibility of this form of decking ensures that the deck is in the sun during both winter and summer.
  • Quicker (and therefore cheaper) to install.

Cons

  • Typically, not as durable as fixed-form decks.
  • Maintenance is necessary to prolong the lifespan.

For more decking advice and deck maintenance tips take a look at 'Should I stain or oil my deck?' and a step by step guide to deck restoration.

Company bio:

Everlast Services is a proudly family owned and operated fencing, landscaping and concreting business in Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne. With more than 20 years experience, our services are second-to-none. Our number one priority is providing the highest possible standards of workmanship on every job. We even manufacture all our own steel products at our state-of-the-art factory in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Springfield Lakes real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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A beginners guide to composting

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A beginners guide to composting

If your Christmas was anything like mine, you would have found that your bins were full to the brim of excessive waste. While my reliable dog managed to take care of most of the leftovers, there was still quite a bit of rubbish to deal with at the end of our feast. In the past, I tended to take more of a generic approach to my New Year’s resolutions – ‘this year I will be more care-free’ or ‘I vow to eat less cheese and chocolate’ (which has yet to be achieved). However, this year I decided to take a new direction. To kickstart my New Year resolution, I have vowed to live a greener lifestyle, starting with a compost heap to help reduce the amount of waste at home. Trouble is, I’m terrified of the mess and up until two weeks ago, I had no idea where to start.

If anyone is as daunted as I was by the prospect, fear not. Having done my research, it’s definitely not as hard (or gross) as it seems, and with the help of Tom Remfry of the award-winning organic garden care company, Tom’s Secret Garden, I’ve put together a beginner’s guide.

So what is compost? I’d heard everyone talking about the importance of it, but couldn’t say I actually knew what it was or – to be honest – what the point was? Compost is decomposed organic material that can be used as food for new plants to grow. It not only helps your garden thrive, but also naturally decays waste and leads to less CO2 gas emissions. Now that’s something every person determined to live a greener lifestyle wants to hear!

The easiest place to get started is to add a dedicated compost bin in your kitchen. Keep it within easy reach of your cooking station, so you can fling in scraps and peelings, and leftover food. After all, a lot of the materials that make your compost healthy come from food. It may be worthwhile installing a compost drawer like the one featured in this picture.

Suitable composting materials

Composting organisms need four main components to work effectively – nitrogen (green materials), carbon (brown ingredients), oxygen and water. Most of the green and brown materials can be found in the kitchen. Here is a list that breaks down some important composting materials:

Green materials
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Eggshells
Tea leaves

Brown materials
Nuts and shells
Coffee grounds and filters
Peanut shells
Shredded egg cartons

Miscellaneous items from around the house and garden – such as grass clippings, twigs, wood shavings, dried leaves, shredded paper (without gloss) and twigs – can also be added to the compost heap.

TIP: Make sure the materials you add are small in size, so they can break down fast.

While it may be tempting to throw in anything from the house, keep in mind that the compost won’t be able to break down everything.

To maintain a healthy heap, here are some examples of things NOT to put in your compost:

  • Dairy products

  • Bread

  • Kitchen oils and fats

  • Dog and cat droppings

  • Diseased plants and weeds

  • Excessive citrus

Where to put your compost

Your compost can start in an old rubbish bin, wooden boxes, or a heap. Make sure the spot is well-drained, level and doesn’t get too much sun as it can dry your compost out.

Remfry recommends using a ventilated bin such as the Aerobin compost unit, which not only has ventilation slits that aid in breaking down kitchen waste, but the added advantage of a leachate tank, to make your own liquid for the garden.

'If you can’t afford a manufactured unit, make one yourself from recycled materials like sturdy hardwood stakes, with chicken wire mesh as the sides,' he says.

Start layering your compost

My original idea of compost was to simply chuck everything together to make one huge dirt heap. However, after further research, I found that it involves layering the compost materials to ensure everything decays properly. This break-down from Clean up Australia really helped me:

  1. The bottom layer should comprise of twigs or mulch, which will act as a drainage system.
  2. The next layer should be green materials.
  3. Following the green materials, a layer of brown materials.
  4. Add water after piling on each layer to keep the compost moist.
  5. Repeat this layering system and top off your brand new compost with some soil.

'Regularly check your compost at least once a week,' says Remfry, 'even stir it with a piece of bamboo to make sure there is adequate airflow to all of the composting material. Your compost should smell sweet not putrid – the smell is an indicator of how well and healthy your compost is.'

Composting with worms

Bringing worms into the compost equation will greatly speed up the breaking down process. You can buy a worm farm from your local hardware store or nursery, which will host your new slimy friends, or you can add them to your compost pile.

Compost worms vary from garden worms as they love the rich environment, but make sure they are kept moist in order to survive.

When to add the compost to your garden

Adding compost to your soil will do absolute wonders to the overall health of your garden. The rich nutrients and minerals in the soil are just what budding plants need to thrive. Remfry suggests checking the lowest point of the compost after four to six weeks using its colour, look and feel as an indicator as to when it’s ready. 'Well formed compost is dark in colour like Molasses; the texture should be moist to touch with a very small particle size – obviously some components like cellulose and heavy plant material like avocado pips, etc. will still be visible.'

Patience is key

While I’ve been known to throw in the towel on New Year’s resolutions, knowing that this year’s is not only benefitting my garden but the environment as well, is definitely an encouraging thought!

'Remember composting is a natural process and as a result it takes time and effort to achieve results,' says Remfry.  'However, it is both fun and rewarding, and is one of the most sustainable gardening processes. Organic compost is essential in improving soil health and, in turn, the health of your garden (and more broadly Planet Earth).'

This article was originally published on Houzz.com.au. Read the original article here.

Author bio:

Emily Hutchinson is a part of the Houzz Australia Editorial team. She is always on the lookout for homes with that extra wow-factor to feature and loves hearing all about the design process behind these projects.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Springfield Lakes real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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The best ways to resolve neighbour issues

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The best ways to resolve neighbour issues

At some point in your home renting or owning journey, you’ll likely face some common neighbour issues or situations that you may be unsure how to approach, discuss and resolve.

What might be a problem for some, is no issue to another. It’s the differences in lifestyle, age and background of neighbours that can often lead to differing views about what is and isn’t expected of you as a good neighbour.

Here are some of the most common neighbour issues you may encounter and the right way to go about finding a resolution.

Barking dogs

There are many reasons that could cause a dog to bark – including separation anxiety, boredom, fear or even excitement.

While many homeowners or tenants understand that a dog may bark from time to time (for example, when the dog’s owner arrives home), excessive barking can cause a serious disturbance for neighbours.

If you're noticing continual or excessive barking from your neighbour’s dog, or even your own dog, it might be time to consult with a professional dog behaviour specialist.

Dog behaviour specialists can help to understand the reasons behind why the dog is barking – providing potential solutions to resolve the underlying issues. This will not only help resolve any neighbour issues but also ensure you have a happier dog!

barking dog.jpg

Trees & garden maintenance

While in most areas you can legally cut back a tree to the property line if it is encroaching on your property, it’s not the first option you should take. Additionally, before cutting back a tree on your neighbouring property or your own, speak to your local council as they may have Tree Preservation Orders in place, preventing you from cutting or removing trees.

Instead, look to discuss any problems you have with overhanging trees or tree roots with your neighbour before taking any action. Speak to them about why the tree is becoming an issue on your property and request that they provide a solution to the issue.

Likewise, if your tree is overhanging your neighbour’s property, you should be trimming the tree branches back. If you’re unable to come to a solution, as a last resort you may decide to write a notice for removal with a timeframe requesting them to remove their overhanging branches.

Divided over fencing

The shape, colour, design and cost of your dividing fence are all common causes of disputes between neighbours – especially when they become damaged and need to be repaired or replaced. It’s important to understand in most cases, when fixing a dividing fence there is usually a cost to be paid by both homeowners.

One of the most common disputes regarding fencing is the price of installing a new fence and making a decision both homeowners agree with. Take your time to discuss options with your neighbour to come to a mutual decision.

If you or your neighbour prefers a more expensive option, it’s recommended that the difference is paid by the neighbour selecting the more expensive choice. Don’t forget that good quality fences usually last longer and may improve the value of your home – so spending a bit more may be worth the investment.

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Music & noise complaints

It’s wise to expect you may encounter the occasional loud party or crying child at some point in your property occupancy journey.

Before confronting your neighbour while you’re still heated following a loud event, spend some time to calm down and relax. Discuss the noise issues you have with your neighbour politely and try to come to a resolution or agreement – such as turning the music off by a certain time on weeknights.

If you don’t feel confident speaking to your neighbours directly, leave a polite note at their front door or in their mailbox mentioning the problem and potential solutions.

If you’re still unable to solve issues regarding neighbour noise, it might be time to look at ways you can improve your own home to minimise external noise. Double-glazed windows and new door and window seals will not only reduce sound but may also increase the livability, energy efficiency and even the value of your home.

Nosey neighbours

There’s always at least one in each street or apartment block – the nosey neighbour. Perhaps they have a large home with windows overlooking your block. Or maybe they want to chat with you every time you leave the house.

It might be time to have a conversation with your nosey neighbour – speaking to them politely and requesting that you’d prefer some privacy. If they continue to be nosey, it might be time to install some additional shade sails, trees or thicker curtains to reduce their vision into your property.

Remember, it can often be a good thing if your neighbour is a bit nosey or likes to keep an eye on your property. This could help deter intruders and may even create a good friendly relationship between you and your neighbour – where they will look after your home while you’re away on holiday, collect your mail and water your yard.

Before you discuss any problems with your neighbour, take some time to relax and think about the issue rationally. Discussions, while you or your neighbour are disgruntled, will often escalate the problem, making it more difficult to find a resolution.

Follow some of the tips mentioned on the Conflict Resolution Network website to help resolve any issues in a respectful matter, before taking more serious action if issues aren’t resolved. Speaking in a civil manner to your neighbour and understanding their point-of-view is guaranteed to give you the best chance of resolving issues peacefully and that you'll live in harmony moving forward.

Author bio:

This article is written by Alex Hamilton, a blogger based in Perth, Western Australia. You can catch Alex on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Canning Vale real estate for sale and properties for rent in Perth. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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Double storey exterior design trends for 2018

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Double storey exterior design trends for 2018

New year, new me, new home? Buying a new home is one of the most exciting times in any person’s life and there’s no time like the present. If you’re thinking about upgrading to a double storey home this year, here are some of the top exterior design trends to consider and look out for in 2018.

1. Modern elevation

House facades say a lot about a home. It’s the first thing that offers the wow factor to your visitors or potential buyers, and more importantly, it’s the first thing you see each time you drive up the driveway. So, put your best foot forward with a beautiful modern elevation.

One of the most stylishly modern facades, a contemporary cubist elevation screams street appeal from every angle. Not only is it striking to look at, but it also allows for a cleverly positioned balcony and pairs perfectly with a manicured lawn.

 Image: InVogue, The Alpha

Image: InVogue, The Alpha

While shapes such as squares and rectangles add a level of intrigue to the facade that make a statement and command attention, they also blend in with the rest of the exterior to allow for a structured design that will always be on trend.

2. Mixed materials

We’re beginning to see a break away from the traditional form of homes and are moving towards a fusion of ideas as homeowners start to rethink their design. Why not take a bold, non-traditional approach to designing your home’s facade, as well as the materials used?

A growing trend is to use traditional materials and contrast them against elements that wouldn’t normally be found on the exterior of a family home. Mixing old and new, industrial and traditional, dark and light, this look is all about clean, simple lines and a clever use of materials to create the modern home of your dreams.

 Image: InVogue, The Eden

Image: InVogue, The Eden

Don’t be afraid to be bold and experiment with your double storey design by pairing a stone, steel or cement-based cladding with a plywood or white and light-grey paints. Mixing these materials creates a unique look that’s ahead of the curve and truly sets your home apart. It also gives an industrial feel that can be softened by warm, neutral colours that highlight the home’s exterior lines.

3. The classic look

While many homeowners are leaning towards a more modern design, sometimes there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a traditional look. If you’re after a home with character and history, perhaps a timeless design is the right fit for you.

Simple but well-defined features of the craftsman aesthetic have become quite appealing in today’s buyer’s market. Exposed beams, large windows and columns set on pedestals are all perfect exterior features for classic double storey homes buyers seem to gravitate towards.

More specifically, we’re seeing Australian home designers drawing inspiration from Hamptons-style homes. While we may be a long way from New York’s playground for the rich and famous, that hasn’t stopped us Aussies from creating our own take on this stylish coastal bliss look.

 Image: InVogue, The Alan

Image: InVogue, The Alan

Characterised by its charming features - such as stately columns, pediments and ox-eye windows with external walls clad with shingles or weatherboard - this highly sought-after style is becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

The Aussie interpretation of Hamptons-style is a little bit more laidback, combining elements of coastal aesthetic with the more polished Hamptons vibe. This works beautifully as it allows for a classic home with timeless elegance but also adds the relaxed beachy flavour synonymous with our culture.

For more new home inspo and advice take a look at the pros and cons of single vs double storey homes and how to cut costs when building a new home.

Company bio:
With over 100 double storey home designs available, InVogue is changing the game in double storey home builds by providing affordable two storey designs that make a statement. InVogue pride themselves on designing distinct homes in Perth and surrounding suburbs that you won’t be able to drive past without getting in that second look. Follow InVogue on Facebook at @InVogue2storeydesigns.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Canning Vale real estate for sale and properties for rent in Perth. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Cosy home styling: How to embrace Dulux’s hottest autumn hues

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Cosy home styling: How to embrace Dulux’s hottest autumn hues

If you’re looking to stylishly cosy up your home this season, then look no further than Dulux’s autumn 2018 colour trends.

Quintessentially autumn, warm, rich and earthy tones dominate Dulux’s colour palette of the season ‘Kinship’.

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

‘This colour palette exudes warmth, but in a sophisticated and contemporary way. It is easy to work with, allowing you to add character with minimal fuss,’ says Andrea Lucena-Orr, Dulux Colour Expert.

Andrea recommends partnering earthy shades with light neutrals and tribal-inspired textured furnishings to ‘create a cocooning and nurturing space’ in your home.

The fabulous colours that’ll help you achieve this include terracotta (Dulux’s Very Terracotta), russet (Dulux’s Sassy), soft green-greys (Dulux’s Herbalist or Hildegard), warm neutrals (Dulux’s Beige Artefacts or Maiko) and rich reds (Dulux’s Carmen Miranda).

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

4 ways to embrace the cosy Kinship palette this season:

1- Just a hint.

‘If you’re nervous about the idea of introducing deep colours to your space, you needn’t be. You’ll find that even a small amount of these richer hues against a white or neutral background, in the right spot, can make a big impact,’ Andrea says.

For example, you could repaint the front door, a bookshelf, dresser draws, a storage nook or a door frame.

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018– Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.

Dulux Colour Trends 2018– Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.

Alternatively, create a tonal vignette by painting a medley of op shop finds (i.e. vases, boxes, jugs, jars, glassware, bowls or picture frames) in similar shades of the one colour to add a striking display to a mantel, shelf or side table.

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018– Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.

Dulux Colour Trends 2018– Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.

2- Natural complements.

This colour palette works wonderfully with natural materials that are so popular in interior design at the moment, like warm timbers, stone and linens, so it will be easy to integrate them into your existing decor.

The Design Chaser’s Michelle Halford recommends introducing a vintage timber console or dresser, rattan chairs, woven lighting and baskets to make your Kinship palette sing.

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018– Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.

Dulux Colour Trends 2018– Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Lisa Cohen.

3- Make a statement.

If it’s a bold statement you’re after this season Michelle suggests painting ‘the fireplace surround or creating an eye-catching feature wall with one of the bolder colours in the Kinship palette, such as Dulux Very Terracotta or Sassy, and keep the other walls soft and neutral’.

If you decide to go all out and embrace a bolder hue it’s vital to pair it with a complementary white or neutral with similar undertones. ‘This will create a sense of balance, allowing the bold hues to enhance rather than overwhelm a space’, Andrea says.

Dulux Natural White, for example, is a warm white that sits beautifully alongside the pinkish tones of Maiko and Time Capsule.

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

4- Add texture with accessories.

Boost the cosiness factor by adding in lashings of texture throughout your space. Think oversized knits, luxurious velvets and linens.

Layer on rugs and cushions with fringing, tribal prints, embroidery and tassel details in earthy shades for extra interest and impact in your space.

‘Bold abstract art, textured wall hangings and plenty of greenery provide the perfect finishing touches’, Michelle advises.

 Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Kinship Palette. Styled by Bree Leech. Photographer: Mike Baker

We hope these tips allow you to effectively cosy up your home this autumn. 

For more paint colour inspiration check out the paint colours that'll boost the value of your home, tropical-inspired decor ideas, colour schemes we're loving for autumn and colour trend predictions for 2018.

Happy decorating!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Springfield Lakes real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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