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Home Improvement

How to Light Up Your Home: 5 Tips to Create the Ultimate Cosy Glow



People often aspire to have an amazingly decorated home and on their way towards achieving their goal, they tend to completely forget about lighting. This is a huge oversight and needs to be taken care of immediately. One of the first things people notice upon entering a room is illumination. If we enter a well-lit room, our brain won’t register anything; however, a poorly-lit environment gets an instant negative reaction no home décor can ever save. We’ve all been raised to believe that a unique source of strong light is the way to go and that anything less would spoil our eyesight. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that you can actually enjoy both cosy and high-quality lighting.

Different room, different lighting 

You would want to arrange lights in your rooms according to taste as well as purpose. Naturally, your study needs to be well-lit with desk lamps strong enough to support you when working or studying late. On the other hand, your bedroom and living room don’t need that kind of support. It’s quite natural to sort this according to use. Start with all the essentials such as nightstand lights, kitchen lighting, study and central lights for all the rooms.

The more the merrier 

Don’t be afraid to add several different lamps and lights in one room. Rooms that are supposed to be cosy, such as your living room or bedroom, should have many different sources of light. Asymmetry is very pleasing in this area, so go ahead and buy all sorts of strange-shaped lamps and bulbs and don’t worry about pairing them up. Once you scatter them across the room, they’ll fit in with the rest of the furniture and they will look absolutely amazing.


While you want decentralized lighting for relaxation, you also need to be practical. Sometimes you’ll just need to see the entire room well while not being bothered with an infinite number of switches. This is why each room in your house still needs a central light. However, you should introduce dimmer switches that will enable you to dictate the mood of the room easily whenever you like it. Of course, anything electricity-related should be handled by professionals. This issue is taken rather seriously in Australia where safety measures have been updated recently. So, if you contact a competent Sydney electrician to do your wiring, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Use natural light 

Don’t forget to use what has already been given to you – natural light. A mixture of artificial and natural light is usually not a good idea. This is why you need to pay special attention to your home’s lighting during the day. Think about your windows and the arrangement of your furniture. Reading and dining, for instance, are activities people love doing under natural light, so try to use this source of light and adjust your room arrangement thusly.

Fluorescents out 

Generally speaking, cosy and fluorescent don’t complement each other. Fluorescent lights are most often associated with offices and classrooms. They cause our eyes to tire more quickly and they can even be headache-inducing. This is something you probably don’t wish for any room in your home. So, forget about fluorescent and focus on warmer lights that are emitted through LED bulbs with lower wattage, for instance.

These are some basic rules you need to follow when illuminating your home. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s your house and it should suit your taste and your desires, so you’re the perfect person to choose and place all these sources of light and combine them into a whole. Try different things and see what you like. Don’t forget that you can use different combinations of the same light sources for various moods and effects. Most importantly, nothing is irreparable, so if you decide you no longer want a lamp or two, you can always replace them easily or simply remove them.

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

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Home Improvement

7 Tips for Eco-Friendly Living That’ll Help You Save Electricity



There are so many reasons why you should turn on your energy-saving mode. Being more energy-savvy will not only reduce your bills but also allow our aching planet to catch a break and recover. So, if you want to improve your eco-friendliness, here are a few tips that will help you save electricity in your home. 

Turn off lights

This is probably the easiest and one of the most effective ways to save electricity. If your parents didn’t teach you to turn off the lights when leaving the room, your energy bill will definitely make you develop this habit. Every time you leave the room or your house, make sure all your lights are off. This will minimize unnecessary energy loss and reduce your utility bill. However, there’s another benefit! Artificial lighting can also boost the temperature in your home, which means you’ll blast your AC without any reason. By keeping your lights off, you’ll have a much more pleasant environment that requires less cooling. 

Rely on sunlight

home interior
Try to boost the use of the natural light coming through your windows, skylights and doors instead of relying solely on electricity. Sunlight can also keep your home warmer during the chilly months. When the weather outside is sunny, make sure to let the warmth inside and turn down your thermostat. This will reduce the amount of energy you spend on heating and make your home pleasant and showered in relaxing lighting. It’s a win-win situation!  

Insulate your home

If you want to easily maintain the ideal temperature in your home, boost your insulation. A proper envelope will keep heat loss in the winter at a minimum and reduce the need for excessive cooling the summer. This is especially visible in hot climates where people use air conditioning almost all year long like Australia. Many homes that are not properly insulated tend to overwork their HVAC system and waste a lot of energy in the process. So, make sure to boost insulation in your home and reduce your need for heating and cooling. However, arm yourself with experts when tackling big projects like insulation. Have everyone from builders to decorators at hand. Having an experienced electrician in Sydney will ensure you can battle any sort of electrical emergency as well. Later, they can even do a small audit of your installation and ensure your property complies with current Australian Standards. 

Invest in energy-efficient doors and windows

room windows
Your home insulation can be additionally improved with energy-efficient doors and windows. It’s amazing how much energy you can lose in the winter if your windows and doors aren’t properly sealed! On the other hand, these openings can provide you with natural ventilation. Instead of relying too much on your AC, you can open the windows and allow a natural stream of air to cool your space. 


You might think that it’s enough to just turn off your appliances and gadgets when you leave the house, but they can still draw energy. These so-called “vampire devices” constantly use electricity unless they are unplugged. So, all those devices you don’t use all the time (think DVD players, video game consoles, printers, lamps, kitchen gadgets) should be unplugged from the wall to ensure no energy is wasted. 

Maintain your appliances

There are only so many places in the world that can go without heating or cooling. If you don’t live in one of them, you’ll need your HVAC system to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, if you don’t maintain your system properly and follow the repair schedule, you could be wasting more energy than necessary. And that’s not all! If your systems are not well-maintained, you won’t get even cooling and heating throughout your space or you can risk a malfunction. So, keeping your appliances in top-shape will save you electricity and money and ensure much more pleasant living. 

Consider going solar

Solar panels are more popular, available and efficient than ever before, so you can try going solar. The clean and usable energy you’ll get will reduce your reliance on the grid and save you money. Sure, installing solar panels is a big investment, but the energy and the money you can save in the long run are worth it. Plus, some places also offer tax credits if you use solar! 

If you want to save electricity, you must change some of your habits and improve your home. However, once you get used to it and once your home is properly equipped, you’ll notice results right away. Your wallet, your planet and the future generations will be more than grateful for your sacrifices.

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Home Improvement

Trendy Outdoor Decorating Tips & Ideas to Try This Summer



A house with a nice yard

Is your outdoor space just not vibing with you anymore? Would you rather stay inside than spend time in your garden even when it’s warm and sunny outside? These are all signs that you need to try out some of these trendy outdoor decorating ideas and turn your garden into a summer retreat this year. 

Create a vertical garden

Are you one of those people who are constantly complaining that they don’t grow greenery because they have no space? You don’t need a lot of square footage to have a garden—just go vertical! A well-designed vertical garden will take up minimal space yet provide you with precious aesthetic appeal. Pick a bare wall or an empty piece of fence and go to work. Choose your pots and planters carefully so that they fit your overall design. If you wish, you can even opt for edible plants or spice herbs so you can always have fresh ingredients for your tasty dishes. 

Gravel road

Change your footing

Are you tired of constantly having to mow your lawn, fertilize it and water it in the summer? Ditch the wasteful grass and opt for something low-maintenance like decorative gravel. This new trend requires no water, no fertilizer and no mowing and will look great both in the summer and in the winter. 

Boost comfort with new seating

Outdoor spaces are perfect for summer entertaining, so make sure to provide your space with some cozy seating. If your old chairs are not working for you anymore, donate them or try to give them a new life. Sometimes, all you need to do to bring style to your space is put a fresh bold coat of paint on them and some new cushions and you’ll make a tremendous change. 

Garden lighting

Go hi-tech with lighting

Nations that are very into remodeling like Americans and Australians are massively tackling outdoor lighting. Australians are known to be especially outdoorsy and want to spend as much time as possible in their gardens, so it’s not a surprise that they choose to pay such big attention to outdoor lighting. With a good setup, you can use your space both during the day and long after the sun sets. So, if you’re looking to add some modern sleekness into your outdoor space, check out well-equipped lighting shops in Castle Hill and you’ll find all sorts of gorgeous lighting options. From minimalist sconces to LED path lights, you can find everything you need in a very modern, clean and classy design. These lights will give your backyard that trendy hi-tech vibe even if you didn’t change much in your space.

Add softness with outdoor rugs

Rugs are a great way to anchor a room and create separate zones. If they can do that in your living room, they can also do that on your patio. Look for outdoor rugs with a lot of summer colors and patterns to create a focal point of the space. Go especially crazy if your cushions are monochrome. 

Upgrade your planters

If you still have those flimsy pots, you and your plants deserve better. Large and eye-catching planters are super trendy today and they will not only have a real presence but also provide your plants with a better house. 

Arbor style entrance

Add an arbor to your entrance

If you want to wow everything stepping into your backyard, start with your entrance. Romance is alive and well in 2019, so add a touch of classic style to your space with an arbor. These structures are small enough to fit into any backyard yet create a huge effect, especially if you allow some flowering vines to climb all over it. 

Create a relaxing waterfall

Water features will always be trendy, but today’s fashion requires more than just standing water. Opt for a feature that will create relaxing water sounds and provide you with a beautiful backdrop for your meditation, yoga or mindfulness practices. If you have a small space, choose a hanging fountain, but if you have a lot of space to work with, you can go all out with a gorgeous waterfall. 

Pick any of these outdoor design projects and you’ll instantly change the whole vibe of your backyard. Even if you don’t feel any of these trends, they will certainly inspire you to find something you like and go for it.

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Asbestos, Hidden Danger in Your Home




Asbestos is what we call a number of naturally occurring silicate minerals that used to be used in construction due to their thermal stability, insulation properties, and durability. However, when asbestos is disturbed and tiny fibers of it become airborne, it becomes very dangerous. It may cause a range of health issues, from asbestosis to lung cancer. This is why you should be aware of it, especially if you happen to live in an older home. With that in mind, here’s what you should know about asbestos.

Asbestos, Hidden Danger in Your Home

Where can it be found?

Many homes that were built before 1980 have asbestos in ceiling tiles, resilient floor tiles as well as adhesives used for installing floor tiles, walls, and roof shingles. Insulation around boilers, pipes, ducts, furnaces, and fireplaces may also include asbestos. Additionally, soundproofing material that is usually sprayed on walls and ceiling could also contain asbestos.

Now, asbestos on its own is not dangerous when it’s in a stable and isolated form. However, if you ever decide to remodel your home, or even if you clean the asbestos-containing area improperly, you could disturb the material and become exposed to the harmful fibers. This means that if you’ve bought an old house for its antique charm, and you want to remodel it to suit your needs, you need to first make sure it’s safe.

Asbestos, Hidden Danger in Your Home

How to check for asbestos

Keep in mind that even though it’s mostly found in older homes, some newer houses may contain asbestos as well, as it wasn’t banned everywhere at the same time. This is especially true if you happen to live in Australia, as a large number of older houses there do contain asbestos. For example, asbestos and all products containing it were only completely banned in 2003. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you should go around looking for it – you don’t really want to find it. You can’t detect it visually, and if you go around poking holes in walls and floors, you also risk inhaling the fibers and suffering the consequences. Instead, you should call certified professionals to get samples, and then they can analyze those samples in a laboratory to determine whether there is any asbestos in your home. This way, you and your family are less likely to get exposed to asbestos fibers. Fortunately, you can easily find a laboratory that does asbestos testing in Sidney. So, if you suspect that you might be living with asbestos, getting your home tested should not be a problem.

Asbestos, Hidden Danger in Your Home

Health risks

As mentioned, inhaling asbestos can lead to some serious health issues. It mostly happens to people whose profession required them to work near asbestos fibers and thus, breathe them in. This includes construction workers who didn’t use safe practices. Sometimes, they also carried that asbestos home on their clothes, shoes, skin, and hair, which means that they unknowingly infected their families as well.

In some cases, teachers who worked in old school buildings and pupils who went to those schools got exposed as well. Some of them are yet to develop health issues, as most asbestos-related diseases can take up to 20-30 years to manifest themselves.

Speaking of asbestos-related diseases, they include pleural plaques (thick patches of scar tissue on the lining of the lungs), asbestosis (progressive scar tissue inside the lungs, which can make breathing difficult), lung cancer, and mesothelioma, which is also a type of cancer that affects the diaphragm, the lining of the chest wall, and the covering of the lungs. As mentioned, most of them can take years, even decades, to develop, which is why it’s almost impossible to know whether you’ve been exposed to asbestos before the symptoms start showing. Moreover, the risk of the two mentioned types of cancer increases if you are a smoker, and it also increases if you’ve been exposed to asbestos for a long time.

As you can see, asbestos is not something you should take lightly, as the consequences of being exposed to it can be very serious and very long-term. Therefore, be mindful of your own environment. If you suspect that your home might have some asbestos in it, don’t hesitate to call professionals that would test it, and if necessary, remove all the asbestos safely.

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Home Improvement

6 Important Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle Before Summer




Since summer is almost here, we’re all getting ready to spend some more time outside instead trapped indoors in front of screens. So, if you want to give your family the best and most comfortable summer experience (both outdoors and indoors) here are some home maintenance tasks you should take care of.

Take care of your lawn

After a cold winter and wet spring, your lawn might look a little neglected. But, nature will always give you a lush and green lawn after plenty of rain, all you need to do is nurture what nature gave you. Add some fertilizer with nitrogen to feed your lawn and kill weeds. Regular mowing is also a must—it will make your lawn a perfect place for outdoor games. Another thing you might want to do is take a look at your sprinklers. They need to be in perfect shape in order to reduce water waste, prevent standing water and damage to your plants.

Repair your fences

Cold and wet weather can be very damaging to wood and cause it to warp, twist and crack. This process will make your gates and fences all wonky, loose and ugly. So, give your fences and gates a little inspection and search for all loose pickets and sagging gates. Luckily, if you see any imperfections, first use some handy tools to measure them, and then fix them with a nail gun (remember to use galvanized nails for any outdoor fixes). Loose screws all need to be tightened as well.

Check your drains

During winter and fall, many things can get into your drains and cause clogs that will prevent your water from flowing off of your property. While these clogs are easier to handle, most of the time, the real culprit are tree roots that grow into the pipe and create thick blockages and cracks. Luckily, you don’t have to grab a sledgehammer and go to town on your driveway to unblock or replace your pipes. The best way to handle blocked drains is to contact professionals who will remove your blockage quickly and effectively and reline your old pipe. At the end of this process, you’ll have clean drains and perfectly healthy pipes without any damage to your property!

Fix your walkways

If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, ice can really destroy your pathways, especially if they are made of unmortared brick or stone. So, if you notice any loose and wobbly pavers, make sure to remove this hazard and secure them safely. You can repair your surfaces with a few buckets of sand and a sturdy gardening tool. Remove the wobbly paver, add some sand to the hole, smooth it out and replace the paver. A few stomps will ensure your bricks or stones are all leveled and secure for walking!

Whip out your furniture

In order to be completely comfortable in your backyard, you need a place to relax. So, make sure to whip out your outdoor furniture and give them a light inspection. While in storage, your pieces can get a bit shabby, so make sure to repair any imperfections before you let your kids lounge on them. Rattan can get damaged and cause nasty scratches, so trim all spiky edges. Iron furniture can get rusty, so grab a paint can and give them a new life with some color! These are all fun projects you can do with your kids and spend some quality time together.

Clean your grill

Summer is the perfect time for grilling, but no one wants to eat your patties with last year’s gunk on them ruining the taste! So, before you fire up your machine, make sure to clean your grill thoroughly and make sure all your gas connections and hoses are in good condition. A good grill brush works on almost every model of the grill and it will remove most dirt. Remove your grates and metal plates, soak them in soapy water and then scrub until clean. This will give you the best grilling experience and zero funky aftertaste to your food.

With an outdoor space like this, you and your family will get to enjoy your summer more than ever. You won’t even want to waste precious time in front of screens when you have a garden in a perfect condition for relaxation, games and parties!

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Common Types of Commercial Doors



Commercial Doors

In commercial buildings, you will find different types of commercial doors. Generally, you will find different types of doors in commercial buildings such as offices, schools, stores, etc. than that of the residential doors. It is type of door that can withstand high traffic on a regular basis. In addition to that, a commercial door faces highly stringent building code requirement which include fire protection, safe egress, access to differently abled, etc. In this article, we are going to discuss different commercial door types that one can install in a commercial establishment or premises.

Commercial Doors

Commercial doors can be made up of different materials, and you need to choose the one depending upon the need of your commercial premises. You cannot just invest in any commercial door. You need to look after the various aspects and requirements of the commercial space to install the doors.

Here are different types of doors that you can opt from:

Aluminium: Often, business owners prefer aluminium doors together with glass for entrance ways in the commercial structures. The main reason behind choosing the aluminium doors is that they do not need any painting, or they do not undergo excessive staining like metal or wooden doors. The aluminium frames are made to install the aluminium doors. These are fire-rated and are mainly chosen for the sleek and clean look. They enable natural light to enter the building as well.

Glass: Glass doors are used mainly in the interior premises of the commercial spaces. These glass commercial doors enable the adequate supply of light and make the building appear more open and spacious. These doors are made up of safety glass so that they are not easily breakable. Besides, most of the glass doors are hung on the pivots, usually, without a frame. Generally, there are not fire-rated. But as these are made of safety glasses, there are less chances of risk of injury in case the door is broken.

Steel: Steel doors are hollow metal doors that are made of sheets wrapped in some or the other form of core. They are long-lasting and are mostly used for the exterior purpose. They provide high level of security and are at the same time cost effective. Mostly, the steel commercial doors are used in mechanical rooms or for heavy-duty applications.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass is commonly used for installation on commercial openings. This is because they are long-lasting, and they need little to zero maintenance. Mostly, they tend to outlast steel and wooden doors, mainly in case of high abuse. Most of the school districts use fiberglass doors in order to reduce the replacement and the maintenance costs. However, these are generally costlier than that of the other material doors.

Wood: The core of the wood door can be of solid lumber, particle board, pressed mineral, or other such products. These are mainly used in interior commercial applications. They do not withstand the harsh weather elements in the outdoors. These doors tend to rot when exposed to moisture or outdoor weather. Wood is used for its rich appearance, but it is not as durable or secure like other commercial door materials.

Commercial Doors

Overhead: Overhead is another type of commercial doors made up of steel sheets. These are generally used for loading docks. These are often wide doors and can be of any height. These doors are mainly used like garage doors. They can be operated manually or automatically. These are generally used in manufacturing facilities.


Therefore, you can select the best commercial door materials based on your requirements. You must wisely decide and select the right material of commercial doors that suffice the needs of your commercial premises. Invest wisely and buy the right commercial door keeping in mind the above-mentioned factors.

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