How to give your home ‘curb appeal’

‘Curb appeal’ is a phrase you may have seen thrown around home improvement and interior design articles when referring to the street view aesthetics of your home. Curb appeal simply means that exterior attractiveness of the house with features including the windows, door and entryway.

Naturally, curb appeal is also a buzzword in real estate circles and is popular with home buyers. So, if you’re looking to sell then you might want to follow the following tips on giving your home some much needed curb appeal.

Update the front door

The front door is a curb-side focal point and is much more important to the exterior aesthetics than many people give it credit for. A new door or just a refurbishing with a coat of paint can do wonders for the curb appeal of your home and create a refreshing vibe for home buyers.

Clean up the entryway

If you have a path leading up to your home make sure that it is well maintained and that there are no loose tiles or rouge patches of grass coming through the cracks. If you don’t have a pathway, then consider making one with some flat stones and flank them with small plants.

Add a garden

A front-yard garden is one of best additions to help create curb appeal for your home. It doesn’t need to an elaborate award winning garden, even some potted planted here and there will go a long way in making the entrance feel more connected to the natural world.

It can be a good idea to fill a garden will low-maintenance plants that suit the climate of the area the home is in. This is a great bullet point you can give to buyers who won’t be as worried about inheriting a garden that will need a lot of hard work.

Install new windows

Windows are viewed just as much as the front door as they are the only way for people to see inside, so they naturally draw attention. Make sure that any windows are clean and aren’t collecting gunk around the corners.

Remove any cobwebs and dirty marks from the windows. If the windows are grimy and unattractive that’s the vibe buyers are going to feel when they see them.

Experiment with the post box

The post box is an oft forgotten element of a home’s façade that can actually make quite a punctual statement for the sake of curb appeal. Having an elaborate post box or sign for the home address adds a cute factor that will delight buyers.

Themes Perfect For Your Child’s Birthday Party!

Celebrating the birthday of your child is one of the most important days of the year. It’s a time to make sure your child enjoys the day and experiences a day of complete fun about them. There’s no better way to organise a birthday party than dressing up and celebrating with their favourite particular theme. Below are a number of different themes and styles that are perfect to make a child’s birthday that much more special.

 

A Backyard Camper’s Party

A lot of young children, especially boys love the idea of adventure and camping. The next best idea aside from camping in the outback itself is to host a camper’s party in the backyard instead. Make sure to add a hand painted sign with their name, alongside some complimentary helium balloons to add a bit of extra style to the camping theme.

During the party, make sure the kids have fun with a safe but classic campfire, sitting next to each other on logs, sharing stories and singing songs. It’s no true camping party without roasted marshmallows to go alongside the campfire either. Have explorer outfits and small adventure goodie bags that every child can enjoy so that the party is the best experience possible for your child. The last thing you want to forget is to bake some toasted treats that are made to suit the camping theme.

 

A Zoo Birthday Party Theme

If there’s one thing kids are sure to love, it’s the idea of playing with animals. With this theme, start off by making a children’s zoo by decorating the house and backyard with fun and fantastic animal ideas. A great way to do this is with paper balloons made out of their favourite animals like monkeys or dogs suspended in the air. To make it feel more like a real zoo, try setup a feed station stocked with a trail-mix buffet so that everyone can make their own treats to go.

A real fun way of exciting the kids with this zoo theme is to hand out animal masks to everyone with their most beloved animals. To make it feel like the real deal but still keep it within a safe environment, look into hiring an animal party expert who can bring some kid friendly animals like dogs, sheep and all other hosts of different animals.

 

A Water Themed Party

One of the most enjoyable and interactive themes for a kid’s birthday party is a water themed party where everyone can participate in a number of different games and spend the whole day occupied with endless fun. Decorate the backyard with fitting towels on the clothesline for a bit of colour and to dry the kids in between the games.

With a water theme, be sure to hand out different goodies like water goggles to each child, and lastly don’t forget a large cake, or better yet ice cream to compliment the hot day outside. One of the best ideas for water themed games is a game of dodgeball with soft to land inflatable balloons filled with water. If you’re interested in a different game, have the kids stand in a circle and pass the balloon around and the person who pops it ends up losing instead!

Easy ways to make your house more comfortable

Spending long hours working at a desk or on your feet is naturally very tiring and when we crawl back home after a long day we want to retreat to a place of rest and relaxation. This is why we go to such lengths to make our homes as comfortable as possible so we can enjoy it as soon as we get through the front door.

However, if you’re home feels like it isn’t very stress reducing; it may be a sign it could stand to have some added comforts. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to make your home more comfortable to live in.

Soundproofing windows and natural light

Windows can often seem like something that’s beyond alteration but there are actually some small changes you can make to improve them. By glazing your windows you can create a sound barrier that blocks the annoying sounds of the outside world while you’re trying to relax.

Windows are also, obviously, a source of natural light which is proven to impose our moods and make our homes less dreary. Open up those curtains and enjoy the natural light.

Air quality

Making sure that fresh air is circulating through your home is essential to keeping your health and mood up. People over underestimate how important fresh air is and will have a poorly ventilated house.

Install fly screen on your windows so you can open them without letting all the insects in. There’s nothing like some fresh night time air to help you relax after a long day.

Flooring

While this might not sound very important, you’d be surprised by how much of a difference a comfortable floor can make. Think about it, you walk on hard surfaces when you’re out and about, so your home should have something softer.

While it’s not recommended to lay carpet everywhere, clever use of rugs adds softness to the floor that feels amazing, especially if you’ve been standing all day.

Get a pet

While this isn’t always practical, especially if you live in a unit that doesn’t allow pets, they are a great way to make your home more comfortable. Having a furry, snuggly friend who’s genuinely excited to see you come home (even if it’s just because you’ll feed them) is very gratifying and rewarding to come home to.

While there are plenty more ways to make your home more comfortable, the aforementioned methods are some of the easiest ways to make a instantly noticeable change.

Best home renovations for a return on investment

When re-selling it’s always a clever idea to refurbish parts of the home so they’re appealing to new home buyers. Nobody wants to buy a house that looks dilapidated and outdated aesthetically.

Some people merely throw a new coat of paint on the interiors and some go big and invest in a pool to increase the sell value of the home. Some projects for improving the marketability of the house are renovation money pits that will be more hassle than they’re worth.

Let’s take a look at some simple yet effective renovations that will turn you a profit upon selling.

Update the front door

The front door has major curb appeal and it’s hiding in plain sight. Many people forget how much of an important focal point the front door is as part of the overall façade of the house.

Buying a new door, using a new coat of paint or even just replacing the door knob and locks goes a long way in refreshing the vibe of the house.

Build a front-yard garden

A garden is a charming addition to any home that makes it feel more connected to the natural world and is a delight for children. It’s a good idea to source low-maintenance plants so that buyer’s don’t feel like they’re inheriting a lot of hard work when they buy your home.

New coat of paint

This is like giving your home a facelift so it looks pretty for home buyers. Stick with low intensity and neutral colours that will be appealing the majority of home buyers.

Stucco should be repainted every 5 to 6 years while wood should be repainted ever 3 to 7 years. Consider hiring professional painters if the job is too big to do yourself.

Eco-friendly additions

Modern home buyers are environmentally conscious and will look favourably on homes that have low-energy, low-water use appliances. Front-loading washing machines, attic insulation and tankless water heaters are great examples of value adding eco-friendly additions.

Kitchen and bathroom makeovers

It’s a common maxim in the real estate world that its bathrooms and kitchens that sell houses and there a lot of truth to this. Despite their importance, you don’t need to completely gut these room and start from scratch.

While an expensive modern kitchen and bathroom will add the most value, you can easily replace cupboards, appliances and sinks without tearing out the rest of the room. Make sure that the bathroom tiles are properly re-grouted so that it feels hygienic.

Basic home improvement skills everyone should know

While not everyone has the ‘handyman genes’, it’s not excuse to be totally incompetent when it comes to basic household tasks. Humans have defined themselves over the millennia by our development and use of tools, so you don’t look much evolved if you can’t even drive a nail to hang a painting.

While there’s a time and place to rely on a career handyperson, there’s plenty of job you should be able to do on your own. Let’s take a look at some basic home improvement skills you should be trained in.

Installing shelves

Installing shelves onto your drywall is an easy two-step process.

  1. Determine where the studs are
  2. Determine the size of anchors you will need

If you try to hang anything heavy against a drywall without anchors it will collapse on top of you and leave you pondering why you’re such a dimwit. Do yourself a favour and make sure you have anchors for your shelving.

Replacing old shower heads

All you will need for this is a new shower head, a wrench and some Teflon tape. Simply remove the old shower head, replace the Teflon, and then screw on the new shower head with your wrench. Easy as that!

Hanging a painting

Yes, we’re going to do this one. Make sure you start by marking 57 inches up your wall as that is where the centre of the picture should be on a normal wall.

Then measure the size of the frame and where the nail is going to end up. After that’s hanging a painting is as easy as it looks.

Putting flat pack furniture together

This one is actually so hard for some people that they hire handymen to build their Ikea furniture for them. While the wordless instructions might seem complicated, they’re actually designed to be minimalistic and simple.

Make sure you create a special box or area to put loose screws and bolts so that you don’t lose them under the couch. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure you have enough room to lay out each piece.

Mowing the lawn

Instead of throwing your cash at a landscaping service or some teenage neighbour, mow the lawn yourself and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well-done. Make it easier for yourself by doing it systematically and often enough so that the job isn’t enormous each time you do it.

A guide to avoiding the biggest decorating mistakes

A lot of people hesitate before starting a decorating project because they’re worried about making a costly mistake. Not everyone is a world–renowned interior designer and it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of choice you have to work with.

Let’s take a look at some common decorating mistakes and how to avoid them.

Picking out the paint first

Many people believe that when decorating a room they need to decide on a colour of paint and work the rest of their design choices from that point. While it may be the biggest part of the room, wall paint doesn’t necessarily need to be the first thing you decide on.

It’s a good idea to pick out your textile furnishing like rugs, couch pillows and upholstery first and then pick a paint that compliments them. It’s much harder to find furnishings that fit a colour of paint than a colour of paint that fits the furnishings.

Forgetting to measure new furniture

It can sometimes be hard to judge the true size of a piece of furniture based on how it looks in the store. Countless people have made the classic mistake of buying a couch of coffee table that doesn’t fit inside their space by just a few centimetres.

To avoid this design disaster, take measurements of the room and take them with you when shopping. If you fall in love with an item that’s too big, ask if it is available in different sizes, otherwise you are going to have to find something else.

Only going to one store

Buying everything in the same store might be convenient, but think about how many other options you’re not even getting a chance to browse. Buying everything from the same store might sound like you’re keeping it uniform, but this is usually less visually interesting than a room with deliberate choices you made from the best of what you found.

Try shopping around online or at different boutique stores so that you give yourself a huge range of choices. Even if you go with one particular style, using different brands will make the space feel much less copy & paste.

Being afraid to make bold statements

If you really love that elephant sculpture, then incorporate it as a focal point in your space. Don’t shy away from including quirky additions as part of your design as this is usually where most of your personality is expressed.

Tips on how to brighten up a dark room

If you have a room in your house that’s starting to feel like a secluded cave, it might be a sign that it’s too dark in there. This doesn’t mean that it’s hard to see but the overall tone and vibe of the room feels dreary and depressing.

Let’s take a look at some simple design tips to brighten up any dark room.

Use white

Some people believe that the clever use of mirrors is the best way to spread light around the room, but this is actually somewhat of a myth. The best way to reflect light around a room is with white furniture, couch pillows and fixtures because the non-hue white doesn’t absorb any colour.

The best method is to paint the walls white and see what effect that has before investing in furniture pieces and other additions.

Use black

While it may sound counterintuitive, using clever touches of a dark colour can help highlight the rest of the room. Include black in the more linear and thin elements such as chair frames, picture frames and long floor lamps.

Use wall lighting

Even if you have plenty of ceiling and pot lights, washing your wall with a fixed light can help spread more light around and illuminate the corner of the room. Clever use of wall lighting can make a room feel open and bright even if it doesn’t have any windows.

You can also be a little experimental here and use small lights or LED strips and affix them under cabinetry and others appliances like a fridge or entertainment unit. This can create a cool under-glow effect that makes the home feel a touch more electric and modern.

Use new lightbulbs

You can make the room feel like it has much more natural light by updating your old lightbulbs to new ones. You should get lights you can adjust to emit a daytime warm glow that looks great and creates an inviting atmosphere.

Use a bright area rug

While laminate and hardwood floors are still very popular, if the type of wood is especially dark it can drain the light from the room. It’s a good idea to break up to monotony of the flooring with some area rugs strategically placed around high traffic areas like adjacent to the couch or television.

Area rugs can be purchased in a great deal of different designs and patterns, so you can be pretty creative here. Just don’t pick a rug that’s darker than the floor!

Tips for designing your children’s bedroom

A child’s bedroom is more than just a place they sleep at the end of the day, it’s a nurturing environment where the child will much of their playtime, study time and where they’ll retreat to when they’re feeling down. Depending on their age the bedroom may have different features and amenities, but it is always a place of deep personal meaning to the child and is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Because of how crucial their bedroom is to their self-identity and feeling of comfort at home, designing a child’s bedroom can seem like a daunting task. Luckily it doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow some basic tips.

Let’s take a look at the top tips for designing your child’s bedroom.

Find a timeless style that will grow up with them

The biggest and most frequently addressed problem with designing a child’s room is that children tend to grow up and out of trends very quickly. This leaves many parents feeling silly for painting their daughter’s room hot pink only for them to start hating the obnoxious colour as they get older.

Therefore it’s essential to find a middle ground between incorporating your child’s interests but no jeopardizing the long term viability of the room. This can be done by making the more quirky elements of the room removable.

For example, it might be better do a fairy theme with some plush toys, posters or artwork that can be easily removed rather than painting a permanent mural. If you are going to paint on some thematic features, do it in a minimalistic way.

A good rule of thumb is to see how easy it would be to convert the room for an adult and try and stick to the simpler side. While elaborate features like car shaped beds are a fun novelty for children, how much use will they really get out of that investment?

Put the ‘fun’ in functional

Children are notorious for having messy bedroom and if you want to encourage them to clean up after themselves you should try and make it enjoyable for them. Creating elaborate toy chests are a great way to encourage children to use them as storage space and it will teach them some basic management skills.

Clothes baskets can get easily filled with dirty clothes by affixing a basketball hoop over a hamper basket, making it fun for kids to try and “score” with their dirty clothes. There are plenty of other great suggestions you can find online for ways to make daily chores fun for kids.

Tips for creating the perfect ‘man-cave’

At some point every guy has fantasized about having their own personal ‘man-cave’ or den where they can pursue their hobbies, relax with their mates over some beers or watch sports matches without interruption.  While traditionally dismissed as joke about needing a break from their families, a lot of men are now actually creating these spaces or pure recreation and relaxation.

But how do you go about creating a ‘man-cave’? Let’s find out.

Pick a space

Before you automatically go with the garage, consider if that space has the right ventilation for the activities you want in the man-cave. If you are doing any hobbies like painting or using chemical mixtures you won’t want to have an enclosed space.

It’s also important to make sure the room is warm enough all year round and think about sourcing some temperature control measurers if it isn’t. Above all, make sure you have enough space for multiple entertainment items as that’s what truly defines a man-cave.

Start planning the layout and features

Now that you have a space, start planning based on what you want to use the room for. If you are setting up a sports watching or video game den for your and friends, you’ll want to have an adequately sized couch, perhaps a mini-fridge for beverages and even a toilet if it’s practical.

Some man-caves are almost like mini bunkers, equipped with all the necessities to survive the apocalypse. Unless you have a lot of cash to throw around, additions like a separate toilet might be a little too far-fetched.

Think about how the wires from your entertainment set-up will be organised. Use cable organisers to keep the important wires off the floor so they don’t get jumbled up or wet from a spill.

Acoustic panels might also be a worthwhile addition for the walls. They will help suppress the noise the room makes for people outside it while giving people in the room better acoustics, which is great for music.

Pretty it up with personal touches

After all the big changes are made, consider adding your own personal flair to the room. Movie posters, statues, figurines or anything else that’s appealing to you should be used to make the room really feel like it’s dedicated to you.

Make sure you have some wall space to add things over time and before you know it you’ll have an amazing man-cave with a whole lot of character to it.

Simple ways to improve your home’s resell value

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important investments we make in our lives and while it may seem like we’ve found the perfect spot to settle down, most of us end up mobbing and needing to sell at some future point. Whether it’s because of a career change or something family related, there are a lot of reasons we might need to pack up and leave.

For a lot of people selling their home can be as daunting as seeking one to but the tips in this guide are an easy way to boost the resell value of your property. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Be clever with your landscaping

The front yard is the first impression that potential buyers will experience of your home and this is where the hearts are captured. If you can make them fall in love with the house’s façade they will be much easier to convince when they see the rest of the home.

It’s crucial to make sure your yard is trimmed, mowed and free of weeds and natural debris like sticks and tree branches. Don’t spend big on renovating the backyard with big inclusions like a hot tub or pool as this can signal a lot more maintenance for potential buyers.

While it’s important to make sure your home hasn’t been reclaimed by nature, it’s equally important that the home doesn’t feel sterile and artificial. A well maintained garden and some naturally occurring trees are always impressive features to have that make people feel like it is a really down to earth place they can feel cosy in.

Update the front door

While it may not seem like it, the front door or entryway of your home plays a huge role in its overall resell value. Statistics show that updating an old front door with a modern one has had one of the biggest turnarounds in resell value of any bit of home improvement.

Renovate the kitchen and bathrooms

The kitchens and bathrooms in a home are the quickest rooms to become outdated simply because of how quickly design trends change. If your kitchen or bathroom is 10 or more years old it might be time for a modern refurbishing that will wow home buyers.

The kitchen is one of the most functional rooms in the house and had been a make or break room for lots of home buyers. Making a good impression in the kitchen can be enough to sway people to buying, especially those who really love home cooking.