Improving the Aesthetics of Concrete Floors

Concrete Flooring

When people think of concrete floors, they tend to picture the same material used in driveways and sidewalks, or dirty and stained basement and garage floors. If you don’t know much about how concrete can be used these days, you might raise an eyebrow if someone suggests that you put concrete floors inside of your house. But concrete floors are actually a fantastic option for homes. They can be customized in many different ways to match any style of decor, they are good for the environment and for your bank account, and they can be absolutely beautiful.

What You Didn’t Know About Cement Flooring

Concrete is one of the greenest and most sustainable material options for home flooring. Most of the time, there is already a concrete subfloor underneath another flooring material, like linoleum or tile. When this is the case, installing cement floors is as simple as uninstalling anything that’s been placed on top. This means that no new materials are produced, and no resources have to be consumed. In addition to that, the primary ingredient in cement is limestone, the most common mineral on the planet. even when concrete needs to be made new, it can be made with waste byproducts like fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume, all waste byproducts from factories. Recycled products like glass, plastic, marble, and metal can be incorporated into the poured concrete as decorative touches. When the concrete has served its purpose, it can even be recycled.

Polishing Concrete Floor

That said, you might not want to recycle an upcycle your concrete floor, because it can last a lifetime if installed correctly. In fact, concrete floors have superior longevity to nearly every other flooring material, beating out carpets and wood floor by a wide margin. Replacing these materials uses natural resources, adds waste to landfills, and costs money. Instead, a concrete floor is built to last, and is durable to enough to withstand heavy equipment, furniture, and most other stresses. All it needs is to be mopped with soap and water, and unlike drywall and wood, it won’t grow mold. This mold-resistant property make it an excellent flooring material for people with allergies.

Benefits of Concrete

The benefits of cement floors aren’t limited to the practical, just as concrete floors aren’t limited to garages. Concrete looks amazing in any style of home, as it can be creatively altered to look however you please. In fact, concrete polishing in Melbourne is trending hard this year. The modern aesthetics of this style of interior design brings a pizazz to the gentrified warehouse/industrial chic look, which is so in vogue right now. This trend is taking off in other cities too, and we expect 2018 to be a big year for new innovations in this field across other urban areas of Australia. Aside from getting polished, concrete floorings can also be dyed in different colors or stamped with different patterns. You can make cement floors look like marble or hardwood, or dye them a shiny silver or red. You can make your cement floor the nicest, coolest part of the house.

Concrete Flooring Styles

Of course, you’ll also save money. Concrete floors are quite inexpensive, compared to wood and tile. And because concrete floors can optimize heat transfer, they are ideal for use radiating the heat produced by a floor heating system, or to absorb heat passively during daylight hours. This is why concrete has been a popular flooring material for so many years.: It’s dependable, it’s cheap, it’s practical, it’s versatile and it’s so beautiful. For more great tips on this, check out this article from Houzz.

Building Permits in Australia

Building Permit in Australia

With the bouyant economy in Australia, and especially Victoria, the opportunity for building works is impossible to pass on. Whether it be for commercial or personal purposes, anything related to building, altering, maintaining or demolishing a structure is both a daunting and exciting task. However since these kinds of projects usually have an impact in the vicinity and on the community, anyone wishing to engage in this project must be well informed on the many must do’s and don’ts.

A Guide to Getting a Your Permit

The following will guide you to the most salient steps of acquiring a building permit:

Planning Permits

Although this article mainly discusses about building permits and how to acquire them, it is vital to note that even before the procurement of a building permit, the builder must first check whether the project is in need of a planning permit. Even though at first glance the two things may look and sound the same, it is essential to understand that these two are wholly different.

Below is a sample application form for a planning permit.

Planning Permit Application Form

Building permits are permits given after satisfying certain requirements and the permit given is related specifically to the construction of the building itself. Planning permits on the other hand are legal documents that give permission for the specific use or development of land which may be required by the local council. If a particular project requires a planning permit, this becomes a requisite for the issuance of the building permit although they both can be applied for simultaneously.

Conversely, some projects may not require a planning permit but still necessitate a building permit. In order to know whether the project you are planning will need a planning permit, you may get in touch with your local council’s Town Planning Office.

Building Permit

The legislative body has passed laws, namely, the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2017, that provide for the requirement of a building permit before commencing any building project. It is done so as to protect the builder in the legal sense and anyone who uses the building in the physical sense. Anyone who violates this provision of law would be committing an offense and a fine of up to $72,180 will be imposed upon an individual violator and much bigger sums upon a violating company (Sec. 16(1), Building Act). It is very important to take into consideration that the permit must be had BEFORE any work is started because subsequently procured building permits do not retroact to cover any work that has already been done prior to the grant of the permit.

Getting Building Permit

Steps When Getting a Building Permit

  • Choose a Building Surveyor – The first step to acquiring a Building Permit will be choosing a Building Surveyor. You have a choice of getting your own private building surveyor or availing of the services of the municipal building surveyor.
  • Fill out a Building Application Form – After you have chosen your building surveyor you must then fill out a Building Application Form. You may even appoint your architect or contractor to apply in your behalf as your agent. You can do this by making a written document authorizing the person of choice to be your agent in the performance of specific tasks.
  • Pay the Fees – Together with application, you will be required to pay  the appropriate fee and submit the specifications and allotment plans together with the drawings in triplicate. The cost of the permit depends largely on the size and nature of the project. Nevertheless, just to give you a general idea, small construction projects usually range from $500-$1000 and dwellings may reach up to $2000. Although, if you still have no idea how to size up your project, there are certain websites that could give you a quotation after you have provided them with the details of your building project.

Energy Efficiency Compliance Requirement

However, it must not be forgotten that one of the essential requirements of law regarding buildings and houses situated in Australia is compliance with Energy Efficiency provisions of the National Construction Code (NCC). The Energy Rating is the index of a building’s thermal performance for structures and residential homes in Australia. In simpler terms, it is a rating on the overall energy efficiency of a house or building. The Rating takes into consideration the heating and cooling requirements. This concept was introduced by the Australian Building Codes Board in the Building Code of Australia last 2003.

Energy Efficient Building

In Victoria and South Australia, the minimum star rating for houses is 6. The 6-star rating necessitates a house to have: a 6-star energy rating for the building fabric, a rainwater tank for toilet flushing or a solar hot water system and water efficient shower heads and tapware. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme helps Australians have more comfortable homes while saving on energy bills through smarter design. Investing on a good design allows home and building owners to reduce the amount of energy needed to keep a home or structure comfortable without spending so much on energy bills. This 6-star energy efficiency rating applies to the home building’s envelope such as roof, walls, windows and floors.

Despite this seemingly highly technical requirement, compliance with the 6-star standard is not very hard. All there is to it is good design which must be ironed out as early as the planning stage. Talking to your building practitioner about this will greatly increase the ease of achieving the standard. Data shows that homes that have complied with the 6-star standard have an average savings of $100 from energy bills every year. With residents who take a conscious effort in wise energy consumption, the savings can be much more.

After filling out the application form and submission of the other aforementioned requisites, the Building Surveyor will then check if the applicant has complied with all provisions of law.

If all the requirements are complied with, the Building Surveyor will then issue the permit which may be with or without conditions. Once a permit is issued, work on your project can be commenced at once.

In the event that an application is rejected, one can either alter the details of the project to comply with the Regulations or appeal the refusal to the Building Appeals Board.

For more information on building permits in Victoria please see here. Information on permits in other states can also be easily found online.

6 Steps To Get Your Home Ready For Short Term Renting


Short term renting of space for short-term is increasingly becoming popular, particular due to the emergence of rental sites such as the Homestay, Airbnb, and Roomorama. With more and more travellers preferring private space rentals to hotel rooms, short-term renting is expected to grow larger. But with the increased competition, guests are demanding more than just a bed or basic hotel room.

Tips for Short Term Rental

What can you do to increase chances of attracting guests? Well, here are few things to ensure your space is rental ready and general tips for renting out your house:

Clear all Clutter

This is about the neatness and convenience. The guest will probably arrive at your place tired after long hours of travel, and the last thing that they would wish is finding an unkempt space. They may need to unpack their bags as soon as they arrive and feel at home. Ensure that you’ve cupboard and drawer space for the storage of the personal items. You also need to provide them with appliances such washing machine, coffee makers amongst other things that will make their easy much easier.

Maintain Privacy

Keeping privacy of both the guest and the owner is paramount. Listing your property on these sites exposes your privacy to strangers. Similarly, the guest will be putting their trust on someone that they barely know. So you’ve to create an environment that both of you will feel secure and comfortable. If you’re renting a private room in the house that you live in, then you’ve to do more such as sharing a meal or showing them around the city to make them feel comfortable.

Clear CommunicationClear Communication

Communication is critical. You need to keep in touch with the guests before and during their stay to avoid surprises. This will ensure that you always on the same page. In case you don’t live in the apartment, it’s good to meet your guests on arrival and let them know that you are always available anytime they may have an issue during their stay.


Location matters a lot when it comes to the marketability of your space. Guests will prefer a rental that provides easy exploration to the surrounding. They will be looking facilities such as gyms, restaurants and entertainment hubs amongst other facilities.


Aside from making sure that your home interior design is clean and clutter-free, you have to also make sure that you’ve fixed all safety hazards in your space to ensure guest’s safety. It will be a huge blow if your guest suffers from accidents; as a result of inadequate safety checks. Triple check security features, smoke alarms, and locks to keep for the safety of the guest.


Top 10 Greatest Home Design Trends In 2017


Desire for appeal is one of the leading reasons that make home designs “trendy.” Every year, home designers introduces new and incredible designs that stand out for a season or two while others remain relevant for years. 2017, so far, has been a great year for home design. From more authentic and personalised use of space to voice-activated assistants and home safety, there is no doubt that it’s a great year for the home design industry. But new trends keep emerging and what you think is trendy might be obsolete in a few months. 

Top 10 Trends for Home Design in 2017

So, which are the top 10 greatest home design trends in 2017? This is what you should watch out for:

1.    Satin Brass

In recent years, metal finishes has been making a comeback and we have seen a massive concentration of it in 2017. Satin brass has been big talk in the industry this year and its welcome by the Brisbane design industry is overwhelming. It can be defined as the modern brass alternative that will bring out a long lasting rustic look to your home. The unfinished brass appearance is a fantastic design that will make the interior of your home standout. Unlike the traditional brass that brings out shiny golden tones in the home, with this design, your home is given a muted, warmer feel. Being a relatively new design, it is expected to remain trending far beyond 2017.

2.    Voice-Activated Assistants

Voice-activated AssistantsSmart homes are the latest craze in the home design industry. Digitisation has been on the top of the list for many homeowners, not only in Brisbane, but all over the world. People want technology to work for them and designers are responding by stretching the limit beyond imaginable heights. Voice-activated assistants are one of the best examples of a smart home and they are highly desired by many smart-homeowners. With the device, you can do plenty of things, from switching on lights to powering up the bathtub, weather forecasting and so much more, and all from the palm of your hand. You only need a smartphone equipped with Wi-Fi or data to do all these things, irrespective of your geographical location.

3.    White with Off-White

White has remained one of the most persistent colours when it comes to interior home design trends this 2017. It brings out a rustic and tranquil atmosphere particularly for bedrooms. Lately, designers are adding a new feel to the colour palette for a stronger aesthetic appeal. By striking a balance within the white palette, creamy off-white and natural linen hues, you can create a breath-taking look that is rich in character. Many homeowners that aim for a simple, empty, clean and somewhat clinical ambience in their home have received and executed this trend very well.

4.    Greenery

Green is another colour that’s quickly picking up with homeowners not only in Brisbane but all over the world. The hue is most popular with those trying to portray a nature feel, and it works incredibly well with warm wood tones. It comes with a strong versatility factor within interior design and this has been the main reason why it has remained trendy this year and possibly for many more years to come. Greenery combines very well with other hues including white or wooden furniture and appliances. It’s also a very warm hue and everyone typically enjoys it.

5.    Splurging on Laundry Rooms

Laundry Rooms MakeoverA fear years ago, if you asked homeowners which room they were most likely to splurge on renovations for, the answer would be unanimously the kitchen or bathroom. Although the two still remain the most common in home remodelling services, laundry rooms are quickly hiking their way up on the list. Many people have been splurging on laundry rooms in the recent years but 2017 has seen a major rise. With many homeowners spending a good amount of time in the laundry rooms, they are willing to spend more to make it appealing. As a home design trend, it’s something that you could try out to improve the overall atmosphere of your home.

6.    Vanity Conversion

Even with new designs coming into the industry constantly, anything with a vintage feel stands out. Interior designers know this, and that’s why vanity conversions are a leading trend this year. Since the trend is so major, you’ll have plenty to choose from if that’s your vibe. You can get a vintage chest or side table to give your room that “wow” aspect. Many homeowners are turning to “old school” furniture such as the old file cabinets, chest drawers and vintage consoles amongst other things to bring out an authentic, vintage taste. If you have no idea on how to pull this off, think outside the box and look into some vintage, classic home décor looks.

7.    Kitchen Storage Walls

In almost all home design trends, the idea behind it all is creating more space or making the space appear bigger than it is. One area where the illusion of extra space has been an issue is the kitchen, but recently designers have come up with various solutions to solve this. Amongst the designs that are overwhelmingly trendy this season is kitchen storage walls. A shelve or multiple shelves lined on a kitchen wall designed for you to display your ingredients and kitchen items and appliances. With this rustic kitchen design, homeowners are able to do away with upper kitchen cabinets make the kitchen appear less clouded. All the storage is pushed onto a single wall and it helps to create a seemingly more open space.

8.    Splurging On Entryways

Entryway MakeoverThe entryway of your home is amongst the places where you can play around with design to pull off a rustic and homey appearance. Your entryway is your welcome and it creates the first impression and also gives the visitor an idea of what they are likely to expect when inside. Many homeowners are willing to spend more on their entryway not only to create a sense of what’s inside but just to create a general appearance for their home. Amongst the killer ideas for entryway design includes a fun piece of wallpaper, a narrow table that may have a tray of shoes underneath, or a statement mirror.

9.    Counter-Depth Fridges

Another trendy home design in shorter fridges, particularly for those with modest-size kitchens. Counter-depth fridges are a design that has increasingly gained popularity this year. They are basically slimmer fridges that sit flush with the adjacent cabinetry and countertops. What makes these fridges popular is their ability to create extra space since they are slimmer and still serve the same purpose as a traditional, larger fridge. In fact, you can save about six inches of kitchen space with this idea and they also lack annoying protruding handles. They are also a less expensive alternative to a custom, typical, built-in unit on the market.

10.    Outdoor-Feeling Indoor Shower

Outdoor showers have been a trending design in Brisbane but the weather dilemma remains a challenge.  To get around that challenge, designers came up with “outdoor-feeling indoor showers” which have trended viciously this year. Homeowners are extremely excited with this idea as it gives them a deep connection to the outdoors while still maintaining their privacy. This is a classic bathroom that any homeowner in Brisbane should try out.

For Urban Home Design Tips, click here.



Keeping Your Outdoor Rug Clean


Rugs are very universal and essential for many homeowners. With rugs, you do not have to worry about slipping and hurting yourself on hard flooring. Rugs have also been a way to express creativity with patterns and various colors. It is important to maintain your indoor rug as well as your outdoor rug.

Your Interior Rug vs. Your Exterior Rug

Your interior rug may need to be cleaned and vacuumed periodically. It all depends on the amount of traffic you have in and out of your home.

You may not notice the huge contrast in between an interior and exterior rug, however; an outdoor rug will need to be cleaned and maintained daily because of environmental exposure. The heat, air, moisture, and dirt from the outside can easily slide onto your patio and deep into the material of your outdoor rug.

Clean Outdoor Rug

Why is it Important to Keep Your Outdoor Rug Maintained?

The microscopic creatures of the outdoors will have no quarrels when it comes to nesting and eating within the hairs of your carpet. Small insects are prone to making your outdoor rug more dirtier and unattractive.

Caring for Outdoor RugsThe Sun is a vast and bright star, but it does not filter out the people or things in which it harms. The burning rays that emit from the Sun are to burn and discolor your outdoor rug. The discoloration will cause your rug to become unmatched with the rest of your patio. Your other furniture and accessories may be protected, but neglecting an outdoor rug is relatively easy.

If you have a lot of family members that enjoy walking outside onto your patio, then you are already aware of the number of times your outdoor carpet has been stepped up. Dirt usually attracts to the sole of our shoes, causing us to track it around in different places subconsciously. The dust particles that build up over time can create more unwanted dirt, tracking it all over your marvelous rug.

A Few Tips on Keeping Your Outdoor Rug Clean

  • Be aware of the type of material your rug is made of. Step outside just to monitor any changes in color.
  • If you are noticing new dirt and stain marks, immediately handwash your rug with a color safe soap, allowing it to naturally air dry outside
  • If you or a family member spill a juice or food on the carpet, immediately clean up the food and juice. Do not allow any substances or stains to leak or set into the material of the rug.
  • Vigorously shake and pat off your rug after family and friends gatherings. The less dirt and crumbs you leave on your carpet, the longer it will last.
  • Vacuum the carpet to suck up unwanted dust particles that are hard to see. Combine this tip with shaking and patting for reassurance.
  • Switch out your outdoor rugs periodically if so choose. Doing this will allow both of your outdoor rugs to stay moderately clean and well maintained.

How To Fix A Running Toilet & Tap

Is your toilet running? Well you better go catch it!

All jokes aside you really should get your leaky toilet fixed asap. If you’re a home owner, having leaky pipes can end up costing you BIG TIME when the water bill arrives and can lead to damage in other sections of your home. Not to mention, we live in a fairly drought prone country here in Australia so do your part not to waste water!

We’ve put together an easy to follow, step by step guide with the help of master toilet plumbers LJM Plumbing and Drainage that covers all the basics on how to stop your toilet running. If you’re still having problems after making it through our check list, then it might be time to call in a professional plumber to take a look at your toilet problem.

GOT A LEAKY LOO? THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DOtightening toilet float arm

  1. Beside the pan of the toilet, turn the water tap off.
  2. Remove all water from the cistern by flushing.
  3. Lift off the lid of the cistern or unscrew the button on top to remove the lid.
  4. Make sure your water tap beside the pan is turned off.
  5. Look for the cistern outlet valve, this is located inside the cistern in the centre.
  6. Look at the cistern outlet valve to see what the problem is.
  7. You may need to remove the worn washers and replace them.
  8. Or you may need to install a new cistern outlet kit, these are available at Plumbing supply outlets.
  9. There are nuts under the cistern which you will need to undo. Make sure you have a bucket and sponge ready to catch or mop up any water that comes out.
  10. If the cistern outlet kit needs replacing, write down the model number and brand of your toilet and take it along with the old cistern kit to the plumbing suppliers. Do this even if you are unsure as to whether the washers need replacing or the whole cistern kit needs replacing, they will be able to advise you.
  11. When you have bought all the necessary parts, you will be able to reassemble your loo.
  12. Move the cistern outlet valve back to where it was positioned, tighten the nuts underneath.
  13. Replace your cistern lid, screwing the button back on if it was removed.
  14. Don’t forget to turn your water on again.

fixing toilet float


Drip, drip drip – very annoying; water gushing out where the spindle screws into the head of the tap fitting; or water coming out the fitting of the tap to the sink. If this is what’s occurring when you use your faucet, follow the instruction guide below and see if you can fix that sink.

accessing rubber washer leaking tap

  1. Assemble your tools, multi-grips, adjustable spanner, needle nose pliers, O rings, tap washers, and lubricant.
  2. Prevent the water from running into your house, by turning off the water at the water main which is usually in your front yard. Check the water is off by turning on some taps around the house.
  3. If the water has not stopped running, give a Plumber a call, the mains tap may be old and rusty.
  4. Once you have checked the water is not running, unscrew the head nut on the tap.
  5. Replace all three washers at this time to save having to just replace another single washer in the future.
  6. To do this, lift off the orange body washer which is located around the head nut.
  7. Very important – before you replace all washers and O rings, make sure your spindle and threaded areas are lubricated with a silicon lubricator or Vaseline.
  8. Change the O ring on the spindle, to do this get your needle nose pliers and with the help of a sharp knife (if necessary) remove the O ring. Replace it with the new O ring by giving it a bit of a stretch and guide it on the spindle.replacing inner washer on leaky tap
  9. To replace the tap washer, slide the old washer out off the spindle or if it is a bit hard to get out of the body of the tap, use small pliers to ease the washer out.
  10. Once your tap is reassembled, turn it on half way.
  11. Then turn the water main back on.
  12. When turning off your tap that has had the washers replaced turn it off gently so as not to damage the tap seat. It only needs to be turned until the water doesn’t come out. No need to tighten your tap, this will cause damage.
  13. If your tap will not stop flowing after you have done all this, please call your Plumber

So There you have it, some simple step by step instructions for all of our architect and engineer readers who are looking to do some plumbing work around the house. Always remember to turn your water off and if in doubt, call a professional!

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing: A New Look For Less

Most people cringe when considering a remodel of their kitchen cabinets. However, refacing is actually a green alternative to a full remodel, and the preferred method of updating an existing and functional kitchen. Cabinet refacing is an easy way to customize without the drama and expense of a full removal of the old kitchen framing and cabinetry. It’s also the most affordable process, costing half as much as new custom work by taking the old, dingy, and beat up cabinets and giving them a fresh, new appearance.

space saving kitchen

Kitchen Renovation For Less

Our favourite residential builders Vati Projects have been kind enough to give our readers three great cost saving ideas on how to refresh your tired kitchen without breaking the bank. After working in residential development and renovations for as long as they have, you can guarantee they’ve seen their fair share of kitchens and know exactly what works and what doesn’t, so get out your notepad and ready your tape measure, we’re about to get busy!

3 Kitchen Ideas to Get Things Started:

  • Bead Board Cabinets – the homey kitchen is coming back. In some ways it never left as a cosy cottage aesthetic is always in style. Using a new bead board cabinet face is an affordable option which can easily alter the look of your cabinets. Bead board is currently available in a variety of styles and patterns, very easy to repaint, (should the need for change arise again!) and is resistant to mould and mildew.

bead board kitchen

  • Functional Changes – it might be difficult to imagine what you could do with your cabinets other than their current configuration. However, modern cabinets can do so much more than just shelving. Drawers can contain spice racks. The doors slide open to house hidden areas for common kitchen utensils, and even larger pots and pans. Corner cabinets are now available with high-tech, space-saving storage options to make the most of “lost” or hard-to-use space. These are all ready to be overhauled with the money saved during a cabinet refacing.

corner drawers design

  • Updated Hinges and Hardware – No more slamming of drawers or cabinets. Modern hinges close slowly and gently, reducing noise, even when in a hurry. And new cabinet drawer glides can do the same for drawers. Cabinet handles and pulls can also go a long way towards updating an older kitchen.

hidden hinge kitchen


By preserving the existing cabinetry framework, you can re-route the savings into other areas until you realize your ultimate dream kitchen. Kitchen refacing allows for more options to become available that might otherwise be cut or delayed due to budget concerns. The extra cash can be used for an upgrade to the counter top, a custom, free-standing island, or additional storage space accessories and hardware options. You could also stretch the funds to finish the space with some decorative moulding, ceiling fan, custom lighting, or other personal touches like a rug.

You can save some green and be green at the same time with refacing. This eco-friendly, affordable alternative for remodelling your kitchen will keep your cabinet framework out of landfill and use fewer resources. And, a refacing upgrade will take far less time, allowing you back into new your kitchen quickly, and with far less disruption than would be created by a full rebuild. This is only possible when you consider custom kitchen cabinet refacing.

If you do decide to go the whole hog and do a complete kitchen renovation, be sure to check out this handy guide for kitchen renovations on Houzz.

Five Tips On Matching Your Home Décor With an Area Rug

Matching your home décor with area rugs may appear difficult, especially if it’s your first time playing interior designer. Homeowners often have to turn over the problem to a professional just to make sure everything will come out as expected. This can entail more expenses than initially planned; and suddenly ‘just a rug’ becomes a whole event. Before you find yourself reaching for your cheque book to commission your city’s latest and greatest interior decorator, have a read of our tips and give the designing a crack yourself.

modern bright rug matches furniture

See how the pillows match the rug? Neat!

Getting your home décor to match an area rug should ideally begin with the rug itself. These rug types normally contain a wide range of colors which can serve as a point of reference. In addition, the rug patterns of many area rugs are often interesting enough that they can combine perfectly with certain types of furniture. Classical fabrics can be continued onto the floor with classically inspired rug patterns for example.

Of course, this option will work only in situations where the home has yet to be formally decorated. In cases where the home design is already completed, the so-called inspiration piece concept is worth employing.

The inspiration piece strategy is used by several designers whenever they are in a fix as to how to match an available area rug to a given room decoration. This so-called piece can refer to any item placed inside the room which can be used as an anchor from which all subsequent designs within that room can be created. We see this quite often in T.V shows like the block or My House Rules where contestants will buy their rug online first and then get similarly coloured accompanying items like throw pillows and drapes to complete the look and style of the room.

Matching modern rug colours

Use the rug as the centrepiece for the room

Another way to effectively match area rugs with a given home design is to make good use of fabric swatches. This can be brought along when shopping around for a suitable area rug since they will serve as reminders of the type of colors already existing inside the home. Or if you don’t have time to go from shop to shop, most big name rug stores like Catwalk Rugs, Rugs-A-Million, Carpet Call, and so on have online rug showrooms you can use via your computer or phone. The Catwalk Rugs online store has some particularly good modern rugs and includes an extensive rug buying guide which covers everything from sizing to rug fibres.

In cases where the area rugs are being sold hanging up, it is best to ask that these be placed lying flat on the floor for a closer look. This will help create a better mental image as to how the rug will appear when placed inside the room. Other than that, light shines differently when rugs are placed in a horizontal position and will consequently affect their inherent appeal.

Being able to match your home décor with area rugs also has a lot to do with size. Rug colour as well as pattern is always a major consideration, but they will hardly matter if the rug is too small or too big for the intended area.

Essentially, an unusually huge rug can easily dwarf all furniture and create an unbalanced environment. On the other hand, rugs that come in generally smaller sizes will fail in getting to tie together all the existing furniture found inside a given room.

Shag rug in blue

Shaggy. The rug not the singer.

Matching your home with the right area rug may ultimately depend on how the rug complements the space where it’s to be put. Still, this is not entirely an iron-fisted rule that has to be followed by every single homeowner. At best, there should always be room for exceptions.

More importantly, no home decoration should be seen as permanent. There will be occasions when changes have to be made, and home renovation is one of them. You should relish the opportunity to redesign your old living space and using a brightly coloured modern rug may be the right choice. Or perhaps, you want a more traditional abode, in which case a Persian or Afghan styled rug might be the right choice. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid! And remember you can always call in the professionals if you create a design disaster!

An Overview Of Outdoor Architectural Designs

For many Australians, the local weather can be quite unbearable at times, this is especially true during the summer months. In order to try and resolve the issue, a common option is to build homes that will help enhance coolness and reject excessive heat depending on the prevailing climate. However, there are emerging trends that lean towards the creation of outdoor architectural designs.

The concept of reducing incidences of extreme heat outdoors is rapidly gaining a following in the architecture world. As more and more reports of heat waves taking place in many parts of Australia roll in, efforts are being exerted towards addressing the issue not only inside the home, but outdoors as well.

using vegetation to funnel breeze

Source: YourHome Guide

With outdoor architectural designs, the focus is on promoting thermal comfort on the streets. There are a number of ways through which this can be done, but the creation of so-called urban forests is among the more effective methods.

In simple terms, creating an urban forest will involve the planting of more trees and various green plants on available street spaces or on parts of the property to funnel the breeze towards the house and provide passive shade. The planted vegetation should help bring in the needed breeze especially during summer, thus providing relief when outdoor heat becomes intolerable. You can find an in-depth guide of how to take advantage of passive cooling on the Australian Government Sustainable Homes Guide.

The concept is not entirely new and is not difficult to put into action. Spaces in between buildings usually exist, and they should serve as good starting points. In the case of buildings under construction, a so-called green infrastructure design can be considered.

Critics of outdoor architectural designs, however, claim that it will take time before the expected results can be gained. In the case of urban forests, the planting of vegetation and properly nurturing them to achieve full growth is a slow and painstaking process and many councils are unwilling to front the cost of using established trees.

Given this, there is a need to look for a few other solutions when addressing outdoor heat problems in Australia. Ideally, the solution should involve long-term planning with options for short-term or immediate results.

In this regard, street scape designs need to be overhauled to cater to the climate. Street scape designs, sometimes referred to as street-scaping, are meant to improve general road conditions. They primarily involve making changes to the overall sidewalk condition but can also require the introduction of new road cross-sections and traffic management schemes.

shadecloth covering playgroundStreet-scaping in most districts is designed by the town planning arm of the local council, and when planned comprehensively, should include the erection of street furniture like benches, utility poles, and the like. Along with planted vegetation and the appropriate tree covers, street furniture can help people to effectively handle adverse weather conditions like extreme heat. an example of this is playgrounds and areas for children that are commonly covered with shade cloths.

In the long run, street scape programs are intended to make the streets safe and habitable places where people can interact with one another. A wide range of social activities should eventually be held in these places which should go a long way in improving public health.

When viewed from a thermal comfort perspective, outdoor architectural designs like street-scaping are efficient measures by which people can learn to control their personal environment. More importantly, with access to generally safer and environment-friendly streets, people can discover various joyous activities like walking and cycling, thus effectively taking their minds off existing climatic discomforts.

Unlocking Urban Home Designs for Australian Homes

Extreme heat is hardly uncommon in Australia. However, this does not mean that local residents have come to accept their sad fate. Human comfort is, after all, a vital and important need and will always be sought no matter what. Towards this end, various urban home designs have been introduced with a view to helping Australians cope effectively with such weather conditions as extreme heat.

The distinctive Australian climate that has come to characterize the continent is most especially felt in urban areas. This should be understandable given the preference of many local residents to settle in and around the area where they can have easy access to shops, jobs, and shelter, among other things.

Wood Framed Bungalow

Nick Leith Smith Architects Eco Friendly Wood Framed Bungalow

Unfortunately, this preference has led to the deterioration of the urban climatic setting. As such, urban heat has become less and less bearable over the last few years. For this reason, it is not uncommon to find many Australians looking for ways on how to cope with an increasingly intolerable city heat.

This is where the concept of urban home designs acquires greater importance. Through these designs, it is expected that more Australian homes can eventually learn to cope with extreme heat. More importantly, they can help preserve the health of local residents especially the elderly and those who are sick.

Making use of urban home designs can mean taking the extra step to consider a few more home construction materials. For example, in areas where ground temperatures during the summer months can easily reach 19 degrees, flooring for the home should be constructed with concrete slabs that are adequately insulated.

An alternative to this is an elevated but lightweight and insulated flooring constructed alongside mass walls with high thermal settings. On the other hand, for ground temperatures that peak a little lower than 19 degrees when summer comes around, earth slabs should prove to be effective flooring materials. With today’s technology it’s possible to make these slabs from recycled building materials too!

For the roof, the common recommendation is to settle for materials bearing colours with significantly lighter shades. They offer an effective contrast to the prevailing heat especially during summer. More importantly, lightly coloured roofs help promote coolness within the atmosphere.

Beach house open plan

Herbst Architects Beach House design

Glazed windows, meanwhile, can make any home more attractive, but many experts in urban home designs believe that these should not be overused. Ideally, if glazing has to be considered as a window design, those with low U-value should be used.

Windows with low U-values have been found to resist heat flow more efficiently while offering better insulation at the same time. This should prove to be significant during summer when solar heat can be at its most extreme.

Additionally, urban home design experts have come to identify three distinct approaches when it comes to constructing the standard Australian home. These include the free running, the conditioned, and the hybrid approaches. The first involves a home where air movement is abundant as produced by fans as well as ventilation.

Conditioned buildings, meanwhile, require good insulation with the air conditioning system airtight especially when this is turned on. The hybrid urban home designs, on the other hand, are those where the rooms are fully insulated and conditioned while being surrounded by generally free and running areas at the same time. If you live in an area that tends to get the afternoon breeze then capitalize on it! Open plan living designs are a dime a dozen in Queensland so if you’re looking towards this option, perhaps reaching out to some Queensland based architects and building companies will be helpful.