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.