Adding Value by Greening your Home

NABERS is a national system that rates the energy efficiency, water use, waste management and environment quality of a home on a scale of one to six stars. An ABS study found every star a house goes up by adds three per cent to its value, so greening your home will not only reduce your energy bills but improve its resale value as well. There are several ways to go about it.

Improve energy efficiency

This includes installing insulation in your ceilings and walls to reduce heat loss in winter and awnings to insulate against heat gain in summer. Modern blinds and awnings are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Another way is to upgrade your appliances to more energy-efficient models. Most appliances now carry energy ratings and manufacturers compete with one another to be the most energy-efficient in their class.

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Using Your Interior Colours Outdoors

If you live in a nice location at the beach or in bushland, or you have a nice garden you want to enjoy more, extending the interior colours of your home into your outside living areas is a great idea. It helps to blur the line between the two and leads your eye (and your feet) out into the view. There are several ways to extend your interior colour scheme outdoors. These include:

Floors

Your floors are the most effective way of merging indoors and out. If you have tiles, slate, or wooden floors, it’s simply a matter of extending these beyond the boundaries of your doors. If you have timber floors, make sure the grain flows the same way in your extension, otherwise it may spoil the effect. Nice earthy colours work best and doors and windows that fold back out of the way add to that indoor/outdoor feel.

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Plants that Thrive in the Shade

Creating shaded areas around your home is crucial, especially if you live in a climate with very hot summers. Blinds are useful for cutting down heat penetration through windows and retractable awnings can provide small oases of shade around the perimeters of your home.

But not all plants do well on a covered patio or in a sunless garden, so it’s important to choose those that will thrive in areas with less sunlight. The following is a brief summary of some of the most popular shade-loving varieties. Keep in mind though that there are a number of different types or degrees of shade, including dappled, deep, damp and dry shade, so it’s important to consider this when choosing plants for shaded areas.

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Updating the Front of Your Home

Whether you’re thinking of selling and want to add curb appeal, or you just want to brighten up the front of your home, there are plenty of ways to update it without spending a fortune.

Paint

A coat of paint can make anything old look new again and all it costs is the price of the paint and a few hours of your time. Whether you decide to paint your whole house, or just concentrate on the trims around windows, eaves and doors, you can easily achieve a whole new look to the front of your home. If you have a fence, consider painting it in the same colour to extend the theme and if your gutters and downpipes have seen better days, either paint them a contrasting colour or replace them with new ones.

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Green Design Trends for New Homes

Modern house design is becoming increasingly green, with eco-friendly ideas beginning to appear in even the most conventional of designs. This is because sustainable design makes sense. It saves money, reduces waste and has less impact on the environment. This article takes a look at some popular trends in new home design with decidedly green credentials.

Passive design

Passive design seeks to minimise energy loss from a home and to maximise passive energy gains. A truly passive house requires only 10% of the heating and cooling needed in a conventional home and it is achieved by super-insulating, making the house virtually airtight and strategically positioning blinds and awnings to optimise passive heating and cooling gains.

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Heritage Colours to Use Around the Home

If you have an older home, it will usually be a certain style, depending on the era it was built in and a good way to highlight its attractive period features is to paint using heritage colours.

What are heritage colours?

Heritage colours are the colours that were popular at the time your home was built. Early Australian architecture can be traced through several distinct periods.

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Protecting Your Party from the Sun

Australians love to entertain at home and we do it all year round, both indoors and out. In winter, the weather may force us inside on occasion, but in summer our parties spill out into our backyards and gardens. And that’s why it’s important not only to provide our guests with a good time, but with adequate sun protection as well.

Awnings

Modern awnings can extend your outdoor entertainment areas by as much as four metres. They are designed to absorb heat and reduce the sun’s penetration, as well as stand up to the harshest wind conditions. They are rated according to the Beaufort scale, which measures resistance to wind speed. The higher the rating, the more resistant the material is to wind damage.

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Modern vs. Traditional Interior Design

The two main styles of interior design are the traditional style, incorporating all that is ornate, comfortable and classic, and the modern style, where form and function are combined for a more clean and uncluttered look. This article describes the main characteristics of each style and those of a third style, ‘transitional’, that combines the best of both worlds.

Traditional

Traditional rooms are designed with comfort rather than style in mind. They reflect consistency, order and attention to detail and have a restful, homey, unfussy feel to them. Furniture is often reproduction and everything is placed in pairs and goes together. Edges are soft and curved and fabric colours and patterns are often muted and understated, with florals featuring heavily.

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How to Create a Modern Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is more than just a barbie and an Esky. Today’s outdoor kitchen comes complete with gas, electricity and running water. Creating your own outdoor kitchen is a big undertaking though and needs careful planning and consideration of a number of factors.

Location

Your outdoor kitchen needs to be within easy reach of the house, because you will find yourself running in and out for different things. Unless you make your outdoor kitchen fully self-sufficient, with its own crockery, utensils, cookware, etc., being near the house is essential.

Purpose

Before you begin designing your outdoor kitchen, you need to determine what purpose it is going to serve. Will it be basically a barbecue area, or do you plan to entertain large groups of friends? If the latter is the case, you need to think about kitchen/dining options and make sure you have sufficient room for both in your design.

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Creating a More Modern Backyard Setting

A modern backyard is one that is characterised by clean lines and open spaces. It may contain a lawned area, or it may be paved or pebbled. There are no rules, other than it needs to be uncluttered and easy on the eye.

Gardens

A modern backyard will often feature a garden of some description. Modern tastes lean toward native gardens, which are low maintenance and water-wise. It could also be a vegetable garden, or a kitchen garden full of aromatic herbs.

Decks

A modern backyard often has a deck for entertaining. The modern style is a square or rectangular deck, set low to the ground, so that it becomes an extension of the lawn or paved area. It will often have no steps or railings.

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