Here are 20 tips to help make your house or apartment a bit more comfortable and help transform it into the home you’ve always dreamed of.
The correct height for kitchen work surfaces
The standard height for kitchen work surfaces is 85 cm. People often forget to make any changes to this measurement when buying a new kitchen, despite the fact it’s far from ideal. Often, people end up stooping or causing problems with their arms from having to lift them up all the time. The recommended height for kitchen work surfaces for shorter people (around 1.5 m) is 82 cm; for people who are between 1.6 m and 1.8 m tall, they should be 88-91 cm.
Do I need a sink with a drainage board?
People often make the mistake of not buying a sink with a drainage board or a second bowl in order to save on space and expense. But without these it can be very impractical to cook if you have a large family. You can use a drainage board to leave freshly washed vegetables and fruit to dry, or place hot crockery there. A double-bowl sink allows you to wash a great deal of pans and plates in one go.
Pull-out drawers instead of cupboards and shelves
Don’t rush to put up shelves in the kitchen — install some pull-out drawers instead. They help to both save space and make cooking easier. They also have the advantage of being easily divisible into sections for different categories of food and cooking utensils, and can be asked without difficulty. They’re also much easier to clean!
Handles not indentations
Having indents for your hands rather than handles on cupboard doors certainly looks stylish. But this means they can be difficult to open. Traditional handles are a much safer bet.
Finger prints on steel-finish furniture
Steel doors on furniture (on the refrigerator, for example) look modern and stylish, but remember that even clean hands will leave marks and prints all over them. The solution is to either find some kind of polish for steel coverings, or buy ones which are already protected by a special varnish.
How many plug sockets should I have in a room?
How many do you think is enough? Two, maybe three? Most people don’t realize that in fact it’s much better to have one on just about every wall. But remember to discuss with a professional electrician exactly how many and what type you want to use, where in the room(s) you want to put them, and how many devices you expect to be plugged into them at any one time.
Practical decorations for the windows
Many of us prefer to drape long curtains that reach the floor in rooms such as the bedroom and living room. But remember that beautiful decorations like this aren’t necessarily practical; animals and general dirt can wreak havoc with these kinds of curtains. If you can’t bear to have plain curtains, then make sure your luxurious ones are made from grease-proof and anti-static cloth.
Many people are familiar with the problem of dust accumulating on open bookshelves. The way to solve this is to buy shelves with a glass cover on the front. To avoid a musty or moist environment degrading your books, special holes in these kinds of shelves can be used for ventilation. Many companies now sell shelves with these ventilation holes already installed.
Sunlight on your fish tank
A fish tank always looks stylish in a home, especially when light reaches it from both sides. However, it’s not a good idea to place it where the sunlight will directly shine on it; this can cause algae to start growing there. Instead, it’s much better to place it where only diffused sunlight reaches it.
Preserving laminate coverings
Laminate is an effective way to protect certain kinds of furniture. To guarantee that a laminate covering serves you well for a long time, pay attention when purchasing it to how wear-resistant it is. Always try to get the toughest available. Also, if you have laminate flooring, always place felt on the bottom of table legs and chairs, and if you have a chair on wheels, buy a special cover for it.
Coloured walls in plain rooms
Light-coloured or white walls in a room increase the sense of space and create a clean, refreshing atmosphere. However, they can lead to a feeling of coldness which isn’t very inviting. To make the atmosphere more cosy, you can leave three walls plain whilst painting one in a much richer or more striking colour.
Maintaining white furniture without too much cleaning
The inherent elegance and style of white walls can’t be beaten. But homes with this kind of decor, it can be difficult to keep everything clean and bright — dust and dirt can stain white objects very easily, leaving the whole place looking gloomy overall. Using special anti-static cloths to wipe things down when cleaning is a great way to overcome this. A good vacuum cleaner with two air filters also works well.
Patterns instead of bland colour
Whilst there may be a certain attraction to having everything in one color, it’s not necessarily a great idea; it can lead to a certain uniformity which does little to impress. Even if you want to keep most things all one color, you can still add a bit of variety and excitement by buying things like rugs or carpets with geometric patterns. Such things never look out of place in a home, and they help create a cozy feel.
Lamps instead of light fittings
When carrying out repairs, builders or electricians will often ask where you want to place your light fittings so that they can conceal the wiring inside the walls properly. If you have yet to come up with a definite idea in this regard, you might want to consider simply buying free-standing lamps instead. The last thing you want is wires running the length of the ceiling.
Two wash basins instead of one
If you have a large family, it’s always a good idea to install two wash basins in the bathroom if you have the space. That way there’s less chance of queues for the bathroom in the morning — not to mention frayed tempers. But make sure they are at least 30 cm apart so that two people don’t get in each other’s way when using them at the same time.
A place for the washing machine
If you’re planning to get your bathroom repaired or refitted, then think well about where exactly you’re going to place the washing machine or the dryer in the mean time. Think in particular about how you’re going to reconnect them to the water and electricity supplies. That way you won’t end up with pipes running along the walls.
The right floor for a stylish shower
A great alternative to a traditional shower above the bath tub is to put down some tiles in the bathroom, create a sloping floor inclined at around five degrees towards the drainage under the floor, and cordon off a small area around the shower to make a more spacious booth. A mosaic pattern for the floor looks especially good here. If you can, it’s also much better to buy special tiles used in swimming pools — they’re much better at stopping water from seeping through, and are made in such a way that they prevent bacteria from multiplying between them.
Smooth floor tiles in the bathroom are often the source of accidents, as they can easily become slippery if the room steams up. If you can get hold of them, it’s much safer to install special grooved tiles which are specially designed to prevent you from slipping. If you can’t find these, then you can always just put down a few bath mats made from rubber, cotton or chenille.
Color in the bathroom
If you have a bathroom covered in monotonous tiles all the same color, it’s a great idea to paint them in a creative pattern like the one above. Choose a bright or rich color while leaving some tiles white. This not only makes the room more cheerful but also creates the sense of greater space.
Ledges and tiles in the bathroom
In the bathroom, it’s always a good idea to have shelves and ledges built into the walls, and cover any niches with glazed tiles. This way you won’t encumber what is normally a relatively cramped room with lots of attached pieces of furniture.
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