When you put together your family home, certain rooms tend to take precedence over others. It’s a lot of fun to design a cozy family room or to picture your dreamy farmhouse-style kitchen in full action as you cook a delicious dinner for the family. But once room that is perhaps even more important to the everyday functioning of your family’s home is the bathroom. Sure, you aren’t all using it at once like you are the other rooms mentioned – but that’s kind of the point. When you have one bathroom to share between four or maybe even five people (depending on how many kids you have), things can automatically get a bit complicated. The inevitable queue for the toilet, the rush as you all try and brush your teeth at once – and there’s always that one person who takes way too long in the shower. To a certain extent, there’s not a great deal you can do about much of this – these examples are simply by-products of living in a family home, and you will miss the madness once your kids have grown up and moved out! But still, you shouldn’t be fighting a losing battle against your bathroom every single day. Take a look at these top tips for how you can make your family bathroom much more functional.
The last thing you need right after you’ve just got the kids settled for bed is an argument breaking out over who’s used who’s toothbrush. If you have multiple products in the same bathroom and they all belong to different people, try color coding them to make sure your family knows what belongs to who. This is especially important if certain members of your family need to use specific products for medical reasons – or if you just want to stop your children stealing your $30 a bottle body wash! Buy individual shower caddies in a variety of colors and get your kids to claim one each. It is also worth buying a variety of toothbrushes in different colors, so there’s no cross-contamination.
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Sick of always dealing with a blocked and generally gross sink? Perhaps you’ve pretty much accepted that your kids will never wipe up their dried toothpaste no matter how many times you tell them, or perhaps your husband will simply never wash away his hair after his morning shave! If this sounds like something you’re used to, and you’ve got enough room, why not consider installing a second sink? Double sinks can look incredibly stylish and modern, and automatically free up space in your bathroom. There are a variety of styles to choose from, whether you want to go for classic porcelain or something a little more innovative, like marble or wood. Vessel sinks are also exceptionally popular and can immediately add a touch of chic to your bathroom. If overcrowding is the main issue you face in your family bathroom, this could be the perfect option for you – no more crowding around one sink just to have a go with the mouthwash!
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More storage space
If there’s one thing most bathrooms lack, it’s storage space. And if there’s one thing we all know about a family bathroom, it’s that a number of products we have in there sure can build up. Shampoos and body washes can be dealt with easily enough via the aforementioned shower caddy, but what about all the other things you tend to find in the average shared bathroom? Sponges, wash clothes, towels, hand soap, beauty products, hairdryers… the list is endless! Let’s start with the beauty products. This is a broad term that can cover everything from face washes to hair masks – and you’ll know how easy it can be to build up quite the collection. Having them just sitting on your sink surface can get crowded and also messy, as any leaks or spillages (and they will happen!) dry onto your surfaces. It can also be hard to know where to begin with your morning routine when you’ve got twenty different products staring you in the face! Chances are, there are only a couple of these products that you actually use on a daily basis, so install a cabinet of sorts to hide the rest away in. You don’t have to compromise on style either – you can get hold of some truly unique vanities from many great retailers. Try and get hold of one that offers multiple storage options: a big cupboard space for bulky items like electricals and cleaning products, and smaller drawers for miscellaneous items. It can also be worth investing in a towel rack or towel hooks, so you’re not constantly picking fabric up off the floor after your kids.
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It can be really hard to maintain the upkeep and appearance of one room on your own – especially a room that gets as dirty as quickly as a bathroom. The constant humidity and the amount of product used in a bathroom can easily make the place appear messy and unkempt – so encourage your family to abide by a set of rules in order to keep the place looking its best. Something along the lines of ‘leave the bathroom how you found it’ should suffice! Bathmats left to sit on a wet floor can easily become moldy and even a health hazard, so make sure whoever showers last hangs it up somewhere to air or puts it in the laundry basket. Hair in the plughole is also a common issue in big families – and nothing ruins the functionality of a family bathroom more than a blocked up bathtub. Place a hair catcher over your sink and your bathtub plughole, although encourage your family to pull any excess hair out all the same. By making these simple changes to your bathroom, you will find it much easier to use and the whole family will benefit.
There are many simple tasks around the home that could be taken care of by modern technology. You could free up your life to do more enjoyable things and save yourself a lot of time and hassle. Options like gate automation can make your life so much easier and really improve the functionality of your home.
Automated Timing Switches
Timing switches can be a great way to automate a variety of different devices and gadgets around the home. You can buy these switches and plug your electrical items straight into them. You will then be able to program in a schedule of times when you want these appliances to turn on and off.
For example timing switches can be used for electric heaters. The switches will automatically turn heaters on and off at the programmed times. This enables you to heat rooms in advance so that they are nice and warm for when you get home. This will also save you money as the heaters switch off again automatically so you never need to worry about leaving them on wasting energy.
Timing switches can also be used for other tasks like pumps for fish tanks. You will be able to program when you want the pumps to turn on and off automatically and this saves you a lot of hassle.
Automated Washing Cycles
Many modern washing machines can now offer scheduled programming. You will be able to load washing machines and then program what time you want them to come on. This can save a lot of time as you can load the machine the night before and program it to automatically start the next morning. No more rushing around before work trying to get the washing on!
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Automated wash cycles can also save you money as you can program machines to wash at the cheapest tariff point of the day even if you are out and about.
Gate automation can offer a practical way to secure your home whilst still making it accessible to you and your family. These gates can also add style to properties and have a certain upmarket appeal. The great thing about automated gates is that they can be opened remotely. This means you don’t have to get out of your car and open the gates to access your property. The gates can either be opened by someone inside the property or you can have a wireless controller in your car that triggers the gates to open for you.
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This offers an incredibly convenient way to secure your property without making access difficult for you or your family. There are many benefits to installing automated gates on your property including:
- Increased Security – locked gates offer a powerful visible deterrent to opportunistic criminals. Automated gates have specially geared motors that make it very difficult for someone to force them open. For additional security electromagnetic locks can be installed which power up when the gates are shut. These exert a very powerful force that makes it incredibly difficult to force gates open. Automated gates make it much easier for you to control who enters your property.
- Increased Convenience – automated gates enable you to enter and leave your property with ease. Some remote controller devices can be used up to 20 metres away. This means you can ensure the gates slide open just as you approach so that you don’t have to stop your car and wait.
- Long Lasting and Durable – quality automated gates are available in a range of robust materials. Metal gates offer a tough and lasting option. You can also get wooden electric gates for those that prefer a more traditional, natural finish. Whatever material you choose with a little careful maintenance your automated gate should last for many years.
There’s one thing that home buyers value possibly above all others, and that’s a great kitchen. With it being such a well-used room, a space that’s practical and beautiful is needed to truly become the heart of the home. So if your home has a fantastic kitchen, not only is it something you can enjoy in the here and now but if you come to sell your house later down the line you’ll make an incredible profit too. So if you’re deciding on what area to spruce up next in your home, it should be the kitchen! Here are some of the things to consider when you’re creating your perfect space.
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Clear Out The Old and Rejig Any Walls
Ripping out your old kitchen is sure to be satisfying! Pull out the old worktop and units, rip the tiles off the walls and get everything into a skip. Unless you already have a large space, you might want to remove a wall or move it to a different place to open up the room and give you more space to work with. You could go with a full open concept design or have a stud wall put up in another location.
Talk To a Kitchen Designer
The thing about kitchens is in order to get the best out of your space they actually have to be cleverly designed. One trick is to keep the ‘working triangle’ in mind. This keeps you in the middle of a triangle with the refrigerator, stove and sinks at the three points. This allows you to move around the space in the most efficient way. If you want an island, you need to work out how big you can go with it and the kind of features it will include. Talk to a kitchen designer who will help turn your plans in reality and advise you on what will and won’t work.
Choose Your Units and Appliances
Possibly the most fun part of buying a kitchen- picking the units! While you want your kitchen and home to be personal to you, it’s worth bearing in mind that some styles will be more timeless and age better than others- meaning that if you sell in a few years, the kitchen doesn’t look dates. Avoid anything too trendy which will fall out of style quicker- while high gloss and stainless steel might look cool now once the trends change (which they will) your kitchen will be stuck in a time warp. White or wood units stand the test of time, a wooden or granite worktop will again always look classic. If you choose solid wood as opposed to veneers, they will last for a much longer time and also mean you can paint them in the future if you need to. For appliances, going with integrated pieces will make your kitchen look far more streamlined. Do your research into each piece so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Plumbing and Electrics
Once your space is clear and you know exactly where everything is going to be put, you’ll need to get plumbing and electrics in. If you’re having extra sockets or an island you’ll need an electrician to install these in the correct places. If you’re having things like an American fridge freezer with a plumbed in water and ice machine, you might need some additional plumbing put in. The same applies if you’re completely changing the layout, or adding things like a dishwasher chances are you’ll need new pipes installing, A company like Brentwood plumbing could tackle jobs like this, or you could look at tradesmen in your local area. You should have all of this done before the units, and tiles things go in, to make the job easier and avoid having to remove and redo certain jobs.
Think About Wall and Floor Tiles
Again choosing a plainer design will stand the test of time with style, although if you don’t mind getting your tiles redone in a few years, you could go with something cool and trendy. Plain White is an easy choice, if you want to keep on trend right now, gray is a very popular choice. For flooring, a real tile looks smart and will be long-lasting and easy to clean. Avoid wood and laminates which can warp and rot if they get wet which is a possibility in the kitchen.
Don’t Overlook Lighting
Lighting can be trick in the kitchen, after all, fittings like chandeliers as well as table lamps certainly don’t look right. Go with a sleek light fitting or have some spotlights installed. Another cool way to light the kitchen is to have led strip lighting installed under cupboards and kick boards. A nice modern touch and another way you can light up the kitchen in the evening without lamps.
Find The Right Window Treatments
Curtains rarely look right in kitchens. Go with something more simple and sleek- blinds and shutters make a good choice. You can add privacy without blocking out that all important natural light. If your kitchen feels dark and dingy, you could even consider having your window extended and made bigger. Other alternatives would be replacing any doors with glass doors, or in some kitchens, it might be possible to add a skylight.
Splash Out on Fixtures and Fittings
Finally, your fixtures and fittings really area everything in the kitchen. These will finish off everything and can be the difference between a kitchen which looks ok and one that looks incredible. Spend a little extra on your sink, taps and drawer handles. You could also upgrade your outlets from the white plastic to stainless steel for a more expensive look. All of these little touches all up massively.
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Using light coloured walls and keeping the decor homely and simple will make the most of the space while bringing it to life. A textured house plant, some checked tea towels, a clock and a fun plaque for example would show your personality without adding clutter. Add a couple of key pieces that showcases you.
Everyone you know is doing their best to be friendlier to the environment, which is great. It’s about time that we started initiatives to make this planet a lot better. The great thing about promoting ways to improve our planet is that it starts from us, at home. Not only does that place the onus back on us to make the environment better instead of relying on councils, but it also helps to make our bills cheaper, which is an excellent by-product of looking after your home. In fact, there are some really simple things you can do to benefit the environment that doesn’t involve going to the recycling plant every few days, let alone get out of your bed! Okay, that’s not necessarily true, but you don’t need to leave the house!
Electricity is a big one that we all need to cut back on. The amount of energy that we waste in leaving appliances on is a big cause of our collective carbon footprint, not to mention wasted money. We use lights every day, so instead of the normal light bulbs, use a Compact Fluorescent one. It can save you up to 66% on your energy bills. Another few hints to cut back on your electricity bill includes not looking in the fridge! It sounds crazy, but by looking around the fridge to decide on your meal for the evening can cost you between $12 and $24 a year, and if you use colder water in your washing machine or set it to a lower temperature, this will save 40% less energy on your output. Also, it’s very simple, just unplug your appliances at night, and although you need to charge your phone, put it on airplane mode.
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Going around the home itself, there are many home comforts that we can either cut corners on or just make little tweaks to improve our environment overall. For example, by adding more houseplants, we are increasing the amount of oxygen around the home, and by getting into the habit of planting in your garden, this is a good way to increase oxygen everywhere. Another one to get on board with is adding solar panels to your roof. There are many homes that have gone for this in a bid to cut back on unnecessary expenditure, and by going solar, you are placing less reliance on fossil fuels for energy and utilizing one of the greatest sources of energy in the universe, the sun! In fact, you can save 10% on your heating bill just by opening the blinds to let the sunlight in!
Chemicals are another source of problems for our environment, and they turn up everywhere, from our cleaning products to our hand creams! Instead of buying expensive cleaning sprays that can give you allergies, buy some bicarbonate of soda and vinegar or apple cider vinegar to apply to mold and dirt walls and surfaces. The acidity of the vinegar will clean it right up and the soda will give you a shiny finish on taps and silverware!