How to Decorate your Kids Bedroom

Decorating kids bedroom

Choosing the right colours and patterns for your child’s bedroom

Colours make a difference. Colours can affect our mood, none more so than that of a child. Picking the right colours can be an exciting project for you and your child. You don’t have to go with the one colour. Each wall can have its own colour variation. The ceiling can also be used to hang mobiles from.

The list below is taken from a study that indicates how colours affect a child’s mood.

Yellow: Already used as a gender-neutral colour, yellow is common in kids rooms and for good reasons. Softer shades of yellow are associated with warmth and happiness. Just be careful if you’re using bright shades, they can be overpowering and create agitation.

Orange: Is the colour of confidence, independence and extroversion, and because it’s a warm colour it also can be very relaxing. It’s a great option that will encourage your kids to become social.

Purple: If you want your kids growing up wise and creative, then purple is the selection for you. In the past, purple was a colour linked with royalty so it can also be a good colour to promote confidence.

Green: A natural Green, not surprisingly, is associated with the environment and therefore soothing for kids. Scientists also believe that this colour improves reading and comprehension skills. Just be careful with the shade you pick – some shades (like an avocado green) can be overwhelming if you use too much of it.

Add patterns to your child’s bedroom walls

Decorating kids bedroom
Now that you have selected your colours why not add some patterns. These patterns can be in the form of stick-on or an actual cut out that is fixed to the wall. See the sample image to get some ideas. As the child grows these patterns can be changed to reflect their maturity. Patterns can bring the bedroom to life. They can make the child feel a sense of happiness and security when they are in their room.

Hang mobiles from the ceiling

Depending on your child’s gender you can choose from a number of mobiles to hang from the ceiling. These mobiles can be interchangeable as the child grows. Mobiles let the child interact with their surroundings.

Decorating a child’s bedroom can provide a space where they feel comfortable. Sometimes you may need a break. By providing a bedroom that is warm and fun can help your child’s development grow. Also, your kid’s friends can come and enjoy the space which is great for social behaviour.

6 Best Indoor House Plants

Decorate your interior with indoor plants

Utilise mother nature to purify the air and bring your living spaces alive. There are a variety of indoor plants that can require a little bit of care to add life to your home. We list our top 6 indoor plants that can add vitality to your interior.

1. Indoor Potted Rubber Plant
Potted indoor rubber plant
These leafy plants are deep-green or almost purple in colour. These plants work as both indoor and outdoor plants. As an indoor plant, they grow depending on the size of the pot. If you prefer to keep your plant smaller, just keep your pot smaller. Some varieties of this plant can look quite similar to the fiddle-leaf fig, but these are much hardier – so this is a good option if you like the fig plant look without the fuss! These plants are great for supporting clean and comfortable air quality in the home.

Care: Keep in a bright spot away from indirect sunlight. Water well once the top layers of the soil feel dry to the touch – maybe once a week in summer or twice a month in winter.

Hard to kill?: As long as you don’t let this plant stand in a wet drip tray, it’s pretty darn hardy.

2. Indoor Dwarf Orange Trees
Indoor dwarf orange fruit trees
Orange Trees are relatively easy to grow indoors. If you choose a standard non-dwarf variety or grow one from seed – it could be years before you see any fruit. Specific dwarf varieties, such as Mandarin [not a true orange], calamondin and trovita, do well when grown inside as long as you maintain the basic temperature, soil, and light conditions.
The keys to successfully grow oranges indoors are basically the same as with all citrus, good light, adequate temperature and humidity, well-drained potting soil, proper nutrients, and consistent moisture. Without any single one of those failure looms.
Orange trees are generally container-grown and purchased online or from a local nursery. They can also be propagated at home from cuttings, and seed.

If you decide to grow orange Trees from seeds, allow the seeds to dry out for up to two weeks. Once dried, plant the seeds about an inch deep in good potting soil and cover with plastic wrap. Once the seed has germinated it should be placed in a sunny location.

Any container used for orange trees and any indoor fruit trees should provide ample drainage and room for growth. Any citrus started from seed will have a very long maturation period and a non dwarf tree will need to obtain substantial height before fruiting.

3. Indoor Bamboo Plam
Indoor bamboo palm
If you want to add a little Palm Springs flair to your living space, then a bamboo palm is the way to go. These plants can be large with long stems, perfect for resting on the floor, or you can get smaller table-top varieties that make great desk plants. In fact, given how well these filter the surrounding air, they are fantastic desk-top plants to bring into a shared office environment. The leaves have a voluminous almost fluffy quality and appear green and lively even in tough environments – they have an exceptional tolerance for low light.

Care: Don’t keep in direct sun. Water 1 – 3 times a week, whatever is needed to keep the soil moist.

Hard to kill?: These plants can tolerate almost anything except the roots standing in water. Make sure to empty the drip tray after watering.

4. Indoor Monstera Deliciosa
indoor Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera Deliciosa, Swiss Cheese, Split Leaf Philodendron, Mexican Breadfruit or Fruit Salad plant… whatever you call it, there’s no denying the popularity of this suburban favourite.

While some houseplants are content to grow in a small pot, Monsteras need room to move, so think big when deciding on a pot and where to position it in your home as they can be hard to move once established (unless you hire a helper on Airtasker, of course!).

Hailing from the tropics, Monsteras love humidity, so will flourish.

5. Mother In Law’s Tongue
Mother in laws Tongue indoor plant
A popular decor choice in trendy cafes across the country, the eye-catching Mother In Law’s Tongue is a distant relative of asparagus (which explains the tall, shoot-like leaves) but please, try to resist the urge to serve it up with hollandaise on toast.

Tough in appearance and durability, this breed is harder to kill than a bad guy in a horror film so don’t worry too much about over or under watering.

Sold at most commercial garden centres, Mother In Law’s Tongue is so common and easy to grow that websites like Gumtree are packed with them, where they’re generally a lot cheaper than your neighbourhood nursery. Shop around to find the best plant at the best price and if you locate a particularly large one that won’t fit in your car (they can grow up to 3-4 feet tall!)

6. Indoor Spider Plants
Indoor spider plant
Spider Plants are tolerant of a wide range of conditions & are adaptable & durable. They’re 1 of the easiest care houseplants around. Here’s what you need to know to care for & grow these fun hanging plants. Those long stems, with babies and flowers at the ends, just spray out any which way they want to! These hanging plants, with fleshy rhizomatic roots, need a bit of room to show off their arching displays. Spider Plants are one of the most easy-care houseplants around, are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, adaptable and durable as can be.
Water: Low to average. Depending on how warm & bright your house is, this might be every 10-14 days. Water them when they’re almost dry & be sure to let the water drain all the way through the pot. If your water is high in salts, consider using distilled water.

When I was a plant maintenance technician, I preferred to take hanging plants to a sink when the watering time came around. This took the guesswork out of when the water would come spilling out.

5 Tips When Purchasing Your First Home

5 Things First-Time Buyers Should Look For In A Home

There are few events more exciting than the first time you buy a home. You are going to graduate from a renter to an owner, with all the benefits that such a transition brings. But as with anything, because you are buying a home for the first time, it can be challenging to know exactly what you should be looking for in a home. Fortunately, while this may be your first time buying, plenty of others have gone before you, which means you can build on their insights when going about your own purchase.

1. A good neighbourhood.
While what defines a good neighborhood will vary depending on the buyer, there is no denying the importance of buying in an area you will like living. No matter how inexpensive the home, if it is in a neighborhood that will make you miserable, it is not going to be the right place for you. Young professionals often like neighborhoods that are close to restaurants and nightlife, while new families may prefer quieter neighborhoods where the kids can play outside. What you want out of your neighborhood is just as important as what you want out of your home, so think carefully about where you conduct your home search. Here are some great tips for choosing a neighborhood. Look over the list and see what makes the most sense for your stage of life.

2. A home you can be comfortable in.
If you are into doing your own home repairs and renovations, it can make a lot of sense to buy a renovator. You’ll save money upfront and you have the ability to improve the condition of the home on your own. However, many first-time home buyers make the mistake of thinking they will fix up a home, only to discover that they do not have the ability, motivation or finances to make the repairs necessary to get the home into the condition necessary to be comfortable. You are making a big financial commitment with your purchase, so be certain you will be able to live comfortably with your choice before you make the leap. Some of the best first time home buyer advice is getting clear on what you want.

3. A home that fits your lifestyle and goals.
You are going to encounter a number of different options when you start home shopping and be faced continuously with trade-offs (unless you have an extremely high budget). You can afford a better location, but a smaller house. Or a bigger home, further out of town. One home may offer a bigger backyard, while another will have virtually no yard, but a balcony. No matter how hard you look, you are going to have to choose between options that are imperfect. That is why it is so important to clearly define your goals and aspirations for the home you buy. You need to know what is most important to you in a home because ultimately you will need to trade some less important things to get the ones that matter most to you.

4. A place you can see yourself living for at least five years.
Most experts agree that the minimum amount of time you should live in a newly purchased home, especially as a first-time buyer, is five years. It will usually take at least five years to make the purchase benefit you financially. Sell before then and you risk losing money – unless you happen to in a really hot market. One of the most common home buying mistakes is not purchasing a property that is suitable for longer-term goals. Because you want to make smart financial choices, you need to be careful to find a home that you can reasonably expect to live in for a five-year period.

5. A home that is priced well within your budget.
If at all possible, you want to avoid spending every last cent you have on your first home. You want the home to be a source of happiness and security, not a lead weight that threatens to drown you financially. Ownership costs money – more than just the mortgage. Things break, maintenance must be done, and other costs will pop up that you need to be able to cover. By purchasing a home that is in the middle of your budget, or even on the lower end, you give yourself much more breathing room.

How To Reduce Your Air Conditioning Bill

Air conditioning tips Melbourne

Summer has arrived and naturally, the average temperature has risen. There is not much use for a heater and now its time for the air conditioner to do its work. As we know, the heat can be extreme in Australia over summer. It is not uncommon for temperatures to rise into the 40’s. Relief can be found at a pool or even a shopping complex. But, eventually, you will need the help of an air conditioner when you are home.

Unfortunately, running an air conditioner 24 hours a day will cost you a lot of money. Here are some tips to keep your home cool and reduce your bill.

1. After the sun has set turn off your unit. Open all your windows and take advantage of the cool night air. This will help cool your home down faster while you sleep. Try and get as much air flow through your home as possible.

2. Thermostats and Timing Settings
When it comes to energy consumption and reducing your air conditioning bill over summer, every degree matters!

So one of the most energy-efficient things you can do is set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature that won’t make your unit work too hard, but will still make you feel like you’re sitting pretty. As a guide, somewhere between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius is where you should set the thermostat. Be aware, that for every single degree of cooling you can do without, you’re saving on your energy bill. So avoid setting it too cold in the summertime. Even setting your air conditioning unit one degree warmer than you normally world can cut costs by up to 10%. As a rule, try not to set the thermostat less than 8 degrees below the outdoor temperature (so if it’s 30 outside, aim for 22 or 23 degrees Celsius inside).

To really help reduce your energy bill, consider a thermostat with a built-in timer, so you’re not only setting the temperature but setting the hours of operation for maximum energy efficiency. It makes sense to have a system that does it for you automatically, so you can set, and forget. And save of course.

3. Get shady and shut out the sun
Shade, shade, shade. However you can get it, grab it, and it will help your home stay cooler. Therefore, your air conditioning unit won’t have to work so hard, and your energy bill will be reduced. It’s simple. During a hot Aussie summer, you can’t turn down the sun, but you can add some shade to turn down the heat.

The first way to get shady is to keep blinds, curtains, drapes, and awnings drawn and closed. Whether it’s Venetian blinds, roller blinds, plantation shutters or lined curtains, keep that beautiful sunshine outside where it belongs. For sun-facing windows, light-coloured backings for blinds and curtains will help deflect sun heat too.

By closing windows, blinds, shutters or drapes, you’ll be keeping the hot air and the sun’s rays out, so your air conditioning doesn’t have to run all the time to maintain the optimal temperature. Heat absorption can be drastically reduced if your windows have a strong line of defense. Even tinted windows can stop some of the sun’s heat coming into your air-conditioned sanctuary, and your unit won’t have to work so hard.

Want some more ways to throw shade and reduce air conditioning bills? Consider Mother Nature’s original shade maker – trees. Plant trees, vines or shrubs that can add a defensive line of shade to the house – consider the walls and roof as well as the windows.

4. Turn off those heat-emitting culprits
The television, the computer, the printer, the lamp in the corner, the kitchen oven… all of these household essentials generate bucketloads of heat and will be forcing your air conditioner to work harder to keep the temperature under control. Turn them off and you’ll save money on your air conditioning energy consumption straight away!

What can you turn off? Can you turn off lights in unused areas of your home?

Are you game to unplug? Can you turn off the television or any other appliances? Those tablets, computers and printers emit a lot of heat that can make your air conditioner work harder. Who knows, it might even help bring back the art of conversation (or perhaps cause a family mutiny!)

Why not try cooking the dinner on the BBQ outside, or enjoy a lovely salad that requires no cooking at all? Your indoor stove can really heat up your living space and add to your air conditioning bill.

So if you want to keep your energy consumption and air conditioning bill down, think about al fresco food preparation. Who doesn’t love a snag or a steak cooked on the BBQ in Summertime? And if it keeps your house cooler, all the better.

5. Keeping it clean to keep costs down
Here’s one more awesome tip to reduce your air conditioning bill over summer. Ensure your air conditioning unit is regularly maintained and that the filter is either replaced or cleaned to maintain optimum efficiency. A dirty filter makes any air conditioning unit work harder, meaning more electricity and higher energy costs!

Here’s to a long hot summer, and keeping cool when the bills come in.

Switching Home Loans

Switching home loans Melbourne Australia

How to transfer your home loan

Changing your mortgage.
You can save thousands of dollars by changing your lender. But, before you jump right in make sure you are aware of exit fees. Also, ask your intended lender what fees will apply.

Step 1. Do your homework. There are multiple websites that compare current home lenders. If you have at least a 20% equity in your home you should be able to find some competitive rates. And, you might want to know your own credit ranking.
Step 2. Before you change your lender contact your existing institution. Explain to them that you are entertaining the idea of changing to another lender. Give them some examples of current lenders that have a better offer. This puts you in a good position to negotiate. If your current lender is open to renegotiating your current loan then you can save money and the hassle of changing lenders.
Step 3. Let’s say your current lender is not willing to alter your loan. Make a list of institutions and contact them. Outline your current loan agreement and ask them if they can do a better deal. They will do all the work for you. Changing banks is not a hard process.
Step 4. Explore all the fees associated with breaking your current loan and creating a new loan. If the equity in your home is less than 20% you could be liable for Lender’s Mortgage Insurance LMI. Your new potential lender should be able to tell you all the costs. This could mean changing lenders becomes prohibitive. You can factor in these costs via our Home Loan Comparison Calculator. This is an important step when considering a move to a new lending institution.
Step 5. Know the loan term in years of your new lender. You may only have 18 years left on your current loan. And your new provider is creating your loan at 25 years. This can mean you will end up paying thousands of dollars more in interest. Try and negotiate with your new lender the same length of time left on your current loan.

This is the simple criteria you should follow when you explore your home loan options. In reality, it is not that difficult. Any potential lender will be more than happy to see if they can cut you a new deal. They will administer all the transfers to make the change as smooth as possible. You can possibly be saving hundreds of dollars each month.

OBrien Real Estate are Looking for a Hat Tick in Perth!

OBrien Real Estate becomes finalist in REIA Awards.

At the recent REIV awards in Melbourne, OBrien were honoured by taking home two industry awards, one for “Communication” and the other for “Corporate Promotion Multiple Offices”.

The team were absolutely thrilled to receive the recognition for their “Real Life. Real Stories. Real Estate Agents” campaign.

Their successful campaign is now being nationally recognised with OBrien Real Estate being nominated as finalist in the “REIA National Awards for Excellence”.

The team is up for the “Communication Award” for their stellar “Real Life. Real Stories. Real Estate Agents” campaign which is definitely being noticed.

This award recognises excellence in marketing, advertising and communication and the OBrien Team will be up against some of the nations best agencies in this category.

OBrien had over 25 client ambassadors representing the campaign through video,  radio, social and print.  All client ambassadors were real life customers, for instance Chanelle Pearson pictured, is a local Berwick resident with a growing family.  “It was great meeting our customers and why they chose OBrien. It was very fulfilling knowing that we made a difference in their life” said Jason Mudford General Manager at OBrien Real Estate.

Jason can’t believe the overwhelming success of the campaign and is excited by the prospect of a “Hat Trick” for the group and attributes the growth of the network to the hard work and dedication behind the campaign.

Winners will be announced at the Gala event being held on the 21st March, 2019 at Crown Perth.

Is your Vegetable Garden Prepared for Summer

Summer garden Melbourne 2018

Summer Veggie Gardening in Melbourne

Summer gardening is not that difficult if you are well prepared. So, it is important that you create an environment that will give your plants every chance to survive.

Here some suggestions to help your garden survive this summer that shouldn’t take to much effort.

Do you intend to create an area for new plants? Then use water crystals, soaked in a weak seaweed solution to promote root development, in the bottom of the planting hole. Don’t use them in the vegetable garden or garden beds that you dig over as you will end up with crystals near the surface of the soil, which is not good.

A great water save is mulch. All your garden beds and pots should be covered by a layer of mulch. You can use any type of mulch but make sure there are no weeds or seeds.

If soil or potting mix gets really dry, it can become water repellent, making it difficult to wet again. If this happens, you will need to correct the problem by using soil wetters. Look for those that are based on natural substances rather than petroleum derivatives.

Plant selection is the other key thing for surviving the summer heat. Mediterranean herbs, like rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme and basil, don’t really care how hot it gets.

Tender ones like coriander and dill will go to seed more quickly in summer, so plant them where they will get just a few hours of sun in the morning and be in the shade for the rest of the day.

Choose loose leaf varieties of lettuce and grow them in semi-shade. You can put a simple light shade structure over your vegetable garden for the next few months to protect your crops.

Tomatoes, chillis, capsicum, sweet corn, cucumbers, beans, eggplants, watermelons, rockmelons and pumpkins will all thrive through summer.

Caring for your vegetable can be fun and rewarding. Pay attention each day and try and maintain a certain level of water to all your plants. Look for weeds and try and identify any bugs that might take a liking to your plants.

What vegetable plants are best for summer in Melbourne?

  • Legumes such as beans, peas.
  • Brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli.
  • Alliums such as onions, leeks.
  • Cucurbits such as cucumber, pumpkin.
  • Umbellifers such as carrots.
  • Solanums such as tomatoes, potatoes, etc.
  • 6 vegetable plants that grow in late summer

  • Carrots. You can actually plant carrots in your garden roughly every three weeks.
  • Cauliflower. Cauliflower is a delicious cool weather vegetable, particularly delicious if you roast it.
  • Broccoli. Broccoli is a hardy vegetable, which is why you can plant it a mere 85 days before your first fall frost.
  • Spinach.
  • Radishes.
  • One of Melbourne’s fastest growing franchises extends network into Inner North.

    OBrien Real Estate established its first franchise office in February 2013 and now has just opened its 27th office located in the growth belt of the inner northern suburbs.

    Originating from the south east of Melbourne and OBrien until recently had all its offices situated on the east side of the Yarra River, but now you’ll find four recently opened OBrien offices in the west and north regions with more to come.

    General Manager, Jason Mudford said the strategy over the last 12 months into moving to the new regions was in perfect alignment with the vision of building a 50 plus office network. Mr Mudford continued to explain that its growth can be also attributed to the ‘Real Life, Real Stories’ marketing initiative. Which saw the company win multiple awards at the REIV 2018 Awards for Excellence; for communication message and brand campaign.

    The new northern suburb office is situated on High Street, Preston and it proudly opened on Friday 30 November, servicing the suburbs within the Darebin and Whittlesea municipalities.

    The people behind Preston Reservoir office is Director Paul Castello, a 21-year servant to the real estate industry in Melbourne’s inner north, Paul is joined by his wife Suzette and a team of dedicated property managers and property consultants. Mr Castello said the reason he decided to join OBrien Real Estate “was he wanted a franchise company in growth mode with the ability to expand under a fresh and modern name in the area.”

    OBrien Foundation supports students at Dromana Specialist School with their first bikes.

    Ride club raises money from “Around the Bay”

    At a 9.30am ceremony on 20 November, ten students from Dromana Specialist School received their first bikes through the raising of funds from the “Pesky Peddlers” riding club within OBrien Real Estate.

    The riding club set themselves a challenge to ride the 210km “Around the Bay” last month and through the support of its own people and their network connections raised the necessary funds needed for the bikes.

    Jason Mudford from OBrien said the riding club was set up for some comradery and fitness and being competitive people in nature we set ourselves the 210km challenge and thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to raise money for disadvantaged kids to help them get their first bike because a bike is one of the greatest freedoms and escapes kids can have.

    Using the fantastic Variety Vic Bikes For Kids program the OBrien foundation was also able to secure helmets and bike locks for the students. Mr Mudford said Variety Vic Bikes for Kids Program provides freedom, independence and joy to disadvantaged children in Australia through the provision of a bike. Such a simple gift that ultimately changes a child’s life.

    In attendance at the ceremony from OBrien was Sam Hartrick, Robert Eierweis, Anastasia Howard, Mathew Blakely, Fraser Bayne, Jason Mudford and Katie Oliver.

    Jason said OBrien is a strong supporter of local communities and we have loved seeing the positive impacts our sponsorships have on our local communities and we believe that giving back is extremely important.

    For more information on the OBrien Foundation and how grant applications can be made view our website page http://www.foundation.obrienrealestate.com.au

    How to Inspect a Home DIY

    DIY home inspection checklist Melbourne

    Do your own home inspection

    Buying a home will be most peoples biggest financial commitment of their lives. It is not uncommon for most home buyers to walk through a property and decide whether to purchase or not. This initial eyeball test usually lasts about 10 minutes. When making such a huge decision most of us are guided by our emotions. We either like something or we don’t. Generally, when a house is for sale it will be presented at its best.

    If your initial reaction to the property is positive then take some extra time to inspect the property. It is called an “Open Inspection” for a reason. The vendor is inviting you to inspect the property. Look for the negatives that could add costs after the purchase. Perhaps you could take a friend or colleague with you to the inspection and they can offer an unbiased opinion.

    Divide your Inspection into 3 parts

    • The inside
    • The outside
    • The surrounding properties

    1. The inside of the home checklist –
    Water pressure – Check the pressure from every tap. Note the colour of the water and how quickly it drains. Look for leaks in the cupboards that house all the taps.
    Walls and doors – Are there any cracks in the walls. Is every door opening as it was designed? This can demonstrate signs that the foundations of the home have shifted.
    Windows – Check each window is fixed and opens. If they are metal then look for rust. If they are wooded then check for rot. Do the windows stick when you try to open them. Make sure all opening windows have fly screens.
    Dampness – Look for blistering paint or watermarks. See if sections of the paint are inconsistent.
    Mould – This is usually found in the bathroom. Look to see if there is any form of ventilation. Mould is a fungus and can produce bacteria.
    Hot water – Ask how old is the hot water system is. Check it for leaks and rust.
    Insulation – Peer through the manhole to see if the home is adequately insulated. Ask the agent if the walls are insulted.
    Air conditioning and heating – Turn them on to see if they function. It is that simple.
    Floor coverings – Check the carpets to see if they need replacing. If there are mats then lift them to see what is underneath.
    DIY Home inspection checklist Melbourne
    2. The outside of the home checklist –

    Layout – Which rooms face the sun during its peak?
    Gutters – Are their signs of leaks and rust. Is there any overflow pipes and are nearby tree leaves clogging up the flow.
    Roof – Is the roof sagging. Are the tiles showing signs of cracking and lining up consistently? This can reveal evidence the foundations have fallen.
    Termites – Look for mud pile build up. See if there has been a series of small holes drilled into any concrete that adjoins the house.
    Garage door – See if it opens and closes

    3. Surrounding land and structures checklist
    Fencing – Are the fences leaning or sagging. Do all the gates open and close properly.
    Garden – Are there watering taps. Is the garden well maintained?
    Trees – How old are the trees and do they pose a threat if they fall. Are their roots creeping into the foundations of the home? Are your neighbour’s trees encroaching on your property?
    Your privacy – Do your neighbours have a vision of your home. If so, can you address this.
    External buildings – If the home has a pergola or a shed check to see if it needs repairs.
    Draining – Look for muddy areas on the property.

    Keep a list of all your findings. Then research on what the cost may be to replace or fix any issues. If you feel comfortable then engage the services of a qualified inspector.