Creating Bedrooms and Bathrooms in Hamptons Style

Hamptons style bathrooms bedrooms

What is the Hamptons style?

Typically a Hamptons styled interior is bright, light and white. It is a combination of sophistication combined with a coastal beach spirit and soul. The intent of this type of styling is to give the tenant or guest a relaxing and calming feeling.

Over the past few years, the Hamptons style of homes has become incorporated into the design of Australian homes. This is in part due to their laid back, fresh feel and summery vibe.

The interior of the Hampton interiors are roomy and spacious and give the impression you are in a holiday home at the beach. They are great entertaining homes. You could say the Hamptons design is the Americans version of the French inspired Baroque style.

Hamptons Style Bathroom

Hamptons style bathroom
Hamptons-style bathrooms are a neutral colour such as white, grey or black and white. Hampton’s bathrooms are classic, elegant and timeless. With the addition of coloured towels and bathroom accessories, a new look can be achieved.

  • Subway Tiles – These are generally white or marble.
  • Marble – Marble or natural stone is used for tiling, countertops or both. Marble tiles can be applied in various shapes such as hexagonal, basketweave and herringbone.
  • Vanity – A Hamptons-style vanity is usually custom-built with a shaker style profile on the doors and drawers. Cabinet knobs or pulls are more often chrome or nickel-plated.
  • Sconce Lighting – Sconce lights are usually mounted on either side of the mirror or on the mirror itself.
  • Wall Panelling – Walls, or sections of, can be panelled or sometimes wallpapered.
  • Neutral Colours – Hamptons-style bathrooms are a neutral colour such as white, grey or black and white.
  • Tapware – Tapware is generally chrome or nickel-plated and traditional in style.

Walls, or sections of, are often panelled or sometimes wallpapered.  The bath is sometimes set in the middle of the bathroom and clad in marble. Or, it is set aside to one corner on 4 feet.

Hamptons Style Bedroom

Hamptons style bedrooms bedrooms
In a Hampton’s style bedroom, you will need lots of layers of linen and cotton plus quite a few pillows. The room itself will be dominated by white ceilings and walls or light pastel shades of blue. The bedhead will be a padded crisscrossed pattern. At the end of the bed will be a flat cushioned 2 seater. On the walls, you can add some small simple wall no frame hangings of shells. A beige coloured carpet will cover your floor. In a corner, there can be a small armchair with a cushion. The room will also have an open walk-in robe. The room will also have one or two small leafy green plants. Hanging from the ceiling will be a small yet imposing chandelier.

These bedrooms are designed to be minimalistic in a way but give the feel of cosy comfort and space.

  • The Bed – A large bed and upholstered bedhead with ocean views where possible.
  • Textiles – Lots of layers of linen and cotton. White in all its shades and perhaps some blue tones
  • Lighting – Combine directional lighting, bedside lamps or a statement chandelier
  • Wall Art – Frameless paintings or prints of seashells in pastel colours
  • Furnishings – Small armchairs and end of bed seating
  • Flooring – Light coloured woollen carpet or a large woollen floor mat
  • Balcony Doors – Double opening venetian styled doors

Creating A Kitchen To Suit Your Lifestyle & Personality

Kitchens for entertainers

What type of kitchen will suit your lifestyle?

The kitchen is an integral part of any house or apartment. It doesn’t matter if you are single, living with friends, have a partner or a family the kitchen is one of the most used rooms in any home. The majority of houses and units these days are generally open plan that combines the kitchen with the living room.

Your lifestyle will play a large part in the setup of your kitchen that reflects your personality. Some of us eat out regularly and prefer a simple and efficient kitchen space. Then there are others who love to entertain and want all the appliances on hand in preparing for their feasts.

Breakfast Counter Tops

The one meal that is routine is breakfast and this should be at the top of your list if you are designing or redesigning your kitchen. Your breakfast counter, bar or eating island is where most people gather each morning. Some want to engage vocally with other attendees and some want to catch up with the latest news and sports via their mobile devices. So, including a few power points would seem like a good idea.
A good idea is also having the height of your breakfast a little higher than the average table height. Add some stools that swivel, a plant or two, some recipe books and some fruit. Some handy appliances would include a toaster, juicer and coffee maker. Depending on your space you could add a sink into your counter that also houses the dishwasher. Having all these items at hand gives people more independence to serve themselves. When I talk about people I mean the kids. They have no excuse to prepare their own breakfast and tidy up after they have finished.

Entertainers kitchen setup

Entertainer Lover

If you are the type that loves to have guests around for brunches or main meals then an open plan kitchen that leads to an outdoor patio is the best solution. Also, you will need plenty of space and furniture to seat everyone. A large wide benchtop is also a good idea for people to gather around and rest their plates and glasses. Incorporate easy-to-clean surfaces, a warming drawer, a set of good speakers and some mood lighting. If you can having a walk-in pantry will help you a lot and a large fridge and freezer. And to top off all your appliances use a double oven and dishwasher. A second sink will also help solve some cleaning issues. To finish off your entertainer’s kitchen a drinks station would be a great addition.

Masterchef

If cooking is your passion and inviting guests to eat then you will never be short of appliances that will help you. Similar to the “entertainer lover” we recommend a double oven, two sinks with a hose tap and a large fridge and freezer. These are essential. The layout should have a flow that incorporates food preparation to cooking and eventually cleaning. A good idea is to visit some restaurants and ask the chefs how their ideal kitchen would look.

You will also need cutting boards with a sharp set of knives as you don’t want to be cutting and carving on your benchtop. But we think the most essential appliance of all is having a gas stove and oven. With gas you can use all types of cookware and gas responds rapidly to heat increase and decrease. Finally, it looks good when a boiling pot is cooking over it.

Kitchen Tidy Tina

Kitchen tidy
Cupboard space is what you require if you are a bit of a neat freak. Most tidy people as also minimalists so having lots of cupboards and drawers are a must.m Inside your cupboard space you will want to compartmentalise your items. This can be for food, pots and pans, spices, crockery and so on.

There are so many space-saving ideas out there. Just type in Google “kitchen space savers” and you will literally see thousands of useful image ideas. We particularly like the soap and cleaners in front of the sink. This is generally a small space that is never used but someone clever thought to make use of this space and incorporate a neat cleaner housing.

Tips for getting loan pre-approval.

So you’re looking for a home, how do you go about getting loan pre-approval?

Firstly what is pre-approval?

When someone gets pre-approval for a loan, it means a lender has agreed to lend a certain amount of money towards the purchase of a property but hasn’t proceeded to full or final approval.

This allows buyers to have a realistic price range when searching for a property and bid with confidence at an auction. Another benefit is that vendors often want to sell their property quickly, so having pre-approval may give you the upper hand over other buyers.

Here are a few tips to help you get pre-approval:

Reduce your debt and credit limit.

Any outstanding debts will directly affect your maximum lending amount. Take note that lenders will factor in the full amount of any credit cards despite your current balance.

Ensure you have savings.

Not only is it essential to have savings to cover your deposit. It’s also fundamental that you have proof of regular savings over a period of time, to prove to your lender that you’re able to keep up with payments long term.

Research lenders.

A common mistake many people make is simply getting a loan through their current bank. It is vital to shop around before you get pre-approval to find the lender who will give you the most bang for your buck and suits your needs, it could end up saving you thousands. A mortgage broker is a great tool to help you do this, as they will understand what you require in a loan and find you the best options. What’s even better is it’s free as lenders will pay the broker a commission fee for referring you.

Although pre-approval is not a requirement when buying a home, it has many benefits and can make life much easier if you have to borrow.

Creating A Work From Home Office

Tips On Working From Your Home Office

The first thing to do when setting up a home office is to find the space to work from. If you are organised it can be surprising how little room you need. With the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, the majority of people who work from home are related to businesses that require data entry or programming. You may also be a sales agent or an admin support staffer. All these types of roles can be conducted from your home office.

So, determine where you will conduct your “office” from. This could be in your garage, a spare room or a corner of your living room. Then make a list of items you will need to conduct your business.

Furniture You Need For A Home Office

Once you have allocated the space you will need to furnish it to suit your needs. Take into account the effects of RSI Repetitive Strain Injury. RSI is caused by repetitive use or long periods in a fixed position. So, if you are purchasing some of the items below speak to the sales staff and get their opinion on what limits any workplace injuries.

COMPUTERS – If you work with computers then naturally you will need a computer, power source and internet connectivity. I would suggest a minimum of 50 cm monitor screen size. And, if possible 2 monitors side by side. Also, this second screen is where you might want to place your video meetings with others. This way you don’t have to flick between “windows” on your computer. You may have a laptop but bear in mind that looking at a small laptop screen all day may not be good for your eyes. Make sure your computer box has room to “breathe”. Computers can generate a lot of heat. Finally, if you are away from your computer have it set to “sleep” after a certain amount of time of inactivity.

DESK – The desk is an important item for your workstation. Make sure the height is set to your body type. An industry standard is 73cm from the floor to the top of the desk. But not everyone is the same so consult a desk sales office and ask their advice. Make sure the desk is large enough to accommodate 2 monitors.

OFFICE CHAIR – Comfort is the key to giving you maximum support. An ergonomic office chair is essential if you are likely to be in a fixed position for extended times. If you are going to purchase an office chair then we strongly suggest you try before you buy.

Ergonomic office chair

LIGHTING – Try not to underestimate the value of good lighting for your home office. Overhead lighting is the best form of indirect light and will illuminate your workspace. This is light that is not in your field of vision and does not reflect off your computer monitor. Test that your lighting is sufficient by reading a newspaper or printed text. It is suggested you keep your monitor lighting just a little brighter than your ambient lighting.

FLOWERS – Purchase a couple of small plants to bring life into your home office. It is amazing how a flower or plant can lift the atmosphere of space. This is a cheap investment in completing your home office.


Be Disciplined

Treat your home office as you would your regular workplace. Set your hours as per your employment agreement and stick to them. Afford yourself routine breaks and take a walk for exercise. The downside of working from home is the lack of interaction with fellow workmates. You can easily be distracted when there is no one looking over your shoulder. So a good idea is to visually connect with people you normally work with via Zoom or Google Meetings. These type of video connections can help you keep focused on your tasks.

How To Clean Your Bathroom Effectively

Tips on how to clean a bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most utilised rooms in any property be it at work or in the home. The bathroom is also where most germs can live. So, for health reasons, it is important to keep your bathroom clean and maintain the cleanliness.

Have a plan and create a checklist of things to do. Implement your plan consistently on set dates. If you have kids offer them some play money.

Start at the Top

Get your broom and sweep around the ceiling and architraves to remove dust, spider webs and bugs. Work from the top down.

Fibreglass Showers and Glass Doors
These surfaces need special treatment. Clean them with a nonabrasive cleaner such as an all-purpose bathroom cleaner, pine oil or baking soda. Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrubbing pads because they may scratch or dull the finish.

Cloudy glass shower doors may be cleaned with full-strength white vinegar or a commercial lime and scale remover. Use good ventilation and protect skin and clothing when using these products.
How to clean a bathroom
Are your shower walls tiled?
You can either purchase cleaning products from the local supermarket or make your own. There are many cleaning agents in a supermarket and invariably you can find at least one that is on special. However, if you want to simply make your own cleanser here are a couple of suggestions.

Vinegar and dishwashing soap. Vinegar is a great substitute as a cleaning agent and disinfectant. Combine equal parts of dishwashing soap with vinegar into a spray bottle. Now you have a potent shower cleanser. Spray the shower walls and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. After the wait, you can scrub away all the grime and buildup.

Vinegar and baking soda. This combination makes a great drain cleaner and can also be used on your shower walls and floor. When these two agents are combined it produces a fizzy sound and becomes an effective cleaner.

Add a tiny bit of water with baking soda. Mix together to create a paste. Find a clean cloth and apply and scrub the solution to the walls. Then spray vinegar on the mixture, watch it bubble and clean the walls. When the bubbling action stops, scrub again and rinse thoroughly.

Soap scum, bath oil, hair products and body soil combine forces to assault the shining surface of the shower and tub, while tub rims, fixtures and faucets provide hiding places for moisture, mould and mildew. Put the job off and deposits harden and ossify, and mildew and mould take up residence in dark corners. Harness time and cleaning power to make short work of cleaning the shower and tub.

Basins and Sinks
The usual suspects in most basins are hair, soap and toothpaste residue. This is another area that should be kept clean at all times. After all, it is a nice feeling when you use a bathroom basin and it looks shiny and new.

Right for the job. Use all-purpose bathroom cleaner to remove light soil and film. For more hardened deposits, abrasive or soft-scrub cleaners may be used, as they will be easy to rinse from ceramic surfaces. Cleaners formulated with bleach will remove toothpaste dribbles and sanitize surfaces, too. Keep bathroom cleaning green by using homemade cleaners. They’ll make your bathroom sparkle and shine without harsh chemicals — or a harsh price tag.

On the edge. Clean the rim and fixtures with a disinfecting spray glass cleaner or all-purpose bathroom cleaner. Buff fixtures shiny and dry with a fresh cleaning cloth.

Toilet Cleaning
Now we are getting to the final stage. The toilet. This isn’t everyone’s favourite chore. But it is necessary that the toilet is free of germs.

Purchase recommended toilet cleansers. Generally, people will use a liquid cleaner that they cover the entire interior of the toilet bowl. Typically this is the preferred method that allows the formula to do its job without much effort. However, prior to adding the liquid cleaner use your scrubbing brush first and scrub inside the rim of the toilet. Then flush the toilet and coat with your liquid cleanser. Always clean the brush thoroughly after use and replace it when the bristles start to lose their shape.

If the toilet has not been cleaned in a while it can develop a ring that is hard to remove with a liquid cleaner. Try using a pumice stone and rub directly onto the affected area.

The final touches. Disinfect the toilet, seat, lid and tank. You can use an all-purpose cleaner to spray onto these areas. Let the solution stand after spraying for a few minutes then wipe with a clean cloth.

Related article – Preparing your property for rent

Weekly Property News Sept 4 – Sept 11

Dean O'Brien Director of OBrien Real Estate

Only in the darkness can you see the stars

Hi Guys, it is Dean OBrien from OBrien Real Estate with another edition of the Property News for 2020 where real estate information is on the house.

It’s R U OK day this week, it’s actually on Thursday, September 10. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the value of having genuine conversations with people who are struggling. There is no doubt people are be feeling down, through connection we gain strength ourselves. During Covid-19, I have made it a mission to make daily calls to my clients, my friends, my colleagues, it’s the simple things that matter like hearing a familiar voice or a different voice to your own that helps and it’s great vitamin C, vitamin connection. Here are two quotes I have thinking about this week. “Remember sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck” from the Dalai Lama and “Only in the darkness can you see the stars” from Martin Luther King Jr.

Onto the good news this week, we have beaten the predictions, the Reserve bank was predicting a 10% drop in Australia’s GDP growth this quarter, what in fact happened was the economy contracted by 7% and although our worst result since 1945 the result fairs the best out of most of the developed countries across the globe with the average drop for developed countries being 11% with the worst result for a developed nation being the UK, they experienced a drop of 20.4%.

If you have looked at property listings online lately you would see very little in the way of new sales offerings. You will see from the graph displayed that new listings for the week are down 76% for Melbourne. What does this mean for the current sellers in the market? It means less competition; we are receiving good inquiry from buyers and although our selling methods are virtual, we are experiencing some success for particular properties that can be virtually inspected with the assistance from our vendors and tenants. We are holding virtual appraisal consultations and providing advice to our clients on the options available to them to either sell now or how they can be prepared to sell day one out of lock-down. As it stands listings are down 24.4% for the year but the long term historical listing trend is down around the 30% to 35% mark and that presents a greater opportunity for sellers due to the lesser selling competition.


Weekly property news Sept 5

 

Reviewing the sales across the state for the week, according to CoreLogic there were 24 auction results this week whereas last year we had 765 and from a private sale perspective we had 877 private sales. Our combined average weekly sales for the entire state ranges between 1400 and 1500 sales, so we are down considerably .

The sad side of these numbers is that shelter is essential to people and our current restrictions are causing people great difficulty in securing shelter. The other side of the coin is the effect that the limited real estate transactions is having on stamp duty revenue for the Victorian State Government, Stamp Duty accounts for 42% of the state’s revenue so the financials for the Victorian Government would be affected to the tune of billions at the moment.

Here are the main economic headlines for the week:

  • Council approvals to build new homes rose by 12 per cent in July.
  • International trade in the June quarter was in surplus by a record $17.7 billion
  • Retail trade rose by 3.2 per cent in July to be up 12 per cent on the year.
  • The US jobless rate fell from 10.2 per cent to 8.4 per cent in August with 1.371 million jobs created
  • According to ANZ job advertisements, the number of Aussie job advertisements lifted for a fourth successive month in August.
  • And in August, 60,986 new vehicles were sold – the weakest in 23 years.

That’s all for this week, I’m Dean OBrien and remember the information provided is of a general nature you should always seek independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice in relation to your unique circumstances.

Fun DIY Activities For Kids

3 fun activities for kids

3 Fun and Educational Activities for your Children

1. Herb Garden for Kids

Herb garden for kidsKids love nothing more than combining water and dirt. Why not introduce your child to a herb garden? There is an Australian company Gardening 4 Kids that sells a Herb Patch Kit that is specially designed for kids for just $30. Not only can they watch the herbs grow they can also eat them. Herb gardens require very little space and they smell and taste great too.

How long does it take to grow herbs?

Growing herbs from seeds take between 2 – 4 weeks to germinate. The optimal temperature for growing herbs is around 21 degrees Celcius. So starting indoors is a good idea. Once the plants mature you can move them to a bigger pot and take them outside.

Your herb Garden Kit includes –

  • 18 biodegradable pots
  • 5 packets of organic seeds – basil (Genovese), chives (garlic), coriander (slow bolt), dill and parsley (Italian)
  • 5 bamboo plant tags
  • 18 seed growing pellets
  • Planet Eco grow guide, full of information on how to use the kit and how to start planting!

These kits are also available for vegetable and flower growing.

2. Indoor Educational Activities for Boys and Girls

Boys
Boys target golf

Target golf is a simple game that improves your child’s hand to eye coordination and at the same time develop their mathematical skills.

All you need is a cardboard box, some scissors, texta, colour paper and balls. The idea is to create a series of holes or targets that have a numerical value. The value of each hole is different with the smallest hole having the highest value and the largest hole having the lowest value. You can set a target score to reach or you can have the best score from 10 shots.


Girls
Girls pom poms activities
Pom Poms Maths is regarded as a great way for your preschool child to develop counting skills. Many studies have been positive about the way this simple game can also help with the child’s motor skills.

Its simple purchase a bag of small pom poms in different shapes and sizes. Place the pom poms into a bowl and with a scooper get your child to organise the pom poms into same colours, same sizes and so on. You can also get plastic cups that match the colour of the pom poms and have you child organise the same colour pom poms into the same coloured cup.

The combination of sorting, counting and arranging pom poms is up to your imagination. They say this simple game is one of the best exercises for early childhood development.


Pool Noodle Cubby House

Pool noodle cubby house
Most families have pool noodles. These are those colourful round, long sticks that float in the water. And also they don’t hurt so much if your brother or sister hits you with one. So, if you are indoors why not create your own little cubby or playhouse from your noodles. You can buy pool noodles at Kmart for $2. They are 1.5 metres in length and come in multiple colours.

What you need to start a basic square structure are 12 pool noodles, some duck tape and an old sheet. Its that simple. However, if you want to be more creative obviously you will need more of everything.

3 Simple DIY Projects

DIY home projects

Easy and practical do it yourself home projects

We have come up with 3 DIY projects for your home that are simple and easy. DIY is not as difficult as you think. There is a load of information on the internet which can help you practically do anything you want. But for this article, we will keep it simple and cost-effective.

So, to begin we thought the most practical idea was to create a calendar of events board.

1. Calendar Board

DIY calendar chip boardThis is quite a simple and cheap project. You only need a few items and you can create a monthly to-do list.

  • Chipboard with frame. The chipboard enables you to embed pins easily
  • Drawing pins. These can be purchased in multiple colours and are made of metal of plastic.
  • A Texta to write your project details
  • 35 blank cards about the size of a business card. Better if they are enamel coated so you can reuse them

2. Recycle Old Tablet Bottles
Redorating tablet bottles
Do you have any old pill or tablet bottles lying around in the bathroom or medicine cabinet? Why not recycle them and create a store for pins or jewellery. All you need is a little paint and some stickers or cutout pictures. Or you can use your imagination and decorate the bottle any way you like.


3. Upside Down Tomatoes
Upside down hanging tomato plants
Here is a simple and novel way of growing tomatoes. Grow them upside down! Some say you will generate more tomatoes than growing them the conventional way.

You can buy the seedlings and grow the tomatoes yourself before you transfer them to a pot. Or, you can buy a small established tomato plant for a few dollars from Bunnings.

How To Stay Connected During COVID-19

Community support during Coronavirus COVID-19

The current COVID-19 restrictions have changed the ways on how we stay connected on a personal and community level.The community has listened to the advice and have been regulated on their approach to keeping distance. The results of the social distancing have forced residents to find other ways of staying connected to each other.

Social media has naturally become a driving force in building relationships and sharing life events. Depending on your age and preference social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter are showing a huge rise in user engagements. It is amazing how creative people have become. Of course, these platforms relay health issues that are of concern within their community. On the other side, we have seen the way people try and make the most of the situation through humour. All of these posts, videos, tweets and so on create a bond between users.

Here are some novel ways to stay connected 
How to stay connected during Coronavirus
Video calls – They are at least 3 ways to video call your friends. You can use your mobile phone, laptop/tablet or desktop computer. There are multiple services that act as a gateway to connects you to your family and friends. The popular choice has been Zoom. But even Google has a platform called Google Meet which is simple to use and has some unique features such as voice to text. Or you can opt into Facebook Live or Facebook Messenger. Mobile Apps such as WeChat and Whatsapp also provide video calls. The best way to use these services is via your wifi internet connection. Using your mobile provider data can drain your data limits.

Create a Games Night

Now that you have become an expert in video calls why not create a game night between your family and friends. You can literally set up your TV screen to display all the participants. Your games can be based on Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, cards and so on. It is up to your imagination. You could even create community gamers and run a competition that involves people in your postcode. There is an App out there called Houseparty that allows up to 8 people in a “room” at a time. Houseparty provides games such as HeadsUp, Chips and Trivia.

Create Tips sharing page

If you use Facebook you can create a community group that shares there own personal tips on how they do things. You would be surprised how many simple brilliant ideas that have been passed down from generation to generation and never shared with anyone. The tips can be from growing vegetables, making clothes, cooking and so on. Even the simplest thing such as showing someone the shortcuts on a computer keyboard can be handy. Control c = copy, control v = past, alt tab swaps between windows, control f lets you search for words on a page and so on.

Online fitness classes

Why not create your own online fitness group. Set aside a time and have a preformatted routine. Have each member run their own “class” in turn. And once again you can use your new-found video skills to set up your virtual class of students.

Business Connections

Reach out to similar people who are isolated because of their work or have been temporarily made redundant due to the Coronavirus. You can swap ideas, offer your services if your work is online related or formulate new business ideas and ventures. Or perhaps you or that person needs to talk to someone that has been displaced and share a common frustration.

Be Compassionate

There are a lot of negative effects from the Coronavirus. Individuals and families are feeling the effects. If you are not as unfortunate as some then maybe you can help them in some way. Nothing brings a community together more than the support of its residents. There are those that don’t know or are too proud to ask for help. Find a little bit of time to see if you can seek out these people and help them.

Google Meet Video Calls Platform

Google Meet video calls
Google Meet Video Calls

 

How To Improve and Maintain Your Air Quality

Simple ways to improve indoor air quality

It may feel cosy being sealed in tight against the cold in your home during the chillier months of the year, but for people who are sensitive to indoor allergens or have respiratory problems, winter can exacerbate problems. Stale indoor air and heating systems can increase the amount of allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, and mould spores circulating through your house. In late winter and early spring, it may still be too chilly to throw open the windows to pull out the musty air, so while you await the warmer weather it’s important to be aware of some of the allergy and respiratory triggers that may be lurking in your surroundings.

“Most of the things that cause problems are odourless,” says Dr Nicholas BuSaba, associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard -Medical School. “So, in many cases, there’s nothing to alert you to the problem.” That is, there’s nothing other than the symptoms these allergens can trigger – such as respiratory problems (including asthma flare-ups), fatigue and sleepiness, or even digestive issues.

Indoor air quality tends to be worse in the winter months because there is often no flow of fresh air from the outside, meaning allergens stay trapped inside.

Improving air quality

Making an effort to improve indoor air quality can help you avoid asthma flare-ups and allergy symptoms and keep you breathing easily through the colder months.

While it’s probably not possible to eliminate all the allergens inside your home, you can reduce the number – and your exposure to them – by making some simple changes. Here are some strategies you can use to improve air quality inside your home and hopefully improve your allergy symptoms.

Keep it clean. A clean house may be a healthier house because good indoor hygiene can greatly cut down on dust and animal dander, says Dr BuSaba. Your cleaning efforts should focus on strategies to reduce the accumulation of pet dander, mould, and dust lurking in your home. Focus on the following:

  • Vacuuming the carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Opting for hard-surface flooring instead of wall-to-wall carpeting may also cut down on allergens in the home.
  • Regularly cleaning bedding, drapes, and other items that tend to attract allergens–particularly if you have pets. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends washing in water that is at least 130° F. Also consider using dust mite-proof covers on pillows, as well as mattresses and box springs, whenever possible.
  • Clearing clutter, because it traps and holds dust that can trigger a reaction.
Daikin Air Purifier
Daikin Air Purifier

Invest in an air purifier. Research shows that filtering the air can indeed help to remove harmful particles from indoor spaces, particularly allergens, smoke, and mould. What if you’re allergic to indoor allergens and you can’t control the source of the problem?  An example of this could be you have a house pet and you are unwilling to give up your family pet. The practical solution would be to use an air purifier. Placed in the most commonly used areas of the house, these devices, in particular ionic purifiers, can help capture some of the irritants that may trigger your symptoms. You’re probably not going to be able to remove these allergens completely, but you can cut down on them, which may help the problem. A popular purifier is the Daikin Air Purifier MC70LPVM.

Also consider a dehumidifier in damp areas, such as a basement, to help prevent the growth of mould. Ensure that bathrooms, another potential source of mould, are well ventilated as well and scrub off any visible mould that collects in the shower, on fixtures, or walls.

Keep the greenery outdoors. In-door plants are pretty, but they can also collect and foster the growth of mould. So, if indoor allergens are a problem, you’ll want to avoid them.

While some plants are touted as helping to improve indoor air quality because they release oxygen, they are still allergy triggers for many people. On balance, they can create more problems than they help.

Change your filters. If you have a forced-air heating system, be certain to change the filters regularly. Electrostatic filters can help ensure that dust and other airborne irritants get trapped instead of being recirculated throughout your home.

Also, consider having your ducts cleaned to remove trapped dust. This may not always be advisable, but it helps in some cases. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has a great rating system for all type of air conditioning systems called Energy Rating.

Let the fresh air in. Even in the cold months, open windows from time to time to allow fresh air to move into the house. Also, move potential air contaminants out by using fans in the kitchen to remove cooking fumes.