Category Archive

Lifestyle

Tips to save your energy budget this winter

Lifestyle May 26, 2022

Rising costs and tightening household budgets are front of mind as we head into the winter months and as the temperatures start to cool off, the increased use of appliances to heat our homes can contribute to the biting energy prices. 

To avoid the bill shock that can sometimes arrive in time with your next energy invoice, there are a few things that you can do to reduce energy consumption and the costs associated with it.

Fix draughty areas

Look at areas where draughts may be prevalent in your home, typically under doors and windows. Around 40% of heat from the home escapes from windows and if you are a homeowner you may consider investing in double glazing which can bump up the energy efficiency of your home and have the added benefit of reducing sound. 

If you are renting, many hardware stores have solutions for draught excluders around windows and doors. Thicker curtains can keep colder air at bay and thicker rugs over hardwood floors can provide a cost-effective insulation approach.

Check the hot water

Hot water usage can contribute a substantial amount to energy costs. Tips like adjusting the temperature as well as washing with cold water or ensuring that you are only washing full loads are key to reducing those energy outputs. 

Turn off appliances

Appliances in standby mode, not in use can still use energy. Even your phone charger that is switched on at the wall and not in use is still generating power. If you are not using the appliance or going away, ensure that you are switching appliances off at the wall to reduce the energy consumption being used by those appliances.

Price check your current plan

There is a myriad of energy suppliers in the market now. Check your current electricity and gas bills to make sure that you are getting the best deal and negotiate to find the best solutions for you.

Swap your light globes

Where possible, make the switch with your light globes to those that are the most energy-efficient for the types of light fittings that you have in your home. More energy-efficient bulbs use as much as 75% less electricity and have the added benefit of lasting longer, which means replacing less often.

Making a few small changes in our living spaces and habits can assist with reducing those energy bills and adds to one less shock the next time you receive your electricity or gas bill.

Why build smarter communities

Lifestyle May 2, 2022

The creation of smarter communities ensures longevity and sustainability for its developments and lifestyle benefits for its residents. 

Smarter Communities are essentially managed by industry experts in the fields of technology, sustainability practices, infrastructural development and individual/family wellbeing. Together, these elements enhance community cohesion. 

To build a smarter community is to adopt a big-picture outlook; melding affordability with investor/owner/renter appeal, state-of-the-art technology with user-friendly applications and design and interior trends that inspire a biophilic quality. As such, developers in the sector of smarter communities quite simply create happier residents.

What is a smarter community?

A smarter community is a united vision in the delivery of intelligent solutions to create a better lifestyle for people living and investing in those communities.

One leading light is the aptly named Smarter Communities, a strata and community management firm with more than 40 years of experience. The company is driven by customer-centricity and innovation in developing communities within the properties under its care.

The recent appointment of Chief Executive Officer Sunitha Alexander, previously Head of Growth, Marketing and Innovation at Smarter Communities, furthers the company’s overriding objectives and draws on her wealth of industry experience at top-tier real estate corporations in the United States, Canada and Australia.

To date, Ms Alexander has been instrumental in helping Smarter Communities secure new business worth $10 billion in deal value.

This includes up to 4,500 communities that take advantage of the strata management and insurance, as well as the development and facility management services on offer.

Examples of smarter communities

Whether large or small, the essence of a smarter community is one whereby a successful hybrid of residential, commercial and community-focused features and amenities coexist

The smartest communities are diverse and extensive, covering small-to-medium residential and commercial blocks including townhouses and villas, shop lots and hotels, to large mixed-use high rises.

Development and marketing opportunities

Opportunities abound for developers and real estate agents to embrace the challenges of building and marketing smarter communities. 

Investing in a smarter community is at the forefront of long-term change for all industry proponents.

If created to exact standards and marketed within an affordable price range, the sustainability focus and lifestyle benefits of properties within smarter communities invariably sell themselves.

If these walls could talk: the advent of interactive homes

Lifestyle April 19, 2022

Buildings used to be inanimate structures — but no longer. The advent of conversation-friendly buildings injects life into the membranes of homes (present and future).

In terms of possible developments in technology, 5G will enable an era of connectivity like never before from autonomous driving, tactile internet, immersive technologies and next-generation IoT (internet of things) applications.

The internet of things describes physical objects that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet or other communications networks.

This is also true of the built environment, which is increasingly helping its users to connect smartly, efficiently and more productively.

The rise of conversation-friendly buildings

As society transforms, powerful trends are reshaping businesses; driving new technologies, shifting our needs and changing human behaviour. 

Global think-tank FutureScope explores the complex journey from innovation to commercial success on a global scale. 

Even as far back as 2010, FutureScope reported that architects using sound-mapping software developed at Cardiff University in Wales could see the noisy hot spots where conversations in a room might become unintelligible.

By altering room shapes and materials, they will be able to make meeting spaces, open-plan offices, and even cafes more compatible for conversations.

The construction of smart buildings, technology-based structures that improve efficiency, helps to achieve objectives that benefit both the user and the environment.

Sharing and integrating data between building systems enables the value of the combined smart building to be greater than the sum of its parts.

The reality

On a broad scale, these smart-building aims have been realised at the National Grid in the UK (to improve the utilisation of buildings within the estate) and at the University of Technology Sydney (to synchronise air conditioning with a room-booking platform).  

Next-generation technology and artificial intelligence are also being utilised in our homes via pre-programmable applications and platforms (from self-locking and opening mechanisms to robotics-based domestic aids, including AI wardrobe choice assistance and grocery shopping reminders).

When used smartly and wisely, advancing the breadth of technologies such as these frees up invaluable time and ultimately enhances our quality of life.

Office occupancy rates bounce back post-Omicron and holidays

Lifestyle March 29, 2022

The latest Office Occupancy survey by the Property Council of Australia shows that following record-low occupancy in January, caused by a combination of Omicron and the holiday period, there was a consistent lift in office workers returning to CBDs across Australia. 

The February survey of office owners revealed Melbourne’s CBD reached 15 per cent occupancy, while Canberra achieved 21 per cent, levels not seen in those capitals since June 2021 (when occupancy was at 26 per cent and 72 per cent respectively). Sydney recorded 18 per cent occupancy, which was just shy of its November figure (23 per cent).

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison says that while the results were encouraging, more work needs to be done. 

“There is still a long way to go and there are local factors affecting each city, but these figures are a strong start which we expect to accelerate in March, as more businesses reopen their offices. 

“It’s important that governments, councils and businesses have a big focus on bringing our CBDs back to life,” he says. 

The strongest rebounds were recorded in Brisbane, where occupancy jumped from a record low of 13 per cent to a record high of 41 per cent.  Adelaide also came off a low of 11 per cent in January to achieve 47 per cent occupancy in February. 

The only CBD that didn’t record a positive boost was Perth, which recorded its lowest office occupancy rate (55 per cent) since the survey commenced in July 2020. 

What this means for regions

Experts note that if we do see the return to the office increasing or remaining consistent, a large number of regions could see a fall in house prices at a faster rate.

The regions are more volatile than the capital cities, simply because they are smaller markets with lower liquidity. So, it doesn’t take much of a change in demand for there to be a significant change in the market on the ground.

Improving workplace wellbeing and productivity

In the interests of maintaining solid growth from a commercial and employment perspective, the most successful companies are well aware that staff are a major asset.

Creating a healthy work environment gives you and your employee’s opportunities to share ideas for your company that can encourage growth.

A healthy office environment can also boost your employees’ productivity levels and reduce your chances of dealing with frequent absenteeism and, in certain industries, workers’ compensation and medical claims.

Company leaders should firstly hire the right staff for the job. Creating a comfortable, light-filled office space and improving communications are simple steps to forging workplace unity and enhancing the bottom line.

Interior decorating trends for autumn

Lifestyle March 15, 2022

As autumn weaves its magic in our gardens, there are several home decor trends that are also set to flourish in this season of regeneration.

A large part of successful interior styling is the ability to adapt to the changing seasons and — with its implied comfort factor and colour scheme, featuring vibrant hues of gold and russet — autumn is no exception.

You don’t have to spend a fortune transitioning your interiors to reflect seasonal trends. But blending the latest looks that are suited to your existing décor, and enhanced with your personal style, will always make a statement.  

Global interior experts, including the stylists at Victory Curtains and Blinds, share their views about key home trends gaining popularity in autumn 2022. 

Raw materials

Furniture and accessories made from natural products like wicker and wood reflect rawness, while also making a space look stylish and modern. Chunky and textured wall hangings create the perfect ambience for the living room. Solar lamps made from waste materials also add a warm glow, while providing sustainable lighting alternatives.

Warm shades 

As it cools down outside, bringing some warmth into your interior is a must. Adding pops of colour such as orange, yellow and caramel shades is ideal for achieving warmth, as it will evoke feelings of nature while also brightening up your space. Change any neutral-coloured accessories for orange-flecked throws, cushions and wall hangings. 

Natural lighting

Regular access to daylight and views will remain key to home living this autumn. Layering window treatments such as sheer blinds and curtains are a smart way to enhance natural lighting, while still offering a sense of privacy. 

More houseplants!

Bringing the outdoors indoors is another trend that continues to flourish. Decorating the bedroom with indoor plants is especially beneficial for heightened sleep quality as plants promote clean air and help to reduce stress levels. Houseplants can also provide a quirky look when added to your interior. 

Standout patterns

Patterned wallpaper in the dining room is a growing interior trend. Using a patterned wallpaper doesn’t necessarily mean the look has to be overpowering. It just has the ability to add depth to a wall. Matching your wallpaper with the same colour palette throughout the dining room will unify the scheme and bring the walls to life! 

Financial steps for a stress-free retirement

Lifestyle March 10, 2022

With the steadily growing ageing population and rising age for pension qualification, Australians and New Zealanders are realising that they need to take proactive steps towards securing their financial future.

To help ensure you are prepared for retirement, no matter what age you are planning to retire, property investment consultancy Dream Design Property shares its expert advice: 

Eliminate consumer debt

Credit card debt is not cost-effective, therefore paying off your highest interest balances first is a smart move. One then has the ability to use the money freed up as each card gets paid off — to accelerate the payoff of the remaining cards. This means you’ll be debt-free much quicker. 

Knowing that one investment is not enough to retire on, and the earlier you start the better

Focusing on property investing as an example, to retire on a $100,000 per annum passive income, you would need 10 properties each with a purchase price of $300,000, receiving $350 per week per property for a minimum of 10 years before you achieved this level of financial stability.

Typical advice is to aim to replace 70-90 per cent of your annual income. This is assuming you own your own home. With people statistically breaking into the property market later these days, it pays to have a sound investment strategy that will provide you with the ability to invest and purchase your own home.

With only a small percentage of Australians and New Zealanders owning some sort of investment property, and an even smaller number owning six or more properties, the thought of 10 investment properties could be daunting. However, with the help of market professionals, building a multiple property portfolio is achievable and will greatly enhance the security of one’s retirement. 

Add to your portfolio yearly (or as often as is financially achievable) and know that financial rewards may not be instant — rather, reaping the benefits over the long term, in time for retirement. 

Capitalise on what you could be earning money from

Is there an extra space in your house or office that can be rented out for additional income? Assessing your property for any small changes that could translate to significant profit is an effective way to improve your bank balance quickly. 

Invest your pay rise

With every pay increase, it is tempting to also give your lifestyle a promotion. Many people increase expenses each time their income rises.

However, a trend with smart investors is to control their spending. Putting aside one’s raises and/or bonuses directly into a high-interest account can be an easy and efficient way to control spending. Every dollar saved is a dollar earned. After all, you’re only as wealthy as your saving or investment abilities allow. 

Ensure that your insurance is in place for financial protection

Financial protection is essential when it comes to investing. Unfortunately, we hear of career-ending accidents all too often and those who have mortgages are often left high and dry. Arranging the right insurance policy can protect up to 80 per cent of your income in the event that you lose the ability to work.

Speaking to a financial advisor to set up income, disability, life and trauma insurance is the only way to safeguard yourself, your portfolio and your retirement fund. 

(Source: Dream Design Property)

Seller’s market spurs renewed interest in real estate careers

Lifestyle March 3, 2022

The Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) licensing data shows that in the 2021 calendar year there was a 31 per cent increase in the number of new property occupation applications received, compared to the number received in 2020.

The OFT data reveals that while the overall number of licences and registrations held in the property industry has been relatively steady for a number of years, in 2021, application numbers, particularly for full real estate agents’ licences, began to increase.  

Industry proponents attest that a career in real estate offers so much more choice than many people first realise.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s Chief Executive Officer, Antonia Mercorella, says it wasn’t surprising to see more people attracted to the real estate game in the midst of a seller’s market, coupled with COVID causing people to reassess their lifestyle and occupation.

“Any agent will tell you that real estate is a fast-moving industry with regular legislative changes that require ongoing learning, commitment, hard work and very long hours, but the rewards are in line with the effort. You get out what you put in,” says Ms Mercorella.

Those looking for new roles in real estate were also in luck, with the busy market resulting in many companies advertising for more resources to manage the increased workload.

“With levels of interest and inquiry for properties at an all-time high, many agencies are on the lookout for apprentices and additional staff in all fields, but most predominately in corporate support and property management, to share the workload,” she adds.

“It’s also been the instigator for many professionals to upgrade to a full licence and go out on their own – becoming their own boss by establishing their own business.”

In Queensland, for example, the introduction of government funding has also been a great incentive for employers to recruit apprentices and take advantage of the REIQ apprenticeships program. The program is a win/win for apprentices and employers alike, allowing employees to undertake study while learning on the job.  With generous funding on offer until March 2022 – potentially up to $32,000 of incentives available where eligibility is met — it’s also an attractive option for employers.

Career benefits

Most people think that real estate means residential sales, but that is just one in a multitude of options and avenues where you could take your career.

Gaining your real estate qualification opens the door to many sectors, including business broking, property management (commercial and residential), buyers’ agencies, auctioneering, business development and corporate support, and of course, residential and commercial sales. 

“It’s a career that can be flexible around family commitments, ideal for mums getting back into the workforce or dads looking to enjoy more family time. It offers options for school leavers, with great apprenticeships on offer, or opportunities for those who are on their second or third career change. Some even decide to get their real estate licence as a side hustle,” says Ms Mercorella.

How to make your move

Getting into real estate requires the successful completion of an accredited training course, usually starting with the Registration Course. For those wanting to open and manage a real estate business, the Full Licence Course is available.

Both options are available online or in-person to suit individual learning preferences. Successful completion of the educational qualification is followed by an application to the Office of Fair Trading for a government-issued certificate or licence.

Contact the OFT or Consumer Affairs in your state for further training-based information.

Regional exodus shows no signs of abating

Lifestyle March 1, 2022

Despite industry speculation in some circles signalling a downturn in regional growth, official reports strongly suggest otherwise.

New data from the Commonwealth Bank reveals quarterly migration from capital cities to regional areas over the past two years is averaging 15 per cent higher than in the two years prior to COVID-19.

The latest Regional Movers Index – a partnership between the Commonwealth Bank and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) – analyses the quarterly and annual trends in people moving to Australia’s regions.

According to the December quarter Index, net migration to regional areas is more than double the levels recorded over the two years prior to the pandemic.

Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager for Regional and Agribusiness Banking, and RAI Regional Australia Council (RAC2031) member, Paul Fowler, says: 

“City-siders have really embraced Australia’s regions over the past two years. And as we see flexible working arrangements continue and Australia’s domestic and international borders opening up, it’s likely we will continue to see this movement as people recognise the benefits of a regional lifestyle.”

Dr Kim Houghton, the RAI’s Chief Economist and Acting Chief Executive Officer echoes these positive sentiments, adding that: “With two years of the Index, we can now clearly see the impact that COVID has had on people seeking a regional lifestyle.

“It is particularly exciting that many of the smaller regions showing high rates of growth are inland towns. It looks like the pandemic is changing some long-established movement paths, which is a good sign for more balanced population growth across Australia in the future.”

The figures explained

While net migration to the regions remains strong, the number of people relocating to the regions in the December 2021 quarter was down 10 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

This was partly due to the high movement already seen in previous quarters, as well as seasonal conditions and accelerated regional housing price growth.

However, community-oriented lifestyle qualities, larger homes and technological advancement in remote employment capabilities add to the regional investment appeal. 

Strongest growth areas

The areas recording the strongest annual growth in migration throughout 2021 were located in Queensland and South Australia, with SA’s Port Augusta topping the list (54 per cent growth), followed by the Queensland local government areas of Douglas (49 per cent) and Western Downs (48 per cent).

Regional exodus shows no signs of abating

Looking at the full year, the Gold Coast remained the most popular destination among metro-movers in 2021, welcoming 11 per cent of all people who moved from capital cities.

The Sunshine Coast wasn’t far behind (five per cent), followed by Greater Geelong (four per cent) and Wollongong (three per cent).

How to prepare your autumn garden

Lifestyle February 28, 2022

Even though nature is in decline in the season of fall, avid green thumbs know that autumn is a busy time in the garden.

From preparing the soil to planting long maturing and large, seeded vegetables early in the new season, we provide the following essentials for creating a flourishing garden.

Starting at the base with soil preparation ensures a solid foundation for future growth. This involves breaking up hard clumps and removing weeds and debris from garden beds. 

Further improve the quality of your soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure before planting your vegetables, but do not over-fertilise the soil if you are growing carrots, as this can cause forking of the roots.

Green boost

For a verdant boost to the soil, green manures are the answer. These fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing plants are cultivated specifically to be dug back into the soil a few weeks from planting.

The purpose this serves is to improve the quality and nutrition content of the soil. You are advised to plant one now to dig into the soil, thereby feeding the autumn planted crop.

Sowing seeds of fruition

Experts recommended getting an early start for autumn vegetables that need a long season to mature. 

Varieties such as cabbages, broccoli and brussels sprouts can take 16 weeks to reach maturity, and if they are not ready to be harvested by the time the spring arrives, you may end up with beautiful plants but little to harvest.

You should also plant large, seeded varieties, such as peas and broad beans, directly into the garden when cooler conditions take hold.

Your autumn to-do list

A comprehensive garden clean-up means leaving no place for pests to hide. Ongoing maintenance also ensures an autumn garden that is set to thrive. Essential chores include:

  • Make a concerted effort to thoroughly tidy up borders.
  • Prepare and treat lawns for the cooler months. 
  • Start making and storing leaf mould for garden use. 
  • Clear out compost bins. 
  • Plant evergreens early in the season.
  • Divide, lift and replant perennials into well-fertilised soil.
  • Plant new trees and plants.
  • Make new plants from cuttings.
  • Remove all leaves on a regular basis.
  • Trim and prune hedges and plants.
  • Feed citrus trees and check for pests.

Managing pet-separation anxiety and boredom

Lifestyle February 22, 2022

Busy professionals/pet owners obviously worry about their pets’ wellbeing when they leave home for work.

Uncharacteristically clingy or destructive behaviour, pets vocalising their concerns prior to your departure or arrival, physical symptoms such as drooling or perspiring and displaying disinterest in eating could all be signs of anxiety and boredom.

Managing problem behaviour in pets stemming from separation requires the underlying cause to be addressed. Treatment plans can vary, depending on the individual pet and pet owners.

But Pet Circle Head Vet Dr Teagan Lever says dealing with separation anxiety is all about helping your pet become desensitised to you leaving and returning to the home.

“Lots of problem behaviours from separation anxiety and boredom, like barking, digging, scratching and destructive chewing, can also be avoided by providing your pet with things to keep them mentally occupied while you are away,” says Dr Lever.

If your pet is suffering from severe anxiety or stress, consultation with a positive-reinforcement trainer or behavioural veterinarian may be required — and a treatment plan developed.

But firstly, try these eight simple tips from Dr Lever to manage your pet’s anxiety or boredom:

Avoid making a fuss when leaving or returning home, as this reinforces anxiety
Ignore them for a few minutes prior to departure and upon return, then wait until they are calm before giving them some attention.

Don’t let your pet develop negative associations to your morning rituals
If putting on your shoes or picking up keys is a trigger for your pet, try doing these actions without leaving the house to teach them that it’s not a negative.

Trial time away from your pet when you are home
Give them a treat or toy, then go to another room and gradually increase the amount of time spent away.

Keep them occupied and reduce boredom with a long-lasting treat or interactive toy
Food puzzles and mats, dog-chew toys and laser- and motion-active cat toys provide mental stimulation when you’re away from home.

Playing music helps to calm and reduce anxiety in pets
Try leaving the radio or TV on with some relaxing soft rock or classical music. It can also help reduce their reaction to any unsettling noises they may hear outside.

Keep your dog physically active to manage behaviour
For those dogs that have been accustomed to long walks during lockdowns, a sharp decline in exercise may lead to excess pent-up energy, weight gain and frustration.

Try explorative feeding by hiding dog and cat treats/food in different places around the house or backyard
This will bust boredom and also help them exercise. Remember to use different levels for cats.

While training is essential, calming supplements, anxiety wraps and pheromones can help reduce your pet’s overall anxiety
For dogs, you try indoor pheromone diffusers and collars. For cats, use diffusers with a synthetic analogue of the feline pheromone and anxiety-management supplements.

If you are unsure what is the best option for your pet, consult the Pet Circle Vet Squad for free online advice or contact your local vet for further assistance.

Keeping it real: how to tend to indoor plants

Lifestyle February 8, 2022

The purpose of displaying indoor plants is to not only add vibrancy and life to your interior but equally to improve air quality and enhance psychological wellbeing — for the viewer and carer.

However, for your plants to look the part and householders to receive their visual and health benefits, it’s important to maintain natural greenery at its most verdant.

With a little regular effort and ongoing TLC, even the most time-poor green thumbs can ensure that interior plants reflect their natural glory.

Keeping it real: how to tend to indoor plants

Fast facts

Plant owners do not need to be expert botanists. All that is required of them as caretakers is to consider the hardiness of the plant, its suitability for variations in indoor temperatures (including heating and air-conditioning demands), light requirements, air circulation, feeding, weeding or pruning and repotting.

Gorgeous greenery and indoor suitability are achieved with Zanzibar gem, Mass cranes, rubber plants, Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue and rosette-forming perennials such as Bromeliads. 

Maidenhair ferns also evoke a delicate natural beauty but require a warm spot with adequate natural light.     

Soul food in the giving

In these post-pandemic times, tending to plants can be a balm to the soul. Adopting a daily plant care routine requires minimal time but offers maximum gain.

Indoor plants often starved of natural light and fresh air, require regular watering. Dropping plant food in your watering can is also recommended every third or fourth watering.

Making the rounds is an enjoyable exercise for your plants and the waterer alike. While doing so, you can either reduce the supply or forgo entirely if the soil is still damp.

You should also examine the leaves, giving the pot a turn if it needs it, recognising and celebrating new growth as you preen, fuss and tend to your treasured greenery throughout its life cycle.

For a methodical task with instant visual gratification, the trimming process is next on your to-do list. This is an ideal weekend project, as it is designed to get everyone involved and provide your plants with a new lease on life. 

Keeping tired foliage in trim condition 

Restoring your indoor plants to their trimmest condition is a matter of regularly pruning dead or dying leaves. This task will not only improve the health and livelihood of seasonally weary greenery but removing withered leaves also helps prevent pests from making their home in your plants. 

Wait at least until a leaf is fully yellow and it pulls easily away from the plant before taking it off. A leaf that’s only partially yellow means that the plant is still absorbing the leaf’s nutrients. But brown leaves and brown leaf tips can be trimmed with impunity. 

Compact-sized hand pruners should do the trick for indoor plant maintenance. In addition, you should sanitise your pruners between plants so you don’t transfer diseases or pests. A disinfecting wipe to clean the blades works great. 

Prudent snipping not only makes your plants look better and helps them stay healthy but trimming off dead parts creates space and energy for new growth. Doing so will not only encourage your plants to grow but will remind you, while you’re doing it, of how true this holds for you, too.

(Source: Apartment Therapy)

Five tips to reduce noise in your home

Lifestyle February 3, 2022

Living close to your neighbours has its benefits, but there’s also the issue of noise in small residences and apartment living. It’s often the case that modern homes are built with lightweight materials that allow sound to travel easier, but some simple tricks can help keep the peace.

  1. Wonder wall

Hang sound-absorbing materials, such as cotton, foam or felt, on your walls. These could be tapestries, rugs, pictures or artworks, but be aware that some materials are better than others at blocking out different levels of sound. 

  1. Floorshow

Adding high-pile rugs or carpets to your floors can stop sound from bouncing and also add insulation properties. Things are also looking up, aesthetically speaking, with egg carton-like ceiling baffles that can aid soundproofing. Better still, they come in a range of eye-catching designs.

  1. Seal of approval

Door guards at the base of your doors can allow draughts and unwelcome sounds to disturb your sanctuary. They’re also available in a variety of styles and colours to match your decor. Similarly, seal the gaps around windows to stop heat and cold from entering your domain.

  1. Window of opportunity

Thicker glass can block up to 95 per cent of sounds, so it makes sense to invest in quality. Double glazing is one option that will soon pay its way in reduced utility bills and greater levels of comfort. 

  1. New doors 

A solid-core door will be a far more effective sound barrier than lighter, hollow doors. Consider replacing those doors close to living areas and neighbouring walls where sound can create the biggest issues.

Other areas of sound reduction

If you’re interested in taking sound reduction to the next level, you could also consider the following options for decorative and noise-reducing effects.

Flooring updates

If squeaky floorboards and chipped tiles are adding to the internal noise and proving a safety hazard, you can instal acoustically engineered flooring that acts as a soundproofing base for your floorboards, tiles or carpet.

Instal curtains

Window furnishings not only keep temperatures under control but can also add layers of soundproofing. Heavier drapes layered over sheers provide interior opulence and serve to stem outside noise, while also maintaining inside volume control. 

Soundproof the laundry

Ongoing internal noise can prove as meddlesome and distracting as outside interruptions. The laundry is a prime area where noisy washing machines and dryers can wreak havoc with internal equilibrium. Placing shock-absorber pads and soundproofing mats under laundry equipment will lessen the vibrations and thus noise levels from permeating the main living areas.

There are many other simples measures, such as rearranging the furniture to outer walls and loading up bookshelves, to help stem noise levels. This acts as a sound barrier and also creates a stylish, spacious and inviting interior element to your home decor.