Home · Interiors

Cost-Effective and Sustainable Tips for Your Home

Image Credit

With the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s prudent for you to cut down costs on important things such as your home by reducing expenses. This helps you to save some money and reduce the strain on your finances. As a plus, you can consider going sustainable, which also allows you to contribute to the environment’s good. Are you wondering how to get started? Here are some cost-effective and eco-friendly tips for your home. 

  1. Lower your thermostat

One way to save money while keeping your house sustainable is to reduce your thermostat, especially when you clock in for the night or are away. According to calculations by the UK Department of Energy and Climate, reducing your thermostat from 19° to 18°C might bring down your overall dwelling temperature from 17° to 16°C. This helps to reduce your heating requirements from 2490-2250 degree days, giving you a 10% reduction. Although this sounds very technical, it’s quite easy to implement to achieve the optimum temperature for your home. It’s even easier when you opt for a new thermostat from https://serp.co/best/honeywell-thermostats/. To make it easier for you, incorporate a programmable brand to adjust the heating/air conditioning according to a planned schedule.

During the winter, you can decide to set your thermostat to 20°C when you’re up and about and reduce it when you are not at home. In summer, you should keep your house warmer when you’re not around and set it to 26°C when you want to cool it down. Another trick you should apply is to make your indoor and outdoor temperature similar, as this will reduce your overall cooling or heating bill. It’ll also be best to avoid setting your thermostat at a colder temperature when your air conditioner is on, as it can bring on avoidable bill increment. 

  1. Embrace solar power

Electricity is vital to running your home smoothly, as it’s needed for daily activities such as cooking, laundry, ironing, entertainment, etc. What better way to get electricity than going solar? Solar power helps you save more by significantly cutting down your monthly electric bill, allowing you to take care of other expenses. What’s more, it helps you to reduce greenhouse gases, toxic waste and water pollution that cause significant distress to the environment. It’s also a reliable energy source that doesn’t require cumbersome maintenance procedures. 

You can switch to solar power by going for Photovoltaics or PV, the common solar technology for home use. Remember to ensure that your house is suitable for its installation. Despite the initial high costs of installation, it’s worth it for your home and your pocket in the long run. However, if you’re not financially ready, you can opt for community solar, which involves a group of people sharing electricity generated by harvesting solar energy. You can visit www.choosesolar.com to learn more about how this solar option works. 

  1. Use fluorescent light bulbs

One way to save energy and cut down costs in your home is to replace your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat instead of producing more light, resulting in higher bills. They provide just 15 lumens per watt of input power, while fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, produce about 50 to 100 lumens per watt of input power. 

Fluorescent light bulbs produce less heat which makes them more efficient than incandescent bulbs. For instance, a 20-watt fluorescent light bulb is equivalent to 100-watt incandescent light bulb, making it more cost-effective for every area of your home that needs light. They’re also available in various colours and designs that add a touch of beauty and elegance to your home. 

  1. Regulate the use of water

Regulating the amount of water you use in your home helps reduce your expenses and wastage. This also goes a long way to protect the environment in the long run, as it conserves water bodies. Managing your water usage in the home is essential in cutting down water bills by reducing the cost and energy used to treat water and wastewater. You can limit water wastage by replacing old toilets with modern ones that use less water. Additionally, you should look out for water leakages in your home and fix them immediately. It’ll also help if you use low flow showerheads, as they help restrict the flow of water you use when taking a bath. 

It’s possible to adopt eco-friendly practices in your home while saving up extra money. By trying out these tips, you’ll be on your way to living a sustainable and budget-friendly lifestyle.

Interiors

Make Your Home a Little More Nordic

Make Your Home a Little More NordicThere’s been a huge trend for Scandi home styling for quit some time now, with hygge, lykke and fika all becoming part of our vocabulary in recent years. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, with the leaves starting to brown and jumpers coming out of the wardrobe, but it got me thinking about those Scandi trends and how we could make our home feel a little more Nordic, without making major changes. Here are some of the things I came up with:

Go White

You might not think of whte floors and walls when you think about being cosy, but actually, whiteness is a staple of Nordic home design, with many opting for clean white walls and adding in splashes of colour elsewhere. This is because they winter months are long and dark in Scandinavian countries and white walls reflect the light as much as possible. Light grey can also create a sense of cosy in a room, particularily if there is enough light in the home.

I Love Lamp

No Nordic home is complete without a lot of lamps. As above, the winter months can be really gloomy, especially as you go further North, with some places seeing no daylight for weeks on end. Creating a lighting scheme which can be bright when you want it to be, as well as being cosy and muted when you feel like it, is super important to get the Nordic feel.

All Natural

Scandinavians have a great appreciation for the outdoors and nature is reflected in much of their design choices. Décor, artwork and materials often represent the nature of the Nordic region. Wood is abundant in most Scandi homes adding a coziness that compliments and warms the usually white walls and light floors. You will often find sheepskins and reindeer pelts on chairs and floors as well as plants and flowers or even branches brought in from the outside.

A Splash of Fun

While you’ll find a lot of muted colours and sleek lines in Scandi design, there’s always a splash of colour and a hint of fun in there somewhere. Be it an accessory in a bright, wild colour or a set of cushions with a fun geometric print, it’s not all serious. Don’t be afraid to use clashing colours or oversized items like clocks and mirrors to make the room feel lively and vibrant.

Mix and Match

One thing you’ll notice about most Nordic rooms is that it’s not all matchy-matchy. You’ll find things make from wood, plastic, metals, fabric, all in a variety of colours and shapes. You’ll find ultra-modern furniture sitting alongside antiques and you’ll find hard surfaces and straight edges softened with fabrics and textiles. In Nordic homes it is not unusual to find and interesting mix of expensive classic pieces with more affordable designs – Scandinavians know the value of good design in their homes and will often save up for that one iconic piece that will give them great pleasure, rather than spending on smaller items which are ultimately disposable.

Home

Sausage and BB Design Their Dream Home

It’s been pretty rainy and rubbish here for the last few days and after the madness of last week (Sausage turned 11 on Tuesday, so we’ve had playdates, sleepovers, shopping days as well as a barbecue at the weekend for our friends’ 40th) we’ve opted to spend some time chilling at home. You know what kids are like, though, and even chilling at home means finding pretty constant ways to entertain them, so I thought I’d ask them to tell me what their dream house would be like, and write about it here!

A Personal Lift

While brainstorming their ideas, both girls decided that their dream home would have bespoke passenger lifts – Sausage to transport her dozens of dogs and BB to get her pushchairs upstairs because she wants a dozen babies!  I can see my retirement years being spent doing a LOT of baby sitting and dog sitting…

Walk-In Wardrobe

Despite neither of my kids being massively girly girls, they both LOVE clothes, and another thing they agreed on (I can’t believe they’ve agreed on so much to be honest!). When Sausage mentioned that she wanted a massive walk-in wardrobe, BB decided that she definitely wanted one of those, too. They’d better both have good careers for all this stuff!

Conservatory

I’m not sure what it is about the women in our family, but we all love a conservatory. Maybe it’s the feeling that you’re sitting outside but manage to be warm and dry at the same time? Either way, both girls decided that a conservatory would be high on their list of demands when designing their dream house.

Theatre Room

In all honesty, we’re only just at a point where BB will sit still for long enough to watch a whole film. She’s okay at the cinema because she can’t get up and wander off but at home, it’s a struggle. However, she’s recently decided that she does like watching movies with us (even if we have to spend ten minutes convincing her beforehand!) and both girls agreed that a theatre room would be a great addition to their dream house.

Indoor Swimming Pool

They might not be overly keen on school swimming lessons (who likes being given two minutes to get your school uniform back on to your still-damp body?!) but both girls love being in the water. My dad kindly bought them a pool for the garden this summer and they’e had great fun using it so far, so they agreed that an indoor pool that they could use all year would be a must-have in their fantasy house.

What would your kids have in their dream house?

Garden

Creating a Proper Family Garden

We’ve lived in our current house for almost two years now and this year we’re planning to do a bit of a makeover in the back garden. It’s a pretty big space and is very basic, with a large lawn and a patio area, and it’s completely functional as-is, just a little uninspiring. We’re planning to live in this house for years to come so it stands to reason that we should be optimising the space that we have for us as a family. HouseBeautiful have written a great article about making the most of your garden and it’s got me thinking.

Borders

At the moment, our lawn is just one large, plain space, but we’ve been toying with the idea of edging all along one side and adding a flowery border. It would add some much needed colour to the space and would break up the huge expanse of green that the eye sees. We’re also big fans of anything that attracts bees so we’ll definitely be looking into what to plant for a bee-friendly garden.

Shelter

Given the fact that this is Essex and not Marbella, having a shelter in the garden would make it so much more usable because we wouldn’t be at the mercy of the unpredictable English weather. Oeco make a range of garden rooms which would provide us with an amazing outdoor space to allow us to be indoors and outdoors at the same time.

Lighting

Outdoor lighting is something that I get REALLY excited about (I know, I’m tragic) and I’m planning to get some solar powered string lights to give the garden a beautiful Midsummer Night’s Dream feel to it. Our current outdoor light is a fixed-point, motion sensor floodlight which is NOT conducive to relaxed evenings in the garden.

Furniture

Our current garden furniture consists of an old picnic bench which was left be the previous tenants and some plastic garden chairs which were passed on by my mother in law, The current stuff is okay, but it really doesn’t inspire you to spend any time sitting on it! What I’d really like is one of the outdoor sofa sets which would allow us to sit in the garden as a family, as well as enjoying a meal and having guests over too.

Design Touches

I think one of the things which makes our garden look totally plain is the complete lack of design touches, like pots or plants and ornaments. It’s my birthday in June and I’m hoping for vouchers for a garden centre so that I can buy some bits to make our garden look fabulous.

What have you done to make your garden a better space for your family?

Home

Making Design Choices that Last

studleyOne of the things that Husband and I loved about the house we’re living in now is that our landlady is happy for us to decorate. As with most rental properties, obviously we have a “within reason” guideline, so painting the walls black is a no-no and we’re not permitted to make any major structural changes, but other than that we have fairly free reign. When you rent rather than own, it’s wise to make choices that will last, which means avoiding ‘trends‘ or things which will seem passe by the end of the year.

Obviously, as with clothes, if there’s a particular trend which is big at that time, there will be a LOT of that in the shops – remember a few years ago when metallic furniture was all the rage and it was nigh-on impossible to find a Welsh dresser which hadn’t been gilded?! For us, it’s all about finding balance – items of furniture which are high quality and classic in their design, so that they stand the test of time.

Another thing to consider is lighting – lighting can change the whole look of a room and is so easy to add to. Here’s that the interior design specialists from Baytree Interiors had to say about lighting:

“Strategically placed lighting is a simple yet effective way to change the ambience in a room with minimal effort. Pendant lights and chandeliers are a great choice when it comes to lighting, as are filament bulbs which provide a warm glow with a vintage look. With a range of different styles available from industrial to vintage and modern variants, pendant lights can suit any theme.”

As much as we’d love to re-decorate our houses every time the trends change, what’s far more practical is choosing a style which can be amended if your tastes change. Opting for furniture in neutral colours and classic shapes and then accenting them with cushions, place mats or storage inserts in different colours is a far more practical (and let’s face it, CHEAPER) way to freshen up the look of our homes.

It’s also a lot better for the environment to opt for furniture which has been well-made. Yes, going to a massive warehouse-style shop and picking up a bargain may seem great but that furniture rarely lasts longer than a year, will add to landfill once it’s thrown away and has probably used lots of carbon-heavy processes to be made. Choosing real wood furniture which has been made by craftspeople is by far the better choice.