All the Outdoor Furniture on Our Wish List Circa Now
Because decent weather is (nearly) in sight.
Living in a city where the hot desert climate is in effect for most of the year can have its ups and downs, but one of the many advantages? Being able to make use of your garden area to get a tan, hang out with friends and family, or simply unwind when the temperatures begin to cool off. Now, with summer coming to a close, you’ll get a chance to spend more time outdoors, making this the perfect time to rethink the aesthetics of your patio or garden. If you are contemplating a redesign in time for fall, you’re in luck. The Gaggler is here to help you turn your outdoor space into your own personal sanctuary with these furniture picks, each perfect for the upcoming cooler months.
Source: Danube Home
Danube Home Ashley 7-Seater Sofa Set in Grey
This selection from Danube Home displays the feel of sophistication and cosiness with ease. The dual-toned wicker frame and the beautiful upholstery work boasts unparalleled aesthetic and craftsmanship integrated into this outdoor piece. Comprising two two-seaters, a single seater, two corner tables, and a coffee table, it’s perfect for big groups that want to hang out and chat while basking in the outdoors. As an added bonus, the corner tables provide storage space, too.
Add a pop of colour to your outdoor space with this rattan stool from Homebox. The vibrant blue tone of this light, yet durable choice makes it a great accent piece that will complement any design theme. The glass top adds to its easy charm and, most importantly, takes zero effort to clean.
Take your siesta game to another level, courtesy of this gorgeous daybed from Rattan House. It is an upgraded version of a sun lounger that’s made with powder-coated aluminium with wooden finish, making it a classic piece that won’t compromise function. The light fabric of its cushions and drapes give it a clean, natural aesthetic perfect for the pool and garden area.
Hanging out with company is great, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a space reserved just for you. This hanging pod from Homeworks is the best choice when it comes to making the perfect scene for your well-deserved alone time. Laze around and take pleasure in the outdoors with a book and cup of coffee (or two) in this stylish and long-lasting outdoor chair.
If you’re big into camping and generally staying outdoors, you won’t go wrong with this beautiful gazebo from Home Centre. With its adjustable draping, you can set it up any way you want, depending on your style and lounging needs. The premium materials used in this outdoor fixture not only add to the style of your space, but also provide much-needed protection from the heat.
Kick back and free yourself from past exhaustion and future worries in this posh hammock from La Siesta. The lovely fabric comes in weather-proof material that will last you ages. Additionally, it’s 100% sturdy and built to fit up to two people comfortably! You can choose from three different colour assortments perfect for any style. For a bright and cheery look, we recommend the sea salt variant. And for a more classic and muted vibe? Opt for the almond alternative.
Mindful shopping is a practice of mindful living. Mindful living brings joy, happiness, and meaning to your life. By being a mindful shopper, you are intentionally making choices that contribute to you living your best life. One of my favourite inspirational quotes is:
The late fashion designer Vivienne Westwood made this powerful statement and showed that these three simple actions can change the way you shop, spend money, and live. A mindful shopper is a person who thinks carefully about what they buy. They consider the impact that the purchase has on their life before they buy the item. This might sound like a lot of effort to go through when shopping, but the more we think about what we buy, the more value we get from our money. Shopping becomes intentional, and you become more mindful about choices you make in life.
Watch: How To Shop More Mindfully
Some of the benefits of being a mindful shopper include saving money and time. Not buying impulsively when shopping will save you money and, by knowing exactly what you want to buy, you also save time trying to make quick decisions on items you are not sure about. Mindful shoppers have a home with minimal clutter as they only buy what they need when they need it. This contributes to a simple lifestyle as you have less things to worry about in your home.
You may think that having less things means having a less valuable life, but it is actually the opposite. Purchasing only the items you need and love will add value to your life by cutting out items that do not add anything to your life goals. Mindful living is a lifestyle where you are aware of your choices and make decisions to nurture your mental and physical health. Here are eight tips to get you started.
1. Do a Stock-Take
Check what you already have before you go shopping. If you are planning to browse your favourite home and fashion stores, think about what you actually need. If you know there is a good clothing sale going on, go through your wardrobe and write down what items you need. For example, if you have a pair of jeans that are worn out, do you need to buy another pair or do you already have enough?
If you are shopping for food, check what it is in the pantry and fridge. You may have forgotten what you have. Buy food that complements what you have, so you can use it in a planned and tasty meal. Shopping for food should be purposeful, and you should have certain meals in mind to ensure you use up what you have already bought.
2. Use a Shopping List
A list helps you to shop with intention. Group together items on the list according to what shop you are going to. You likely already know what the best places are to get certain things, so be patient and stick to your plan. For example, if you are going to a certain shopping mall that you know has your favourite clothing store, think about what items you would need specifically from that shop. Also, write down optional items that you may not need right away, but are worth buying if they are on sale.
3. Be Patient with Sales
The purpose of a sale for the retailer is to sell as much of their current stock as quickly as possible so that they can make space for the new stock. Advertising for sales makes us think that we need to buy quickly or risk losing out on amazing savings. Do not fall into this trap! Only buy what you need when you are ready to buy it. If you do not find what you want on sale, do not settle for something less desirable just because it’s cheap. You will most likely not use the item, waste your money, and create clutter in your home.
4. Be Careful of Deals
Marketing campaigns that are very popular are promotional deals like ‘Buy 3, Get 2 Free’ or ‘Buy 2 for the price of 1’. Do you really need so many of the same or similar products? Again, this could be a clutter trap. If you really only need one bottle of something, then only buy one bottle of something. Getting three more in order to save a few dirhams might not be the best decision if you do not have space to store the items and only use them once a month, for example.
5. Buy to Enhance
Enhance what you already have. When you go shopping to buy new outfits or home décor, have a good look at your current style. What do you already have that could be worn differently? Would some accessories or a specific piece create new outfits from what you have? For example, if you have a good pair of trousers that you haven’t worn because of its colour, you could buy a new top to complement it.
Are there décor pieces, say, of a certain accent colour, that could enhance the furnishings you already have instead of buying a complete set of new items? For example, you could buy new scatter cushions and a rug that brings in a new colour to your room instead of replacing the furniture. By enhancing what you have, you are reusing what you have in a different way and making it last.
6. Think Quality, Not Quantity
Buying quality items means they last longer, which means you save money in the long term. If items last longer, then you will also be buying less. Buying less means less clutter in addition to saving money and time shopping. Look after your purchases to help them last longer. A few things to consider when you want stuff to last: where you buy your items, how you store them, and how you maintain them.
For example, a simple item like a shirt will last longer if it is of better quality. Choose shops that you know have good quality shirts. Once you have bought a good quality item, wash it according to the recommendations to make it last. If you see a shirt on sale in a shop that you know is not high in quality, ask yourself if you really want it.
7. Protect the Environment
Take your own bags when you go shopping. This is one of the easiest actions you can take to protect the environment. Avoid plastic bags where possible. Use reusable canvas shopping bags, and your handbag for small items. Keep shopping bags in the back of your car in case you forget them at home. Also, keep a small foldable tote bag in your handbag for unexpected purchases.
When buying something, think about how it was made. Support small businesses and artisans if you can, which use methods that are less harmful to the environment. Buying less items over time will also help protect the environment.
8. New Things In, Old Things Out
This depends on how much storage space you have for items. If your storage is already limited, you will need to get rid of old items as you buy new ones. Think about what you can donate or sell. By constantly doing this, you will have a clutter-free home. It will also help you to be more aware of what you have and what you need.
If you would like to know more about how to organise and declutter your home, visit Fern McGahey’s website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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This is what you need to turn any space into a stress-free, tranquil oasis.
It’s no secret that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, yet we often don’t take the time to nurture our minds and spirits in the same way we care for our bodies. A straightforward way to change that is to create zen in your home — a unique space where you can relax, meditate, do some yoga, or take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Why Create a Zen Den in Your Home
In these hectic times, it’s more important than ever to have a space where you can relax and feel at peace. For many people, that space is the home. But what if your home doesn’t feel like a haven? What if it feels just as chaotic as the outside world? If that’s the case, it might be time to transform your home into a zen den. Here are some of the benefits of having a peaceful, stress-free home.
You’ll Sleep Better
When your home is calm and serene, your mind will follow suit. That means you’ll fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly throughout the night. If you’ve been struggling with insomnia, making your home into a zen den may be just what you need to finally get some rest.
You’ll Reduce Stress and Anxiety
A cluttered, chaotic environment can be very distracting. Focusing on work or other tasks is hard when your surroundings are messy and loud, but when your home is tranquil and organised, you’ll find it much easier to stay on task and get things done. Creating a zen den is a great place to start if you’re looking to boost your productivity.
You’ll Reduce Stress and Anxiety
When you’re constantly surrounded by chaos, it’s no wonder you feel stressed out all the time. In contrast, a stress-free environment can significantly decrease your own stress and anxiety levels. If reducing stress in general is one of your goals, making your home into a zen den is an excellent way to achieve it.
Creating the Ultimate Zen Den in Your Home
The good news is that creating a peaceful haven in your home doesn’t take much. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy; it can be as simple as a corner in your bedroom or a spot in your backyard. You can turn any space into a tranquil oasis with a few simple changes. Here are a few tips and ideas for meditation rooms to help you start building your zen sanctuary, even if you only have a few square feet of space to work with:
Choose a Quiet Spot
When choosing a location for your zen den, finding a place in your home that is away from the noise and commotion of daily life is essential. If you don’t have an extra room that you can dedicate to your practice, consider setting up your space in the corner of your bedroom or living room.
Make It Comfortable
Once you’ve selected the perfect spot, it’s time to start making it into a space that promotes relaxation and peace. Start by adding comfortable flooring — choose mats or cushions for sitting or lying down during meditation. You might also want to include blankets and pillows for added comfort.
Clean Your Space
Now that you’re done setting up, it’s time to start cleaning. This space should be clean and clutter-free, peaceful and calming.
Start by decluttering the room. Get rid of any furniture or decor that is not essential. Then, give the room a good cleaning. Dust all surfaces and vacuum the floor.
Bring in a Touch of Nature
One way to create a calm and relaxing environment in your meditation room is to bring in some elements of nature. Add some plants to the room or hang pictures of your favourite natural scenery. You can also add a water feature to the room; the sound of running water is very soothing and can help you relax.
If you have a window in your meditation space, open it to let fresh air in. Incorporating some elements of nature in will help create a calm and serene environment.
Add Some Soothing Elements
When you’re looking to create a space in your home that is peaceful and calming, there are two things you can do to achieve that goal — aromatherapy and adding soft touches. These soothing elements can help you relax and unwind.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to change the atmosphere of your home is with aromatherapy. When used in the home, it can help to create a more inviting space that promotes wellbeing for both body and mind. Here are a few of our favourite products to get you started:
There’s something about a burning candle that just oozes cosiness. Whether you’re aiming to create a zen den at home or just looking for a way to relax after a long day, this Cinnamon, Clove, Orange & Vanilla Candle from Saante is the perfect option. Orange, clove, and cinnamon all have warm, stimulating aromas that help awaken the senses. On the other hand, vanilla induces a deep sense of relaxation in the body and mind.
This Juniper and Cypress Candle from Palm Lights bring a touch of luxury to your space. The flickering candlelight creates a soothing ambience, while the the crisp and fresh woody scent of Juniper helps to relax and calm the mind. The slightly woody evergreen scent of Cypress adds an exotic touch to the blend, making it perfect for an evening of relaxation.
This Lemongrass Essential Oil Spray from Rut Essentials has a refreshing, citrusy scent that is perfect for creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere in your home. When diffused, lemongrass oil can help to reduce stress and promote feelings of wellbeing. In addition, lemongrass oil can be used to cleanse and purify the air, making it an ideal choice for use in your zen den.
This Earth Ceramic Diffuser from Rut Essentials is a great way to add some extra zen to your home. The sleek, white design is simple and elegant, perfect for placement on a shelf or table. The diffuser uses ultrasonic waves to vaporise water and essential oils, creating a soothing environment. The mist output is adjustable, so you can choose the perfect level for your space. The diffuser also features an auto-shutoff function, making it safe and easy to use.
There’s nothing quite like the soothing smell of incense to help you relax, and when it comes to quality, nothing beats hand-crafted sandalwood incense sticks. These Sandalwood Artisanal Incense Sticks from Palm Lights are made with only the finest natural ingredients and provide a delicate yet complex scent that is perfect for use in any room. Whether you’re looking to create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom or add a touch of luxury to your living room, sandalwood incense sticks are the perfect way to do it.
Another essential element to keep in mind for your zen den at home is to add soft touches. The goal is to create a relaxing and calming space, so it’s essential to choose materials to help you achieve that. Adding soft touches can help you to create a space that feels truly tranquil and serene. Here are our favourites:
For those who love the feel of grass under their feet, this Vaastra Natural Sambu Grass Yoga Mat from Earthistic is the perfect way to add a little extra softness to your zen den space at home. Made from natural sambu grass, this mat is gentle on the skin and provides a cushioned surface for yoga or meditation. Plus, the unique green hue of the grass is sure to add a calming touch to your yoga practice.
This Cherry Stone Circle Pillow from Saine is the perfect way to add a little bit of extra softness and comfort to your home. Made of clean, dried cherry pits, it can be heated or chilled. The result is a truly relaxing experience that can help to ease muscle tension and stress. In addition, the pillow’s unique shape makes it perfect for use as a neck pillow, lumbar support, or simply as a decorative accent.
This Air Kimono from KimonoGirl is a beautiful and unique piece of clothing inspired by the element of air, which represents intellect, mental intention, and connection to the universal life force. If you’re seeking clarity or struggling to find your place in the world, air energy can help you to see things from a higher perspective. The Air Kimono brings an additional soft touch to your zen den space at home through a garment that looks beautiful and has special meaning.
The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will too.
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Living in the UAE usually means one thing for all of us: we need to move home at least twice while living here. Moving homes is considered as one of the most stressful events in one’s life. This is because there is a lot of worry and anxiety that comes along with the big change of living elsewhere.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make a move less stressful and work smoothly. It all depends on how well you organise your house move before, during, and after the move itself. Being organised when moving your house means you will be less anxious and your dream home will be realised much quicker. Here are six tips to get that house move organised smartly.
1. Make a To-Do List
You can make a to-do list in a notebook, laptop, or on your phone, but keep it somewhere you can easily access. The key to making a good to-do list is having a list that you can keep editing. Having a list helps keep you in check with what needs doing as you prepare for the move.
Items on the list might include organising the movers, listing maintenance jobs like painting the house, fixing household items, getting maintenance services for the new house, buying new curtains, sprucing up the garden, and so on. Keep your list tidy and in order, with dates of events. A messy list is not easy to read and can end up causing more confusion and stress.
2. Book a Reputable Mover
Scout movers on social media and read Google reviews or blogs to help you choose a mover that gets the job done well without too many problems. It might be worth spending a little more money choosing a moving company that gets it right and quickly the first time, which will help to keep stress to a minimum on the day. It’ll also save you from having to potentially replace improperly handled items later on.
3. Declutter Before the Move
Would you pay to move things you don’t even need in your home? Of course not. This is why you need to declutter so you can organise your house and move smartly. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but it is really worth it. The aim is to move into your new home with only the items you love and need.
The best way to start the decluttering process is to work through the house room by room. Give yourself time to declutter before you move too, as it will be challenging to try to do the whole house in one week. Allocate certain days when you will have energy and give yourself at least a month before the move to start. You may even do small sections – like the cutlery drawer, laundry room, or spice cupboard – in the evenings
Have a box dedicated to donations nearby so that you can easily place items in it as you declutter. Remember: as you declutter, keep the vision of how you want your new home to look and feel in your mind. This will help you decide what to keep and what to let go.
4. Have a Packing Plan
Before you start packing, create a plan. Planning out what to pack saves you time and money in the long run. Firstly, pack things that you don’t use daily. This means you get some items that don’t interfere with your daily life packed away before the move. Secondly, pack items according to the zone they are used for based on the new house. Another group of items you may want to pack before the movers arrive are sentimental and fragile items as these could get damaged or lost during the moving process. It may be best to organise these yourself.
Label all your boxes and items clearly so that the movers know what to put in which boxes and where they will go in your new home. Labels are essential instructions about what to pack and where, so label items, cupboards, or drawers in advance with tape to let the movers know where they should pack them. You can also colour code your labels; blue for the kitchen and red for the bathroom, for example.
5. Moving Day Tips
List all contacts on your phone. Have the numbers of the movers, maintenance company, estate agent, clearing companies, and other key players on hand to contact immediately when required.
Communicate clearly with movers. So often, I see people get frustrated because the movers are not sure of their clients’ expectations. Be clear when communicating what you expect from the move with the supervisor. Labelling boxes, spaces, and furniture in advance really helps movers know what to pack where.
Get childcare or petcare. If you have children or pets, plan ahead to get them daycare for moving day. It will definitely help to reduce the stress of moving as the last thing you need on this day is focusing your attention elsewhere. If daycare is not possible, think of ways to keep the kids entertained like activity books, new games, and snacks.
Wear comfortable clothes. Dressing comfortably makes everything else easier to manage. Wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty, but also make you feel cool and comfortable.
Drink lots of water and have snacks. Moving in the UAE can often be hot work. Stay hydrated and keep up the energy levels with protein snacks and fruit.
Stay calm. Finding ways to keep the serotonin levels high is smart. Sleep well the night before, eat a nutritious breakfast, and remove yourself from stressful situations for a moment to do some deep breathing and refocus on the main objective – which is to move smartly.
6. Organise While Unpacking
Once your belongings have been safely moved into your new home, you need an unpacking plan. Identify zones for items before unpacking the boxes and move the boxes into these zones. This reduces the amount of disarray that could result whilst unpacking. Organising items into categories while you unpack will save you time later, bringing you closer to your goal of a calm and clutter-free home.
Once you have moved, remember to review the zones in your home after a couple of weeks. People need time to adjust to a new space, and often what seemed like a good idea for storage may not be functional once living in the space for a while. Keep moving items until you find that sweet spot where all items are stored in zones, are easily accessible, and have a place of belonging.
Ask yourself the following: “Does my new home look and feel like the vision I had?” “Is there anything that needs to be replaced or bought?” “Does everyone in the family have the zones they require to live productively and successfully?” Do not expect everything to be perfect in the first week. Give yourself time to adjust and, with careful review, it will soon become the home of your dreams.
The use of tiles in the interior space has been common practice for centuries, with the first use of decorative tiling dating back to Egypt in 4,000 BC. Long before carpets adorned floors, tiles were used to cover compacted mud and concrete and finish off interior spaces.
They were not only used on floors, but also fixed to walls in place of paints to depict art forms, with mosaic tiles used on walls to create elaborate finishes, along with simpler results such as plant or nature scenes. The Romans were particularly fond of mosaics, which they used to decorate floors, walls, and the poolside areas of their villas.
Mosaic patterns are still popular today, especially those featuring bold colours like reds, blues, and greens. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in popularity for tiling as an alternative to wallpapering or painting, with homeowners looking for something different that will stand the test of time – without being costly to maintain.
Keeping It Classic
Tile is one of the most versatile and beautiful materials for flooring. It can take on any style and look, from modern and sleek to traditional and timeless. Patterned tiles became a popular addition in Renaissance times and are popular once again.
When trying to create a classic, Renaissance-style theme, think tiles in sage green, royal blue, and creams with pretty flower motifs to create an authentic look. Such tiles were also prominent in the Victorian era (1830s to 1900), when patterned tiles were used to decorate floors and fireplace surrounds, in keeping with the era’s tendency to over-decorate spaces.
Wondering how to accent a period property authentically? Simply choose motif tiles with darker hues such as burgundy, navy blue, dark green, and red. Motif tiles are also the style used in many Grecian designs. Go for blues and whites and complete the look with smaller, glass mosaics.
Current Day Tiles
Tiles are the perfect way to create a bold, personal statement in your home. Today, tiles are available in many different sizes, finishes, and materials that allow you to put your personal stamp on your space. Depending on your taste and the concept you want to achieve, you can go for a higher-end, elegant Carrara marble tile versus a natural stone (which can be layered unevenly for a rustic finish) or a hardwearing granite tile (which will stand the test of time).
With a little imagination, you can also easily create your coveted design using the appropriate tiles and colour selections. It doesn’t matter what kind of space you’re looking to fill or what finishes appeal to your particular tastes; no matter which direction you go with these tiles, there’s sure to be something out there that will help you achieve the look and feel of your dreams.
Tiles can be so much more than just something to cover the floor or walls. They can be a way to bring culture and environment into your interior, creating a space that is both beautiful and relaxing. Culture and environment can be visible through tiles. Specific styles such as terracotta bring a Mediterranean feel to the interior, the natural colours instantly relaxing the space.
A classic Middle Eastern style is a beautiful combination of vibrant colours and floral or geometric patterns – inspired by Islamic architecture – laid out to create elaborate motifs, instantly transforming a space with the intricate design. Terracotta tiles come in many colours ranging from natural earthy tones like browns and greys to warm yellows and oranges. This means that they will work well in any type of room – kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom included.
Tiling Your Space
Tiles are a versatile and cost-effective way to add style, texture, and colour to any space in your home. They can also be used in a variety of different ways that don’t require you to use them as flooring or wall cladding.
Although tiles are usually found in bathrooms, kitchens, and general flooring areas, they don’t have to be relegated to these spaces. They can be just as effective on a wall service in the lounge area, for example. This will break up the paint and add texture to the room, along with additional sound insulation. It also provides a visual relief from the usual finishes.
Tiles can also be added to a space to create a border, division of space, or focal point. By using contrasting colour and patterns, you can create a truly unique space. Another way to include tiles is to use them to create a form or art, either on the floor or wall. Consider placing geometric shaped tiles to create an interesting feature.
To bring some charm into your space without feeling like it’s too much, subway tiles are a great option. These tiles don’t need to be patterned to create a sense of style. They can be simple and modern, or even go in the opposite direction and be rustic. Either way, they’ll look great in any room with an industrial feel.
Because they’re so cheap and simple, you won’t have to worry about them clashing with other elements of your decorating scheme. The subway tile is an easy way to spice up your space without going overboard on patterns or colours. By choosing a simpler tile, you will be able to spruce up the rest of the room with colour and personal objects.
Leanne Cooper is a Muscat-based interior designer. Visit @leanneclaire81 for more information.
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Do you dream of owning a wardrobe that looks like it belongs in a magazine or high-end boutique? Well, you can have it with the help of just six nifty items. But before you start to organise your closet, spend at least a day giving it a thorough declutter as this is part of the journey of having your dream closet – it’s an inefficient use of your time and money organising and arranging items that you don’t wear, need, or use.
To organise your closet, you should only have what you need and love to wear. Your closet should be your sanctuary, making you feel beautiful and invigorated. Read on for some practical tips on how to get your wardrobe organised in a way that works for you, making your space calm and clutter-free.
1. The Velvet Hanger
For every closet I have organised, I have always highly recommended the velvet hanger. You might ask why. Why would you replace all the hangers you already have, even if they are in good condition? Usually, wardrobes have hangers of all shapes and sizes – the skinny wire one, the larger wooden ones, the regular plastic ones and, sometimes, the broad suit ones. If you have limited space in your closet, the first way you will make more space is by removing any broad hangers.
Firstly, velvet hangers are slim with a versatile neck that swivel, making it easy to put clothes in and out, ensuring the clothes are facing the same direction. Secondly, the velvet hangers are a great organiser for the closet as they prevent clothes from slipping. Thin synthetic fabrics or silks are very slippery and can become wrinkled or look messy in your closet. Velvet hangers ensure all the pieces are well presented, keep their shape, and make your clothes look like they are in a store – especially when you choose one colour for all your hangers.
2. The Drawer Divider
This is an essential organiser for the closet as it makes everything visible. Drawer dividers come in different shapes and sizes. Some are simple plastic extendable dividers that can fit in most drawers – these are perfect for folding T-shirts, shorts, leggings, and tops, keeping them neatly in rows within the drawers.
Another divider is the box of different sizes, like the SKUBB series from IKEA that keeps different types of items together, like accessories or underwear. For bras and underwear, Amazon sells a set of drawer dividers that keep each item apart, making it very easy to see them all. The key to organising your closet is to make each item visible and accessible in a sensible space. Drawer dividers help you do just this.
3. The Pull-Out Storage Box
So often, wardrobes have deep shelves, making it very difficult to reach items at the back of the shelf. By pulling some clothes out, others get knocked over – even if they are in neatly folded piles – so you end up with a messy bunch of wrinkled clothes in no time. To solve this problem, use storage boxes that fit exactly on the shelf, which you can pull out to access the back of the shelf.
Any box can work for this purpose, but it should ideally fit most of the surface area of the shelf in order to maximise the closet space. Measure your shelf carefully and refer to these dimensions when buying your storage boxes. I would recommend buying a box covered in fabric as it gives a softer feel and looks attractive when you open your closet door. My favourites are the STUK series from IKEA.
4. The Pants Hanger
What is a pants hanger, you may ask? It is a hanger with multiple bars to hang more than one pair of trousers or scarves on. These are wonderful space savers and keep your trousers neatly folded as well as highly visible. It’s wise to get ones that are non-slip as most trousers slip. I would dedicate a space on one side of the closet to use this closet organiser, keeping your trousers in one zone.
When arranging your hanging closet, it is imperative to have zones based on the use or look of your clothes. For example, zones could be trousers, shirts, dresses, and skirts – all based on the length of the items. Alternatively, zones could be work clothes, occasion wear, and casual wear – based on the purpose of the items. It needs to work for you, so choose a style that you love to look at everyday, keeping in mind that it needs to be practical as well.
5. The Shoe Box
Shoe storage is an ongoing battle for many closets around the world. It’s usually a problem because there are more shoes than there is space. The way to work around this is to store vertically. Most closets have a shoe space in the bottom half and there are options to maximise this space vertically. You can insert a wooden or wire shoe rack inside the closet. You can also use stackable shoe boxes to increase visibility, but they require the luxury of space.
Another option is to store shoes in deep drawers if you have some under the bed, or have a separate unit with baskets to store shoes in. Having shoes visible in your home creates visual clutter, so I highly recommend using an organiser that hides your shoes within your closet. The less visual clutter you have in your home, the calmer it will feel.
6. The Shelf Insert
The shelf insert is a versatile closet organiser that helps maximise vertical space. Another benefit of this handy piece is that it creates more visibility for all the pieces in your closet. An efficiently organised closet should have all items easily accessible and visible to the user. Shelf inserts are incredibly valuable in closets that have deep shelves as items at the back are often not seen because it’s dark and things can get lost behind other piles of clothes.
You might be wondering what you can put on a shelf insert. Clothes can be folded and put on shelf inserts. Handbags and shoes can be stacked on shelf inserts. Makeup and accessories can also be placed high up. There are many different types of shelf inserts that you can choose to suit your style of closet. Black wire racks work for dark closets, clear acrylic stands from Muji are perfect for displaying accessories, and white shelf inserts match white closets and therefore create a uniform look.
To maintain your beautifully organised closet, there is a simple rule you need to follow: anything new coming in means something else needs to go out. Over time, your closet will get fuller and more cluttered as you buy more. Be mindful about what you buy, making sure it is what you really want and not an impulse buy. Donate regularly to keep your wardrobe calm and clutter-free – it should be inspirational, not an eyesore.
The bathroom. A place of both sanctuary and shame. A safe haven where we can relax and rejuvenate or a cluttered mess that causes us nothing but stress. If your bathroom falls into the latter category, it’s time for a change – declutter and organise this space.
By decluttering and organising your bathroom, you can make it more efficient and easier to maintain. This will free up time for you to relax and enjoy yourself without having to worry about cleaning up after yourself. In addition, by decluttering your bathroom, you can also help to improve its air quality and make it more pleasant to spend time in. But how do you transform your bathroom into a sanctuary? Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Clear Out All Expired and Unused Items
Have you heard of a clutter magnet? Well, bathrooms are known for this. In just a little time, bathrooms can become overcrowded with all sorts of items from toiletries and makeup to medicines and even pet items. The first major step of organising a bathroom is to declutter it completely.
Dedicate a time and place to do this. You will need floor space or a large table to unpack all items. Go through each item, check the expiry date (if any), and decide whether the item is used frequently, needs to be kept for long-term use, or ought to be discarded.
2. Sort Items According to Category
As you go through the decluttering process, place items in groups of function or use. For example, you start to find many hair products like gel, spray, and shampoo, so group these hair products next to each other. Other categories can include makeup, hair, face, body, medicines for cold and flu, child medication, adult medication, first aid items, vitamins and supplements, hair removal, female hygiene, and dental hygiene.
3. Store Items Based on Frequency of Use
Once you have gone through all your items, use bins to combine each category and find a suitable space to store them. Remember to store frequently used items close to the front of the cupboard or top drawers where you can get to them quickly. If something takes too much effort to store away, we tend to place items on the countertops. Try to avoid this as it creates a cluttered look.
4. Store Medicines Safely and Accurately
Medicines need a dedicated zone to be stored in, ideally out of reach from children. They should also be clearly labelled and discarded if expired. It is not worth using any medicine after it has expired as you have no idea how it has changed chemically or what its effects may be.
One unique thing about medicines is that they can accumulate very quickly. You may often buy new medicines when the family is sick and then very rarely use them all up (think: nasal sprays, cough medicines, supplements, and creams). Sometimes, you could also end up with duplicate items because you’ve forgotten what you already have at home.
5. Use Hidden Storage
Bathrooms don’t usually have lots of storage as they are small rooms primarily filled with sanitary ware. If you purchase additional storage for your bathroom, buy closed storage so items can be hidden from view. Too often, I see open shelves or trolleys that have become clutter magnets, resulting in messy bathrooms.
An organiser for the bathroom will always tell you to keep it clean and hidden. Examples of hidden storage can include wall-mounted cabinets like the ENHET series from IKEA, baskets with lids, and moveable chests of drawers.
6. Fold Towels Attractively
Storing your towels beautifully can make your bathroom so much more attractive. Ensure you have good towel racks to hang your towels neatly so they can dry properly. When storing extra towels in the bathroom, there are many ways to fold your towels so that they can look beautiful and organised. Two common ways are to roll them or fold them, so the edges are not visible.
7. Keep Surfaces Empty
This is key to keeping a bathroom calm and clutter-free. On your sink countertop, you should only have the items you literally use every day and maybe not even all of those. If a wall-mounted cabinet or drawer is nearby, keep your toiletries out of sight. Using a container with a lid is an option for bathroom storage, too.
8. Don’t Buy More Than You Need
When you have limited space to store items, you have to be mindful of how much you buy for that storage space. Try to use up all your toiletries before you buy more. Have no more than one extra stock of essential items like toothpaste and shampoo. If you have a large storage area elsewhere in the house, you are fortunate to create a space for extra bathroom stock that doesn’t encroach on the current bathroom storage.
9. Maximise Cupboard Space
Bathroom cupboards often have a large open space under the sink without shelving, and various bathroom organisers can help maximise this space. One idea is to attach wire racks or clear holders inside the cupboard doors to store items. Another idea I highly recommend is getting shelf inserts or modular, stackable drawers from KEYWAY at Homesmiths.
Usually, a lot of vertical space goes to waste under the sink. Using a shelf insert, like IKEA’s Variera range with clearly labelled bins, increases the surface area for bathroom storage. Stackable drawers are also a great way to enhance the storage space; each drawer can contain a different category of items. Labelling the drawers will help keep items in order and make it easy to find items quickly.
10. Calm the Space with Scents and Plants
Calm your home and create that sanctuary spa feeling by appealing to your senses. Think about how you can add fragrance to your bathroom – candles, diffusers, and incense are all ways to bring in a scent you love. Bring plants into the bathroom, too, as greenery makes us calm.
Both real and artificial plants work, as they both add to the atmosphere of being in natural surroundings. Hanging plants in a macrame hanger really suits the bathroom as you are not taking over the bathroom floor area and many corners in a bathroom are usually covered in tiles and very stark. Plants will soften these spaces creating a sanctuary you love to visit every day.
With residents across Dubai returning home and gearing up for life as usual, let’s revisit the Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘declutter’: “to remove things that you do not use so that you have more space and can easily find things when you need them”, implying the main motivation for decluttering is that we can find things quickly when we need them and make more space. This is partly true, yes, but this definition does not reflect the impact of decluttering on a person’s lifestyle.
I believe that the main function of decluttering is something much more important. It changes the way you live in your home. By removing what you don’t need, you create space for calm and mindful living and make it a place you love to live in. According to Marie Kondo, decluttering only has an impact if it is all done at once – not throwing out one item a day and doing it gradually. And I have to agree with her. When you declutter an entire wardrobe or defined space in one session, you will see and feel its impact. You will feel lighter and feel a sense of relief, which is all you need to change your life from that point onwards.
Watch the Video: 6 Steps to Decluttering Your Home
How Do I Start?
No two people have the same clutter – what is clutter to me is not clutter to you. It is subjective. This is why there are no specific instructions about what to declutter. There are, however, steps to follow in order to guide you through the process of decluttering. After all, decluttering is the first step to starting a new lifestyle. Once you intentionally decide what you need to keep in your home to live your ideal life, you have established the path to clutter-free living.
Organising and storing your items is not going to change your life because you will constantly be tidying items that you do not need. Now you may ask: when does one organise and store their items? That step comes after decluttering. Your space can only be successfully organised if you have decluttered properly. This is why I have developed the following six specific steps to get you started correctly – and successfully!
1. Identify the Cluttered Space
The space you identify could be one of three things: a room, a smaller space, or a category of things. A room is the easiest thing to identify due to its physical boundary of walls. A room can also be the hardest thing to declutter as it can be large with various zones and many different items. Make sure to set aside at least four hours for a good declutter session to get the desired effect. A smaller space can include a closet, a nook, a bathroom cupboard, the bedside table, the kitchen drawers, or the fridge. These are spaces that keep the same sort of items performing one function together. These take less time, but are very rewarding as you can declutter it one session.
Decluttering by category refers to groups of items that could be in more than one place in the house. Examples include children’s toys, toiletries, cleaning products, or kitchen equipment. Often, this is a very efficient way to declutter as you are targeting all the items in that category at home. For example, you may have toys in more than one room, so you need to get all the toys out from all the rooms, declutter them, and then decide where they will go. It might be somewhere new that works better for the family. Cleaning products is another category that can be spread around the house – in the kitchen, bathrooms, or laundry area. When decluttering these areas, think of all the cleaning products in the house and do a stock take of all items to make sure you know exactly what you have in the house before you declutter.
2. Visualise the Space
Think of the details. How do you want the space to look and feel? What colours do you see? Is there a photo on Instagram or Pinterest that inspires you? Do you like neutral colours? Do you want that spa feel in your bathroom? Then think about why you want this feeling – really hone into your ultimate goal for your home and keep this in your mind throughout the process.
3. Start to Declutter
Take all items out of the space and spread them out on the floor or on a table. Pick up each item individually and ask yourself these few questions to determine where it needs to go:
Do you need it?
Does it add value to the life you want?
Does it belong to the vision of this space or should it go elsewhere in the home?
4. Sort Items Into Categories
Sort items into four storage boxes – Keep, Donate, Dispose, Recycle – while you are decluttering. Dedicate a space in the room to put the ‘Keep’ items. The rest of the items will go into the ‘Donate/Dispose/Recycle’ containers. Cardboard boxes or baskets are ideal, but make sure that they are clearly labeled and accessible nearby. You can use a marker on some tape or write directly on the boxes. Having these boxes at hand helps you make a decision quickly. You need to put the item in one of the three boxes if you are not keeping it.
It can also be motivating to have the ‘Donate’ box nearby in order to encourage you to get rid of items as you know someone else will make better use of it than you currently are. In the ‘Donate’ box, you might also identify some items you want to sell. You can address this at a later stage or have a separate box for sale items. It is time to give yourself a pat on the back when you have completed this step – it’s the most challenging part of the decluttering process. You may feel drained and exhausted as a result of all the decision-making, so take a well-deserved break as you only have two more steps to go.
5. Take Immediate Action
As soon as you have gone through all the items in the identified space, move the boxes out immediately. Take the recycling to the recycle depot or bin that day. For donations, do your research about where to take certain items. A professional organiser can help you with this, too. At this stage of the process, it is often easy to feel tired and unmotivated to carry on. Donating items is rewarding and will give you the motivation you need to keep going.
6. Give Yourself Some Love
Decluttering is no easy feat. People avoid it all the time as it is mentally draining and takes time. However, if you get it right and achieve your goal, decluttering can be life-changing. You’ll feel light and have a huge sense of achievement. You’ll also feel proud as throwing out items that once meant something to you is not easy. However, understanding that those items are no longer adding value to your life is even more important. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, put those feet up, and visualise the calm and peaceful space that is to come.
After decluttering, the next steps include allocating storage, organising the items, and beautifying the area. Not only can a professional organiser coach you through the decluttering process, but also provide you with their expert opinions on storage solutions and organisational methods that will calm and simplify your space. Make your home work for you already!
If you would like to know more about the art of decluttering, visit Fern McGahey’s website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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Car Trouble? These are the Top 10 Best Car Garages in Dubai
Let us lead the way.
While purchasing a car is simple, maintaining one is not. To extend the life of your vehicles, you must have regular maintenance performed on them. Each of us desires the highest quality services for our cars in order to prevent frequent breakdowns. Finding reliable auto repair shops that will treat our cars like their own, at a reasonable cost, is also rather difficult.
According to a recent survey, one car is owned by every two persons in Dubai, or 50% of the population. Even though there are plenty of public transportation options available, most in the UAE prefer to use their own cars. And owning your own car is undoubtedly convenient if you keep it in good condition. To prevent major issues, regular maintenance is necessary for automobiles. As the number of cars rises, so do the number of auto repair shops in Dubai.
Both the cost and quality of service must be taken into account when selecting an auto repair centre. In addition, narrowing down a single service provider to handle all of your car’s needs is also a hassle. After conducting thorough research, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 car garages in Dubai that would be able to provide all required services and have the greatest teams of qualified specialists.
UNIQ Auto Spa
UNIQ Auto Spa
UNIQ Auto Spa is a leading car mechanic garage in Dubai, offering a highly equipped team of mechanics and technicians who take pride in delivering excellent services using cutting edge tools and technologies. They provide mechanical, body repair, car wrapping, ac service and repair, as well as the finest automotive polishing and detailing service. In addition, they deliver numerous other services with unrivaled workmanship, such as leather repairing and restoration, automotive repainting, sticky button cleaning & refurbishment, Gtechniq ceramic coating, and paint protection film installation. At Uniq Auto Spa, they believe that only the best will do for your car, offering total auto maintenance and repairs for all brands and models that are available in the region.
No matter what brand or model your automobile is, they are committed to going above and beyond to give you the best car care service. They provide all auto-related services under one roof. Their specialty lies in care, maintenance, and protection. With a team of more than 30 members, from mechanics to artists, and years of experience in the industry, you are guaranteed to receive service that is worth your money!
UNIQ Auto Spa, Warehouse #4, Galadari Complex – behind Gold & Diamond Park – Al Quoz Industrial Area 3 – Dubai, (054) 797-9680, uniqautospa.com
Carcility is a well-known facility for automobile services in Dubai. They are committed to provide their clients a hassle-free service at a reasonable cost. You can take your automobile there for servicing, rapid repair, parts recovery, and car washing all in one place. You can choose your car servicing hours with Carcility by making an online appointment in advance.
Radiant Car is another excellent location in Dubai for car recovery services. Since its founding in 1998, it has been loyally offering specialist repair and maintenance services to all of its clients. Radiant Car is renowned throughout Dubai for its best professional conduct and skilled, experienced experts that use specialised tools to repair your car. They offer a wide range of services, including denting and painting as well as repair and maintenance, transmission repair, electric and diagnosis, air conditioning, and services for your car’s spare components.
Since the last 40 years, Zone Auto Care has been offering its services in Dubai. It offers every type of service your car needs, from accident repairs to car detailing. This vehicle garage in Dubai is famed for its committed clientele and reasonable costs. It has branches in Sharjah, Dubai, and the Al Quoz Industrial Area.
The Service My Car centre is one of the best auto repair facilities in Dubai. The company was founded in 2019 and has since been offering its devoted consumers 24/7 authorised services. You only need to contact Service My Car if your vehicle requires annual maintenance, repairs, design work, or any other ancillary services. They will pick up your vehicle from your home, take care of the required work, and then return it to your door. They give various offers on all of your services at regular intervals.
Premier Car Care can be your next stop if you’re worried about enhancing the performance or appearance of your vehicle. They provide Dubai residents exceptionally high-quality care services that also boost performance. Premier Car Care offers a variety of denting and window-tinting services in addition to repair, maintenance, and air conditioning services. It also offers a number of environmentally friendly packages that can be used to swiftly and affordably customise and update your vehicle.
Z Degree is most popular for their tire replacement service. In addition, it offers services outside of their garage. They will come to you with all the necessary equipment once you simply phone them. The best part of having your automobile fixed in Z Degree is that you may switch your payments to low-rate easy installments options. Along with offering car maintenance services, they also sell high-quality tires that can be ordered online and fitted wherever you like. In Dubai alone, they operate at six branches.
Z degree, 4th Street – Al Quoz – Al Quoz Industrial Area 4, 800 933 4733, myzdegree.com
For more than 70 years, Open Bonnet has offered maintenance and garage services, earning the trust of its patrons. This shop offers a variety of repair services, battery support services, automobile inspection wash services, and air conditioning services. Additionally, Open Bonnet offers high-quality tires and other essential automotive accessories. Open Bonnet features a well-performing, round-the-clock hotline system. It is highly renowned for its fleet servicing solution, at-home services, and pre-purchase inspections that help you connect with your drivers, employees, and other relevant information.
One of the top garages in Dubai is GT Auto Centre. It offers different types of services, such as automobile detailing, body work, paint, dent removal, accident repair, refinishing, and car washing, among others. On request, it also offers a pre-service value so that the consumer can budget for his service fees ahead of time. The majority of insurance companies advise their clients to visit GT Auto Centre.
QuCars is a leading automotive repair and service facility for both small and large-scale automotive demands. It is situated in the heart of Dubai, and is a division of Golden Workshop, which was founded in 1980. They are well-known for providing services like insurance repairs, collision repairs, paint refinishing, and mechanical and electrical diagnosis. They are one of the experienced and trustworthy experts and service providers for auto maintenance. Their team of highly skilled professionals are equipped for maintaining commercial vehicles including vans, buses, trucks, bikes, etc.
Whether it’s vaccinations, annual exams, or one of those uh-oh moments when you need to see a vet ASAP, you’ll want to choose one who offers the best possible services. However, there are many options of vet clinics in Dubai – that’s why it can be hard to decide which one is best for your needs. We put together a list of the top veterinary practices around the city.
Modern Vet has been offering high-quality basic to speciality veterinary services in the UAE since 1995. It provides services ranging from cardiology, neurology, orthopaedics & soft tissue to homoeopathic and alternative medicine, including 24-hour emergency services. The clinic focuses mainly on emergency care, dental, grooming, mobile grooming, spay and neuter, ophthalmology, and vaccinations. Modern Vet has locations in Fortune Tower, Platinum Residences, Umm Suqeim, South Ridge Tower- Downtown, and Golden Mile Galleria.
Modern Vet’s Downtown location is unique in its design by and of itself, with high-friction tiles so pets don’t slip and consultation tables that give clients the capacity to remain close to their pets during examinations and simple procedures. Planned with pets and humans in mind, the clinic is cosy, friendly, and very ‘sniffable’. They balance out their curated interior with a strong emphasis on technology and the latest in medical equipment. The goal? To improve the veterinary team, pet, and client experience in Dubai.
The most spacious Modern Vet Clinic can be found in JVC. The 200-square-metre practice is a full-service clinic offering everything from routine check-ups, spays, and neuters to more complicated orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries. The team has over 275 years of combined expertise within the practice of veterinary medicine and is proud to have the most international team of veterinarians, nurses, and support staff in the country, so no matter where you may be from, you will find someone at Modern Vet who will understand your pet’s needs.
Modern Vet Clinic JLT is small, warm, and charming. The clinic exudes an intimate vibe, but most importantly, pets are allowed on the couch – which must be why they love it here! Clients are encouraged to relax and get comfortable so that all patients feel like they never left home. Another extra accent that makes Modern Vet JLT feel like home is the beverage station in the lobby stocked with tea and coffee for pet parents, and a “muzzle-level” treat bar for the pups, where they can pick out a snack after their visit.
With a handpicked team of the most sought-after vets in the UAE, it is one of the longest-standing and best veterinary practices in Dubai. Modern Vet has been featured in the media for several groundbreaking accomplishments as well. In 2021, Modern Vet was the brand behind two pioneering surgeries: a PDA heart surgery on a Pomeranian puppy and an advanced PRAA surgery on a 900-gram kitten. In both cases, the animals would not have survived without treatment. In May of 2021, a completely paralysed cat regained her ability to walk again by following the treatment plan created by Modern Vet’s Physiotherapist.
Established in 2012, City Vet specialises in offering basic veterinary services across the UAE. It offers a range of surgical and anesthetic services to aid with surgeries, along with emergency care. City Vet’s key areas of services include dental health, neutering services, and routine check-ups. With locations in Al Wasl Road, Mirdif, JVT, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Al Barsha, and Meydan, it is one of the region’s finest vet care facilities.
Energetic Panacea Pet Clinic was established over 10 years ago, originally opening its doors as one of the first holistic veterinary practices in Dubai. Over time, they expanded into performing traditional veterinary services such as spays, neuters, and diagnostic procedures. This veterinary clinic is also one of the few in Dubai that offers a hydrotherapy pool for dogs needing an extra push when it comes to physiotherapy.
Energetic Panacea Veterinary Clinic, Villa 444, Jumeirah 2, Al Wasl Road , 04 344 7812,[email protected]
Zabeel Veterinary Hospital
Zabeel Veterinary Hospital is one of the few vet clinics in the country with the latest in diagnostic imaging such as MRI and CT. Their rooms are fully operational to house and work on most surgeries. Zabeel Veterinary Hospital is equipped to treat all kinds of animals including large, small, domestic, or wild animals.
Petzone came into our lives in 2009 and has achieved recognition from the community. It is a family-run clinic that treats domestic animals for the most part. Petzone is committed to the welfare of all animals and their services include dental hygiene, dermatology, radiology, ultrasounds, and basic surgeries. They also boast a huge retail section that you can check out while waiting for your turn.
One of the many perks of Pet Connection is the huge parking facility at the front end of the practice. Pet connection treats both exotic as well as domestic animals. Although it is not one of the older practices in Dubai, it does boast three consultation rooms, surgery, and recovery rooms, and an on-site laboratory.
Al Barsha Vet Clinic provides pet medical and sanitary services, its expert caregivers assuring your pet’s comfort. The clinic constantly encourages staff to learn new treatments for you and your pets, treating dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more.
Pawsitive Veterinary Clinic is a veterinary-owned and led clinic with state-of-the-art facilities, and offers 24-hour emergency veterinary care. The company offers a broad range of mainly small animal veterinary services – including both routine and advanced surgery – to meet all of a pet’s health and well-being needs (from microchipping and neutering to more complicated surgeries and leading-edge diagnostic technology).
British owned and managed, 2Feet4Paws opened its doors in Dubailand in 2015. It can provide you and your pet the full range of veterinary services for every stage of their life, from first-time vaccinations and early health checks to a lifetime of preventive care to keep them happy and healthy as long as possible.
With state-of-the-art equipment and a full in-house laboratory, Vienna Vet offers a wide range of services from routine vaccinations and neutering to sophisticated medical treatments, dermatology, dentistry, oncology, and geriatric care. The surgeons here perform soft tissue orthopedic surgeries, too.
I’m sure you’ve heard of sustainable design, but do you know what it really means and how to achieve it in your space? There are many different aspects to consider when designing a sustainable interior, but once you nail these, you will have achieved an interior that’s healthier all around for you, your family, and the environment!
Sustainable design is essentially the inclusion of natural or untreated materials (think: bamboo, reclaimed bricks and woods, and organic fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool etc), along with the selection of furniture and finishes that have been manufactured by using sustainable practices. This includes taking into account the impact the manufacturing process has had on the environment and the lifespan of the product(s).
Why It Is Important
This approach inspires a wellness-based home design by improving indoor air quality and ensuring fewer emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the interior space which will lead to a holistically healthier space, aiding in improving the mental and physical health of the occupant. Harmful VOCs such as carbon dioxide and carcinogen formaldehyde are commonly found in finishes, furniture, and cabinetry.
Prolonged exposure to these harmful chemicals may result in many negative health issues, such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, along with degrading cognitive performance (poor memory, concentration, etc). That is why it is so important to cleanse the air from these toxic chemicals and avoid the emission of their fumes in your home wherever possible. By creating a sustainable interior, you are not only improving your own health, but also contributing to a positive, long-term environmental impact by reducing waste – essentially lowering your own carbon footprint.
Cleanse the Air
Clean air is arguably one of the most important aspects of good health. Harmful toxins are frequently found in the home due to certain furniture and the use of household appliances such as gas ovens, heating, poor ventilation (exterior air entering and unable to escape), and household chemicals. Breathing in these fumes will cause headaches, fatigue, and eye irritation – to name a few symptoms – and so it’s important to rid the home of these toxins as efficiently as possible.
Plants are commonly praised for their ability to cleanse the air. Whilst this is true, certain plants are more effective at removing toxins than others. Plants such as peace lilies, devil’s ivy, and rubber plants do a great job of purifying the air and also enhance wellbeing-inspired interior by calming the mind due to the presence of nature. Materials such as cork can also help with toxin abortion by actively drawing the VOCs into fibres to wilt away instead of allowing them to freely flow in the air. Some useful tips to improve indoor air quality include:
1. Keep the air moving.
Ventilate the home as much as possible. Open doors and windows regularly, and let mother nature help blow out those harmful toxins, especially when cooking or cleaning.
2. Avoid including products in your home that are known to have a high VOC count.
This includes things such as furniture made by using particle board. The manufacturing of these types of products can be made using formaldehyde, which is highly toxic.
3. Avoid using harsh chemicals in the home.
Although chemicals such as bleach and ammonia are included in many products and commonly used in cleaning, the strong fumes they omit will linger in the air for a long time and can take over an hour or even days to fully expel! Try replacing it with organic products or solutions such as vinegar, lemon, or bicarbonate soda mix instead.
4. Use water-based paints if painting walls or furniture.
These paints are healthier for both the indoor air quality and the environment.
5. Where possible, use materials that are organic or reclaimed.
There will be no toxic chemicals present due to the nature of their fibres and how they’ve been finished, making them a healthy addition to your home.
The finishes used in many households are responsible for a significant amount of poor indoor air quality. When purchasing new furniture, installing permanent fixtures, or painting a surface, first think about the fumes they could omit. The traditional glues used when installing carpets contain toxic chemicals, which contaminate the air. Oil-based paints that contain Benzene and Xylene in their composition do the same. These harmful VOCs can cause potential health issues, so avoid them as much as possible.
Along with glues and paints, composite materials used in particle boards to make up furniture contain formaldehyde, which is an extremely toxic chemical. It can take up to five years (on average) for the fumes that are embedded within the material to fully dissipate. If you can’t avoid the use of particle boards in your home, make sure the material is sealed completely to avoid any leakage of the gases into your home.
Particle boards use glues with harmful toxins to stick the composite materials together. If you need to use them, make sure they are efficiently sealed to stop unwanted fumes from leaking out.
Use Sustainable Materials
When choosing soft furnishes such as bedding, throw cushions, rugs, curtains, and carpets, go for sustainable materials. Try organic fibres such as natural cotton, linen, cashmere, and wool. These materials are aesthetically pleasing and widely available. They’ve been found to exhibit health benefits, further surpassing their sustainable harvesting, such as hypoallergenic properties that allow for fewer asthmatic episodes and improved eyesight. Natural cotton can also relieve skin issues, such as psoriasis and general rashes.
Consider sourcing furniture made with hard sustainable materials such as fast-growing bamboo, rattan, untreated woods with FSC certification (Forest Stewardship Council), natural stone, marble, and clay. These also offer great alternatives to floor and wall treatments.
But don’t forget that not all materials need to be organic in order to be sustainable. Reclaimed materials such as brick, wood, and reused fabrics – such as leather – are also considered sustainable. If any chemicals were used in their manufacturing, they will be long gone. Their reuse is also great for the environment! Repurposing materials ensure they will not unnecessarily end up in a landfill.
The Manufacturing Process
How was it made? What materials did they use? Were any of the components recycled? These are all questions that are asked when determining whether a product is sustainable. Also, consider what will happen to the product at the end of its life cycle. Can it be repurposed, recycled, or broken down and made into a completely new item? Failing these criteria, can the materials be returned to our natural ecosystem?
Making sure these important factors are adhered to ensures that the environment is not negatively affected, and landfills aren’t overwhelmed. A lot of people don’t realise what happens to items when they hit the landfill. Some items don’t just biodegrade over time; they can release toxic fumes as (and if) they decompose. Because of this, landfills are responsible for a third of the world’s greenhouse gas production, making them a huge problem for environment sustainability and directly impacting global warming.
A great approach that sustainably conscious designers are adopting is called Cradle to Cradle (C2C) versus Cradle to Grave (C2G). C2C aims to replicate natural systems by focusing on products that can be recycled and upcycled and, failing that, are biodegradable – thus resulting in waste prevention.
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