Thursday 21 April 2022

How To: Top Tips on Selecting Curtains To Add Style!

There is a long-standing idea that every room in a home should have the same type of window covering to create a consistent look, but that’s not always the case. The windows on south- facing facades – for example - will need something very different to those on west-facing facades, and the product most suitable to use over doors versus windows can also vary greatly. Apart from functionality, window coverings can help enhance the mood or style of an overall room, whether it be a relaxed vibe or a touch of formality.
According to Luxaflex® Brand Partner and Interior Design Expert, Neale Whitaker, when planning window coverings, you need to consider the style of the room and what function the window covering needs to perform. People rarely consider how a space should feel. It’s one thing to choose an interior style, but if your space doesn’t suit that style in terms of light or proportion, it simply won’t feel right. By all means seek inspiration, but don’t be afraid to create your own style. Bring your own personality to a space and don’t be afraid to express different styles in your home.

Curtains are a great way to transform the interior design of your home as well as delivering on functional benefits such as light blocking and thermal insulation according to Neale. They can help create the illusion of more space, and by mixing and matching colours and textures, can add depth and focus to a room.

With a choice of fabrics from plain to patterned to elegant linen looks and blends, whatever your style there is a fabric available to create your own personal look. Here, Neale Whitaker shares his tips to selecting curtains to add style and flair to your interior spaces.

The Classic look suits both traditional and contemporary interiors. Timber-based furnishings may range from blond through to dark, so when choosing curtains, select a colour palette that includes softer tones such as ivory and the ‘muddier’ yellows, browns, blues and greens. Off-white is a popular shade choice for traditional styling, while crisp cool-toned whites offer a more modern take.

For a more layered feel, Neale Whitaker suggests opting for a woven linen fabric, such as the Luxaflex® Kori Linen range. Variations in the yarn add depth and texture while pastel tones create balance and harmony.
The Contemporary look is subtle, sophisticated and minimal, with clean lines and textures. Less is more. Curtains to complement the contemporary look include the raw, organic character of 100% linen fabric, or the popular mid-weight linen-look fabrics, sometimes referred to as ‘faux linens’. These versatile fabrics have become the go-to due to their ability to easily pair with many different interior styles. Consider adding an extra dimension with a statement sheer fabric such as Luxaflex® Arlette which delivers impact via the use of two colours of fine yarn in the weave.
Heavier curtain fabrics with textures, jacquards and embroideries will add the finishing touch to a more opulent style of interior that includes luxurious details, ornate finishes and plush textures.

Hanging Tips
Once you have selected your curtain fabric, consider the length and how they will be hung. How you hang a curtain will greatly impact the look and mood of the space. There is a general understanding that curtains should create the illusion of height, so go wider and higher wherever possible. Consider extending the track over small windows to create a sense of space. Choosing wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling curtains or sheers can add visual luxury and dramatic impact to a room, according to Neale.

Fabric length - whether hanging just below the window, clearing the floor, skimming the floor or ‘puddling’ - will be guided by the type of fabric you have selected and the interior look you wish to achieve. Take time to consider the options. As a rule of thumb, longer curtains suit more traditional interior styles, while a shorter, more streamlined effect suits contemporary styles.
For more information on Luxaflex® curtains and fabric ranges visit:

Till next time...

Wednesday 20 April 2022

A Special Mother's Day Giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with Haven Candles and Thermacell to give one deserving mama and her awesome BFF the chance to win...

2 x Hamptons scented candles each
2 x cocktail hour scented candles each
1 x Thermacell Mini Halo in Graphite each

This is perfect for the mum who loves candles, loves to decorate, loves to entertain, lives for gardening and loves outdoors activities but HATES mozzies! 
- Like this photo on Instagram
- Follow @raniengineer, @havencandles and @thermacellau on Instagram
- 1 entry for an awesome mama or mother figure you would share this prize with!
- 1 additional entry for sharing this post to your story

The contest begins today, Wednesday, 20 April.
The contest closes Tuesday, 26 April.
The winner will be announced on Instagram on Wednesday, 27 April.

Open to residents anywhere in Australia. This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram

Till next time... Good Luck! Let's show one deserving mama some LOVE!


Saturday 16 April 2022

How To: The Ultimate DIYers Guide to Paint Preparation

The increased amount of time we’ve been spending in our homes has naturally resulted in more wear-and-tear both inside and out. Whether it’s cracking or accidental scratches, faded paint over time or just a dated colour painting a wall, fence or a piece of furniture provides a chance to freshen up your space in a simple, quick and budget-friendly way.While the preparation for painting can sound intimidating, the expert team at Trojan, have designed a range of tools for the task.

It’s All In The Prep
The finished result is only as good as the preparation and time taken prior to painting. Begin by cleaning the area of any debris that may be sitting on or in front of the surface, cover any surfaces to avoid accidental splattering, and for outdoors jobs such as a fence, ensure the grass is mowed and there is no foliage obstructing you.

To achieve a great result, start by scraping of any old or flaking paint with a paint scraper. Painting over flaky paint can result in bumps and will prevent the new coat of paint from sticking to the surface. The Trojan 75mm Paint Scraper (RRP $7.49) is the perfect tool for the job, ideal for removing old flaky paint, silicones and sticky residues. Made with a durable stainless-steel blade, the handle is made from a soft rubber grip that aids comfort when working. Essentially, by not skipping the prep, your new paint work will look better and last longer.
Sand Away
The key to a smooth finish is sanding any uneven surfaces. To apply a perfectly smooth coat of paint to ceilings, interior or exterior walls, woodwork or a fence, you must start with a perfectly smooth surface. Using the correct sanding sponge will help level out the surface and flatten any ridges that may have occurred during the scraping process or after natural wear-and-tear. When picking the sanding sponge, the higher the number on the sponge, the finer the sanding finish will be.

This simple task is easily done with a high-quality sponge such as the Trojan 120 Grit Angled Sanding Sponge (RRP $6.96). The 120-grit coarse surface and abrasive technology, provides a versatile yet fast cutting and long-lasting product. Suitable for surface preparation, between coat sanding, and ultra-fine sanding, it can be used wet or dry, and on a variety of surfaces including plasterboard, paint, metal and plastic. When sanding is complete, wash the surface with Sugar Soap to remove any grease or grime.

Pro tip: To sand hard to reach areas such as decorative wood, corners or edges, use an angled sanding sponge instead of the standard block sponge - it’s angled shape can easily get into tight corners and crevices.
Fill In The Gaps
Once your selected surface has been scraped, sanded and washed it’s time to fill in any gaps and holes using a gap filler and a paint scraper. Pour the gap filler or compound into a bucket or tub and add water until you reach a slightly thick consistency, or use a ready to apply Gap Filler.

Using a paint scraper like the Trojan 75mm Paint Scraper (RRP $7.49), apply the filler to any holes, cracks or chips on the surface, ensuring to overfill the area. Once dry, lightly sand over the surface for a smooth finish.

Pro tip: To allow for cracks and holes of all sizes to be easily fixed, use different sized paint scrapers. The Trojan

Paint Scraper is available in four different sizes, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm & 100mm, meaning no job is too small or big.
Time To Paint
Now it’s time for the exciting part, painting. To ensure an even colour and consistency, it’s important to stir the paint before you begin as well as every now and then whilst painting, as the ingredients can often separate. To mix the paint easily and thoroughly a mixer such as the Trojan 100mm Paint Drill Mixer (RRP $11.50) is perfect for the task. Made from a durable heavy-duty steel and designed with moveability in mind, this lightweight mixer means it can be easily transported as you paint. Fitting any standard drill with a chuck of at least 10mm, this paint mixer can be used on 5-20 litre paint cans.

Pro tip: Make sure you don’t pull the drill mixer out of the paint tin until it has stopped spinning to ensure surrounding surfaces aren’t splattered with paint.
Clean Up
Once you’ve finished painting, thoroughly clean all the brushes and rollers before they dry. To assist you with cleaning the paint tools efficiently and quickly, use the Trojan 6 in 1 Multi Paint Scraper (RRP $8.65), featuring a curved surface that can be used to squeeze out excess paint from rollers.

By removing as much excess paint as possible, the roller or brush will be easier to clean.

Pro tip: Scrape your excess paint from the roller directly back into the paint tin so it can be used next time.
Trojan tools are available exclusively through Bunnings Warehouse nationwide. For more information, visit:

Till next time... which DIY project will you be tackling this Easter weekend?

Thursday 7 April 2022

Trend Forecast: The Humble Brick Gets A Stylish Makeover!

Perhaps it’s the sleek modern look or a nod to the memories of Australia’s brick architectural heritage – contemporary brick homes are increasing in popularity, matching the design desires of architects, designers and homeowners alike.
Where once brick was associated with older homes, the humble brick has been updated with a facelift that sees a new designer range of concrete bricks emerging as a top choice for homes offering striking looks, functionality and versatility.

According to Nathan Martyn from Adbri Masonry, concrete face bricks can make a statement with stunning design elements. They provide unrivalled design flexibility with an on-trend range of colours, as well as elegant finishing and textural options that can be used both internally and externally. Their newest series of coloured concrete brick products are 100% colour-through, which is a game-changer in maintenance as it will reduce the appearance of chipping and provide longevity to a home’s exterior.
As an exterior building product for homeowners, concrete bricks are a perfect choice to create a number of looks from mid-century to contemporary. From a design perspective, bricks can be utilised to bring many a design style to life. Curved architectural detailing shows no sign of slowing down, rather, there are increasingly innovative ways to adopt the trend into our homes, according to Nathan. From shapely furnishings, to softly curved walls, round windows, arched doorways and stairways, fluid design not only brings a point of difference to an exterior and interior’s architecture but promotes a sense of calm, beauty and grace, in fitting with the way we are choosing to live in our homes.
Used internally, exposed face bricks can embed a sense of permeance, security and style. With their multi-design options, a homeowner can showcase their personal style by introducing speciality laying patterns that will provide the opportunity to showcase one’s inner design aesthetics, such as creating a feature wall, a fireplace or highlighting an entry point. Using concrete brick within the exterior and interior design of the home creates a cohesive, modern look throughout.

Texture and colour are important elements within design trends for building materials. Adbri’s premium concrete bricks allow the creative possibility of blending different brick colours and textures while offering excellent symmetry to achieve a high-quality finish.

There’s such a wide range of profiles, textures and colours available in concrete bricks that the aesthetic outcome is only limited by the users’ imagination. Texture plays an important part when designing a home and can help showcase a unique personalised style. A smooth rendered look and finish suits a modern contemporary home, a lightly textured shot-blast finish is perfect for a raw and natural finish, or a highly detailed exposed aggregate honed finish that offers a luxurious crushed stone appearance can completely change the look and feel of a wall.
With new colours ranging from stunning white to moody dark greys and blacks, as well as a made-to-order option, there’s a colour to suit all styles of houses from the clean lines of contemporary minimalist to the relaxed style of modern coastal.

On a more functional level, being energy-efficient, durable and requiring little to no maintenance, their strength helps guard against a range of environmental elements that homes face today and provides a stunning curbside appeal. The added advantage is the availability of product. Adbri Masonry’s range of concrete bricks are Australian made, making them a good option for building or renovating projects.
For more information or product samples, visit

Till next time... is your home made from bricks or is it a weatherboard home?

Friday 1 April 2022

Trend Forecast: Outdoor Living Essentials

Despite summer ending, extreme wet weather and flooding over recent weeks caused by La NiƱa has resulted in a surge of mosquitoes and potentially increased the likelihood of mosquito-borne diseases like the Japanese Encephalitis virus (JE) and Ross River virus spreading. Like the majority of insects, mosquitoes thrive in warm wet conditions, laying eggs in and around water, meaning the more it rains the more opportunities mosquitoes have to multiply. According to Mitch Connon, Product Manager, Electronic Insect Control for Gecko and Thermacell, research and experts show that while we tend to associate mosquito season with summer, these recent perfect environment conditions for mosquitoes mean we are likely to see a peak in March and April compared to previous years.

Whilst it’s unclear the extent the recent weather conditions will have its always best to be prepared and take steps to reduce the likelihood of getting bitten. Aside from actions like avoiding going outside during peak mosquito times and wearing protective, long clothing, an effective way to protect yourself without any harsh chemicals.
Indoor Insect Control
Mosquitoes are generally associated with being an outdoor problem, however, with open entryways and windows and the growing popularity of indoor-outdoor spaces, it’s important to protect ourselves indoors as well as out. An ideal solution for indoors in areas including the living room, bedroom, kitchen or study is the Gecko Bionic Insect Trapper (RRP $49.00), which attracts mosquitoes using a CO2, UV light, heat and moist air – termed bionic luring. It mimics human breath by releasing Carbon Dioxide as well as moist warm air. With its clever, contemporary design, it not only looks great, but offers radius of up to 10 metres.

Another great indoor option is the Gecko Sticky Glue Trapper (RRP $33.00), versatile and ideal in covered alfresco entertaining spaces, this trapper includes three non-toxic sticky glue boards – meaning no messy chemicals or sprays. Easy to use and move, the glue trapper can be placed on a flat surface or wall mount letting it blend in seamlessly with your indoor decor.
Outdoor Protection
When it comes to outdoor protection there’s a number of mosquito killers and repeller options available. If you’re after an easy to use, simple and effective product, the Gecko 40W Insect Killer (RRP $84.00) is the perfect answer for medium-sized, suburban backyards. Covering a 30m radius of protection, this lantern is weatherproof and comes with a self-cleaning vertical grid and a catcher tray.

If you’re after a discrete design that co-ordinates with your decor, the Thermacell Mini Halo Table Top Repeller (RRP $52.95) provides invisible, continuous protection from mosquitoes, creating a 21m2 zone. Light weight, compact and portable, the small size is easy to use, and its contemporary, sleek design allows it to also look great on patios and decks when entertaining.
Camping Out and About
Despite mosquito season being extended well into the popular camping period of March to May there’s no reason to not enjoy your time in the great outdoors. With a 98% effective rate, the Thermacell Scout Lantern (RRP $79.95) successfully repels mosquitoes and insects by creating a 21m2 zone of protection. Its smaller portable size, bright 220-lumen light with 40 hours runtime, hanging clip, and outdoor design make it perfect for camping, caravanning or simply when out in the backyard, or deck. This scent-free, DEET-free lantern means you can say no to messy chemical sprays and lotions, making life more comfortable and enjoyable.
Gecko and Thermacell products are available from leading Hardware Retailers and select Camping and Caravan Outlets. For further information, visit and
Till next time... have a 'bite' free weekend!
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