Garden Rooms vs Traditional Conservatories

Installing a conservatory is a fun project that your family will enjoy, here is why you should build one!

Photo By: ACNN Decor

When it comes to extending your home and creating some additional space, the most common choice amongst homeowners is to build an extension. However, this does require a lot of planning, time and most of all, money! All of which make home extensions something that isn’t quite achievable for many, especially if they want something that can be done quickly and affordably. The next option that homeowners have, is to install a conservatory. But with many known downsides, traditional conservatories have become less and less popular over recent years with more people opting for more modern-styled garden rooms instead. But why? In this article, we take a closer look at gardens rooms and some of the ways that make them different and sometimes a better choice than traditional conservatories when it comes to extending the space in your home.

The Differences Between a Garden Room & Conservatory

Practicality

The reason why many homeowners are now opting for modern garden rooms over traditional conservatories is that they present a much more practical solution. Conservatories are infamous for becoming unbearably hot during the peak of the summer and shiveringly cold throughout the winter due to their often poor design. Making them usable for only a certain period of the year. Garden rooms, on the other hand, are far more practical and can be used all year round. With high-quality insulation and air conditioning, garden rooms offer a space that you can enjoy no matter the weather.

Materials

The materials which are used to create both structures are another factor that sets them apart. Traditional conservatories are designed and produced using UPVC and glass windows, or a brick base and glass windows with a polycarbonate/glass roof. This means that you typically only benefit from the top half of the structure being made of glass. On the other hand, a garden room is often made up entirely of glass, from the panels to the roof. This offers an aesthetic that is much more visually appealing and a structure that offers increased protection from the sun.

Planning Permission & Assembly 

The final difference between a garden room and a conservatory relates to the ease in which they can be installed and erected on your property. If both exceed a particular size, then you may need to acquire planning permission from your local council before starting any work. However, a great way to avoid all of the drama that comes with planning permission is to choose a ready-built structure that can simply be installed without any fuss! This is where garden rooms trump traditional conservatories, with the majority offering the ability to be installed in three-to-four working day – incredible!

And there we have it; the major differences between garden room and conservatories. If you’re in limbo about which structure to add to your property, we definitely recommend opting for a garden room. With their practicality, customisation and simplicity when it comes to installation, these offer a hassle-free solution for you and your home.

5 Ideas to Make Your Kitchen More Efficient

Cooking for family get-togethers, dinner parties or special occasions can be a lot of fun. However, too much clutter and an unorganized kitchen can really put a damper on cooking and baking!


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When you spend so much time planning your meals, it just makes sense to have an efficient kitchen to match the meals you make. A few changes here and there can really make a great difference and that too without burning a hole in your pocket. Here are 5 amazing ideas to optimize the efficiency of your kitchen:

Consider Your Work Triangle

Finding the right kitchen layout is important if you want to optimize your kitchen space. The work triangle is a standard kitchen design concept that helps make your workspace more efficient and clutter-free. In most homes, the refrigerator, stove, and sink are the most utilized areas in a kitchen. So, a triangle that connects your refrigerator, stove, and sink, makes a work triangle. For optimal efficiency, no leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet and there should be no obstacle between these areas to allow for easier navigation. This form of layout minimizes wasted steps, increases productivity, and makes cooking more enjoyable.

Recognize Stations and Store Accordingly

Store all the required items in places that make sense. That is to say, as near as possible to the corresponding station. For example, delegate one drawer or shelf near the oven to baking tools (mixing bowls, spatulas, blenders, measuring spoons). Anything near the sink should be cleaning supplies, and anything near a cooktop should be cutting tools or pots and pans. It’s basically making a logical path that matches your cooking style and needs. Everyone’s kitchen will be different and everyone’s stations will contain different items, based on your needs. When you store items this way, it minimizes cooking time, increases your overall efficiency and you are able to keep track of your supplies.

Use Water Efficient Appliances and Fixtures

Conserving water and energy are the staples of an efficient kitchen. You don’t want to waste time while cooking, and you don’t want to waste money while doing it either. Upgrade kitchen appliances and fixtures to ensure water and energy savings. Another easy and cost-effective way to save water in a kitchen is to install a low-flow pre-rinse spray valve. It makes dishwashing easy and uses less water. If your kitchen has efficient appliances and you’re still not happy, make sure all of your pipes are good to go. Leaking taps, faucets, refrigerators, or ice machines can waste gallons of water if left unchecked. If you think you have a leak, or want to be sure that your pipes are in good enough condition for your new appliances to work their best, a professional plumber can help.

Add a Kitchen Island

No kitchen renovation is complete without the installation of an island. An island that provides an extra counter space where you can do your meal preparation. You can choose what kind you have too: a mobile island on wheels is ideal for smaller kitchens, one with a sink or cooktop is great if you want to enjoy your open-concept home, or one with shelves is perfect for extra storage. All of these are amazing for kitchen and cooking efficiency! More space means less need to clean off your counters before you start the next step in the recipe.

Label Food Containers

Labeling containers (even if they’re clear) is another great way to increase your efficiency in the kitchen. One obvious benefit of labeling is that it lets you identify food instantly without needing to juggle around different containers. This enhances your productivity in the kitchen and speeds up your cooking process drastically. We recommend using markers that you can erase, or reusable labels! This way you can write out what food it contains and when it was made. This will also let you know which food items are going to expire soon, so you can plan your next meals accordingly to avoid any wastage. These ideas are simple and inexpensive, but they can really make your kitchen more efficient. Just understand your requirements and move accordingly. We hope they helped you!

Health and Safety in the Workplace: Top Tips for a Safe Office Environment from Furniture At Work®

Health and safety is a primary consideration when designing any office space, whether it’s a simple home office or a workplace with multiple employees interacting on a daily basis.

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Many of us spend most of our weekdays sitting at a desk, which means it is essential to take steps to ensure we minimise the health risks of sitting. There are also spatial, lighting and risk management considerations, along with a whole host of other things to think about. Furniture At Work has an extensive catalogue of office furniture to suit any space and meet all of your health and safety needs.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the word used when talking about how to make a workspace safe and comfortable. An ergonomically designed workspace minimises physical health risks to the employee and takes care of long-term wellbeing. Ergonomic office chairs are designed to support the lumbar region and provide comfortable seating even when sitting for extended periods of time. Ergonomics also account for factors such as screen height, keyboard alignment and prevention of screen glare, and any other factor that could pose a potential health risk. Many studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time is detrimental to health. A properly designed ergonomic workstation minimises this risk. However, it is also important to allow employees to take regular breaks from sitting, or to allow yourself to take regular breaks when working from home.

Lighting

A poorly-lit workstation can quickly cause eye strain and result in poorly-maintained health. Lack of access to natural light can also have a strong impact on mental wellbeing. Providing a well-lit workstation is therefore essential for both mental and physical health. Natural light is best, so having large windows wherever possible will help to keep people feeling happy and healthy. Where natural light is not possible, a well-thought out lighting system that ensures nobody is straining their eyes is vital. Providing options such as the ability to reduce or increase brightness levels and adding desk lamps and floor lamps to each workstation will ensure that each employee can create the light they require.

Temperature

A comfortable temperature is another key ingredient in the recipe for a happy workforce. There are no legal restrictions for temperature in the workplace but keeping things too hot or too cold reduces productivity and results in unhappy and uncomfortable staff. Around 16 degrees Celsius or just slightly higher is recommended as the optimal indoor temperature.

Clearing Obstructions

One of the main causes of workplace accidents is obstructed walkways causing employees to trip and fall. Maintaining an office that is free from trip hazards takes only a little effort. Evaluate walkways and other areas where employees move around or congregate. Pay attention to loose wires, floor panels and any item that could obstruct passage. Wet or slippery surfaces can also be dangerous, so any spills or areas that are being cleaned should be clearly signposted and dried as soon as possible.

Electrical Appliances

All electrical appliances and outlets in any office environment should be regularly checked and maintained to prevent avoidable accidents from occurring. Sockets should not be overloaded and equipment and lights should be switched off when not in use.

Benefits of Smart-Outdoor Lighting Systems for your Home

Install smart outdoor lighting for your home, you’ll thank us later!

Home automation systems have been around for many years. However, the costs of these systems have substantially decreased as devices themselves have become smart-devices that are able to connect to the internet and be controlled with Apps on your phone. Such items as smart-thermostats, garage door openers and light switches have made this technology available to more consumers in recent years. As a result of this technology becoming readily available there has been an increase in energy savings, automated processes in your home that save you time and money, and enhanced security features.   Recently, smart-outdoor lighting has joined this trend and enabled homeowners to benefit from incorporating automation into their outdoor lighting systems.

Energy Savings

Smart-devices and more energy efficient technologies have allowed for homeowners to reduce energy usage resulting in a product that is better for the planet and your wallet.  LED lighting technology has helped reduce the energy usage up to 80% when compared to the standard incandescent light bulb.   An additional benefit of the LED technology is the lifespan versus that of the traditional light bulb. This reduces the time, effort and costs of changing light bulbs.

The home automation features of smart-outdoor lighting enable even more energy savings by allowing for customized settings so the lights are on only when you need them.  Many of these systems allow for turning lights on at sunset and automatically shifting accordingly throughout the year. These systems will also automatically shift for daylight savings time changes.  This saves time and money by turning the lights on at exactly the right time year-round.

Home Automation

If you already have a smart-home or business, have an Alexa, or use Siri you already know some of the benefits of home automation.  While each lighting system on the market is unique, they come with a wide range of features.  At a minimum, typically the systems will allow you to schedule the on and off times of the lights and control them manually.  The more advanced systems will allow you to choose from a wide variety of whites and colors right from the App.  Some of these systems will also enable you to schedule the brightness and color options based on holiday schedules year-round creating the ultimate lighting experience.

Control from Anywhere

Have you ever made it to the office and wondered if you might have left the lights on? Perhaps you have been on vacation in another city when you remembered to turn on the pathway lighting for your pet sitter? Unlike standard outdoor lighting systems, which require you to be home to control your lights, smart-lighting uses WIFI. Some systems even use smart phone apps to manage lighting preferences. This means you can turn lights on, adjust the brightness, and more all from your phone or tablet, whether you are sitting in your living room, a conference room, or a beach in the Caribbean.

Safety and Security

The safety of your home or business is always paramount. Whether you want to brighten pathways at your business or you are a homeowner that would like to illuminate the dark corners of your yard, smart-outdoor lighting systems can do the job. It is simple to schedule the lighting at your business to turn on at dusk, allowing patrons to safely access steps and sidewalks. With bright outdoor lighting, you can also deter trespassers and unwanted activity, no matter the time of day or night. Some smart lighting systems even offer motion sensor lighting as an added layer of security for your home or business.

Smart Outdoor Lighting is the Smart Choice

We are in the midst of the smart device revolution that enables users to be in full control of everything. From energy savings to fun for the holidays, with the most advanced systems on the market, you are in control from anywhere in the world!  With smart-outdoor lighting, the possibilities are endless!

Author Bio:

Chris McCoy is the founder of Haven Lighting. Haven Lighting is a leading manufacturer of smart Wi-Fi enabled landscape lighting systems, featuring unique LED products with unparalleled brightness, vivid color and white temperature adjustment.

3 Reasons You Should Add A Porcelain Patio to Your Garden

Choosing the right material for your patio can be difficult, especially with so many different and appealing options on the market. One patio material that’s gained popularity over the past few years is porcelain paving!

Unlike natural stone paving, which can be quite a challenge to maintain, porcelain paving boasts a number of qualities that make it ideal for use in family homes with a high foot-fall. Today we’re going to look at four reasons why you should add a porcelain patio to your garden.

1. Porcelain paving is strong and durable

Some people perceive porcelain to be a dainty, delicate material – which in some cases is true. Delicate vases, pottery and dinnerware can be made of porcelain, but its uses don’t end there. Unlike these fine homewares, porcelain paving is designed to be incredibly strong and durable, more so than natural stones. The secret behind its strength is vitrification! A process of intense heat and pressure that causes substrates to occur within the tiles. The resulting porcelain tiles are strong and perfect for use in busy family gardens.

2. Porcelain paving is slip-resistant

If you’re going to install a patio in a British garden, you need to know that your paving can cope when it’s exposed to water and rain. There are some paving materials on the market that are naturally quite porous, sedimentary stones for example. These tiles have a tendency to take on water and if the water absorbed by the tiles freezes, they can quickly become very slippery – not ideal if you’ve got elderly people, young children or pets running around. In order to prevent natural stones from taking on water and becoming slippery, you need to treat them with a suitable top-coat annually. This is a job that’s both time consuming and expensive! In comparison, porcelain paving is naturally non-permeable, meaning it’s perfect for British gardens where conditions can become slippery in a split second. Porcelain paving won’t take on water & won’t freeze, so you can rest assured that there’ll be no accidental slips on your patio. Better still, you won’t need to spend hours applying top-coats, so you’ll have more time to enjoy your new patio.

3. Porcelain paving comes in a range of styles

Creating your dream garden is easy when you choose porcelain paving. It comes in such a wide variety of styles, colours and textures that you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you want to create a natural stone look, you can achieve this without having to worry about the upkeep that’s usually associated with natural stone! We’ve seen high-quality porcelain paving that emulates real slate, limestone and quartz as well as range of other natural stones.

Alternatively, if you want to create a trendy, unique patio with a wood-effect, porcelain paving will allow you to create this look too. Porcelain paving really is a versatile paving option that will allow you to create a patio that fits your garden design perfectly.