1. Lighting

Like owls and vampires, burglars like the darkness, so good lighting in and around the home is important. External lighting around the house will fill in the hidden dark spaces and put burglars off. You can get lights that are activated by motion sensors to flood dark spaces, this is great when you come home and you don’t want to fumble around for your key in the dark. It is always a good idea to leave a light on inside the house when you go out at night or if you are going away for a few days. You can also get timers for lights, meaning they can be set to turn on only during the evening.

2. Locks

If you’re moving into a new home, change the locks, so you know you and your family are the only ones with keys. Don’t hide a spare key. Burglars know the usual places spare keys get hidden, that plant pot next to the front door or under the mat are the first places they will look. Ever leave home in a rush and get to work wondering if you locked up? There are now smart locks you can install and control remotely from your smartphone, saving you time and worry.

3. Fencing

A good, well-maintained fence creates a solid barrier around your property and hinders access, which is added security. It also stops prying eyes seeing into your property to appraise what you have.

4. Security system

Explore the range – from high tech, fully installed and monitored to the more basic. There are a lot of options out there which are becoming more sophisticated as technology progresses. You can have sensors on doors, windows and motion sensors to detect movement within your home. A good option is to install video cameras inside and outside your home to capture footage. Alerts, images and video footage can be sent straight to your smartphone or tablet so you can immediately see if something’s amiss at home.

5. Deadbolts

These locks are stronger than spring locks and they will make it more difficult to force entry into your property. Whilst more expensive, it’s important to try to have at least one deadbolt lock on your main door.

6. Secure ranch sliders

One of the weakest entry points to your home can be sliding glass doors. A good way to prevent a burglar from forcing a ranch slider open is to put a metal bar along the bottom track of the door. You can do the same with sliding windows.

7. Meet the neighbours

If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, they can keep an eye on your house when you’re away or at work and of course you can do the same for them. You may already have a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area, so it won’t just be the people next door looking out for you.

8. Close windows

It is easy to leave a window open, especially during the summer but an open window is an easy invitation to a burglar. Even if you are just going to pop out to the shop for 10 minutes, take a moment to walk around your home and close any open windows, even better, make sure they have locks.

9. Be social savvy

Away on holiday and can’t resist posting a photo? We don’t blame you. However, try to be conscious of who can see your posts, especially if you’re away on a longer trip. You can easily share with the world that you’re not home. An easy way to combat this is to set all your post sharing to ‘private’ or ‘just friends’ rather than ‘public’.

10. Come up with a plan

Make sure you and your family are on the same page with what would happen if you were ever burgled. Remind your children not to go near the burgled area and move away from the property and phone the police. Look for unusual signs like broken glass or an open window or door. If in doubt, get out and always call the police.

Looking to renovate your kitchen on a budget? With a touch of style and some DIY know-how, Kelly did just that. Here’s her story.

Built in the 1950’s, our home inherited the narrow galley-style kitchen of its era.

In its compact form, like many old homes, the kitchen was small and dark, lacked storage and was uninviting. The one saving grace was the beautiful, original rimu timber floorboards.

We are a family that loves to cook so when we purchased the home, we knew the kitchen was going to need a serious overhaul.

Our aim was to create a room that was light, bright and functional. We wanted a kitchen that was fresh and simple, that maximised the space we had to play with.

Renovating on a budget can be hard – here’s how we did it
Operating on a limited budget meant we had to work with the layout we had. Pushing out the walls to extend the size of the room was unfortunately not an option. However, with an existing open plan layout adjoining the dining area and lounge, the space had some good potential.

We started by gutting the kitchen. Old cabinetry was stripped out, the empty hot water cupboard was removed and the walls were relined with gib. Losing the ugly peeling wallpaper in the process was a bonus.

Once the room was an empty shell, we worked with Placemakers to design a kitchen using modular sections. This meant we could create something that fit our space and – most importantly – suited our budget. It was a relatively simple process that allowed us to save money down the track by installing the cabinetry ourselves.

We cut costs by sourcing our bench top and sink from a yard that sells recycled building materials. Rather than disposing of the original pantry, we relocated it to our laundry to create additional storage.

I picked up some classic white subway tiles from Mitre 10 to create a stylish splashback around the stove top. My husband installed these after teaching himself how to tile (there’s a YouTube tutorial for everything these days).

Adding personality
Kitchens don’t have to be boring and devoid of personality. Have fun and stray from the conventional rules.

Because the door at the end of the room naturally draws you eye, I wanted to enhance that by painting it an unexpected colour. I chose a soft pinky hue in Dulux’s Point England shade.

Art is a firm favourite of mine and I like finding creative ways to incorporate it into our home. As avid coffee drinkers and lovers of Coffee Supreme, I’ve always admired the design aesthetic of their café signs.

I reached out to the company directly to source a sign – I love that it’s a unique feature which you won’t see in anyone else’s house.

Working from home can be a challenge so ensuring you have a functional work space goes a long way towards increasing productivity and avoiding distractions.

Whether you work from home full-time like me, split your time between the office and home, or simply need a space for personal admin, focus on creating a space that’s functional yet inviting.

Design a home office that works for you

Creating an effective home office starts with identifying the right room or space in your house.

While most of us dream of a large custom designed office to work from in, don’t be overly concerned with the size of your space. Instead focus more on working with what you have. That may be converting a spare room into an office, or utilising a nook in your living room.

One day we plan on building a studio office in our backyard to run my business from, but for now, it’s a case of working with what we have. In our small home that meant converting an oversized bedroom into a multi-purpose room.

Personally for me to be productive, I need a light, calming space, one free of distractions to maximise inspiration and creative thinking. I gave the once dark bedroom a mini makeover by painting the walls in a fresh, crisp white colour – Dulux Okarito.

Choosing the right desk is about identifying how much space you need to work from. I don’t need a large desktop, prefering one that is simple in design. I sourced this one from Freedom Furniture for $250.00, keeping only my essential items on display.

I find I get bored with interiors easily and like to keep the space fresh by changing art and décor around me. Surround yourself with things you love, place a rug under your feet for the cooler months and add life to your office with plants.

Lighting

Good natural lighting is important. A well lit space not only helps lift your mood but also assists productivity. When converting the bedroom I reorientated the layout to place my desk near a large window.

Additionally, look to add a desk lamp for late afternoon and evening work as overhead lights won’t suffice.

Organisational solutions

There’s nothing like sitting down to an organised desk to jump start your day.

A clean and tidy desk allows you to focus on the task at hand and keep your mind clear.

Too often our home office becomes a dumping space with clutter piling up. Create effective organisation and storage solutions while maximising the desk area. I like a clear and tidy desktop so I utilise a locker cabinet underneath my desk to store and access files I regularly need.

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