2019 resolutions for the home

With the new year just around the corner, many of you are no doubt about to head off for holidays – (read woo hoo!).

As you enjoy some much needed down time, it’s the perfect opportunity to think about 2019 and what you want to achieve. Of course there’s the normal resolutions like diet and exercise…but don’t forget to think about your home and the changes you want to make here. It’s been proven that how your home looks and feels can have a huge impact on your overall health and happiness.

Here are some easy ways to help you kick off 2019 with a positive mindest and a space you love to spend time in.

Clear away festivities…but don’t stop there

If you’re any anything like the rest of us you’ll start the new year off with the best intentiosn to eat healtly, use that dormant gym membership and to see our friends and family more often. But we all know that once the year kicks into gear that many of these drop off the radar. Rather than doing a full 180º change here are some easy home improvement jobs that will mean that at least your home starts the year at its best.

This is the obvious one – You’ve taken down your Christmas lights and thrown away all of the packaging that surrounded your presents but why stop there. Open up your cupboards, look under your beds, peak into the storage places and sort through your garages. Pull everything out that you’ve stored safely for later use and then have a good hard look at those priceless possessions that are too good to throw away.

There are sentimental things, things that you should really find some better way of honouring than shoving into a cupboard. Separate those things and decide where to put them so you can see them or relate to them to actually remind you of whatever it is they remind you of in the first place.

Reduce, reuse recycle

Reduce the amount of things you are keeping by being brutal. If you didn’t remember you had it or know you haven’t touched it for over a year then it needs to go. I say in over a year as there are seasonal things that get used once a year that you need to keep, but if the object doesn’t get used year on year, whether its clothes, appliances, containers, boxes, bags or whatever the belonging find a way to shed it. Some things go to recycling, some to rubbish, some to charity, but find a way to cleanse yourself of the bits and bobs that fill your home.

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Look at your walls

Do you have screws or hooks hanging out of them that don’t have artwork or pictures on them? If so either find something to hang on them or remove, patch, sand and touch up the paint over them. Same goes for bangs and bumps and scratches on the walls. There are many fillers on the market that you can use to smooth out the life bumps left over from 2018.

Have a walk around your home with a screw driver and an allen key or two and just eye ball things like your bathroom accessories or wall mounted shelves – if it’s loose, tighten it up. If it needs replacing, get onto it, these things are usually really quick to fix if found early, the longer you leave them the worst they become. It’s worth keeping on top of this through the year so keep an eye out for any tweaks you need to do throughout 2019.

Give your walls and ceilings a spot clean where necessary. Get some spray and wipe or a bucket of warm water and sugar soap and clean those small or medium sized marks and scuffs off of walls or ceilings. Often just a wipe of those black marks left from shoes or squashed bugs or whatever else lingers on will freshen up the look of your paintwork.

Maybe a repaint?

If you have an area where the paint just feels flat, consider giving it a new coat of paint. A wash with sugar soap of the wall and one coat is often enough to simply refresh the look of the room, it takes little prep and there’s no dust from sanding. Of course if you’re painting a room properly you need to sand, undercoat and do 2 top coats, but a simple refresh is far more straight forward – though the quality of the surface you’re painting will always dictate how long the paint adheres before pealing or flaking.

Freshen the bathroom

Look at the grout in your kitchen and bathroom tiles. This is also another really quick upgrade if you have cracks, gaps or greying, you can simply grout over the top or spot grout any problem areas to extend the use and look of these areas. Don’t forget to look up, you may find there is mould on the ceiling that can be removed with a bit of elbow grease.

Shower heads that don’t deliver on the promise of a nice blast of relaxing warm water need to go. Say goodbye to spluttering, random changes of direction and generally underperformance by simply replacing the shower head. You can find replacements at your local hardware store for $30-$150 that you can simply screw on in place of your old fittings. They come with thread tape and often need nothing more than a wrench to tighten up. Say hello to a better shower in 2019!

Refresh your interiors

Look around your home with a critical eye and see if your soft furnishings have managed to make it through 2018 unscathed. If there’s mild use on cushion covers, pull them off and clean them as per the cleaning instructions on the label, generally just a good wash in the machine will bring them back to life.

Does your couch or upholstered furniture look a little sad? You can spot clean them with spray upholstery cleaners available at the supermarket or hardware store or for the pieces that were really well used throughout the year get a professional steam or drycleaner in to give them a through going over. The fabric is often just fine under all of that everyday dirt and grime and your home will look and smell better for the attention.

Look at your book shelves. Are they well ordered with a nice balance of books and decorative items? If not sort them out, stack big books, organise novels into sizes and colours if you’re so inclined, place your favourite decorative pieces throughout and bring your book shelves to life.

Is your coffee table awash with toys and remote controls, magazines and whatever else the daily use of your home throws on it? Sort that out. Start with a clean top by putting everything away in its place and then consider your coffee table as a central decorative place, put an orchid, succulent or bunch of flowers in the centre or off to one side. Place your favourite coffee table books on it, either in a stack or laid out one next to the other. Put a decorative piece and a candle on there and play with it until you’re happy with the composition. Trays are fantastic to create some order on a coffee table and they make great places for all of the above as well as giving you a place to put your remote controls to boot.

By simply walking around your house, looking for small things that take small amounts of effort to fix, you can really have a fresh start to 2019.

Benefits of passive building design


Orientation is of greatest importance in heating climate zones – that is, in the more southerly (temperate and cool) parts.

Orientation in its simplest form means locating living areas like the lounge room on the north side of the house, with windows having clear access to sunlight especially in mid-winter.

Effective orientation provides a minimum of about five hours of useful solar heating a day. Even with this, the glass will still be exposed to about 19 hours of varying degrees of heat loss. So it’s important that other elements of passive design support the orientation, or the effect will be lost.


Ventilation can improve comfort levels and the air quality in your home. Most Australian homes rely on a combination of exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms and windows and doors (and in older homes fixed wall vents) that open to provide ventilation.

Ventilation is important in passive solar design to help cool a house by allowing air to move and escape. The aim is to design for effective cross-flow of air through the building. The design must align windows with internal doors in a way that does not block breezes, and to not locate rooms where they block breeze paths.


Passive solar design uses zoning to help regulate temperature in a home. Doors close off rooms and spaces and stop warm air escaping from living areas into empty corridors. Zoning also keeps cool air in during summer so if you use the air conditioner you only cool the room you need and not the entire home.


Insulation is like a barrier, helping to regulate heat flow into and out of your home. By reducing heat flow you can maintain a comfortable temperature inside, regardless of the temperature outside. The type and level of insulation needed varies depending on where you live and the building materials used for the house. If you live in a naturally ventilated home in the tropics, the aim of insulation is to reduce the amount of heat getting in without restricting the hot air escaping. Reflective insulation under the roof and in walls that are not permanently shaded would work well.

In an alpine region, however, you would want to stop heat flowing out in winter and prevent heat coming in during summer. Such homes benefit from reflective insulation under the roof, floors and in walls, and bulk insulation in the ceiling and walls.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass is a measure of a material’s ability to absorb and release heat. Good passive design uses thermal mass to absorb excess heat from within a house during summer days and dump it to cool night skies. In winter, solar radiation warms the mass during the day, re-radiating it to the occupants at night. It is critical that thermal mass is well insulated from external temperatures and that it is exposed to winter sun in cooler climate zones.

Bricks and concrete are the most commonly available high mass materials, but rammed earth and mud bricks can also be used.

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Windows and Glazing

The size of the window has a large influence on comfort, as it is both the biggest source of heat loss and heat gain. Ideally, in most climates of except the Top End region, the top of the window should be lower than the eaves by 30% of the height from window sill to underside of eaves.

Otherwise, that window area will be permanently in shade i.e. receives no solar gain in winter. The width of the eave (or other shading device) should vary according to the height of the glass it is shading.