Generation X seeks to resolve first world problems with the touch of a button

 

 

We are living in an era where technological advancements are growing by leaps and bounds. The ‘Smart’ technology that we have access to through our mobile devices, homes and offices are helping us to become more efficient and productive in our lifestyle. Smart homes are empowering people in their homes as they provide automated support for people’s lifestyle needs. Through smart home technology such as the Z-wave, Insteon and X10, homes can be automated through gadgets and mobile devices to further enhance the convenience and lifestyle of the homeowner. This generation is set to become the most tech-savvy and you will see evidence of it as they implement smart technology into their homes.

What changes can generation X make to enhance their homes?

There are numerous gadgets that you can add to your home that will literally solve almost any first world problem with the touch of a button.

In a journal published in 2012, Smart Homes were identified as one of the most innovative developments for the aging generation X and baby boomer generations. The technologically advanced systems which can automate domestic tasks, ease communication and increase security stand to benefit the aging population. Furthermore, the homes can be geared to accommodate the requirements for those people that have special needs.

 

When it comes to easing the financial pressure, smart homes have again pioneered the way for homeowners to make savings to their lifestyle. According to a report from the ABC, over 13% of Australians are living under the poverty line. When it comes to managing finances and bills, these homeowners and lodgers struggle feel the financial strain through necessary lifestyle costs. Smart technology not only assists, but can automate the tasks and cost saving initiatives from their home to further reduce their financial challenges. If you would like to know more about the benefits of smart home technology, click the following link to find out what home automation systems can do for you.

Below are a few of the hottest gadgets on the market right now.

Interconnecting locks and alarm systems.

There is a wide range of sensors, digital lock keypads and sirens that can be configured to your central control unit (depending on what technology software you will use) and automate your home’s locks and security through your smart device (such as your smart phone).

E- Clock by Tokyoflash 3

Audio and visual technology

There have been drastic improvements to the smart technology available in audio and visual. Although the televisions are primarily for entertainment purposes, they are becoming more hybrid with computer functionality. Rather than investing in multiple devices, you may find that you can completely operate your web 2.0 properties directly from your television. You can also connect the television to other properties such as storage devices to view videos and photos, as well as connections to Bluetooth devices such as stereo boxes.

Apple TV and Apple products.

Apple is one of the most innovative brands on the market. Their vision is to have their products work synchronously so it is easier for their users to use and engage with. Innovations such as the Apple Watch, the computer devices and the Apple TV can better transfer information between devices.

Thermostats

Climate control functionality is a big motivator for Australians installing smart device systems into the home. During the summertime, Australian homes can reach upwards of 40 degrees. In some places during the Australian winter, it can get as cool as -2 degrees. Australians tend to be sensitive to the different weather conditions. The thought of walking into a cool refreshing home on a sizzling summer’s day is a dream thought for most Australians. This can now be a reality with smart home technology.

Smart cooking systems

The Australian population is becoming busier. Automating things around the home will help improve the lifestyle. Smart devices in the kitchen can lend a helping hand to the already busy Australian worker. Smart cooking devices can be linked to your smart device network and can allow meals to start cooking in your home so that it is ready for when you arrive home. This can also help with the older Australians who have become more dependent on others for meal preparations, the preparation of food is definitely helpful.

 

The current generation and the generations to come will continue to engage in smart gadgets and devices. They will seek to implement it as much as possible within their homes so that in the future, the management of the home can come down to the action of a single touch.

 

 

Trend alert: The industrial decor revolution

 

 

Have you been walking down the street lately and spotted a bunch of wooden pallets masquerading a tables and chairs outside that super cool hipster cafe? Well, the good news for environmentalists everywhere is that those pallets aren’t masquerading as chairs and tables, they’re the furniture for that venue. It’s called industrial decor and as the emphasis for many people begins to fall on sustainability and on recycling goods, it’s become more and more common to see upcycled and free-cycled goods being used as furniture. There’s also a bigger push towards having retro furniture and other kinds of vintage furniture instead of new stuff.

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This trend isn’t only present in commercial spaces, but is also present in residential spaces too. As a result of this burgeoning trend, I wanted to outline some of the key ways in which you can channel the industrial decor look for your own home – so let’s take a look here.

 

Bedroom:

Plenty of exposed wood is they key for this look to be pulled off successfully – and if you pair it with some softer textures, you’re going to have a beautiful look that you’ll be happy to bunk down in each night. Try sourcing furniture from an industrial design store, or hit the second-hand shops for some great inspiration. You can think about adding some finishing touches to your industrial bedroom like posters, paintings and lamps; channel the vibes of a factory floor and think about the clash of metal with wood for a great look.

 

Lounge room:

Your lounge room needs to be ultimately liveable first, and then stylish second. You have to be able to relax in here, so it needs to be a comfortable. Think about getting a beautiful couch or rug for the room and the adding the finishing touches through a hanging piece for the ceiling or with lamps that have exposed metal. You can also do industrial with a great coffee table or with the ornaments and curios that you put on display. Perhaps a Meccano set would be a great addition to the lounge room as it is kitsch and also cool.

 

Kitchen:

This is one of the most functional rooms, (if not the most functional room in your home) so you have a bit more room to get some freedom going here. Think about getting a really cool wooden bench top that can double up as a chopping board, and then contrast the wood with a really awesome coffee machine or juice press. The coffee machines by La Marzocco are incredible and the juicers by Alessi are also beautiful and modern with that oh-so-desirable industrial twist.

 

Entry foyer:

You can go as crazy as you want in the entrance foyer as it’s not a hugely used room – so it can more stylish and less functional. Perhaps you have a piece that you’ve found in an op-shop that you can’t find a spot for, or you have an upcycled metal shoe rack that would be perfect here. If so, excellent – you can place it proudly on show where your guests will first see it upon entering your home.

 

Final tips for anyone looking to get that chic industrial look in their home:

  • Plenty of exposed wood, steel and metal
  • If you have the option to get polished concrete or stone in your home you should totally go for it, as it adds an extra flourish to your home
  • Channel the spaces like warehouses, factories and other kinds of industrial spaces
  • Hit up the second hand stores, source items online and speak to furniture dealers for more inspiration

 

Hopefully these tips on hitting the mark when it comes to industrial design have been helpful for your home! Good luck and happy decorating!

Thinking about Installing a Quartz Worktop? Here’s What You Need to Know

Everyone has heard of quartz as a material at one point or another. Quartz has long been used as a valuable addition to jewellery and timepieces, but worktops made from quartz are fast becoming a useful addition to the kitchen or bathroom as well.

 

If you are thinking of installing a quartz worktop in your home, what should you know about this exceptional material? First and foremost, quartz is also referred to as engineered stone, as it is different from natural stone, although its material (mainly quartz) is still considered natural. What makes quartz worktops different from natural stone worktops is that instead of being cut in a quarry, a quartz worktop is fabricated and made from a combination of quartz crystals (around 93 percent) and 7 percent resins and binders, as well as colouring.

 

The characteristics of quartz worktops: their advantages and disadvantages

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Durability, toughness, and attractiveness all in one package

 

One of the reasons why quartz worktops are more popular nowadays is the fact that they are durable, tough and attractive. And since they are not natural stone per se and are actually engineered stone, they do not have some weaknesses associated with natural stone. For instance, natural stone is porous, so it can easily absorb dirt and bacteria and needs to be sealed. Quartz worktops, however, are non-porous, and therefore do not need to be sealed. In addition, quartz worktops come in a wider range of colours and patterns than natural stone worktops, and they are more affordable as well. If you purchase a quartz worktop, you can be quite sure that its warranty will last for ten to fifteen years, even more.

 

Better handling of wear and tear and easier maintenance

 

The toughness of quartz is a real advantage, especially if you are worried about cracks and chips (this is especially worrisome if you have small children or elderly loved ones in your home). A quartz worktop is less likely to suffer from chips or cracks compared to a natural stone worktop, and it does not require as much maintenance, either. A quartz worktop is much easier to keep clean, and because of its non-porous surface, it is less likely to accumulate bacteria, mould, and dirt.

 

Furthermore, quartz worktops are less likely to stain as well. Natural stone worktops, if not sealed properly, can be susceptible to stains from wine, oil, and citrus or fruit juices. Quartz worktops, on the other hand, do not easily absorb stains and can stand up to spills and other normal wear and tear quite well.

 

When it comes to disadvantages, quartz worktops have few. One of these is that since they are made from engineered stone and are fabricated, you cannot expect them to have the same level of natural beauty as natural stone worktops. You may also have seams which are visible with a quartz worktop, but the same is true for a natural stone worktop like granite as well. What’s important is to get a good and professional installer to install your quartz worktop for you so they know exactly what they are doing and can maximise the value of your quartz worktop.

 

For those who live in London and are looking for reliable, competent, and highly-professional suppliers of quartz worktops in London, look no further than J.R. Stone, which has been a leader in natural and engineered stone worktops for many years.

 

Image attributed to Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The beginner’s guide to home audio

 

So you’re sick of listening to the lo-fi sound supposedly coming out of your computer speakers or those cheap headphones that came with the phone? Well, you are not alone, there is a growing movement amongst consumers of the world to move away from the attractive prices of the low end audio devices on the market and get back to the idea of quality sound. We can see this in the massive popularity of certain brands that trade on their superior sound quality and even in the vinyl revolution, where people want that warm sound that used to be the norm.

 

Hardcore sound nerds will talk to you forever about audio and if you get seriously into it, you may never be heard from again. But for those who just want a bit of quality without the serious outlay of time, there are a few easy things to look for in a good sound system.

 

Where are the beats going to be?

 

It is really important to think about where the speakers are going to be as this can have a massive difference on the sound. If you are just going to put them in the lounge room and blast them while you sit on the couch then your set-up is going to be more straightforward. But if you’re looking at having a set-up that runs throughout the house, using wireless speakers might be your best bet. Consider obtaining a professional opinion to get the most out of your system.

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Technical terms

 

You are going to want to spend some time getting to know the lingo that is used to describe the different features of an audio system and their technical capabilities. You don’t need to be an expert, a little research will go a long way to make sure you don’t end up with the wrong device or paying way too much for a system that’s going to be too loud and just get you into trouble with the neighbors. So do you know your receivers from your amplifiers and your tweeters from woofers? These terms have nothing to do with pets or social media, but are the names of the two main components of your speakers that produce the high and low frequencies that come out of your stereo. The woofers provide the base and the tweeters deal with the high and medium frequencies.

 

In the shop vs online

 

You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a drive and the same should go with a sound system. It’s important to get into the shop and hear what the speakers actually sound like and don’t take the advertising material at their word. Take some music with you that you know well and will be able to differentiate the differences on various systems. You will also be able to have a conversation with the staff that know what they are talking about and can give you valuable advice. Once you know exactly what you’re after, you have the choice of purchasing in-store or alternatively, take comfort in the joys of shopping online directly from your lounge room couch.

 

 

Can I mix and match brands?

 

You can absolutely, but it isn’t always a great idea. Brands design their systems to work seamlessly together and even though mixing, say, an amp and a set of speakers will definitely work, there is a chance of unexpected results and diminished sound quality. So it’s best to stick with one brand for the whole set-up. The exception though is with sub-woofers, where specialized brands will have a better product than brands that design entire systems.

 

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5 Quick and Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Shower

Think about how many hours a week you spend in the shower. Then consider how many hours this adds up to in the course of the average year – thousands of hours spent within a shower you probably don’t particularly like or appreciate. Since you are spending so much time in this bathroom essential, consider a timely upgrade to enhance your shower experience and get your day off to the best start. Take a look at these home shower improvements – they don’t cost the earth, and they can be surprisingly effective.

  1. Switch Your Shower Cabin

Take a look at your bathroom and what do you immediately see that needs an improvement? Chances are it’s the shower cabin itself. An old, tired shower enclosure doesn’t inspire you when you get in. On the contrary, new shower cabins come with super-sized doors, frameless enclosures, high-power water jets, and well-fitting doors to minimise annoying leaks and drips. Take a look at the examples at http://www.jtspas.co.uk/shower-cabins-372-c.asp for inspiration. The trend is towards large shower enclosures and modern fixings, so you won’t go wrong if you go big.

  1. An Easy Way to Increase the Pressure

If you normally have good water pressure but lately your showerhead has been lacklustre, give it a wash with vinegar and baking soda. The best way is to leave the shower head in the baking soda and vinegar solution overnight – secure a plastic bag around the shower head with an elastic band. The next day you’ll have a much more powerful shower.

  1. Or Change Things Completely

But often if your showerhead is old, the best way to revive your shower experience is to replace it. A number of different styles of showerhead are available nowadays that are affordable and easy to fit. Take your pick – it could make a huge difference to the quality of your morning or evening wash.

  1. Go Tropical

If your fittings and fixings are all working well and you’ve upgraded your shower and bath, take a look at the details – put in more plants and flowers into the bathroom.  Potted plants and hanging plants are excellent for the bathroom, bringing freshness, vitality, and beautiful scents. Make sure you choose plants that thrive in damp conditions, and minimise the need for soil by choosing plants that grow well with shallow roots. Bunches of fresh flowers or even fresh herbs bring an inviting scent to the bathroom which is particularly pronounced when the shower gets steamy.

  1. Add Little Extras

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The smallest details can make a big difference in your shower, for example new fluffy towels and a heated towel rail to keep them cosy, a better shower organiser to keep your bottles of shampoo and shower gel under control, and a better bath mat or wooden bath stand. Changing old, rusting accessories and putting in new, sparkling items gives your shower and your mood an instant boost and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

 

Image courtesy of zirconicusso/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net