7 STEPS TO DE-CLUTTERING YOUR HOME BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Seven steps to decluttering your home before Christmas

For many Australians 2020 has been a year to forget. As we get ready to embrace (a hopefully much better) 2021, now is the perfect time to clear the slate by decluttering and organising the home. 

Getting organised has a huge number of benefits. Not only does it make life a little easier, but studies show that looking at an organised, clean space brings a sense of calm and clarity.

And with the weather warming up ahead of Christmas, it’s the perfect time to open up the home and clear out unwanted items that have been building up.

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With less than a month until Christmas, now is the perfect time to declutter the home. Picture: Getty


Seven steps to decluttering

Step into 2021 with a fresh outlook. Here are seven steps to help make that happen.

1. Start small

Start by picking just one area of the home to concentrate on. Think about which areas are going to be used most often in the next few weeks. It might be the living room or the kitchen – but it also might be an outdoor area used for entertaining and relaxing with family and guests over the festive period.

2. Stay focused on one project at a time

Too many times, a good decluttering and organising job goes off the rails because people get started on too many projects all at the same time. To avoid this, limit the scope of the organising job. For instance, if the space being cleaned up is the kitchen, focus on one particular aspect of the space. What parts of the kitchen are most likely to be used during the holidays? It could be the serving platters, baking supplies, tableware or even cleaning out the pantry.

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Focusing on one area at a time is key to a successful decluttering job. Picture: Getty


3. If it’s not used then discard

After choosing an area to focus on, gather every single item that belongs in that category and spread them out. Pick out anything that is ready to be thrown away such as damaged, soiled or broken items as well as anything that is no longer in style or is not loved anymore. Put those items in a box for the local op shop or gift or dispose of them in some other manner.

4. Store loved and used items

Locate items that are well-loved and used regularly. Be disciplined here and make sure these items are actually well loved and handy today. This limited group of treasures are the ones that will be stored within easy reach.

5. Set limits for things used infrequently

The last category is sometimes the hardest to deal with. It includes items that are perfectly fine but are not used regularly or particularly loved. Be a bit ruthless and decide exactly how much storage space is available for this entire category. If there is room for it then keep it – but there’s nothing wrong with leaving some extra room for future growth.

decluttering

Be ruthless with items that are not well loved or used regularly. Picture: Getty


6. Clear, dust and clean before reloading spaces

Give the area a deep clean before putting anything back. Dirt, dust and even mould can collect in almost all storage areas. Take care of this now while the space is empty. Then start loading things back putting items used most regularly at the front so they can be accessed easily.

7. Dance your happy dance

Marvel at how beautifully organised the area is. Take pictures. Be proud. And then move on to the next project.

Focused and systematic gets the job done

If you limit decluttering to just one category within one space, the job is much more ‘doable’. Finish one job completely and then start on the next. Repeat this process to have Christmas decluttering done in plenty of time for the festivities.

How to plant lemon, lime and orange trees….

familiar sight in the average Australian garden is the humble lemon tree. But why stop there?

  1. Choose a sunny, spacious spot, with enough room for your plant to grow its branches;
  2. Use a deep, sandy loam-type soil if possible – although a loamy soil that is well-drained will also do the trick;

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    These days kumquats, Tahitian limes, grapefruit, blood oranges, native finger limes, oranges and myriad mandarin varieties offer exciting new flavour experiences. Better yet, their blossoms add wonderful colour and fragrance to your garden.

    The great thing is, citrus trees are not difficult to grow.

    Kumquats, grapefruit, blood oranges, finger limes – citrus trees are not difficult to grow.

    With a little care they thrive in containers and home gardens. They’ll bear you fruit in winter and their glossy green leaves ensure your garden looks gorgeous all year round.

     Caring for your citrus plant

    Here’s how to care for your citrus plant when you bring it home from the nursery.

    Where to plant?

    Confused about how to plant a lemon tree? Not sure how to plant a lime tree? Here’s what you need to know: Citrus plants love sunshine. They do best in a warm position, protected from frost, and in well-drained soil.

    If your patio or balcony gets the most sun, try growing your tree in a pot.

    Read next: Your step by step guide to growing a bonsai tree

    Container planting

    With so many options to choose from, including dwarf limes and ‘citrus splitzers’ (a grafted tree combining two fruiting varieties on the one plant), you’ll be sure to find a plant that tickles your fancy.

    Your young tree will need good drainage, so make sure you select a pot with large holes in the bottom. Elevate it slightly off the ground by setting it on pot-feet or bricks. Wine barrels cut in half are perfect, or go for a large plastic or terracotta pot.

    orange pot plant balcony fruit tree

    Citrus trees love to be potted and popped in full sun. Picture: Getty


    Top tips for planting citrus trees in a container

    1. Use a good quality potting mix, and buy enough to fill the pot within 4cm of the rim;
    2. Slide the tree carefully from its nursery pot;
    3. Set the tree in the hole you’ve prepared;
    4. Make sure the root ball rests at least 5cm above the surrounding soil and fill with potting mix, patting down lightly;
    5. Be sure you add enough potting mix to allow for slumping after you water it a few times.

    Caring for your potted plant

    Potted citrus need to be watered two to three times a week, more if they are flowering or fruiting. Make sure your plant gets all the nutrients it needs by fertilising with citrus food about once a month.

    A dwarf lemon tree in a terracotta pot

    Not sure how to plant a lemon tree? Why not in a pot? Picture: Erinna Giblin


    Read more: 6 expert tips to prepare a perfect garden bed for vegetables

    Planting in the garden

    When planting citrus in the garden you’ll want to plant it high. This creates surface water run-off and will be a great help to the tree in wet weather.

    Top tips for how to plant citrus trees in the garden

  3. Dig a hole that’s wide and deep enough to accommodate the entire root system of your tree.

Your best bet now is to build a raised garden bed and fill it with good garden soil, then plant the tree straight into the raised bed. Fresh soil will help the plant to grow, and avoid wet feet.

Place the plant in the hole, making sure the bud union (the slightly swollen area on the lower stem where the citrus is grafted onto the rootstock) sits at the same level that it did in the pot.

Place the tree in the hole, making sure the bud union is above soil level.

Cover the root system with soil, ensuring the tree is upright and straight as you backfill. Firm the soil in around the roots to get rid of any air pockets and water it with a seaweed solution to help it settle.

Keeping your plant happy

Pruning

Just prune when necessary. A light trim across the canopy in early spring will see a surge of new growth. Older trees will need a renovation prune every five years or so.

Watering

Your citrus will need plenty of water during its main growing period of spring and summer.

It’s important to keep the soil moist during the hotter months with a deep soaking. A light watering will only result in the fine surface feeder roots dying out when the soil dries. That said, only water as needed – too much may result in rot.

Mulching will help to prevent drying. It also helps to suppress weeds and improve soil structure.

Orange tree in pot

Orange trees can be potted too. Picture: Getty


Pest & disease control

Regularly spray new growth with a horticultural spray oil to control citrus leaf miner and aphids, along with sap suckers like spined citrus bugs.

Fertilising

You’ll need fairly large quantities of citrus food to keep your plant happy.

Be careful not to apply too much nitrogen (such as sulphate of ammonia), as it will cause the tree to produce thick-skinned fruit and lush leaf growth at the expense of fruiting. Your citrus can do with a feed at least four times a year.

Feed your citrus at least four times a year.

Top tips

  • Water the soil well, and aerate with a hollow-tined fork before applying fertiliser;
  • Potash is great for citrus as it assists both fruit formation and sweetness;
  • Apply plant food around the ‘drip line’ of the tree – where the furthest branches are at their widest – because this is where the roots are most active;
  • Trees around six years and older should receive approximately 3kg of citrus food each year.

Be aware: This does not include encouraging your pet to use your tree as a watering post. Despite common folklore, the salts in dog urine can actually burn the plant, making it an unpredictable fertiliser. Cat pee isn’t much better.

Try spreading used coffee grounds instead. Neither should replace a good quality citrus fertiliser.

Replanting

Autumn is the perfect time to plant.

This is because citrus grow big and robust after a good summer growing season. In the southern states, it’s best to plant in spring after the frosts have passed. In sub-tropical regions, citrus trees can be planted most times of the year, except during the wet.

Whatever you do, never plant a citrus in your lawn – they don’t play nicely with others.

Harvesting

If you pick a fruit from the tree and it tastes good, the rest should be ripe enough to harvest. Ready for cocktail, smoothie, salad or seasoning.

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A state-by-state guide to concessions available to first home buyers…

Many Australians are facing economic hardship brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with first home buyers among the hardest hit. However, for those with secure employment, this year may prove to be a fruitful opportunity to crack into the housing market.

The new HomeBuilder grant gives $25,000 to people who are building a new home or buying off the plan up to the value of $750,000. And, for first home buyers, there are other concession and grants they can use to get a foothold in the property market.

Making the mst of grants

Cameron Kusher, executive manager for economic research at REA Group, says first home buyers are dominating the current market with government grants playing a large role.

Furthermore, interest rates are the lowest they’ve ever been; home prices, while not expected to go into “freefall”, are tipped to decline; and the recently introduced First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is another tool up the sleeve of first home buyers.

“Government stimulus such as first home buyer grants have been a successful driver of demand in recent years, and the HomeBuilder scheme will likely be no different in bringing forward demand from this buyer group between now and the end of the year,” Kusher says.

“First home buyers who are still employed and have a solid deposit may see the introduction of HomeBuilder as an opportune time to build or purchase a new home.”

It’s never a bad time to do some research into the property market. Picture: Getty


“If you’re in stable employment this could turn out to be one of the best times for first home buyers that we’ve seen in recent years, This is because you could be eligible for more than one first home owner grant or assistance scheme.”

First home buyers need to do their homework. She advises first home buyers save hard; research the grants and concessions that are available; talk to a bank manager or mortgage broker; and, if buying off the plan, look into the reputation of the developer. But getting into the right mindset is also key.

“Unless budget is no object, your first home is rarely ever your dream home.” she says. “You need to have a good idea of what matters most to you — if it’s living close to the city then you may have to compromise on space. If you want more space, you might have to live further from the city.”

What grants are available?

To make the most of grants and concessions, knowing what properties are eligible – and in your price range – is an important first step.

“Grants are generally only available on new homes, units, apartments or townhomes, while price caps usually apply,” Wood says.

So, where do the country’s different states’ and territories’ first home owner grants currently sit?

(*Check your relevant state or territory’s page for full eligibility requirements and additional home buyer assistance schemes.)

ACT

How much?

$0*

What for?

The ACT phased out their FHOG from 1 July, 2019, replacing it with a home buyer concession scheme.

Other concessions? 

Under the new provisions, first home buyers pay no transfer duty.

All types of property, up to any price, are eligible. However, there are some income thresholds for applicants.

More information:  ACT Revenue Office

NSW

How much?

$10,000*

What for?

In NSW, first home buyers can receive $10,000 towards a new home that no one has lived in before, up to a purchase price of $750,000.

Other concessions?

The First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme offers complete stamp duty exemptions on properties up to $650,000 and partial concessions on properties between $650,000 to $800,000.

More informationNSW Revenue Office

NT

How much?

$10,000*

What for?

Territorians can apply for $10,000 towards a newly constructed first home.

Other concessions? 

In the NT, you may also be able to apply for a BuildBonus Grant, potentially worth $20,000, or a Territory home owner discount, worth up to $18,601 off stamp duty.

More informationnt.gov.au

construction home

Many first home buyer grants apply to newly built homes. Picture: iStock


Queensland

How much?

$15,000*

What for?

A $15,000 grant is available for Queenslanders who are building or buying a new home, up to a value of $750,000.

Other concessions?

You can also apply for a first home concession on transfer duty for home valued up to $500,000 up to $15,925. A home concession may still apply on properties above this price.

More informationqld.gov.au

South Australia

How much?

$15,000*

What for?

Eligible South Australians can apply for a $15,000 grant on newly built properties up to the value of $575,000.

Other concessions? 

First home builders who are still constructing on June 30 (the date state land tax is calculated) can apply for an exemption if they intend to move into the property as their primary place of residence before June 30 of the following year.

More informationRevenueSA

keys handed over

Over 20 years, first home buyer grants have helped many Australians. Picture: iStock


Tasmania

How much?

$20,000*

What for?

First home buyers in Tasmania who are buying or building a new home can receive $20,000 up to 30 June 2022.

Other concessions?

A 50% transfer duty concession is available to first home buyers on established properties valued at or below $400,000.

More informationState Revenue Office of Tasmania

Victoria

How much?

$10,000 or $20,000*

What for?

Victorians buying or building a new home may receive $10,000 in metropolitan Melbourne or $20,000 if they are in a regional area.

Grants are available on properties up to a price of $750,000.

list of regional locations is available on the State Revenue Office of Victoria’s website.

Other concessions?

A stamp duty exemption is available on first homes valued below $600,000. Concessions are available for properties priced between $600,000 and $750,000.

Additional concessions are also available for certain buying groups and demographics.

More informationState Venue Office Victoria

Western Australia

How much?

$10,000

What for?

In WA, those buying or building a new home can apply for $10,000.

Other concessions?

First home buyers may be eligible for a concessional rate of transfer duty concessions, potentially including established stock. Check the government website for eligibility requirements.

More informationWA Department of Finance

National

Don’t forget to check out the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. It helps first home buyers make a purchase with a 5% deposit, without having to take up Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

3 things to know before getting a pool..

Carlene Duffy

Carlene Duffy

But before you break out the shovel and start digging, it pays to know what you’re getting yourself into. You might think that pools automatically increase value, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re thinking of selling, it pays to know how much your property is worth before hitting the market and which items add value and what doesn’t.

I know a thing or two about living with a pool – we have one of the biggest residential pools you’ve ever seen. While that might sound like a treat, it’s been a love-hate relationship over the 10 years we’ve called our property home.

I’m pleased to report that, recently, it’s more love than hate; but I’m also here to tell you the reality of keeping a pool isn’t all sweet summer-day fun.

1. Bigger isn’t always better

One of the most common questions I’m asked when I post happy snaps of my pool on social media is, “what are the dimensions?” My response is, “too big”. I’m not joking – at 150,000 litres it is too big, but it came with the block and we’re hardly going to get rid of it.

Pool exterior

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to pools. Picture: Mindi Cooke


Beyond that, our pool affords us (my kids) endless hours of fun, a reprieve from a hot day, and in our case, it’s the jewel in the crown, as we can take it in from most angles of our home.

On the flip side, it has also cost us thousands in maintenance due to insufficient pool pumps, broken chlorinators, faulty pool cleaners, an endless supply of chemicals, and hefty power bills. You’d be mad to install a pool of this scale in this climate of environmental fragility and the ever-climbing cost of electricity.

 My advice: install that pool (you won’t regret it) but do it on a scale that won’t overwhelm your resources.

2. Climate and trends dictate costs

Dave Franklin of Franklin Pools Australia says the cost of installing a pool varies pretty wildly from state to state, which is subject to climatic differences but also trends. In Queensland the average 8x4m pebblecrete pool comes in at around $25k-$30k, while in Victoria, the same size pool sits at around $55k-$70k.

The difference being that nearly all pools in Victoria are installed with heating. But also, the state’s preferred trend of fully tiled pools has higher labour costs than pebblecrete, which most Queenslanders go for.

house with pool

Pools have timeless appeal for families but can be a lot to maintain. Picture: realestate.com.au


3. The industry is changing

This is one of the most important pieces of advice you can know about the pool industry right now: chlorine and salt pools are on their way out, and mineral pools of varying types are fast on their way in. We recently converted our pool to a mineral system and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.

Read more: How to maintain a pool

To cut to the chase, it means we’re no longer swimming in chlorine (good news for asthma and eczema sufferers); it requires next-to-no maintenance (no trips to the pool shop), and in a decade of operation, our pool’s never been so clear.

Pool exterior

The cost of your pool will be largely determined by the materials its built with. Picture: Mindi Cooke


The bonus is our power bill is expected to be $400 down over the year.

If you’re installing a new pool, a mineral variety is a no-brainer. And if you’re thinking about converting an existing pool but you’re deterred by the cost of conversion, take it from me, it will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make – for your power bill, for the environment, and for your health.

How to create a sanity-saving office space…

Has the coronavirus got you suddenly working from home? Home offices around the world are suddenly getting a workout amid the COVID-19 crisis.

If you previously haven’t put in much thought to the functionality of the space you’re probably now kicking yourself and wondering how you can make it a better place to work.

Never fear, we’ve got 8 tips to get you started:

1. Keep papers of sight, out of mind

Utilise drawer space and employ a chic noticeboard to prevent reminders from littering your desk space.

Invest in simple desk and drawer organisers for documents to be stored safely and securely. Use boxes and trays in a uniform hue to conceal other items and tie the look together.

home office shelves

Keep that desk as clear as possible in order to maximise productivity and minimise distractions. Picture: Getty


2. Be minimalistic

Do you really need hundreds of pens, highlighters or pencils? Store away unnecessary items and use one at a time until they need to be replaced.

Keep everyday items on top of the desk and pack away everything else. Don’t let a rogue paperclip distract you from that important task.

3. Create a study nook

Do you have a tucked-away corner in your living room?

Transform this into a study nook by adding a simple desk, and incorporate complementary items such as a clock, plant, framed pictures or a sculptural piece.

How to style a nook:

 4.. Pare back the colour palette

Having lots of colours creates visual clutter, whereas sticking to one or two accent colours to maintain consistency and create a zen look in your workspace.

When shopping for stationery and desk accessories, try opting for white, black and neutral tones or else you could stick to a few pastel shades if you prefer some colour.

monochrome office

Black accents keep your look consistent. Picture: Getty


5. Accent your style

Create a chic look by adding metallic hues such as rose gold, copper or brass in small details such as paperclips, pens and desk accessories.

gold candle

A splash of metallic gold and some greenery instantly lift this study space. Picture: Three Birds Renovations


6. Vertical storage

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How to declutter your garage once & for all

00:34

How to declutter your garage once & for all

Handy ways to store those less pretty kitchen essentials

Handy ways to store those less pretty kitchen essentials

Lacking space in your office area? Vertical shelving increases the space in the room quickly and stylishly, while also making things easy to find.

It’s also a great way to keep your desk space clear and usable as well as keeping personal and inspirational items on display.

home office shelves

Install shelving to increase desk space. Picture: Getty


7. Add some plants

Soften the mood and create a down-to-earth feel by decorating with leafy green plants, succulents and simple florals.

Additionally, these emit oxygen, fight negative energy and add a beautiful natural feel to your office.

office indoor plants

Beautify your workspace with indoor plants. Picture: Getty


8. Keep it consistent

Decorate your home office within the theme of your existing decor. Don’t recreate a new look for a small space.

Boho, coastal or modern eclectic styles enable great opportunities to embrace colour and patterns in your workspace through accessories and upholstery.

home office theme

Align your workspace design with the rest of your home. Picture: Getty


With a little discipline and a few touches of creativity, you can reinvent your office space and make it an interior design showpiece that exhibits your creativity and flair.

Organising a bedroom to promote restful sleep…

These are trying times. No question about it. Being forced to stay at home for a long period of time can really play with your mind.

  5 ways to improve your sleep
 We all are in the same boat – and we can all empathise with what each other is going through.

As we all know, we’re doing this to make sure we do not come into contact with coronavirus and widen its spread. At the same time, we also need to keep our immune systems strong, and getting good sleep is a key part of this.

If you’re finding that you’re not sleeping well, take a look at your bedroom. Organising your bedroom for better sleep may help you get the kind of rest you need.

Here are some ideas that might help:

1. Clear the clutter

Clearing the clutter from your bedroom – especially from the floor – is an important first step.  Walking into a messy, cluttered room before bed just isn’t relaxing, and can even be dangerous.

Many people get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.  Having random items scattered across the floor creates dangerous trip hazards that can result in nasty falls or injuries.

bedroom

If you’re struggling to sleep, try removing the clutter in your bedroom. Picture: realestate.com.au


While you’re confined to your home, it’s a great time to get into the habit of keeping your room a little more tidy and organised.

2. Open the space

Anything that doesn’t have to do with sleep, romance, or getting dressed doesn’t belong in your bedroom.

Are there kids’ toys in your bedroom? Is there a desk in the corner?

Do you have workout equipment or crafts projects in there as well? If you’re having trouble with sleep, get these things out of the room.

 You need to be able to walk into your bedroom without having your mind triggered towards things other than sleep (or romance).

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have nowhere else to store these items. If that’s truly the case, then build a partition in your room and divide that area off.

The goal is to enter your bedroom and find calm, not energy.

Your bedroom should be your restful haven – make sure it’s so.

3. Stay cool

Studies show that the optimal sleep temperature for most people is between 17C and 22C. Even colder rooms are good – as long as you have a good doona! Air-conditioning, fans, or an open window can all help, too.

Stay cool and you’ll hibernate more quickly and fall into a deeper, more restful sleep!

How to declutter your garage once & for all

How to declutter your garage once & for all

Handy ways to store those less pretty kitchen essentials

Handy ways to store those less pretty kitchen essentials

bedroom with fan

Keep yourself cool at night with a fan or an air conditioner. Picture: Unsplash


4. Help to make your sleep better

There are also other considerations when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Is your room dark enough? Is it quiet enough?

Eye masks are more comfortable than ever these days.

The same goes for silicone earplugs, which now mould to the exact shape of your ear canal. Try them.

 A posy to help you sleep

5. Remove distractions

External stimuli can do more to quickly ruin a good sleep than anything else.

The TV and your phone are not your friends at night. Study after study shows that your body needs anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes of no screen time before you can fall into a state of deep relaxation.

Get into different habits at night. Read a book or a magazine. Maybe meditate just before bed. Have a shower or bath. Do anything you like, but if you’re looking for a quick trip to the land of nod, leave your mobile phone screen side down with the notifications switched off.

Staying healthy during these trying times is really important, and sleep is one way to help with your general health and well-being. Your only goals right now are to just stay home and stay healthy. Good sleep will help with that!

Stamp duty for first-home buyers to be temporarily waived on new properties worth up to $800,000….

A “long overdue” extension of stamp duty relief for first-home buyers will help Sydneysiders get into the property market quicker, experts say, but will do little to improve the overall state of the market.

Multiple grants are giving first homebuyers a golden ticket to property ownership….

Multiple grants are giving first homebuyers a golden ticket to property ownership

First homebuyers Sutherland

First homebuyers Ellouise Dunn and Robert Cacciola got government support to buy a unit. Picture: Brett Costello


First homebuyers are being urged to capitalise on a raft of government grants and support after further stamp duty incentives were introduced earlier this week.

The NSW government announced Monday that stamp duty will be temporarily scrapped for first homebuyers purchasing newly-built properties worth up to $800,000.

Stamp duty will also be heavily discounted for new homes priced up to $1 million for a period of 12 months.

MORE: Best suburbs for families revealed

Dream homes on offer with massive discounts

The scheme will mean first-time buyers have multiple avenues of support. First-time purchasers of new properties are already entitled to the $10,000 First Home Owners Grant.

The $25,000 HomeBuilder scheme for purchases of new properties priced under $750,000 is also available for single buyers with an income under $125,000 or couples earning less than $200,000 a year.

 With stamp duty costs on property purchases often exceeding $15,000, first homebuyers could save as much as $40,000 on their purchases if they access multiple grants.

There is also the federally-backed First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which allows buyers to get into the market using a 5 per cent deposit without needing to get pricey lender’s mortgage insurance.

Housing Industry Association executive director NSW David Bare said the combined packages offer a significant boost for buyers.

“The government is forecasting that this change will assist more than 6000 first homebuyers, which have traditionally been under-represented in the NSW market, particularly in Sydney,” Mr Bare said.

“Combined with the existing $10,000 First Home Owners Grant and the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, first homebuyers in NSW should be looking to a new home as a real option.”

PREMIER PRESSER

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said stamp duty incentives would help more first-time buyers get into the market. Picture: Jeremy Piper


The year-long stamp duty initiative was introduced with the aim of propping up the construction sector and injecting confidence into the property market.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the changes will deliver a direct financial benefit to home seekers.

“Thousands of people will see their bank balances benefit from this change – it will help get more keys into more front doors of more new homes,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Commencing today, the stamp duty scheme will also raise the threshold for tax exceptions on vacant land purchases from $350,000 to $400,000. Discounts will also apply for land purchases up to $500,000.

First-time buyers Ellouise Dunn and Robert Cacciola recently accessed the First Home Deposit Scheme and said they realised it was a good time to be purchasing.

12 hours ago

Aerial Pics for Housing Splash

Buyers of newly built houses can get multiple avenues of support. Picture: Jonathan Ng


The pair snapped up a two-bedroom unit in the suburb of Sutherland in Sydney’s south and said they were “extremely happy” with the property and the deal they managed to negotiate.

“We didn’t think we would get (the scheme) but decided to apply for it anyway,” Ms Dunn said.

“When we got it we had 90 days to buy something, so that motivated us to start looking but we have no regrets. We felt like it was a good time to be looking and rates are so low.”

Belle Property Annandale associate director Simone Azzi said the stamp duty scheme was a welcome boost for the property market.

“(It) could be the difference between buying a house instead of an apartment,” she said.

First homebuyers Sutherland

Ellouise Dunn and Robert Cacciola said it was a good time to buy. Picture: Brett Costello


The government hopes easing the burden of buying a newly built property will stimulate the construction sector, which employs around 376,000 workers in NSW.

Residential and commercial construction contributed $48 billion to the state’s economy in 2018-19.

“This initiative will have positive outcomes for the housing industry and the NSW economy as a whole,” Mr Bare said. “(It) will ensure that there is plenty of suitably priced new housing for first homebuyers to take advantage of right across the state.”

Don’t miss out

15 Modern Bathroom Designs…

5 Modern Bathroom Design Ideas

Designing a bathroom with the goal of achieving an aesthetically pleasing modern design isn’t difficult. As a matter of fact, updating your bathroom using modern design techniques is a lot of fun.

Many people enjoy the visual appeal of modern bathroom designs. They find it alluring because contemporary styles are simple and minimalist.

Instead of a stark or dull design, this simplistic style provides a clean, comfortable, and modern vibe. The good news is that you don’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting or over-the-top renovations to achieve the modern look you love.

Small touches can go a long way toward constructing a sleek, contemporary style. If designing your bathroom in a modern design feels confusing or overwhelming, don’t despair.

Although there are a plethora of amazing bathroom design ideas to choose from you don’t have to feel overwhelmed or anxious about which one to select. This article will help you narrow down the styles that will work best for your bathroom so the design process will run smoothly.

How is Modern Design Defined?

The modern design reflects the mid-century decorating style that was prominent in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It has a theme as all other styles do. A central feature of modern decor is minimalism.

It is associated with natural materials, neutral or basic colors, geometrical shapes, and little to no decorative flourishes. Modern bathrooms are all about simplistic design.

1 example of modern minimalist bathroom

This is a perfect example of a modern bathroom. This simplistic design focuses on the use of natural materials, neutrals, and minimum decorative embellishments.

Mixing more squares and rectangles with monochromatic colors creates an ultra-modern look. If that’s your preference, get the most out of that style by keeping furniture to a minimum and invest in a floating vanity or sink.

Modern features such as sharp and straight lines work well in any size space, large or small. If you have a small bathroom, you’ll be pleased to know that it lends itself well to a contemporary vibe.

Modern styles are all about presenting a clean, uncluttered look. You can easily do this by keeping everything to a minimum.

Colors, furnishings, and decorations should not dominate the room. A great way to create an aesthetically pleasing room that is on the smaller side is to opt for closed bathroom storage.

If you want to create a truly chic experience, you need to invest in some built-in storage. It really is going to be your best option for achieving a no-mess look.

A simple, well-built piece of furniture will look marvelous in a beautiful wooden design.

2 wood bathroom furniture
Notice how easy it is to hide bathroom necessities in the drawers and wicker baskets. There’s no clutter in sight. This simple, beautiful wood vanity is glorious. 

A contemporary space calls for a few well-placed floor to ceiling cupboards with a simple design that will allow them to blend into the rest of the room. Feel free to add a bit of color to your cupboards with a splash of paint.

Another hallmark of modern style is an open floor plan. When you’re dreaming up your modern bathroom, make it a top priority to create an open and spacious feel. A streamlined layout is best.

You can always create zones to distinguish areas apart from each other without taking away from the open floor plan. A great stylish solution for a contemporary bathroom is to encase showers in transparent glass walls.

Plus, using mirrors that go up to the ceiling will make the bathroom seem incredibly spacious.

Challenges to Decorating with Modern Design

There are some challenges to styling a space in a minimalistic design. However, there are ways to remedy those issues.

For instance, square and rectangular shapes can feel rigid. Add curves by using candles to soften the space without taking away from the minimalist style.

Monochromatic or neutral themes lack color. Add some liveliness to the room to keep it from looking stark by incorporating fresh flowers into the design. Modern bathrooms handle color very well so adding a burst of color with a coat of paint will do wonders for your space.

3 bathroom wall color
As you can see, this beautiful bathroom has been enlivened with a splash of warm color. Otherwise, the area would lack color and appear cold. It’s proof that modern bathrooms can look amazing with a burst of color.

Your bathroom will look more welcoming and less like a sterile waiting room at a doctor’s office. You want a space that isn’t just modern. You want a space that is warm, inviting, and welcoming.

What Are the Best Bathroom Design Ideas for a Modern Space?

1. Add Solid Wood Accents to Your Space.

Bring in nature by adding solid wood accents. It will infuse warmth to a minimalist design that could appear cold.

Light wood furniture brings an organic feel to the room that feels very relaxing and comforting. You can incorporate wood into the bathroom design by using it in your ceiling beam, shelves, vanity, or towel bar.

You’ll create a vibe that reads warm, casual, and modern. Soft, whitewashed woods make for a refreshing look as well. They are lovely additions to lighter and brighter bathrooms.

Imperative Decor’s floating wood shelves add just the right touch of rustic naturalness to a contemporary bathroom. The wood adds warmth and charm.

Also, the floating design would blend perfectly with a modern space. Mounting brackets are not visible so it gives off a sleek vibe.

Always wanted to try out an accent wall but never had the nerve to do it? Now’s your chance. The bathroom is a perfect place to experiment with a bold style.

After all, it’s probably the room you spend the least amount of time in any way. You can throw a strong splash of color on the wall knowing you won’t have to spend hours looking at it.

A modern bathroom does not have to be void of color. It’s okay to incorporate bright accents to an otherwise neutral landscape.

4 yellow wall with niche
If painting an entire wall with a bold color goes against your minimalistic grain, you can add bold color strategically. Notice how this yellow warms the space without overpowering it.This is how you add bright accents to an otherwise flat, monochromatic bathroom. 

It’s a marvelous way to inject personality into a modern bathroom that might otherwise appear clinical and dull. You can also create a stunning focal point by adding an intricate monochrome wall mural.

3. Decorate With Marvelous Mosaics and Tiles.

Also, you can add a decorative tiled accent to create a mosaic masterpiece. A perk of using stylish mosaic tiles is that they function well in bathrooms that have high humidity levels.

For this reason, attractive and practical ceramic wall tiles are popular choices for modern bathroom design. Mosaic tiles add visual interest and dimension to the bathroom.

But the way you lay down your tiles can make or break the style of your bathroom. Install your tiles vertically, rather than horizontally to create a sense of space and height.

Hexagon tiles are perfect for modern bathrooms because they reinforce the use of geometric patterns. Once you choose the shape you want, decide on the color of the tile.

A neutral tone will provide a more natural and serene look to your minimalist design. If you desire a more rustic look, go for beautiful stone tiles.

Opt for glass tile if you want a truly modern and unique aesthetic. Ceramic tiles will work better if you want to add a traditional flair to your space.

Other tiles that are compatible with modern design are pebbles, slate, and quarry. An added benefit of using tiles is that they have non-slip properties to ensure your safety.

5 tiles for bathroom
These large, square tiles are just right for modern bathrooms. Take note that you don’t have to stop at the floor. Carry the tiles up the wall in a lovely neutral tone to create a seamless and serene look in your minimalist space.

Terrazzo finishes are also a popular style for modern bathrooms. Terrazzo is a super stylish flooring material that consists of marble or granite chips set in concrete and polished to give a smooth surface.

You could bring a modern feel into any bathroom by using terrazzo tiles. Get creative and use this stylish material in more subtle ways.

Add a terrazzo bathroom wall light for a delightful dose of unexpected texture. Regardless of the style you choose, you’ll have a winning combo when you add your magnificent tiles with a modern bathtub and sink.

Get creative with your designs. Modern doesn’t mean boring. Add trendy colors to spice up an otherwise cold bathroom.

Wall tiles in vivid, Mediterranean inspired blues or warm sun kissed orange and yellow shades will enliven your space. Even if you choose to stick with white, grey, or pastel colors, you can make things more interesting by choosing a theme for the pattern of your tiles.

For example, large floor and wall tiles with ancient, ethnic, exotic, traditional, futuristic, or nature-inspired patterns will lend a distinct flair to your bathroom. You can also include personal touches in your designs.

Adding your favorite flowers and animals to the mix will make your space feel charming and cozy. Incorporating such stand-out contemporary details will give your modern bathroom more impact.

Also, bringing living greenery into your bathroom will add freshness to the decor scheme. It will balance out the use of colorful tiles as well.

4. Re-create Your Spa Experience With a Freestanding Soaker Tub.

6 freesoaker tub
Behold the transformative power of this sleek freestanding soaker tub. It turns an otherwise simple bathroom into a setting fit for a spa. The curvy silhouettes and smooth edges fit perfectly with this posh, modern bathroom.

What is more modern than a gorgeous, sleek freestanding soaker tub? It evokes luxury. You’ll feel as if you turned your bathroom into your personal spa.

Why would you need to check into a resort for a spa day when your master bathroom makes you feel like you just stepped into an oasis of relaxation? A freestanding soaker tub can be a beautiful focal point in a simplistic modern bathroom.

Having a square or sleek tub gives your eyes something attractive to behold. Positioning your freestanding bath in the middle of a large bathroom will create a striking focal point.

Design elements that have simple silhouettes and smooth edges go hand-in-hand with a polished, modern bathroom. Step it up another level by taking a cue from other modern luxury bathrooms and place your bathtub on a bed of pebbles.

Natural stones will look very contemporary when combined with other wooden elements and plants. Adding house plants has been proven to promote wellbeing.

It is a must for any modern bathroom to keep it from looking cold and lifeless. You can turn your plants into statement pieces or make them a subtle design feature.

This will work particularly well in a room that is mostly white or one that features pots or plants with bold colors. By adding a potted plant to your sophisticated decor scheme, you’ll make your space look more interesting and inviting.

7 potted plant in bathroom
A well-placed potted plant adds just the right touch of greenery. The plant in this picture keeps the bathroom from feeling lifeless with its fresh green leaves and bright yellow container. It’s a subtle way to bring in nature and create an air of serenity.

5. Get Shower Chic.

But what if you don’t have room for a freestanding soaker tub? You can still create a modern look with the use of a rain shower. It will bring a contemporary edge to your space.

Plus, it is super relaxing. Lean into the modern look with a metallic showerhead and hardware to add industrial flavor.

Dreamfall’s rainfall shower comes with an extra large nine inch face for shoulder-to-shoulder water flow coverage.The design allows you to alternate between the overhead and handheld shower. With the push of a button you can enjoy luxurious waterfall settings, high-power rain, and a relaxing aeration massage.

Avoid framed glass doors because like shower curtains they look heavy and divisive. Maximize your space by installing frameless glass doors.

A great option for a modern bathroom is a walk-in shower surrounded by transparent, glass walls. It works especially well in a monochromatic room. There are a variety of options to choose from such as sliding doors and ones that open up in various directions.

You’ll create a seamless, continuous look from wall to wall. As a result, you will visually enlarge your space.

Glass creates a sense of openness that other materials can not compete with. The great thing about glass is that it works very well on a variety of surfaces.

You can use it on counters, faucets, wall and floor tiles, sinks, shelves, and vanities. Polished glass is an ideal style element for a modern bathroom.

6. Try the Pattern-On-Pattern Style.

With so many bathroom design ideas to choose from, you can feel overwhelmed. When that happens, it helps to pick a starting point. One of the best places to start is at the bottom.

Get your foundation done for the room and work your way up from there. Playing with patterns isn’t just for your wardrobe. You can do the same with your floor design.

8 patterned floor and wall
This image shows that you can have a pattern in your modern bathroom that is subtle and tasteful. The pattern is the same. Yet, notice how the pattern is laid vertically on the floor but horizontally on the wall. This pattern-on-pattern style creates visual interest without being overwhelming.

The trick is to use color and style to your advantage. Get the pattern-on-pattern look right by keeping everything in the same color family.

Enhance the look further by using a similar pattern on your rug that’s on the tiles. A modern bathroom will look more inviting with the addition of a well-chosen rug.

Go for a more contemporary style by using a rug that has a colorful or strong look. Make sure that your floors are safe by adding a non slip rug to prevent any painful slip-and-falls.

You’ll have a design that’s safe, beautiful, and well-blended for a harmonious style. Make sure to maintain the same flooring material from your main floor into the shower.

You’ll create a seamless, minimalistic look. The room will also appear bigger without any visual interruptions.

7. Streamline Your Bathroom With a Floating Vanity.

Floating vanities are modern and practical. You’ll free up space which will make your room feel grand and streamlined. Opening up the floor space will create a high-end feel.

Capitalize the floating effect by installing a light beneath the bath panel. Place a tiny faux fur stool underneath the vanity on both sides to add an air of elegance.

8. Upgrade Your Outdated Sink.

You can top off your chic space with a simple stone sink for a luxurious touch. Also, a marble countertop makes a rich addition to a fashion-forward look.

9 granite sink
Make your bathroom modern with small touches. This elevated, white bowl screams modern. The beautiful stone countertop compliments the style perfectly.

It also makes a sleek and polished contrast with black cabinetry and golden hardware. Why not make it look really modern with an elevated glass bowl for washing your hands?

This tempered glass bowl has a simple style that will echo the minimalistic theme of your modern bathroom very well. Its glossy surface makes it easy to clean up. Another perk is the thick tempered glass which is durable and hard to break.

9. Add Chic Gold Finishes.

If gold is your cup of tea, then let it overspill into your bathroom. Adding gold touches makes the area feel chic.

Go glam with gold touches on handles, faucets, towel hooks, and light fixtures. Combining gold with other timeless color combinations like black, white, and grey will enhance the contemporary style of the bathroom.

A neutral palette will never go out of style. You’ll get the most use of your money by sticking with a timeless design.

Painting accents black is a great way to add more luxury to your gold finishes. Another cool tip is to paint the inside of the bathroom door black.

Paint is a simple tool to use to completely transform your bathroom space. Black is strong and great at grounding a minimalist design. It is also sophisticated and modern.

10 black wall in bathroom
Notice how incredibly chic this minimalist bathroom looks with a wall drenched in high-gloss, black paint. It makes a bold statement without making the room feel too dark or small. Plus, it blends well with the black and white floating vanity.

Another great way to use black paint is to use it to cover exposed pipes to create a modern industrial feel. Like that idea?

Keep it going by choosing matching black fixtures and dark grout for a look that is both modern and striking. In addition to leaving pipes exposed you can also leave bricks bare to create a feature wall that has a contemporary industrial look.

Go a step further with factory-style light fittings. To prevent an industrial style from feeling hard and cold, add lots of fluffy towels and underfloor heating beneath the tiled floor. It’ll raise the temperature and make it easier for you to get dry.

10. Mix Metals for a Trendy Look.

If you want to make your bathroom feel layered and on-trend then you should mix metals. Done well, this style hack will make your bathroom look designer inspired.

The trick is to do it in small doses. Why not pair brushed brass light fixtures with polished nickel faucets?

If you have smooth grey tiled walls they will play nicely against the heat of shiny copper tone fixtures. Add mirrors to the mix to anchor the luxe modern effect. You’ll create a striking bathroom by adding such unexpected elements.

11 mixed metals in bathroom
What’s not to love about this striking look? You have smooth marbled walls that play nicely against the warm glow of brass light fixtures. Silver faucets add a striking contrast. The double mirrors glam up the space while adding symmetry to the room. 

11. Give Wallpaper a Whirl.

A simple and quick way to update your bathroom is to add a minimalist wallpaper design. Old fashioned wallpaper was heavy on floral prints and stripes.

But new moisture-resistant wallpaper is quite chic and the options on the market are as varied as seashells on a beach shore. You can go with a neutral color that has texture or select a polished, bold geometric print.

Modern wallpaper with designs that re-create the look of wood, natural stone, or brick surfaces brings a very interesting vibe that looks realistic and surprising. Light colors such as white, cream, or light beige will reinforce the appearance of a natural look.

Today’s wallpaper plays up the variety of 3D textures and interesting surfaces. You’ll find that textured wallpaper plays well with metallic hardware and lighting fixtures.

Plus, if you get tired of your wallpaper, it’s very easy to change it out anytime you want to. Combining natural stone textures with shiny or glossy mosaic tiles is a great way to create a striking bathroom design.

Throw in some elegant and simple bathroom fixtures along with the right lighting and you’ll have one expressive and rich looking bathroom on your hands.

This marble style wallpaper screams modern. The combination of crisp white and grey looks incredibly chic.

Also, the edges are carefully designed to avoid misalignment of the pattern. Therefore, you can work with multiple marble rolls without dealing with the unpleasant experience of color or pattern mismatch.

It looks realistic and works on a variety of surfaces. Get creative and use it to cover outdated vanities and cabinets.

12. Opt for an Atmospheric Glow.

Proper lighting is a hallmark of all modern bathrooms. Did you know that you can add color with lights?

Grab some color-changing LEDs so you can add some warmth and glow with ambient lighting. Good lighting can transform the most cold-looking bathroom into a cozy haven full of warmth.

12 lighting in bathroom
Soft overhead lighting casts a warm glow on this contemporary bathroom. You won’t find fluorescent lights in this space. It’s all about adding flattering overhead lighting to create an inviting and relaxing space.

Create a more intimate ambiance by placing LED lighting behind a mirror. Make sure that you hide the LED strips so you don’t throw off the bathroom’s clean and subtle minimalist look.

Do not use fluorescent lights. Not only do they add an unnatural tone to your skin, but they also give off sad vibes. Be smart with your lighting options.

Opting for warmer lighting choices over bright, overpowering lights will lend a more understated feel. When you do it the right way, you’ll design a relaxing environment that makes your bathroom feel like a private sanctuary away from a maddening world.

Styling your bathroom in elegant shapes, classy colors, beautiful lighting, and luxurious natural materials will elevate your space to new heights. Also, using different types of lighting in your space will create an overall brighter appearance.

As a result, the room will look much bigger. During the daytime take advantage of natural lighting from windows and skylights that allow sunlight to pour into your space.

To get the most out of natural lighting, it is best to have large windows so the light can flood your room. However, if your bathroom has smaller windows, you can capitalize on the use of reflective surfaces such as mirrors to help give your room a well-lit look.

When it comes to mirrors, the bigger the better. An oversized mirror is your contemporary bathroom’s best friend.

Not only will it make the room look bigger, but it will brighten the space and make it look more modern. A pro design tip is to use mirrors to add symmetry to your space.

13 modern mirror
The mirror in this room has been strategically placed to compliment the modern design and enlarge the space. It does an excellent job of reflecting the trees outside making it feel like you’re bringing the outside world inside your bathroom.

Whether you have a double sink or not, you can place two oversized circular mirrors above a vanity unit or a smaller sink for a striking design that’s pleasing to the eyes. Another way to make your bathroom look bigger is to choose window treatments that are minimalistic.

Keep it simple with something such as a white Roman blind. You could also opt for a window film to preserve your privacy while allowing in plenty of light.

Keep in mind that the less dressed a window is, the more likely it is that your bathroom will feel a bit cold. You can add warmth and comfort by employing the use of lovely accessories and plush, quality towels.

13. Include Non-Bathroom Furniture in Your Design.

A super sleek monochromatic look isn’t your only option for styling a modern bathroom. You can mix softer neutrals and natural materials to create an inviting, contemporary space.

A bathroom washed in a neutral color scheme can come alive in a most interesting manner with the right mixture of textures. The addition of materials such as granite, marble, or wood help to create a serene modern space.

Adding non-bathroom furniture to the mix will help your modern bathroom decor flow with the rest of your house. The luxurious blend of wood furniture with classic and contemporary bathroom sinks will make your modern bathroom look expensive and exclusive.

The beauty of natural wood truly shines in the form of stunning classic bathroom furniture. Wood furniture mixes exceptionally well with elegant mirrors and lighting to create warm, bright, and visually appealing bathrooms in modern style.

14 wood piece
This quaint, classic white bathroom is well-accented with the natural beauty of sleek wood cabinets. They mix incredibly well with the elegant, circular mirror and soft lighting to create a warm and bright bathroom fully loaded with charm and style. 

Your bathroom will seem like a natural extension of the rest of your house. You’ll demonstrate that you have a clearly defined personal style that is effortlessly cool and modern.

Don’t hesitate to add a sisal rug, plants, or even a cute side table to hold that glass of wine you enjoy drinking while soaking in the tube. Be practical and add multi-functional furniture such as a bench seat. It is a great place to sit and pile clean towels.

14. Install a Built-in Shower Niche to Reduce Clutter.

A built-in shower niche is a lovely addition if you are doing a complete bathroom remodel. A shower niche is highly functional because it allows you to store all your soaps, lotions, and shampoos into built-in shelves for a very sleek look.

It’s an amazing way to reduce visual clutter from your shower area. Since you can custom build it to your liking, you get to position the niche anywhere on the wall at any height that works for you.

Create a beautiful accent by using different colors and materials from the ones you use in the rest of your bathroom. You also have the option to install a prefabricated style with a size and shape already designed.

You can purchase it from a tile store, online, or from Home Depot for less money than you would spend having a contractor build one to your exact specifications.

Alfi created a shower niche in brushed stainless steel that brings you all the glory of a sleek storage area for your bathing needs without the extra labor and expensive tile work. This beauty is fully finished. All you have to do is mount it to your wall opening.

15 shower niche
Notice how the built-in shower niches blend flawlessly with this contemporary shower. It’s the perfect size for shampoo and soap. The geometric patterns in square, rectangular, and hexagonal shaped tiles further enforce the modern design. 

15. Have Fun With Color and Neutrals.

A calling card of modern bathroom designs is a simple and minimalist style. Using a white palette for the bathroom is a great way to achieve a straightforward design.

Placing furniture that has simple geometric shapes like a square or rectangle is perfect for enhancing a sleek style. Adding a touch of black will amp up the modern factor.

Black is a strong neutral that is often added to rooms to anchor the space. In order to pull off this kind of style, you want to make sure that you create a balanced look.

Add another neutral such as grey to add more visual interest. Go deeper by adding in dark colors for a delightfully modern twist.

Create balance by adding light-colored furniture that has stimulating geometric shapes such as squares and rectangles. A neutral, warm color scheme combines well with such sharp lines and geometric patterns.

A bathroom can be modern without being cold and sterile. Warm up the area with a palette of light colors. Also, consider using white in large doses.

It never goes out of style and is the perfect solution for adding light and airiness to your bathroom. White has a classic appeal.

A lot of people feel drawn to the clean simplicity of white. Plus, it has the added benefit of enlarging a small space which is perfect for compact bathrooms.

White is a cost-effective option since it is typically cheaper than its brighter hued counterparts. Refreshing your bathroom with a coat of white paint is economical.

16 white bathroom
Notice how white does such a marvelous job of adding space, light, and airiness to this modern bathroom. It is an amazing compliment to the smooth grey cabinets, sleek glass encased shower, and minimum flourishes of decor. 

Another perk is that it’s the perfect neutral to use to attract prospective buyers when you decide to sell your place. Although using white has its distinct advantages, it can end up looking cold and rigid if it isn’t styled the right way.

Adding warmth to the room is as simple as incorporating timber cabinetry into the bathroom. Timber is fantastic at playing up earthy neutrals. You don’t have to go timber crazy.

Add small touches of wood. Take a small timber stump and repurpose it as a rustic stool. This is a great way to add warmth to the area.

Bringing in natural elements makes people feel at ease and comfortable. Timber will make a warm and whimsical addition to your modern bathroom.

Plus, it can double as a cute place to rest your bath essentials. Your spouse may also appreciate having a stronger masculine touch to your bathroom.

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