Get the luxurious hotel bed experience at home
I love sleeping on hotel beds. How can I enjoy a similar experience at home?
For the five-star hotel bed experience at home, take a leaf out of the Four Seasons Hotel's book.
Its sleep experience includes double-walled windows, gasketing around door frames and its centrepiece - the Four Seasons bed and its 300-threadcount bed linen.
The bed is 75cm high, instantly giving you the feeling of loftiness. The hotel worked with Simmons Bedding Company to design a proprietary mattress with a heat-absorbing core that keeps you cool and comfortable throughout the night. The mattress also features pocketed coil motion separation and a choice of three toppers.
•Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the September issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.
All beds come with a signature topper for classic comfort, but side and back sleepers can request a softer mattress topper to reduce pressure points on hips and shoulders. Front sleepers will enjoy a firmer topper that allows the spine to fall into its natural curve.
Crisp white sheets are a must for the luxury-hotel look.
After the mattress topper is laid, cover it with a fitted sheet, followed by a flat sheet. A down comforter (covered in a white quilt or duvet cover) is next.
Have at least four pillows for a queen- or king-sized bed and use pillow protectors for a smooth finish.
Complete the look with one or two cushions.
Go for darker colours when repainting teak furniture
I own a teak cabinet and bed and would like to change the wood stain. What do you advise?
Many wooden furniture pieces can be given a new look just by changing the colour of the wood.
Mr David Ditcham, founder of Barossa Furnishings, who gets many requests to revamp vintage wooden furniture, says: "We strip the piece down to a natural finish or do a paint finish."
To re-stain the piece, he sands it down to its natural timber shade using various grades of sandpaper. This is done by hand and using electric sanders.
Then, he applies the desired stain using a soft cloth, lets the piece dry and applies up to five coats of varnish on top of the new stain.
According to Mr Ditcham, painting teak furniture is difficult work as teak "has naturally high levels of oil and lighter paint tones do not take well".
A tip is to opt for darker colours. The first step is the same: Strip existing varnish through sanding or use a paint stripper for very thick varnish. Apply paint primer and allow to dry. Then, spray on a coat of paint, let it dry and sand lightly before applying the second coat.
Choosing your tiles
What is the difference between rectified and non-rectified tiles?
A rectified tile is made by cutting the tile to size after the firing process. This creates precise 90 degree-angled edges and, as a result, the tiles can be laid with consistent grout joints, says tile specialist Rice Fields director Terry Tan.
Non-rectified tiles, on the other hand, have a slight curve on their edges after being pressed in the mould.
"The square edges of rectified tiles mean that the joint width can be approximately 2mm, though the width of the grout will still depend on the tile size and how the tiles are staggered," he says.
Thin grout lines are a big draw as the surface will look almost seamless when the tiles are laid, if the grout and the tiles are similar in colour.
Rectified tiles come in many sizes, ranging from 150mm to 3m. Rectified tiles cost about 10 per cent more than non-rectified ones.
Clean lights, bright lights
My lights look rather grubby after three years. How should I clean them?
Dirty light fixtures do not just look bad, they also reduce the lamps' brightness and waste energy, so it is a good idea to clean them annually.
Mr Philippe Limes, chief executive of Helpling, an online platform connecting customers with independent domestic cleaners, has these tips on how different types of fixtures should be treated.
For any light fixture, first switch off the power and allow the bulb to cool down.
For lampshades, remove loose dust with a lint roller, then wipe the interior and exterior with a dry microfibre cloth. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a dash of laundry detergent. Remove the shade from the lamp and submerge it. Rinse with warm water.
Repeat this dipping process until the water runs clear. Do not worry if the fabric shade starts to lose its elasticity - it will spring back to its original shape when it is dry. Place in the sun to dry.
To clean glass pendants, remove the bulbs, then the glass shade. Soak the shade in a solution of water and dishwashing detergent. Remove and dry with a soft cloth. Finally, wipe the bulbs with a damp cloth and leave to dry.
For chandeliers, remove all bulbs. Make a solution using a squirt of dishwashing detergent, one-quarter cup of white vinegar and three cups of water. Spritz the chandelier with the solution and dry with a soft microfibre cloth.
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