Chic wire cage for laundry equipment
I stack my washing machine and dryer on top of each other in my yard. They are an eyesore. How can I hide them?
With home sizes getting smaller, especially in condominium apartments, there is hardly any space now for a dedicated laundry area.
Washers and dryers are either stashed away in a cabinet or underneath a countertop. You could build a cabinet to house them, but that takes up significant footprint and could look bulky.
Pictured on the right is a solution that might not hide them completely, but makes them appear visually lighter and more appealing than a solid structure.
Mr Kelvin Teo of interior company Space Sense designed this wire cage to screen off the washer and dryer in the yard of this five-room HDB flat.
Not only does it do the job, but it also ties in perfectly with the home's industrial-style aesthetics.
Marble look-alikes for the eco conscious
I like the look of marble, but I heard it is not very eco-friendly. What alternatives would you suggest?
Marble is a natural material quarried from the earth, so there are environmental costs in the process of doing so.
More effort is also needed to maintain the porous material, such as applying a sealant annually. That might make marble not as "green" as other materials such as ceramic tiles.
Tiles might be hardier, but large amounts of energy are required to produce them. If you are going with tiles, choose those which have recycled content.
Also, consider the end life of the product. Marble, being natural, can be recycled, a process which you might not be able to do with tiles.
To replicate the look of marble, consider using laminates, engineered quartz or marble-lookalike tiles.
Laminates are suitable for both vertical and horizontal applications, but they are not scratch-proof or recyclable.
Tiles are not advisable for use on countertops, while engineered quartz such as Silestone and Caesarstone can be used for walls or countertops.
Made of natural quartz with pigments and polymer resins, engineered quartz is extremely hard and resilient, has antibacterial qualities and stands up to stains and scratches. Its durability is what makes them sustainable too.
Add depth to feature walls with different tones
I am using paint for my feature walls to save money. What else can I do easily besides stripes?
Besides stripes, a stylish and easy option is to paint geometric shapes. Using dark and light tones together on a wall can create an illusion of volume.
For this wall (pictured), designer Cadine Lim of interior design company Prozfile first measured it and used the Autocad computer program to create the design. She then drew the design on the wall before painting it.
You do not need a computer program to do this. Just measure the surface and scale the dimensions down so you can draw the design easily on a sheet of paper. Then scale up the dimensions to transfer the design onto the wall.
Consult the colour wheel for colour combinations, but keep it simple. You do not want your wall to look like broken-up shards. One tip is to use different intensities of the same colour.
Large tiles add to spacious feel
Do tile sizes matter in terms of making my space look bigger or smaller? Does the size affect the price?
Yes, tile size - particularly for flooring - matters when it comes to the perception of spaces. A larger tile size means less grouting and joints, which makes the flooring look more seamless. Smaller tiles "break" the space up further.
Besides, "larger format tiles are said to have a more luxurious appeal", says Mr Terry Tan of Rice, which offers stone, tiles and other building materials.
With less grouting, a larger tile size also means easier maintenance.
If you compare, say, Italian tiles, a larger tile of about 90cm by 90cm is generally about 20 per cent more expensive than a traditional 60cm by 60cm tile, he adds.
Consider the size and shape of your surface area as well. Using huge tiles for a small space might not be worth the price. You need a wide surface area to better appreciate the more expensive and larger tiles.
•Home & Decor magazine's editor Rebeckka Wong and experts in the renovation and home decoration fields answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the November issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.
•Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, 82 Genting Lane, Media Centre, Level 7, Singapore 349567 or e-mail email@example.com. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.