Go for classic designs
I fell in love with some pricey furniture, but my practical side is holding me back. What should I consider before splurging?
That depends on how much you have set aside for furnishings.
There are some questions you should ask before making a purchase. What stage of your life are you at? An expensive sofa or dining table will probably not suit a young family as it is unlikely to survive the messiest years of early childhood.
Will this piece of furniture last for years? Ask the sales staff about the manufacturer's background and manufacturing process.
Do your research on its reputation and warranty commitment.
At the same time, examine if the piece is multi-functional or can easily transition between homes.
For example, a round pedestal table is good for dining and can be used as a foyer table should you move to a larger home. A sideboard can store crockery and table linens now and double as a bar years later.
Finally, will you still love it after 10 years? Is it a trendy piece that will grow out of style in a year or so? You are better off with a classic design than a shortlived one. You should also consider the resale value if it is a designer piece or an antique.
Use rubber door seals to reduce noise entering a room
I would like to soundproof my study, but will this make the room look smaller? Also, how do I soundproof windows?
Ms Kathryn Cheng, a consultant at Soundzipper, an acoustics consultancy based in Singapore, says there is a misconception that "soundproofing" panels (more accurately known as "acoustic panels") prevent sound from going through walls. Their role is to reduce echoes.
What stops traffic noise or the blare of the television set in the living room from travelling into your study are heavy layers of material that are airtight.
"Acoustic panels control the sound within the room itself, so if you want clarity in your conversation in this room, they will do the job," she says.
To reduce outside noise from entering the study, she recommends tackling the weak link in the walls: the door. Swop your typical HDB hollow-core door for a solid- core one to increase door mass and make it airtight.
Install rubber door seals on the door frame. "This is where sound freely enters and is the weakest point in the structure," says Ms Cheng.
Adding a carpet will minimise echoes, but note that it will not soundproof the room from outside noise. It will control only the noise within the room.
Get specialist help in choosing air-conditioner
I have a double-volume ceiling space in my living room. How high should I place my air-conditioner and how many units should I use?
The rule of thumb when calculating air-conditioning capacity relies on the floor area of the space.
In your case, the ceiling height is double that of normal rooms. Generally, a unit that is one or two BTUs (British thermal units) higher than what is recommended for your room, based on floor area, will cool the space more efficiently.
It is best to ask an air-conditioning specialist to survey your home.
Help your air-conditioner work efficiently by installing the condenser units in the shade and using fans.
If you have double-volume windows, install heat-reducing window films and blinds or curtains to reduce heat transmission.
•Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the March issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.
•Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, Level 7 Media Centre, 82 Genting Lane, Singapore 349567 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.