Organise collection on open shelves for a neat look
I like the idea of open shelves in the kitchen, but they might look messy. Any suggestions?
If styled right, open shelving is a great storage option that is both functional and decorative (pictured).
You do not have to be limited to displaying dinnerware and food canisters. You can place appliances (hide the cords to neaten the look), cookbooks and framed art on them.
The important thing is to organise your collection. Start with a cohesive set of dinnerware. They do not have to belong to the same set as long as the colours or material (stoneware, stainless steel) are the same.
Vary the height of the items by stacking bowls and cups (turn them upside-down to keep dust out) or raising smaller items on a cake stand. Unlike in closed cabinets - where items can be crammed into every available space - items on open shelves need breathing space.
Often-used items should be placed on the lowest shelf and more decorative items higher up. You can make a display of daily foodstuff such as coffee by using opaque canisters of different sizes. Finally, add something natural such as a houseplant.
Get wood-like floors with high-end resilient flooring
I like wood floors, but do not want to worry about the maintenance. Laminate flooring feels hollow to me. What are my other choices?
High-end resilient flooring seems to fit your needs as it gives the appearance and feel of wood and is easy to care for.
Made of vinyl resin, it does not swell or deform when it comes into contact with water. It is also waterproof and can be installed in the kitchen, so your flooring can flow seamlessly from space to space.
The lack of underlay also means the floorboards are laid directly on the subfloor, eliminating that floating or hollow feel with laminates.
When it comes to maintenance, treat such flooring like you would treat tiles - just vacuum and mop. A ceramic bead technology treatment on the surface protects the floor against scratches and stains.
As it is not glued or nailed down, the flooring can be removed and reinstalled when you move house.
You can find such flooring in Singapore at flooring specialist Evorich.
Unlock door with your smartphone
My family includes an elderly mother and school-age kids and I hire a part-time cleaner twice a week. I am not comfortable making multiple keys, but each family member needs his own access. What are my options?
•Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration, answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the July issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.
With smartphones so integral to people's lives these days, why not use the same device to unlock your home?
Just a touch of the Kevo Bluetooth Electronic Lock by Kwikset locks and unlocks your door, even if your phone is in your bag or pocket.
It works with all iPhone models, fifth-generation iPod Touch models and third-generation or newer iPad/iPad mini models. Compatibility with Android devices, however, is limited.
The lit-up ring around the keyhole - yes, it works with keys too - indicates whether the deadbolt is locked or not.
To give access to ad-hoc users such as your cleaner, e-mail them an eKey with limited access to your home. You can view the lock history to tell who has unlocked or locked the door and when.
Those without a smartphone can use a keychain fob for access, much like your smartphone. Go to www.kevo-lock.sg for stockists.
Helpful apps for renovating and decorating
I am renovating soon. Which interior design apps can I use to help me with the process?
Safe, neutral Amish Linen or uplifting Tampa Bay? These are colours on the Dulux Visualiser app, which takes the guesswork, stress and time out of paint colour selection.
Take a photo of the room, including the furniture, and select a paint colour from its vast range or get the app to match paint colours to a fabric or any object you already have.
Augmented reality allows you to see your room "painted" with the selected colour. A masking tape tool lets you block out walls you do not want "painted".
With Photo Measures, you can forget scraps of paper and poorly drawn room plans. This app allows you to take a photo of your space and mark the dimensions on the photo, so every measurement is on hand when you are shopping for materials or furniture.
Once the renovation is done and you are styling your home, spirit level apps will ensure those picture frames and shelves are hung right.
There are many available - Bubble Level and Spirit Level Plus on Android; and Tiltmeter and Multi Spirit Level on the App Store.
•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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.