Reno 101: Choose your perfect sofa in 5 easy steps

If your living room is the center-piece of your home, then your sofa has got to be the heart of this center-piece that can make or break your home design. So, in this third series of Reno 101, we’ll share with you the 5 easy steps to selecting your perfect sofa! 🛋

Step 1: What’s your usage?

Cost aside, the first thing to consider in selecting your sofa, is your usage. Some questions you can ask yourself are:

  • How many people am I catering this sofa for?
  • Is it mainly for display only? Or does it need to be comfy enough for those couch potato times?
  • Does anyone using the sofa have special needs? e.g. if you’re expecting kids and pets to be climbing up and down the couch, you might want something without sharp corners and is also durable and easy to clean. But if you have an elderly at home, you might want something that’s tall and firm enough such that it’s easy for them to climb in and out of.

Step 2: What size do you need?

Once you know how your sofa will be used, the next step is to consider the size you need. And, this is also the step you’ll probably can’t afford to screw up. Imagine how awkward your sofa will look in your living room, if it’s either too big or too small!. 😱 

To determine the size of your sofa, consider these few factors:

  • What is the maximum length and breadth your sofa can have? Do set aside sufficient walking space in your living room around the sofa. And if the sofa length you need is not easily available in the market, consider paying little more to have yours customised by the furniture manufacturers.
  • How many seats do you need?
  • How high do you need the sofa seat to be? If you’re catering for elderly, you might want to avoid sofa seats that are lower than their usual chair height, to ensure they can get on and off the sofa easily.
  • How high and wide do you want the arm rests to be? Some homeowners prefer lower arm rests for napping purposes, while others might prefer slimmer arm rests for a wider seating space. 
  • How high do you want your backrest to be? Depending on the sofa design, the height of the backrest may vary. If you’re looking for something with better support for your head and neck, you might want to go for sofas with higher backrests.

Step 3: What type of sofa do you need?

Once you know how your sofa will be used, the next you need is to decide on the sofa design. There are plenty of sofa designs, but these 4 are the more commonly used ones:

CHESTERFIELD SOFAS

Commonly known for their tufted design, chesterfield sofas are a must have especially for Luxe or European designs.

SECTIONAL SOFAS

If you’re looking for flexibility in your sofas, you won’t want to miss out on sectional multi-piece sofas, that let you arrange them in various configurations that are fit for various room sizes.

LOVESEAT SOFAS

As the name says it, loveseat sofas are the sofas made just for two people. So, if space is a constraint for you, loveseat sofas are definitely a plus for your home design! 

WOODEN SETTEE SOFAS

These back-to-basic wooden chairs are a common choice in Oriental and Asian-themed homes. Although not as plushy as the other sofa types, the basic structure of wooden settees is sure to give your living room a lighter and less-cluttered look.

Step 4: What material is good for you?

Once you know the type of sofa you need, the rest will be so much easier to decide, even on the type of material you need! Most sofa types only go well with a limited variety of material options.  But, two of the most common materials are leather and fabric.

Leather sofas are known for their luxurious look. Although they tend to absorb more heat, making you feel hotter sitting on it, leather sofas are firmer and do not easily trap dust like in the case of fabric sofas. However, one key point to note is that leather sofas, especially those of lower quality are easily damaged by scratches. So, if you have jumping children or roaming pets with claws, do consider avoiding leather sofas.

Fabric sofas, on the other hand, are known for their comfort. Given that they trap dust easily, do keep a look out for those that are easy to wash and clean. If you foresee heavy traffic on your sofa, why not consider going for darker sofa colours to hide those stains and dust!

Step 5: What colour should your sofa be?

Finally, the last step of your sofa selection journey is to decide on your sofa colours. Although there’s no right or wrong in selecting your sofa colours, a major deciding factor lies in your home design style. For instance, minimalist and Scandinavian  home designs usually go well with muted or lighter shades.

Chic and art deco designs, on the other hand, go better with vibrant and contrasting colours. One tip to keep your colours coherent, is to match your sofa colour with some of the other furnishings in the room, similar to how this sofa was contrasting in its colour, but was of a similar shade with the TV console!

At the end of the day, finding your perfect sofa is really all about finding one that fits your needs, both aesthetically and physically. 👍🏻

Reno 101: What flooring options are best for you?

In this second “episode” of our Reno 101 blog series, we’ll tackle one of the hardest things to decide for your renovation – your flooring. With different rooms serving different purposes, it’s tough deciding which material is good for which room. So, to get you started, here’s a quick guide on the good and the bad about the 5 key flooring options – tiles, stones, wood, laminates and vinyl!

What flooring for which room?

So, now that you know what’s good and bad about each flooring option, your next question is probably what flooring should I use for which room. Fret not, because, we’ve already covered that in this article, where we talked about the best flooring for each room. As a general guide, here are the key consideration points:

  1. First, consider the functional usage of the space e.g. is it for a bathroom, or a baby room? Would there be heavy traffic in this room?
  2. Then, weigh the pros and cons against your budget and timeline. (Don’t forget that some flooring options require more installation time than others!). And, narrow down on 1 to 2 flooring options.
  3. Next, do a market visit to look for varying designs and quality for your selected flooring options. If you have already engaged a contractor/interior designer, you could ask them for recommendations. Some might even make a trip down to the shops with you, to let you get a feel of the actual products.
  4. As the actual quality and features of the flooring options may vary depending on the brand and exact finishing quality of the product, it’s best to search for some reviews of the actual product first, before making a purchase! 

Alright, with this, you’ve got your flooring covered! If you still have a burning question to ask about renovation or home design, you can get them answered via ask@nestr.com.sg! 🤗

How to buy the right air conditioner for your home

With the hot weather that we are “blessed” with all year round, it’s little wonder why most of our homes need an air conditioner. But given the huge variety of options available in the market, choosing a good air conditioner for yourself can get bombarding, especially if it is your first time buying one.

So, here’s a quick 3-step guide to get you started on your air conditioner shopping.

Step 1: Know the types of air conditioners available

In general, there are 2 types of air conditioners available in the market — those that are permanently built-in v.s. those that are portable.

Portable air conditioners

As you might have guessed, portable ones are cheaper, more flexible and easier to install. But, they are limited in their air cooling capacity and also consume more floor space. So, if you’re intending to use the air conditioner for cooling a big room, you might want to avoid portable ones as they usually take longer to cool a place down. But, if you’re looking for a short-term commitment to combat the sweltering heat, then portable air conditioners might just be the answer for you.

Built-in air conditioners

As the name suggests, built-in air conditioners are installed permanently either by the windows, at the top of a wall or through the ceiling. Due to the special installation works involved, built-in air conditioners are usually more expensive than the portable ones. However, many residential homes still prefer these as they look not only sturdier and neater, but also have a higher capacity to cool the place down faster.

Among the various types of built-in air conditioners available, split air conditioning systems are a hot favourite for homeowners. These systems comprise of one or more indoor air con units that are mounted onto the walls inside the house and are supported by an outdoor compressor unit. They are usually labelled and priced according to the number of indoor units (‘systems’) that the outdoor unit can support. So, if you buy a System 3 air conditioner, it means there will be one outdoor unit that will be supporting 3 indoor air con units.

Step 2: Buy a good air conditioner that suits your needs

To buy a good air conditioner, simply ask yourself these questions:

Qn 1. How big is your space?

If the space that you want to cool down is a small room, portable air conditioners alone should work fine. Otherwise, you could go for split air conditioners, or even built-in central units to cool bigger spaces.

Qn 2. For how many rooms do you need air con?

The next thing to consider is the number of rooms that need air conditioning. For most residential homes where more than one room need air conditioning, split air con systems are hugely popular, mainly because you only need one outdoor unit to support and separately control as many indoor units as you like.

Qn 3. What’s your budget?

If you’re tight on budget or just simply need a quick temporary fix, then go for portable air conditioners, which typically costs between $500 to $1,000.  But, if you would rather spend on good quality and a longer lasting solution, built-in air conditioners like the split air con would work great. These air conditioners typically cost between $800 to $1,000 per system. i.e. if you need air conditioning in 3 bedrooms, you will need a System 3 air conditioner, which typically costs around $2,400 to $3,000.

Besides looking at the absolute cost of the air con, you should also consider:

  • Installation costs: Do check that the price quoted by the retailer includes installation fees. Installation fees may vary depending on the type of built-in air con as well i.e. window vs split vs centralised air con.
  • Warranty: Each individual air con units come with its own warranty terms. However, some air con retailers do offer additional warranty for the air cons they sell.
  • Serviceability: Uncommon and outdated air con brands may not be easy to repair, even for just minor fixes. So, before buying your air conditioner, check that maintenance services are readily available for your air con.

Qn 4. What are the air con specifications?

And of course, when buying your air conditioners, do check out its specifications: 

  • Energy efficiency rating
    The better the rating, the more you save on electricity bills. Find out more on how you can save with energy efficient appliances here.
  • Efficient distance
    This determines how far your air conditioning can work its wonders. This is particularly important if you are planning to use the air con to cool bigger spaces.
  • Air con insulation thickness
    Insulation pipes absorb water droplets that are formed due to condensation. The thicker the pipe insulation, the more resistant your air con is towards future leakages that occur due to condensation.
  • Noise level
    If you’re not a fan of noisy air cons, go for those with lower aircon sound pressure. The lower the decibels, the softer the noise the air con will create.

Aside from these basic specifications, also look out for other value adding features that many air conditioners offer e.g. dust-proofing, cooling retention effects. 

Step 3: Have your air con installed without issues

For all built-in air conditioners, you will need an air con specialist to have your air con installed for you. 

Before getting your air con installer down, finalise exactly where you want to install your air conditioner in each room, based on:

  • Your room’s space planning and your own lifestyle needs
    E.g. Ensure that the tall wardrobes are not blocking the flow of air from the air con.
  • The structure of your house
    For HDB flat dwellers, remember that HDB does not permit any drilling onto RC beams or walls. So, do not mount air con on walls that are marked as solid blocks / marked in dark colours on your floor plan. 

During the air con installation process, walls will get drilled. And, there will be debris and chunks of wall cement falling onto the floor. So, ensure that your air con specialist has either laid floor protection covers, or taken cautionary measures to protect the floors from the impact of the falling debris.

At the end of the air con installation, check that the walls are repaired nicely and that all the wires and pipes are concealed neatly.