Category Archives: Blog

  • Things to consider before buying a sofa

    For many people, the sofa acts as a focal point of the living room. This humble piece of furniture will host many of your family’s activities, from lounging back in after stressful day to cuddling with your children. Therefore, buying a sofa is a big investment and with many options to choose from, it can be easy to go wrong. Here is a list of things you should consider before committing to buying a sofa:
    The sofa is often the largest furniture in the living room, too big and it may impede the flow of traffic or too small and it will look out of the place. So before you hit the shop, take the time to measure the room dimensions to ensure the sofa will fit the room. Take into consideration both scale and proportion while envisioning where it’s going to sit. If your room is small, you may opt for a sofa with petite arm profile while a sectional one will be perfect for a bigger space.
    Don’t pick a sofa just because it’s trending at the time; pick one that suits the living room and the overall interior design. You may have your heart set on a modern sofa but if your home is traditional in style and you haven’t yet prepared for remodeling then you should go for a high or rounded arm that suits your existing interior.
    Definitely, you don’t want your new sofa to crumble under you so choosing a good one with a solid frame is crucial. Soft wood like pine is inexpensive but may warp after five years while hardwood like ash, beech or kiln-dried oak will last longer. Just do some research and get a feel for the construction of the sofa by sitting or moving around on it before making a purchase.
    The sofa comes in wide range of fabric types and each kind of them has its own pros and con. The leather is durable and easy to clean; it also gives your space a feel of luxury yet needs more maintenance. Cotton is much softer but it’s less stain-resistant. It all comes down to your lifestyle when making the final decision. If you’re a family with young children, a textured fabric will be a good choice since it can hide the dirt and withstand the wear and tear too.
    It may be tempting to go neutral like shades of white, brown and gray when buying a sofa since these colors will allow for constant changes and follow you through changing trends. But if you want it to be dramatic and eye-catching, don’t be afraid to let it stand out. Just remember before you decide, ask the store for a sample to take home and see how it looks to make sure it suits your décor and your taste.
    Purchasing a sofa is not only a major investment but also a commitment. With these tips, we hope you will pick a perfect sofa that you’ll still be in love with it long after it has been delivered and for years to come.

  • Tips for choosing the right kitchen tiles

    It is commonly believed that kitchen is heart the home, bringing family members together so it deserves to be carefully taken care if you’re planning a remodeling project. Since the kitchen is a heavy-traffic area, it’s important to design a suitable foundation to step on. Tiles tend to be among the most popular choice thanks to its wide variety, durability and low-maintenance. But before making the final decision for your kitchen tiles, make sure you’ve considered all these aspects:
    It’s important to choose high quality and durable tiles that can withstand the wear and tear of your of your household like liquid spills, cleaning supplies, pet scratches, etc. You can be flooded with many choices from ceramic, porcelain to beautiful stone tiles but always be aware of the PEI scale. It is a rating system classifying the surface of a tile from Class 1 to Class 5, which is equivalent from least resistance to the most resistance respectively. Class 3 or greater will be suitable for high-traffic area like kitchen.
    It all depends on your personal preference when it comes to selecting the tiles texture. However, keep in mind that textured or matte finish tiles are sometimes hard to clean and maintain but they are less slippery than smooth or shiny tiles. Surely you can create a combination of the two by using matte finish in flooring and reserve shiny tiles for backsplashes.
    There’s a wide selection of tile styles from which you can choose and it all comes down to your personal desire. Marble tiles are used to lend a formal touch while natural stone give your kitchen a rustic look. For a unique and striking approach, a conjunction of ceramic, metal and glass tiles will be a good choice. Whatever your final decision is, choose a style that you love.
    There’s no such thing as one size fits for all regarding kitchen tiles. The size of the tiles depends mostly on your overall size of kitchen and personal preference. If you have a small kitchen then it’s probably best to opt for small tiles as well. But for a larger kitchen area, you can get away with larger tiles or even a combination of different sizes with the same design.
    Budget is often the deciding factor when selecting any kind of tiles. Fortunately, kitchen tiles come in a wide range of prices for you to choose, from competitively priced tiles like vinyl or linoleum to expensive ones like custom designed ceramic. It’s best to do your homework before starting the project as you may want to pick the best materials for your budget.
    Choosing your kitchen tiles doesn’t have to be a stressful experience; on the contrary, it can turn into an exciting one. With our tips, you can select tiles that are good quality and suitable for your dream kitchen, making it a magnetic attraction not only for your family but also your friends.

  • Top questions to ask yourself before renovating your home

    One of the worst blunders homeowners often make when it comes to renovating their homes is to jump in without plan. Many of them may stare at each other blankly, realizing they don’t actually have a clear idea of what they truly want like they thought they did when being asked “What would you like?”. Planning for a renovation is an exciting journey and believe it or not, it sometimes demands more work than the execution itself but it’s worth doing. The better you plan towards your intended outcome, the more time and money you can save. To clarify your ideas and vision, here’s a list of questions you should ask yourself before any renovation.

    Why renovate or extend your house?

    Are you intending to live in that house in the long run? Or you’re planning to add extra value to your home and make it enticing for potential buyers? Different goals may determine a slightly different renovation and it’s a crucial factor in deciding what you will do to your home. For example, if you’re selling then exterior design should be your priority while interior design should be paid more attention in case you intend to live in the long term. Whatever the reason is, it’s important to sit down and figure out what you truly need out of the renovation. It will be a useful document when you talk with your designer in the first instance.

    What rooms do you want renovated?

    Are you planning to remodel the kitchen, the bathroom or the living room? It’s seems like a piece of cake but remember that remodeling one room will have an effect on the surrounding space as well. If you remodel only the kitchen, will the dining room connected to it appear to be old-fashioned afterwards? Since the budget hardly cover your wish list for the renovation, it’s important to take into account how the remodel affects the next and plan accordingly.

    What’s your design style and color preference?

    Do you like traditional, modern or transitional style? Do your homework and find out your favorite prior to the appointment with your designer, which will make the process smoother and easier for both of you. Another factor you should let the designer know right off the bat is your color preference. Which color do you like best? Do you like bright color or prefer warm color? You may be surprised to know that color can have a profound impact on your emotions and behaviors, so learn how it affects you in order to make your home feel good.

    What is your budget?

    It’s important to have a clear picture of how much money you’re willing to spend on your renovation. Does it include the consultant fee or tax? Does it cover the accommodation if you have to move out for a few months? Be straightforward with your designer whether your budget inclusive or exclusive of all these expenses. Besides, renovations are always guaranteed to go over budget as hidden cost may arise. It is therefore recommended to build a contingency fund from the start in case unforeseen issues pop up along the design or construction phase of the project.

  • How to buy furniture on Taobao

    Taobao is the largest consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce platform that dominates China’s market. You can buy everything and anything in there at a low price. Unlike buying cheap items like clothes and accessories, purchasing furniture on Taobao needs some strategies rather than simply picking out what you like. Thus, there are a few things you should take note of when it comes to buying furniture.

    • Production Lead Time

    Production lead time is the time needed to produce the products. Not all the products are always in stock, especially for custom-made ones. Therefore, before making a purchase, ask the seller either it is in ready stock (现货) or how long it takes to deliver the goods. The reason lies in the fact that forwarders have limited storage period (usually 30 days) and extra cost may be charged if exceeding it. Then if you have a strict timeline, doing your homework is necessary.

    • Packaging Details

    The first thing you should find out regarding packaging is the dimensions of your furniture, which may help you overcome some logistical issues. The load of parcels is normally taken by a lift but for bulky items, it’s a different story. Chances are that you will face a hefty bill for using the stairways or your forwarder will leave your goods for you to figure out yourself. Furthermore, based on these dimensions, it will be way easier for you to estimate the shipping cost and have a better shipment planning.

    Aside from the packaging dimensions, it is likewise important to find out whether your goods are crated (打木架) or not, especially for high value and bulky furniture. Crating can be done by either the seller or the forwarder. Not all the sellers provide the crating services but normally they will include it as a part of packaging procedures or offer it as an extra service. Likewise this service is provided by forwarders too however some of them lack for in-house ability and have to outsource specialists to do it. If crating isn’t included in your packaging then you have to conduct negotiation with the seller/forwarder and the price will range from 10-200 yuan depending on the size of your goods.

    Last but not least, remember to ask how many packages were dispatched and whether it is booked under a single waybill or multiple waybills. Provided one single waybill is the case, you will receive the full order, otherwise, you will end up a chair without its legs. So keep in mind to provide accurate information so that your packages can be carefully taken care by forwarder in case of multiple waybills.

    • Delivery/Logistics matters

    Normally there are 2 forms of domestic shipments: mover (物流) and courier (快递). At the point of purchase, the kind of delivery methods should be paid more attention. Some sellers only provide delivery taken by movers to a collection point for self-collecting. If that’s the case, contact the seller and ask if they could take delivery of the parcel to the warehouse address instead. Certainly, do make sure your forwarder has a ground-level warehouse since some movers only deliver goods up till below the block.

    If the seller’s services are exclusive of shipment or they charge an unreasonable price for it then you should come to an arrangement with your forwarder that they would collect the parcels at the collection point. This extra benefit comes with a cost that may vary according to different forwarders.

    • Goods Receiving Procedures

    Firstly, always ask for the delivery note and check carefully the number packages are delivered within this delivery. Do remember to keep a tally of how many packages. If you rush into signing the delivery note without checking it, you will end up in trouble when delivery man claimed he has delivered all of packages despite the fact that you have not. In case there’s a missing package, note it down on the delivery note before signing over.

    Secondly, when the delivery man is carrying packages to your premises, carry out a general assessment of them. If any major dents/tears, signs of trauma are found or the packages are left open, do show it to the delivery man and take photos as evidence. Besides, note down your findings on the delivery note before signing it over.

    Thirdly, when the dust settles, you can start unpacking the packages, beginning with parcels that are found with dents, tears, unseal/poorly sealed and high value or fragile ones as well. Carefully take photos of the signs prior unpacking, unseal the box and visually check out whether the dents caused damage or not. It would be better if you can take picture of the effect before taking the goods out of the packaging. Finally, remove the item from the packaging, conducting investigation again and take photo if needed. All these images will be convincing evidence for you to sort damages claim form the forwarder or seller.

  • 5 Common renovation mistakes homeowners should avoid

    We all know an amazing home renovation will not only add value to your home but also enhance your life and bring many benefits for years to come. Unfortunately, many homeowners make some mistakes along the way that end up making home renovation longer and cost more than initially planned. Here are 5 common renovation mistakes homeowners should avoid to get the dream house you’ve always wanted without any glitches.

    Hiring the wrong contractor

    Spending time talking to different contractors does take time but it’s worthy. Many homeowners rush into hiring the first contractor they speak to or the one who is highly recommended by a friend and then end up finding out they don’t share the same sentiments in mid-renovation. For this reason, conduct the research ahead of time, about six months before moving date. Taking the time to get different quotes and look for past customer reviews to make sure you hire the right contractor for your project.

    Setting an unrealistic budget

    When it comes to home renovation, it does not come cheap and needs a proper financial planning and budgeting. Otherwise, you will run out of money halfway through the project and you may have to live in a half-finished house in the future. Remember to set a reasonable budget and keep an extra of 10 to 20 percent in reserve in case anything pops up along the way.

    Cutting cost on materials

    Homeowners often choose materials based on how they look instead of its quality and life span. Keep in mind that there’s a thin line between “inexpensive” and “cheap” and sometimes it’s worth paying more. Quality products often have additional features that make living easier and they will cost less in terms of repair or replacement in the future. Thus, saving a few dollars in the short term may not be a wise choice in the long run.

    Going into a project without a contract or set plan

    A detailed plan will help you stay on schedule and on budget. Sit down with your contractor and discuss a proper timeline before starting the work. A good contractor will guide you through every phase and have a clear schedule for completing each phase, from drafting plan to executing the project. Be flexible as there’s likely some delays and the leeway will give you time to have the project back on track.

    Not having a proper design/concept laid out

    Going into the home renovation without any design or concept laid out? Chances are you will be get carried away by popular trends and follow them blindly. Surely an industrial theme may look interesting at the beginning but would you want to spend a large amount of money to live in a house that looks like a warehouse for the next 5 or 10 years? Having a clear concept laid out will help you decide what’s needed or what’s redundant, sticking to what suits your living requirements and fully reflects your lifestyle and personality as well.