Make DIY renovations a winner
THANKS to the phenomenal success of reality television shows such as My Kitchen Rules and The Biggest Loser, we are all getting on the cooking and weight-loss bandwagons.
We have also taken to do-it-yourself home renovation in droves, using shows such as The Block for motivation and inspiration.
It's a home improvement trend which has seen the hardware industry boom - and Craig Stibbard could not be happier.
As the owner for the past 17 years of Craig's Highfields Home Hardware, he says home renovation is big business right now - and will get even bigger yet.
"Over the years that I've been in the hardware business, I've seen lots of trends come and go, but this trend of do-it-yourself home renovation looks to be around for a while," Craig said.
"There are a few reasons why.
"It's starting to get more affordable to do it yourself, and at the same time, it's getting harder to get tradesmen because of the trade shortage.
"People are also able to get the information they need for projects from television shows or from the Internet."
Craig said he often notices that people coming into the store are acting on the spur of the moment, and have put little planning into the home renovation decision - which is where expert staff are able to help.
By the same token, customers are more savvy about what it is they are trying to create.
"In my store, it's all about building relationships," Craig said.
"As well as providing service, staff are expected to be helpful and knowledgeable, and able to source stock quickly.
"And they will always have a smile on their face."
Keeping that smile in place can occasionally be tricky- Craig said he is witness to quite a few arguments between couples, especially in regard to colour choices.
"It's all about mediation - a hardware salesman can't ever take sides," he said.
"Home renovation is a partnership. Women do much of the decision making, and men do much of the work - but that being said, women are certainly getting in there these days and doing their share of the work."
So what home renovation projects are big at the moment?
"A lot of people are repainting their homes; changing colours to more neutral tones, which will hopefully increase the value of their properties," Craig said.
"They are also doing bathroom renovation - generally the jobs people decide to do themselves are the smaller jobs."
Craig is currently renovating his own home, so is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to identifying the latest you-beaut tools for wannabe renovators.
He said the sonicrafter - a multi-tool which has a variety of uses including cutting and sanding - is popular right now, as are compressors.
Always remember that time is money. Before starting on your project, think about what needs to be done, problems you may encounter and the tools and materials you require.
When performing DIY renovations always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives that still work just as well.
Landscaping around the house is something that can add lots of value to your home and is relative easy for most people to do themselves.
Painting your house inside and out is quick and easy and can add a lot of value to your property. Most of it can be done yourself, but you may like to hire a professional painter for the difficult job of painting the ceilings.
Learn good handyman skills from quality tradesmen by offering to be their labourer for a particular job. Then when you need to do some home renovation work you can do it yourself for half the cost.
The staff at your local hardware store are a very useful source of do-it-yourself knowledge. Whenever you buy things from them pick their brains to learn the best and most efficient ways to do things.
To soften paint brushes that have hardened, soak them for an hour in hot vinegar.
To remove paint smells and odours from a freshly painted room place a bowl of water in the room and replace it with fresh water every three hours.
If painting mouldy walls or dirty wooden surfaces, clean them properly first, otherwise the mould will simply come back through the new paint. Clean these surfaces by rubbing them with a weak solution of liquid sugar soap.
Remove scratches in perspex with nail polish remover on a clean pad. Wipe over the scratches with quick, light strokes, always in the same direction. Do not leave the pad on the perspex for any length of time as it will dissolve it completely.