Guides & How To’s

Green guide

How do I…DIY solar power? DIY solar hot water? DIY green roof? Stop a leaky bathroom? Build a vertical garden? Or even, choose a chunky window trim that won’t deteriorate?

You ask, and we answer. Tapping the expertise of sustainable designers and green builders around the country, we share short green guides on everything from how to use passive solar design principles to how to minimize waste and recycle smarter.

Simply use the RSS button to subscribe to updates as they come through or dip into the archives to discover green tips and green guides on everything green building-related under the sun.


How to build for your climate

Australia is a massive country with a diverse climate. A homeowner in Hobart needs to build a very different house to someone living in Cairns. So what do you need to know about building for climate?


Eco-friendly kitchen makeover ideas

If you are looking to do a kitchen makeover, here are five eco-friendly kitchen renovation ideas you can do without breaking the bank.

Older homes renovations – why light and period features matter

Older homes may exude the charm that comes with original features and heritage designs, but how do you extend them to accommodate your family’s modern needs, whilst keeping their place in history?

How do I choose building materials for a coastal home?

Here are our top tips for building a home that can be both aesthetically sympathetic to coastal Australia and hold its own against the untamed elements that will be thrown it.


How to make an organic moss shower mat

Want to keep plants but never remember to water them? This innovative bath mat will change that for you with just a little bit of effort in the beginning and regular hygiene routine!

DIY Renovating Guide

DIY renovating can be a nightmare. Cutting corners and dud decisions can cost you dear.
Not with the Light Home DIY Renovating Guide though. This free Guide helps you plan your work and make your vision come alive.

Big ideas for small spaces guide

In this downloadable pdf guide, 18 experts share top insider tips on how to make a small space feel much, much bigger.


The cost of renovating

This downloadable pdf guide shows you the real cost of extensions, kitchen makeovers, and bathroom reno’s and helps you understand what’s feasible.

The energy efficient home: the ultimate design guide

In this downloadable pdf guide, we explain and detail the six core components of energy efficient design: orientation, glazing, shading, ventilation, insulation and thermal mass.

Developers now turning green for economic reasons over ‘eco-friendly’ ones

Developers are now turning to green building more for economic reasons than through “eco-friendly” motivations, according to speakers at the International Green Building Conference 2013.

Light Home Top 10 Pinterest Boards: Roberto Portolese

When it comes to Pinterest, the Light Home team isn’t just interested in pinning our own images, we also keep an eye out for others posting thought-provoking, inspirational or just plain brilliant designs.

Is your builder sustainable? 7 questions to ask

Whether you’re planning a minor renovation or an all out rebuild, there’s a few questions you can ask your building to ensure your project is easy on the environment – as well as your budget.

How do I… make my lighting more energy efficient

With the introduction of the carbon tax predicted to inflate electricity bills, now’s the time to make your lighting more energy efficient.

Affordable homes: How do I design to prevent waste?

Designing and building a house to building material sizes not only earns the home builder sustainability points by slashing the amount of waste heading to landfill, it gives them access to significant construction savings.

Dear designer: How do I make eaves more interesting?

With al fresco living the norm and wide eaves making a comeback, why settle for plain Jane when subtle style is possible?

How do I recycle and re-use on site?

The ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ methodology is gaining momentum in Australian construction, as industry stakeholders recognise its environmental and economic benefits, according to a report by the Victorian Government.

Interior flooring: Finding the right lightweight option

If you want a lightweight, eco home, every single aspect of it needs to be taken into account, right down to the interior flooring.

How do I… Choose the right insulation for my home?

How do I… Choose the right insulation for my home?

How do I… Stay warm (and green!) in bed this winter?

Winter is setting in, which means cold, dark evenings – and the need for the right doonas and blankets to keep warm.

Green living: Choosing an efficient hot water system

Getting it right when you’re selecting a hot water system is important – not least because water heating accounts for around a quarter of a typical household’s energy use.

How do I… Cut my power bills?

With winter just around the corner, one thing is almost inevitable: the bills are about to go up.

How to heat your home… without burning through cash

Electric or gas? Oil-filled or convection? Knowing which is the best option for keeping your home warm over the coming months can be tricky.

Shipping goods? Beware condensation

Shipping into and out of Australia is big news. With emigration, immigration and international business shipping, protecting worldly goods along the way is also big business.

How do I… Start composting at home?

To fully embrace eco living, be prepared to get a little dirty. We’re talking composting, worm farms and the new word on the street: Bokashi.

How do I… Keep chickens and keep my neighbours happy?

Keeping chickens is a fantastic way of embracing green, sustainable living. But how do you strike the balance between eco living and happy neighbours?

How do I: Create a secret room?

Secret rooms, moving bookcases, panic rooms – and high-end spiral wine cellars to die for. The humble hideaway is making a comeback.

How do I… regulate the temperature of my solar hot water system?

There is a simple solution to maintaining a constant hot water temperature on your solar-powered system year round.

How do I make my home safe for my epileptic son?

This week’s question is from Ivonne, a Light Home reader who wants to ensure her home is renovated to be safe for her epileptic son.

Building a green 10 Star home

How to build a green, energy efficient house with a 10-star energy rating.

How do I learn more about NABERS green building ratings?

This week’s question comes from Light Home reader, Jon Wong, who asked us about the NABERS rating tool and how it will affect building ratings in future.

Kitchen makeovers – Benchtop, splashback and flooring choices!

Stone bench or Laminex? Glass splashback or Lamipanel? Uber glamour or faux glamour? This is a dilemma faced by many about to undertake a kitchen makeover.

What is a spandrel?

This week’s question is from Jan, a Light Home reader who lives in a high-rise apartment building overlooking Sydney Harbour near Circular Quay.

Green homes: working with west-facing windows

While having north-facing orientation is something many of us would like, sometimes you have to work with what you have. We share a few tips for those with west-facing windows.

How do I add a curved bench top to my kitchen?

Renovating your kitchen with a modern rounded countertop is easy with the new Laminex Freestyle Curve.

Interior Design: Colour trends for 2012

Citrus colours, grey neutral tones and retro furnishings are making a huge comeback this year to liven up our homes with a vengeance.

How do I build a duplex on a sloping site?

Two leading building designers from Perth talk about the top things to consider before building on a sloping site.

How do I build green on a budget?

An award-winning builder asks about the key green building must-haves that don’t blow the budget.

How do I protect my roof from the harsh Australian sun?

Insulating your roof from sun damage is possible with a double roof system.

How do I… get the light in? Part two

A revolutionairy project is underway, lighting up the homes of the poor.

How do I… get the light in? Part one

We look at various ways of redirecting natural sunlight indoors.

How do I… Add another level to my home

A reader recently wrote to us with the following question: “How do I add a second floor to a house in Maitland NSW that will be light weight while keeping the costs down?”

How do I… Plan my solar system? Part Two

In part two of this focus on planning and setting up a solar system, we look at how to optimize your solar system.

How do I… Plan my solar system? Part One

We look into important factors to consider when planning a solar power setup for your home.

How do I make my home pet friendly for animals?

Sharing your home with your fur, finned and feather kids just became a lot more fun.

How do I make my home pet friendly for dogs?

This week we look at some tips for stylishly accommodating dogs in your home.

But as backyards shrink and lifestyles change designers are increasingly being asked to factor pets’ needs into houses. Installing a dog flap is only the beginning.

How do I…get the right orientation?

A reader asked us: “How many degrees off north can you place a house before you lose the benefit of the northern aspect?”

How do I…build a house without it looking ike a bomb site afterwards?

A reader asked us: Is it possible to build a house without the site looking like a bomb site afterwards? We asked Design Ambassador Ed Ewers for the answer.

How do I … make my home friendly to cats

Sharing your home with your fur kids just became a lot more stylish.

How do I …build green on a slope?

We ask one of our Design Ambassadors to answer this reader’s question.

How Do I…Watch Out For Building Problems

Rather than talking about what design actually looks like, we take a look behind the scenes and check out some of the things that can cause building defects.

How do I …recycle smarter?

Composting organic waste can not only reduce landfill, it can also help make your garden grow.

How do I…build a modular, prefabricated, solar powered home?

The New Zealand First Light entry into the Solar Decathlon 2011 demonstrates that you really can have it all.

How do I…get that Australian look?

A travelling green architecture exhibition, Built for the Bush, explores some of the energy efficient features of Australia’s 19th century country homes and their reappearance in contemporary green architecture.

How do I… get the wow factor in my bathroom?

Reader question: I am interested in the feature using Scyon™ products on internal shower/bathroom walls. Can you please provide me with more information about this product?

How do I… stop a leaky bathroom?

Reader question: I am interested in the feature using Scyon™ products on internal/shower bathroom walls. Can you please provide me with more information about this product?

How do I… build a vertical garden?

“We have an ugly back fence that we would like to disguise with a vertical garden but don’t know where to start. Any suggestions?”

How do I… get a chunky window trim that won’t deteriorate?

You asked, and we’ve answered. Here’s how to get a window trim that won’t deteriorate.

How do I… design using passive solar design principles?

I have a post war timber frame, plastic clad home which I would like to make passive solar by renovating. How could I do this?

How do I… get maximum insulation?

You asked: What type of cladding would provide maximum insulation for a long wall of a house that faces west? We’ve answered.

How do I… build a fire and storm resistant home?

This home is built to last.

How do I… get a stylish, eco-friendly home?

All the elements you need to consider if you want to design a stylish, eco-friendly home.

How do I.. work with the natural landscape?

Working with the natural landscape was the highest priority when designing this holiday retreat on the NSW mid-north coast.

How do I… build faster?

When it comes to building your home, it really is a case of the early bird getting the worm. Find out how you can build faster to save both time and money.

How do I… get a coastal look?

This beachside stunner is a great example of how you can achieve a coastal look in your own home.

How do I… renovate in heritage character?

This gorgeous Queensland renovation easily and stylishly blends old and new.

How do I.. build in a bushfire zone?

Bushfires are an everyday threat for the dry Australian landscape. Here’s what you need to know before building in a bushfire zone.

How do I… re-clad my home?

Beautifully proportioned but desperately in need of some tender, loving care and an urgent facelift, this 1890s home in South Fremantle, Western Australia was given a new life with an extensive renovation and re-clad. We take a look at how home-owner Deanne Neilson reclad her home and gave it a totally new look.

How do I… build a pool shed?

Looking for a quick and easy building project to do around the house? Take a long weekend and build your own pool shed or cute cubbyhouse by following these nine simple steps.

How do I… articulate walls?

If you don’t want the outside of your home to look bland and boring, what can you do to easily add a bit of ‘zing’?