Water purifier selection:

Water source Type of purifier required Purpose Product
Underground (Borewell) RO

UV

To remove impurities including hazardous heavy metals etc which cannot be done by a UV mechanism RO + UV purifier. RO is one of the best water purification methods available. Opt for atleast 7L storage capacity.
Surface water (municipal supplies) UV To destroy micro-organisms UV purifier.

Must check specs:

Product should have atleast 1 year warranty against manufacturing defects.

Usage tip:

  • Buying an AMC is a good option outside the warranty period if your water is extremely hard (bore-well water)
  • In such cases, usage of water softener is also recommended to ensure longevity of stuff affected by hard water including your hair, clothes etc.
  • Switch-off the unit when there is no water supply as it could lead to damage of the pump.

Something as simple as buying a cookware also needs to be well thought out as it has a direct bearing on your health. There are outright hazardous ones that need to be totally avoided and others that may be used with a bit of caution.

Tip: whenever you have doubts about what is probably good for health and what is not, choose variety. E.g. you can use a mix of hard anodized aluminum, cast iron and stone based cookware to avoid prolonged exposure to any one possible problematic substance. Same holds good for your cooking oil as well, keep changing them!

I have compiled the below table which could aid you to arrive at a safe usage pattern:

Cookware material Safety levels Improved version Remarks
Teflon non-stick Not safe, Contains PFOA/ PFTE Thermolon coated Teflon is a strict no.
Aluminium/ Stainless steel Excess Aluminium and nickel from stainless steel is hazardous and hence to be avoided Hard anodised Hard anodised is popular and can be used but is not suitable for prolonged usage.
Ceramic/ Clay Non-glazed ceramic and clay is safe. Glazing makes it non-stick but can have lead content which is hazardous. Lead free non-stick Ceramic ware can be expensive as compared to clay. Use non-glazed/ lead-free versions only.
Cast Iron Cast Iron (CI) is tried and tested since ages and is not hazardous. Pre-seasoned/ enameled coated CI is non-stick. Pre-seasoned CI is fairly non-sticky, expensive but one of the safest bets.
Stone based cookware Granite coated is PFOA free but needs to be researched further. Under development. Not very expensive and non-stick.

Utility product tip – an air fryer is an excellent healthy & convenient cooking option to have. Use curry leaves etc on the grill as a base which will not only make it non-stick but also will give a good flavor to the food.

Specification of basic air fryer: 1000 watts, 800g or 2.5 lts capacity. Choose higher capacities as per your needs.

Standard Gas stove recommended specifications: 3 burner, glass top, and auto ignition.

Inverters:

The following are the 2 Key specs of an Inverter:

VA – this value governs the type and number of appliances that you can use simultaneously when inverter is in use

Battery AH – this value signifies the number of hours the appliances can be used. Tubular batteries are preferred.

An 1100 VA inverter with a battery storage capacity of 150 AH shall enable usage of 4 fans, 4 lights and a mixer (intermittently) for 5 – 8 hrs which is generally more than sufficient.

However, using the below 3 step calculation, you can also scientifically arrive at the Inverter specs that you need:

  1. Find the total wattage of the appliances that you intend to use during power failure:

Approx wattage of common appliances: 1 fan – 75 watts , 1 LED tube light – 20 watts, 1 mixer – 350 watts, 1 LED TV – 100 watts

Total rated power if 2 fans, 4 lights, 1 mixer and 1 TV are in use: 2×75 +4×20 + 1×350 + 1×100 = 680 watts

  1. Arrive at the Power of inverter required

VA = total wattage/ efficiency = 680/ 0.7 = 971 VA

Hence, choose a nearest VA inverter.

  1. Calculate the battery capacity required:

Let’s say you want to use 2 fans, 2 lights and 1 TV for 5 hours, then:

AH = total watts * back-up hours required/ battery volts = 290*5/12 = 120 AH. Hence 120 AH battery is sufficient.

Typical AH value of inverter batteries in the market is: 100 Ah, 120 Ah, 150 Ah, 180 Ah, 200 Ah etc.

False ceiling:

Having a false ceiling for living/ dining space at about  1 ft drop is a recommended option. False ceiling gives the space a neat & rich look by hiding wires and other non-aesthetic projections. You could create various designs with the same but ensure it’s not a dust collector. Gypsum boards are a reasonably good choice, other false ceiling material options being POP, PVC, Grid ceiling etc.

Avoid false ceiling in bedrooms as it could make it look cramped and is suggested only if the roof is exposed to direct sunlight. False ceilings are also to be avoided in bathrooms & kitchen.

Choose a good fabricator and designer wherever required.

Curtains:

Curtains or drapes serve either one or more of the following purposes:

  • Privacy
  • Decor enhancement
  • Insulation from the outside elements

Options:

Drapery – these are graceful long curtains usually of thicker fabric that fairly addresses all the above factors

Sheer – it provides an enticing privacy while allowing light partially and would have to be mounted separately behind the drapery.

Scarves – these are to be used over the drapes for a designer look just as we use scarves around our neck.

Curtain rods – use decorative rods + rings OR C channel + hooks OR Ply pelmet to hide the hanging area.

Usage tip: get a fabricator to measure up and provide solutions as per your requirements.

 

 

Common base material options for your furniture:

types-of-fur-mat

 

ply-mdf

 

Ply is preferred to avoid regular maintenance related work on your interiors. Also, when you rent out or sell your home, you can get better value if your interiors are in good shape.

Ply types:

MR – moisture resistant commonly referred as commercial ply suitable for usage in dry areas of a home

BWR – boiling water resistant also referred to as water proof Ply that must be used in kitchen and other wet areas

Ply is one of the most duplicated materials and hence procurement should preferably be done through company recommended dealers.

Finishing decorative material options that can be used over a Ply using an adhesive:

finishing-mat

 

Laminate – it is made of layers of paper and adhesive pressed under high pressure. Laminates can be normal suede finished or textured in solid colors or various designs.

Veneer – is a thin slice of decorative wood species generally pasted on a 4mm ply backing. Natural veneer and recon veneer are the types of veneers available.

Natural veneer comes in groups and a selection at a distributor’s place is a must. Some of the common natural veneers are as follows:

Dark natural veneers – walnut, wenge, zebrano, sapeli

Medium – teak, white oak, red oak

Light – maple, sycamore, white ash, anegre

Recon veneer – is reconstituted veneer with each sheet being exactly the same as the other. It is costlier than a laminate and cheaper than natural veneer and bridges the gap between the 2 products.

Ply/ Laminate/ Veneer – selection matrix

Area Concept Suggested Products Remarks
Living room/ Dining room TV cabinets should preferably be custom made to hide wires, lighting etc. Well integrated crockery cabinets can add to add to the décor and functionality. MR/ BWR Ply with natural/ recon veneer or 1mm premium laminate. Hire the services of an Interior designer wherever required. One could look at buying loose furniture like sofa, dining tables, shoe racks, computer tables etc online.
Kitchen Being a water-prone area, use of BWR Ply is a must for kitchen cabinets with good hardware for sustainability & ease of operation. BWR Ply with 0.8mm/ 1mm laminate for cabinet inner surfaces. 1mm decorative laminate should be used for exposed surfaces. Use textured laminate to enhance the look. A scuff resistant glossy laminate will make maintenance easy. Other options being membrane, UV finished shutters etc
Bedrooms The bed should be very strong for obvious reasons & hence made of Ply. The wardrobes could be made of MDF or particle board with pre-lamination. MR/ BWR Ply for beds, wardrobe & dressing table. 0.8mm/ 1mm lam for inner surfaces. 1mm decorative laminate for outer. Again, good branded hardware should be chosen. Use recon or natural veneer for more exotic look. Customize your bed if it helps mitigate any of your ailments e.g. slightly inclined bed can be crafted for people suffering from specific illness.

 

Usage tip: Use tiles on kitchen walls for easy cleaning and maintenance apart from granite tops. Also, you can duco paint your existing doors if required & feasible to match your décor and give it an exotic look.

Utility product tip: have a laptop stand which can also be used as a flexi-table.

 

 

 

Lighting basic terminologies – these are the must know extremely elementary concepts:

  1. LED Vs conventional lighting

Choice is simple here – go for LED which is the latest technology and consumes less power. You could replace a 36 watts conventional LFL tube light with 18 watts LED batten and get almost the same light output.

LED Batten:

  1. Warm Vs cool light

This is determined by the color temperature (CT) – there are broadly 2 types of common CT:

3000K – CT of 3000K or less is called warm or slightly yellowish light

6000K – CT of over 5000K is called cool color or bluish white light

Cool white is preferred for reading and warm for general purposes. In a home, for living rooms and the bedrooms there should be preferably options for both depending on the mood.

  1. Surface light Vs recessed light:

Surface light is a fixture that can be directly mounted on a surface like a wall or true ceiling. Recessed light on the other hand, goes into a false ceiling or wooden/ other surfaces.

LED Slim recessed round down light:

LED round surface fixture:

  1. Direct Vs indirect lighting

In direct lighting the light source is visible and in indirect lighting, it is reflected from any surface. Lighting should be indirect as far as possible as it looks classier. Use your own creativity to make this happen as shown in the below picture wherein a 20w tubelight is placed on the wardrobe thereby indirectly yet sufficiently lighting the whole room.

img_20160731_210957

  1. Decorative vs functional lighting

Functional lighting is the light source which is used primarily for the purpose of illumination. Decorative lights are used for enhancing the décor of the room and actually may not provide sufficient light output. Decorative lights are often expensive and difficult to maintain.

Must check spec: All lights should preferably be LED with atleast 2 years of warranty

Lighting – selection matrix:

Type of requirement Concepts Basic Products Add ons
Living room/ dining room A false ceiling gives the space a neat and premium look.

Hence recessed Lighting, with options for both white and warm (yellow) lighting would be a good solution for the space.

Smartly placed LED battens can be used if false ceiling is not preferred.

Multiple 6W LED round or square recessed down lights, with each covering an area of around 5ft x 5ft, to be used for good illumination.

2W LED spot lights embedded either in false ceiling or any plywood structure can be used for providing warm hues to the space.

Use decorative lights for grandeur.

Hire an interior designer and go for dimming/ home automation for super premium applications.

Bedrooms The lighting in the bedroom should preferably be indirect with both white and warm light options.

To make the lighting indirect, the fixture could be placed on top of the wardrobe or behind the bed.

4 feet, 20W LED batten with either PVC or Aluminium profile for providing white light.

24W LED strip, 5 meters in length (can be cut to suitable size) with driver can be used for warm illumination.

Recessed down lights if false ceiling (read a separate section on this) is used. A good night lamp can add to the décor.
Kitchen Functional white light with the fixture placed above the door frame, would be a good option. 4 feet, 20W LED batten  Recessed down lights/ decorative lights
Balconies Choose an attractive surface mounted white light 10W, LED Celene round moonlight Chandelier
Bathroom Requires functional white light preferably placed above the mirror 2 feet, 12W LED batten Recessed down lights/ decorative lights

Usage tip: Decorative lights, per se, could be avoided as they difficult to maintain, expensive and do not serve the functional lighting needs. You could use home automation depending on which side of the ‘excessive use of technology’ debate you are. Wherever possible, lighting should be indirect and your furniture can be customized to hide the lights as well as wires!

Utility product tip: a portable LED lantern which would be useful as an emergency light in the absence of power. It would also be useful, if you want to focus light on a specific area or for a specific purpose like reading etc.

Geysers:

Basic terminologies: Instant water heaters & storage water heaters

Instant water heater: Remember those heating rods that were immersed in a bucket of water? Instant WH is similar with a heating rod used to heat the water almost instantly but in a closed aesthetically pleasing container.

Storage water heaters (SWH): they normally have 2 heating elements of lesser capacity and hence it takes longer time to heat. The water is stored in an insulated tank for retention of heat to be used whenever required.

Must check specs:

  1. BEE 5 star ratings 2. Rated power of 2 KW 3. Warranty of 2 yrs on electrical components and 7 yrs on the inner tank

Water Heaters – selection matrix:

Area Concept Suggested Product
Kitchen For washing utensils and hand wash, instant water heater should be used. 3L, 3 KW electric instant water heater
Bathroom Storage Water Heater (SWH) is required for bathing using shower. Also, unlike instant water heaters, the KW rating for SWH is lesser thereby preventing tripping due to overload. 15L storage water heater, BEE 5 star rated with 2 KW rated power.

Vertical Storage water heaters:

 

Square Storage Water Heater:

 

Usage tip: Vertical SWHs are preferred as horizontal ones are not that efficient due to better thermal stratification in case of the former. Large SWH (25L) could be underutilized resulting in energy losses.

Utility product option: since horizontal water heaters are not very efficient, opt for a square one for saving vertical space and for better aesthetics.

 

Fans – basic terminologies (don’t fret if you are unable to comprehend, you may go straight to the selection matrix):

Sweep – dia of the circle created by the blades – 48” or 1200mm is the normal sweep that is used. Other sizes being 24”/36”/ 42”/ 56”

RPM – revolution per minute of the blades at a specific speed. Normally ranges between 350 – 400 rpm

Blade angle – refers to the angle of the blades as they move through the air, manufacturers do take care of the right blade angles.

Air delivery: it is the air delivered by the fan in cubic meters per minute – 210 – 230 CMM is a good enough range

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Must check spec:

Service value of a fan: air delivered/ watt – air delivery is what you get from your fan and watts consumed is what you pay for regularly! Hence, this is one of the most important aspects to be considered while choosing a fan – go far a fan with a service value of more than 3 for decorative and 4 for energy efficient fans.

Fan regulator – it should be a good electronic stepped regulator

 

Fans selection matrix:

Area Concept Suggested Product Remarks
Living room/ Dining room Premium looking ceiling fans (with no visible screws) should be used in these areas. Ensure an air delivery CMM of around 235 as the space is larger with more people likely to occupy at a time. Select from the premium range of ceiling fans -1200mm (48 inches) sweep with 235 CMM air delivery for an input power of 75 watts or less.

(refer images below)

Go for super premium decorative fans with designer blades and light integrated if you always use ACs. The air delivery of such fans would be very less around 65 CMM as cooling is only a secondary function.
Kitchen Low noise exhaust fans to drive out the fumes and ensure fresh air circulation. Go for Freshner – 150mm (6 inches) sweep, 35 watts in white or black color Use decorative small sweep  ceiling fans/ wall mounted fans if required.
Bedrooms Energy efficient ceiling fans are preferred as the usage is high in the bedrooms.

White is a common color choice as it can go with any décor followed by brown.

Suggest 1200mm (48 inches) sweep energy efficient fan with atleast 210 CMM air delivery and maximum 50 watts power consumption. BLDC fans with power consumption of around 35 watts can be used if air delivery is sufficient.
Bathroom Exhaust fan (freshner) or high speed freshner for smoking occupants is a must for your bathrooms. Again, go for Freshner 150mm (6 inches) sweep, 35 watts  for normal noiseless operation and 40 watts for high speed. Choose white or black color. Check the opening provided for the same. Fans attract dust, hence choose a simple profile that is easy to clean.

Usage tip: there should not be any other ventilation (especially through window louvers) for effective functioning of exhaust fans.

Utility product option: have a flexible all in one fan which can be used as table fan or that can mounted on a wall or ceiling – product with a sweep of 225MM and 50 watts input power is hence recommended as a utility option.

Premium fans:

Energy efficient fans:

Exhaust fan (freshner):

Multi-utility fan: