Whether you have moved into a new house and are faced with decor or maintenance challenges or are overwhelmed by everyday issues with regards to cleanliness, here are five of your top queries answered by Atinirmal Pagarani, managing director, Yogi Group, and Sayed Habib, director, Danube Home E-Commerce, Business Development and Franchise.

1 I have just moved into a central AC house and have a lot of indoor plants. What can I do to ensure my plants’ health, keeping in view that my family and I prefer to have the aircon temperature at about 20°C.

Since the range of the temperature that indoor plants would require is around 14°C-30°C, it is perfectly fine to have the aircon at about 20°C. However it is important that these plants get adequate light – artificial or sunlight – and water. To know how much of water and light a plant would need, I suggest you check with an expert as every plant has a specific requirement, says Atinirmal.

"Ensure the vent of your air conditioner is away from your plants," advises Sayed. Also, invest in a humidifier, just so that the plants do not get damaged by the dry cold air of the aircon, he adds. "Another tip: If your plant is small, cover it with a glass cloche. It not only looks very attractive, it protects the plant from any changes in temperature or humidity."

2 I find cleaning the kitchen chimney to be tedious and tricky. Please suggest an easy method using products that are commonly available.

Some of the products that work wonders as cleaning agents for kitchen chimneys are salt, white vinegar, baking soda and boiling water. One of my favourite methods, says Atinirmal, is a solution of vinegar and hot boiling water. "Soak the chimney filters in the solution for a couple of hours to allow the grease to loosen and then gently scrub off. Wash it under running water and voila, your chimney filters will be sparkling clean."

3 I have just bought a house with a long living room. How can I divide the space into well-defined dining and entertainment space without adding cabinetry or wall. Please advise.

L-shaped sofa is your friend, says Sayed. "You can either place it in the centre of the room with the television unit in front and the dining table behind; or alongside one of the long walls, again with the television unit in front and the dining table behind the other side of the sofa," he adds. The other option is use of area rugs. Place one in the living room section to define the space, says Sayed.

It does not take much to make the long living cum dining rooms look cluttered. So follow the principles of minimalism while decorating these spaces and if you wish to create a sense of privacy between the two areas, use decorative jalis (mashrabiyas/ornamental see through partitions), says Atinirmal.

4 I plan on getting a dog as a pet. Keeping in mind that some breeds shed a lot of fur, what can I do to maintain my carpet and furniture.

You must regularly take your dog to the pet grooming service to avoid scratches and tears on your leather or upholstered furniture, say Atinirmal and Sayed. Offering more tips, Sayed says, keep your pets clean and well-groomed so as to avoid excessive shedding or unpleasant odour that could transfer onto the upholstery; vacuum the furniture and the carpets thoroughly at least twice a week to remove pet dander and opt for deep steam cleaning services once a month. Also, opt for budget friendly, easy-to-clean blankets or throws to cover your sofa, chair or bed and protect the original upholstery from any damage.

"Ideally, buy stain-resistant carpets made of nylon," Atinirmal suggests. Else vacuum regularly, he adds. In the mood for some elbow grease? Use a pumice stone made with volcanic rock to gently scrub the carpet and upholstery. It’s rough surface grabs the fur, making it clean, he says.

5 I was recently gifted a stunning copy of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Where should I place it in my living room, so that it looks prominent?

Art should always be placed where it is clearly visible and can be enjoyed, says Atinirmal. "For more effect, add an accent light above it. This will draw attention to the painting thus giving it prominence in your living room. Creating a contrast effect is also a great way to make art stand out. Creating a colour block effect on the part of the wall where you wish to hang your wall art will make it stand out while adding a stunning style statement in your living room," suggests Sayed.

Read more