Make staying at home more enjoyable with these products and tips
With many Australians under stay-at-home orders, and many more of us just trying to lay low for a while, there’s never been a better time to spruce up your home to make staying at home feel less like a burden and more like a luxury.
These products and tips won’t just help you make the most of your no-travel holiday, but will also make your house feel more like a home, so that you’re ready to entertain once you can have your loved ones back around at your place.
Here are some of our ideas on how to make your staycation feel a bit more special this summer.
Bring the restaurant experience home
Throw a shrimp on the barbie
Nothing makes you feel quite like you’re on a summer holiday than getting the barbecue out and sizzling some of your favourite meat and veg.
Although designed to be portable and for outdoor areas with limited space, anyone can make use of the barbecues in the Weber Baby Q Series. They're compact, which means you can easily whip yours out at meal time, but they're still big enough to be able to roast a whole chicken.
Having been a ProductReview.com.au Award Winner multiple times, these barbecues have been well-loved by users, who have said they've got a durable build, evenly distribute heat, and are easy to use and clean.
A standard Baby Q is $339, or you can go for the Premium model (which also has a temperature gauge) for $349.
Make a barista-quality cup of joe
Forget hastily-made coffees that you have to drink while on the move: you’re on holiday, which also means you’re probably not just drinking for a caffeine hit but also to just sit back and enjoy your cup. A decent coffee machine lets you bring the café home, and we’ve got our eyes on the Breville Barista Express.
This machine grinds beans at the press of a button, lets you control the amount of froth you want by allowing manual microfoam milk texturing, and has digital temperature control that lets you extract the most flavour from your beans. At $999, it’s also more reasonably priced than other semi-automatic and manual coffee machines. Plus, it’ll help save money on café bills.
Snack on homemade treats
If you can’t leave home to nip out to the shops, then having a snack maker on hand can help you satisfy your cravings. Reviewers have praised the Luvele Pure Yoghurt Maker ($108.95) for its ability to make creamy, healthy yoghurt. They particularly liked how they could set-and-forget the appliance - snackers who didn’t eat dairy also said that making soy and coconut yoghurt was a breeze.
Those wanting a more hearty snack may want to give the Breville Smart Waffle Maker a go. It has a non-stick surface so there’s little mess, and there are different colour settings so that you can brown your waffles to your exact preference. Reviewers have said it makes delicious waffles that are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Costing $329, this waffle maker might make you miss that hotel breakfast in bed a little bit less.
On the right: the Luvele Pure Yoghurt Maker. On the left: the Breville Smart Waffle Maker.
Get food and drink delivered to your door
If you’re not too keen on buying a new appliance or cooker to make your staycation feel a little more special, then fear not: you don’t need to add to the clutter to have a good time.
Meal delivery services like Menulog and Uber Eats can help you bring the restaurant home, so that you can have ready-made meals delivered to your doorstep. If you’re isolating and can’t make the usual visit to the grocery store, then these services are a must. You can read our Food Delivery Services Buying Guide to help find the right service for you.
If you’re looking for a drink to pair with your meal, then you can also have drinks delivered. Good Pair Days, for example, is a wine subscription service (but you can also do one-off orders) that delivers wine tailored to your tastes to your home.
Liven up the garden
Make your pool sparkle
A pool cleaner may not seem like the most glamorous product to spruce up your home with, but a good one will make your pool spotless and will let you enjoy relaxing in and beside the pool more.
Winning a ProductReview.com.au Award two years in a row, the Robo-Tek Robo-Plus is our pool cleaner pick. It’s got the ability to suck up debris and large leaves, and reviewers have praised its cleaning performance and how effective it is at making pools of all shapes and sizes spotless.
With a range of models available for different sized residential pools and costing between $2010 and $3400, you’ll find one suited to you.
Get your green thumb on
Adding some more green to your garden won’t just make your home look better, but gardening also doubles as an activity to pass the time if you’re stuck at home. Reviewers have loved the Vegepod Raised Garden Bed Kit to plant their veggies and other greenery in.
It has a protective mesh cover to protect your crops from UV and pests, and regulates its temperature by letting water and air through. If you’re new to using a garden bed, don’t worry: reviewers have said this one is easy to assemble, and that its self-watering system worked well.
The bed comes in a range of sizes to suit different backyards, with a small bed costing $189, a medium bed costing $229, and a large garden bed setting you back $449.
Get some furniture to lounge outside on
Investing in some outdoor furniture can help make your garden more inviting. Even just an outdoor lounge chair or daybed can make you more inclined to venture outside, breathe in the fresh air, and fully unwind. We’ve got an article on whether to buy expensive or cheap outdoor furniture for those unsure about how much to spend.
Invest in entertainment
Set your soundtrack
Whether you want more ambient music while lazing on the patio or want to turn up the noise, good speakers - whether they’re portable or part of a home audio system - can help set the mood you’re after.
For better acoustics when watching TV or listening to music indoors, the Sonos Beam can enrich your entertainment. Reviewers loved the clear, crisp sound it delivered, and how well the sound filled their homes. For $699, it’ll let you enjoy all types of audio for all kinds of purposes.
If you’re after a more portable unit that you can also take into the backyard, then our pick is the Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus. It’s voice control-enabled, has 16 hours of battery life, and can be paired with compatible speakers if you want to create more of a party vibe. At $439.95, it’s on the pricey side, but it’ll also come in handy once you can get out of the house and explore the great outdoors.
On the left: the Sonos Beam Soundbar. On the right: the Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus Portable Speaker.
Need to entertain the kids?
If you’re holidaying at home with kids, then entertainment may look a little different for you. Read our article on 6 screen-free activities to entertain kids and toddlers to get some ideas - from getting a trampoline to cooking child-friendly recipes together - on how to pass the time.
More tips to level up your holiday at home
- Dine alfresco. These lovely summer evenings mean that dining in the backyard - and actually enjoying yourself - is back on the table (pardon the pun). You can even ramp up the ambiance by stringing up some fairy lights or using a portable speaker to play some of your favourite tunes.
- Have a happy hour. What better way to feel like you’re on holiday then stocking up the bar cart and making yourself an afternoon cocktail?
- Try to use your bath more. Setting aside an hour to just hang out in your bath or pamper yourself can help you relax more - if you go all out with body scrubs and candles, a trip to the bathroom may even rival a trip to the day spa.