Creating a gallery wall in your home is a great way to make an impact in any room.

It’s easy to install yourself and perfect for a multitude of rooms, whether it’s your living room, child’s room, office or entranceway.

Have fun and don’t be afraid to mix art with photos and affordable prints. They could be fun and simple or meaningful pieces which add value. Minimalistic or bright and busy, there are clever artists and creatives to suit a range of budgets.

I’m not big on following set ‘rules’ – rather I believe, all you need is a few simple tips to make a gallery wall in your own home that you’ll love.

Select your prints and frames

When choosing what prints to hang on your gallery wall, don’t be afraid to mix-up the colour, style and size. Think about what you love. Hang prints you and your family will enjoy looking at each day, not what you think someone else will like.

It’s also good to consider the room you’re creating the gallery wall in – is it your living room, child’s room, office or entranceway? With a specific room in mind, you’re able to tailor the look and feel. In your living room you may choose a more relaxing look and in the office a more inspiring and motivating feel.

When framing your prints, look at incorporating different sizes, colours (white, black and natural timber) and thickness of frames; you may even prefer to leave some unframed. Playing with different proportions will give your wall some texture.

For any art or photographic prints of value, I prefer to have custom frames made to protect the art long term. If you’re hanging cost-effective prints, there are a range of affordable frames you can source through New Zealand department stores.

Consider how you will hang them

If you’re going to use nails or hooks to hang your prints, you’ll need to consider where your wall framing is in order to fix them correctly. Gib walls simply aren’t strong enough on their own to support the weight of framed prints and the last thing you want is your art to fall off the wall and break.

I tend to use 3M hooks (or their equivalent). They’re easy to apply, remove cleanly and the best part – they don’t leave holes in the walls if you choose to rearrange or take them down when moving.

Make sure you follow the instructions with products like these. That includes leaving them overnight before hanging prints to ensure they’ve had time to properly adhere to your walls.

Determine your layout

If you’re anything like me you’ll want to jump straight into hanging your prints. But, if you take a little time beforehand, you’ll save yourself the frustration of having to reposition any.

I start by selecting one large print (your hero piece) that will anchor the gallery, then arrange your remaining prints around it. Placing the hero print off centre will give your gallery wall a more natural feel.

I tend to have an idea in my head of how I’ll want them positioned but always lay the frames out on the floor first, playing with the layout until I’m 100% happy.

Taking a photo on your phone of a few different options can help you narrow down the best layout. It’s also handy to refer to when installing your prints on the wall.

Wellington City Council has announced the launch of the voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing requirements.

“We want to lift rental standards in our city and make better accommodation available for people. Every Wellingtonian deserves a warm, dry home,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

The Rental Warrant of Fitness is a first in New Zealand. Wellington City Council partnered alongside public health experts from the University of Otago to create the questions that landlords can go through to see if their investment property meets the minimum standards.

Mayor Lester says “We’re partnering with the University and will be launching an app that will allow tenants and landlords to check their house against minimum health standards designed by experts, and allow landlords to request a full inspection by a professional to be certified as meeting the standard”.

The idea behind the Warrant of Fitness is not only to improve the quality of rental housing but also give landlords the chance to promote their investment as being warm, safe and dry.

Most of the questions in the Warrant of Fitness appear to be reasonable but some are dependent on the human factor. For example, one of the questions asks whether the home is free of visible mould and that if there is, that it is less than an A4 sheet of paper. Mould is actually a joint tenant and landlord responsibility as without physically ventilating the property, mould will grow. This is particularly noticeable in the winter months when heating is used, moisture builds up and mould spores can grow in areas such as wardrobes, bathrooms, on the wall behind beds and other areas of the home.

How does the assessment work?

Landlords (or tenants with their landlord’s permission) can book a Rental Warrant of Fitness inspection on Wellington City Council’s website from August 28. Landlords may wish to ask their Property Managers to assist them with obtaining the warrant as a point of difference for their investment property.

Wellington City Council has advised that they are partnering with building inspectors who will attend and carry out an assessment which will take around an hour to complete.

At that assessment, the house will either pass or fail. A report will be emailed to the owner of the property (or their property manager). If the house fails the assessment the owner will have 6 months to meet the criteria and re-book a follow up assessment for free. The Rental Warrant of Fitness is valid for three years.

How much does the Rental Warrant of Fitness inspection cost?

The cost is $250. If the house does not pass there is a six month window to get the work done and have a re-assessment done for free.

While the Warrant of Fitness is being run through Wellington City Council, the questions are reasonable for any landlord to use as a baseline to check in their investment or use the questions for any improvements.

We understand that the market is a competitive one. So, once you’ve secured a rental property it’s important to build a good rapport with your landlord. You want to ensure you are a great tenant so they will not only continue your tenancy, but also recommend you to future landlords. To help you with your journey, we’ve got five top tips on how to do just that:

1. Communicate, plan and schedule your first inspection

Ahead of moving into your new home, confirm with your landlord how they’d prefer to communicate; via email, text or phone call. Next, if you haven’t already finalised a pre-inspection, it’s a great idea to schedule one in. This should take place with yourself, other tenants and the landlord. You’ll have the opportunity to go through the property, take pictures of blemishes and note down anything which wouldn’t normally pass an inspection. It pays to check if there are working smoke alarms installed and obtain the insulation report. Make sure you keep a copy of all images and documentation, just in case you end up at odds with the owner.

2. Ongoing inspections

Inspections normally take place on a bi-annual or quarterly basis. Remember that an inspection only requires 48 hours’ notice from the landlord, also it can only take place between 8am and 7pm. It’s a short notice period, so it’s best to form a good relationship with your landlord, to ensure you’re not caught off guard.

3. Be prepared

Ahead of your inspection, take the opportunity to note down anything which isn’t quite right after living in the home, e.g. non -functional appliances such as: heat pump, oven, dishwasher. If you’re unable to be present for the inspection you can always download this form and fill in the details (on page 7), or leave a note for your landlord should there be any issues.

4. Follow-up

Always be courteous. It’s important to follow-up with your landlord and ask them how the inspection went. Find out if there is any feedback or changes they’d like to make to how you treat the property. This is also an appropriate time to follow up on any changes you’ve asked the landlord to make following the initial property inspection.

If you need some things fixed and these have been agreed upon by the landlord, it’s reasonable to expect these to be completed within 30 days, unless communicated otherwise. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the lease agreement if you’re unsure.

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