Category: Tips for Tenants

Six Things that Date your Home Instantly

Sometimes, we get so used to our homes, that we don’t see the gold plated light fittings,  ceramic door knobs and beige trims any more.  If you’ve been living in your home for quite some time, you might not realise that time has moved on and it could be a good idea to take a critical look at your home again.   Here are a few things that has changed since your last home update 10 years ago:


drab to fab splashback
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Your kitchen splashback with pretty border might have been at the height of fashion when you moved into your home, but the contrasting colour cuts your walls in half, making the ceiling seem lower than it actually is. To modernise your kitchen, a stone mosaic tile in herringbone pattern, or subway tiles that extend all the way to the ceiling, will open things up instantly!


drab to fab pendants
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If your house was built in the eighties, there’s a good chance you’ve got small frosted pendant lights or something awful with a gold plated finish hanging over your kitchen counter.   For a more timeless look, go for something more substantial to balance out the size of the counter.  Glass (not frosted!) and steel is a great combination, or an antique brass finish, copper or nickel will update your room instantly. This is not an expensive exercise, as the cables are already there.


drab to fab kitchen cupboards
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Maple and oak wood-stained cabinets with ornate carvings or round timber handles will give your kitchen an aged appearance.  Luckily, we know the magic paint can do, so a lick of paint and new modern handles will already make a big difference.  A combination of dark cabinets for the bottom and a lighter colour on top will show that you have a newfound knowledge of the style of a modern kitchen.


Drab to Fab niknacks
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A lot of us love collecting ceramics and china and other dust collectors to show off in our homes.  Ornaments are a great way to make your home feel lived in and homely, showing part of your personality.  Unfortunately, as with all things in life, there’s a right way, and a wrong way to do things.  Edit your collection as much as possible and part ways with outdated statues and children’s craft.  Group similar items and leave plenty of negative space for the eyes to take a breather.  Put the rest of your items behind closed doors and rotate the display seasonally.


drab to fab furniture
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Prints and patterns go in and out of fashion constantly and can make a room look dated and busy.  If you’re buying a big ticket item like a sofa, it’s best to stick to something neutral that will always be fashionable.  An accent chair in a bolder pattern, cushions and a rug is a safer way to inject colour and pattern into your room.


drab to fab curtains
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Floral curtains, like the ones the older generation adore, are a big culprit when it comes to dated decorating.  The current trend is to allow plenty of light in and create a sense of airiness in the home.  If you would like something different, try a pattern that’s very subtle in a neutral colour or a textured curtain instead.  These won’t clash with anything in the room and make the space appear bigger.

Good luck and enjoy your home editing!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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How to hang a Pendant Light in your bedroom with no hole in the ceiling?

So your husband says there’s no way in hell he pays an electrician $300 to add light fittings next to your bed for your $50 K-mart pendant lights you just bought. Everyone wants it! A pendant light next to their bed, but you don’t have fittings in the ceiling… Now what?

Lucky for us the informal rope and cord lights are very contemporary and you can now plug them into the socket next to your bed. However,  you still need to make it look like a pendant! Today we show you a few ways on how to present these lights. This is great for tenants too, as you can add quirkiness to a room without damaging the ceiling or paying an electrician.


timber bracket pendant light bedroom
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They are cheap, and available from your local hardware store or places like IKEA. You can be fancy like in image one, and thread the rope through the bracket. Or, you can just be “arty” and drape the cord all over the bracket like in image two!


pendant light rope light ladder bedroom
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You can use any old furniture or crates and drape your rope light around it. An old vintage styled ladder can add lots of character to your room.


pedant rope cord light gold glass
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This method is my favourite as you can really get the feeling that the light is hanging from the ceiling. Make sure you choose a chord that is funky and suits your decor. Don’t try to make it look perfect, as the untidiness is part of the charm!

bedroom pendant lights rope french country recycled head board
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So I hope you feel inspired to grab these (mostly!) inexpensive cord lights and make them a feature of your room!

You can buy them online from many places, but my top choice is FAT SHACK VINTAGE. Just make sure you order the “Pendant Light cord with wall plug.”. They cost about $65-00.

If you are a tenant, and you also want to know how to display artwork without using tools, read our blog about “8 WAYS TO DISPLAY ART – NO TOOLS REQUIRED “

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann


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Quick Décor Tip – Why furniture should not be against the wall

Quick tips furniture layout
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A lot of us instinctively want to push our furniture up against all four walls, thinking that this will create more space in our room.  This could turn out a very impractical layout, as guests will end up shouting across the room to be heard.  Try to keep things simple by grounding the area with a rug and going for a more balanced layout.  Consider a layout where guests can have a conversation, have enough room to walk around without bumping into furniture, as well as a place to put a coffee cup or glass.

For more information on furniture styling, read our blog “How to Create a Cosy Home”

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera


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SIX ways to work around a wall colour you hate in a rental home

Searching for a place to rent can take forever.  When you finally come across one with a kitchen and bathroom you could force yourself to live with for a couple of years, it might not have the wall colour that would work particularly well with your existing furniture.  I suppose you have to compromise somewhere, so in today’s blog, we’ll give you a few tips on how to make that awful wall colour less of an eyesore.


hiding wall colour - wall hanging
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These days, there are hundreds of fabrics available in a myriad of colours and prints to hang against your walls.  Even a colourful rug, macramé or a simple timber canvas frame covered in your choice of fabric will do the trick.  You could also install a curtain rod and treat the wall as you would a window, covering the entire wall in a fabric of your choice.  The larger the fabric, the bigger the impact and, of course, the more of the ugly wall colour you will cover.


Some rental properties are in such a bad state, that the landlord wouldn’t mind a fresh coat of paint which he wouldn’t have to pay for.  Check with your agent before going down this avenue, so it doesn’t leave you out of pocket come moving time… This is an option if you plan to rent that home for at least two or three years. For a few hundred dollars, you can make it feel like your own home. (Or bribe your husband to paint it)


hiding wall colour - colour wheel
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Incorporating your wall colour into the colour scheme in your rental home, is easier than you think.  All you need is a good understanding of the colour wheel, how light affects colour, how different colours affect your mood, cool vs warm colours, the difference between tones, shades and tints and a few paint chips!  (OK, a gallery wall might be easier…)  Another option is to get the Vanilla Slate girls in for a colour consult to sort you out in a jiffy 🙂


hiding wall colour - gallery wall
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Although framed pictures won’t cover up the wall colour, it could become a welcome distraction.  Bold prints will make a fabulous impact,  obstructing the ugly wall colour and become the new focal point. Best part is, you can take all the pictures with you when you move. Just remember to use the 3M Command Picture Hanging strips in a rental property.


hiding wall colour - wall paper
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If you haven’t heard of removable wallpaper, you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years!  This is a great alternative to repainting your walls and available in a huge range of patterns, colours and images. You do not need glue, and it does not leave marks when you remove it.  See what’s on offer at The Wallpapercompany


hiding wall colour - poster
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Try large posters such as maps or interesting prints to cover large parts of your wall.  Hard to Find has some lovely inexpensive options available, as well as Typo.

Read our blog about putting your stamp on a rental home’s kitchen, as well as how to personalise your home with art, to get you settled into your new home.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Ten things to check before you sign the contract to your new home

Many of us have had the opportunity to go property hunting and, dreamy eyed, take in the scent of new carpet and paint fumes.  It’s easy to be impressed by the waft of freshly baked cookies and a very polite and helpful real estate agent.   Of course you’ll have a building and termite inspection, but have you done your own inspection before signing on the dotted line?  Here are a few things you should check before getting too excited about the pack of Mentos you receive on the way out.


Check the walls backing onto your wet areas for signs of water stains or moisture penetration.  This could be an expensive exercise if you need to replace or fix water damaged walls.


Open all cabinets to check if it smells of damp or has water damage.  During our bathroom renovation recently, I discovered a piece of cling wrap wrapped around a drain pipe to stop a leak.  Effective enough to fool you for a while, but maybe not in the long run.


Check all ceilings for evidence of mould, or that it had recently been cleaned using bleach.  Mould has to be professionally removed, but it’s best to find out the cause before giving it a scrub down.


Hole in plasterboard wall

We live in a home with plaster board interior walls and, only recently, my son tripped over and fell a hole in the wall with his head (he’s fine, apparently hardheaded…).  Luckily, this is not too expensive to fix, but the appearance of fine hairline cracks in wall plastering could set you back quite a few dollars.  These cracks can make the plaster come loose when you try and install paintings or other wall fixings and is a lot more expensive to fix.


cling wrap pipe

It might look odd when you decide to fill up the sinks during a home walk through and then draining them all at the same time.  It’s best to shrug off the sidelong glances and head shakes while doing this during your inspection. The water flow from the sink could indicate a drain blockage due to tree branches growing through your sewer line, or a collapsed pipe.  The image above is what I discovered around the pipe in my bathroom vanity during a recent renovation.  I consider myself the voice of experience, as I did none of these things before buying our house and only fell for the pack of Mentos handed out at the front door… (I have a terribly sweet tooth 🙂


A couple of years ago, I decided to paint the frame around my bathroom window.  I discovered that the window frame didn’t fit the hole properly and the gaps were filled with squashed up plastic bags.  We’ve been living in this house for 10 years and I would never have known this, if I hadn’t painted the frame.  It’s a good thing to check all windows to see if they fit their frames, as well as opening and closing them, as they are expensive to replace if not functioning as they should.


fireplace with candles
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A fireplace is a beautiful design feature in a home and always create a cosy, homely atmosphere.  Make sure your fireplace doesn’t turn out to be a feature that you’ll only be lighting candles in for the cosy effect.  Make sure installation was done correctly, that it drafts properly and that the chimney is clean.  It could save you a few dollars in the long run.


Don’t be embarrassed to drop a few pieces of scrunched up toilet paper into the toilet and flushing it, to see if everything’s in working order.

9.  TAPS

Taste the water in an older house to see if pipes are still in tip top shape.  Open and close all taps to see if they’re all in working condition – it will eliminate replacing them when you move in.


If you live in a very warm climate or area like us, air conditioning is not just an added bonus, but a necessity.  Make sure yours is in working condition, as replacing an air conditioning unit will cost a small fortune.

Let us know if you can add a few things to the check list, or had some funny or horrendous experiences yourself!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Seven Ways to give your Rental Kitchen a Personal Touch

Most of us have had the pleasure to live in a rental home with flooring we hate, vinyl wrapped kitchen cupboards we could certainly do without, laminated kitchen bench tops in a colour that doesn’t even resemble anything natural, tile splashbacks with depictions of bowls of fruit, the list could go on…

The kitchen is known as the home’s heart, so is there a way to create this “heart” with the apparent lack of “soul?”  Don’t fear, help is at hand!


kitchen rental change handles
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To replace handles is cheaper than you think. They are available from your local hardware store between $3 and $20. Make sure your new handles fit into the existing holes, because you can’t drill holes into the landlord’s cupboard!  It will give your kitchen an instant update, without breaking the bank. Just put the old ones back on when you move out and take your pretty new handles with you to your next rental home!


kitchen rental paint cupboards
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Replacing all cupboard doors in a rental property could cost a small fortune and you will also need the owner’s permission .  Removing the doors and painting the inside of your cabinets will create an instant feature above your counter.  Just make sure everything is returned back to the way you found it, once you move out.  It’s always good to check with your landlord before getting the rainbow colours out.


kitchen rental change splashback
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Replacing an entire splashback in your kitchen, might cost you a bit more than you initially planned spending on a rental property.  Removable options are by far more affordable.  These kitchen/bathroom tile decal stickers are made from vinyl, are waterproof AND removable!   Have a look on Etsy to see the colourful range on offer.


kitchen rental colourful textiles
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A bright and colourful rug and a few pretty tea towels will distract the eye from unsightly cupboard doors.   Not only will it be an eye catcher, but a comfortable place for pooch to sit when discarded crumbs accidentally fall to the floor.


kitchen rental change lighting
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Updating your light fittings in the kitchen can modernise your space instantly.  What keeps you from buying that pretty pendant you’ve had your eye on for you forever home?  An electrician can install it in your rental property, but you can always take it with you once you move.    There are also a few DIY options available if you only want to change the light shade.


kitchen herbs - rental
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Bring the outdoors in and create a homely atmosphere with a vase of flowers and potted herbs.  Keep it handy next to your stove for when you’re cooking up a storm.


kitchen colourful ceramics rental
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Nothing says “home” like a stack of colourful ceramic bowls, a kettle, bright mugs and biscuit tin.  Display these item on a bench top or shelf for instant appeal.

There you go, seven reasons why you should head out to shops right now!  You’re welcome…

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Tenant Tips: Our 6 Best Ideas for Street Appeal

We all heard of “street appeal”. What if you live in a rental property where you prefer not to  spend money to change the look of your house or to add personality? When friends visit your home… What is the first thing you say? “Excuse my home, it is just a rental property.”

Even though you rent, you should still add personality to your front door. Every time you come home, you should “feel home” when you enter your rental property. But how?



What can you display at your front door so that visitors know YOU live here? Do you collect cats or artwork or love travelling or fancy bonsai trees? Use whatever tickles your fancy. Think what items people will recognise and say: “Yes, this must be their home!” Think of something personal, display it and make sure no one can steal it…

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Many homes have porches at their front door. Instead of having 20 pairs of shoes and umbrellas lying there, add a pretty bench with colourful outdoor cushions that will create a certain style for your home and show off your personality.  This is very inviting and instantly gives a homely feeling.

porch with bench
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You can take it with you to your next home, it is inexpensive and will put your visitors in an instant happy mood. If that doesn’t help, you will have to consider inviting other friends.

funny welcome mat
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While you’re not spending a lot of money on your rental property for maintenance etc, you can use this time to gradually buy quality items that you can take with you every time you move. You can add a whole garden with different size and colour pots. This way you can give your entrance door a formal or informal look, a modern or vintage look, or even just add colour to a boring rental front door.

pop and scott pot plants
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This is not a fixture, so you can place your beautiful and interesting temporary letterbox in your front garden, to jazz up your street appeal. You can even make your own one or buy a cheap one and decorate it! See the time in your rental home as “your time to be creative & adventurous!”

letter box blue farm milk
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Many houses’ street numbers are not easily visible. Be brave and make your own one! You can really add personality by making them stand out and showing your personality. Be bold, make the number huge! An oversized number in a playful colour will surely make a statement. You can temporarily fix it to any external wall.

green street number DIY
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To style your home, means adding your personality, and not creating perfection.

Do not clutter your Entrance Door or porch. This is where guests get their first impression of your style. You should decorate this area BEFORE you decorate your home inside!


Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

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8 Ways to display your art – no tools required!

Our first ever rental property had generous, thick double brick walls and double sided tape stuck to it like chewing gum to a park bench.  To remove it again, was just a question of pulling the picture off the wall and removing the sticky bits with warm soapy water.  Little did we know, when moving into our next rental property, that plasterboard and double sided tape were best avoided!  My first attempt at removing my pictures, left me with half the wall still stuck to my picture!  Needless to say, we didn’t succeed in getting our entire bond back…

So, to save you some money when renting, I’ve put together a few ideas on how to display your arty bits without damaging the walls.

large art on floor
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art on floor
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Large pieces of art layered on the floor create a stunning visual effect.  Even ceramic floor tiles can be pulled into the mix for extra texture!

stick it with washi
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Washi tape is available in a range of colours and patterns and can  create a playfully artistic effect against a wall.  Use it around your pictures as a pretty border – the sky is the limit, as  it’s very easy to remove!

art on bookcase
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Display colourful art pieces on a mantel piece or bookshelf with a few ornaments for visual impact.

art on peg board
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The humble peg board will offer you a bounty of options to play with!  Use it in the study as a visual display for daily inspiration, or as a way to brighten up your entry way.

art on hangers
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A few black and white prints on hangers will be the talking point for guests.  All you need is a few removable wall hooks, wire hangers and bulldog clips, how easy!

art on low shelf
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A low shelf with a display of colourful art prints will brighten up your grumpy teenager’s bedroom.

art on splashback
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To get some cheer into an all white kitchen, try utilising the splashback as your art gallery.  A bowl of colourful fruit and some potted colour will complete the homely atmosphere.

Now you don’t have any excuse for a drab looking rental property!

Cheerio ’til next time!


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