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house rules 2020 penthouse reveal bedroom with wallpaper headboard and brass side tables

Design Do’s and Dont’s from the House Rules 2020 Penthouse Reveal

The House Rules 2020 penthouse reveal just went down, and good Lord do we have a lot to talk about!

Yes, you guessed right: this year my reno show recaps are back on the TLC blog. Did you miss them? I certainly never pass up an opportunity to talk about design, but in some years gone by I’ve recapped for other websites. In 2020 it’s all happening here, and I can’t wait to dish the dirt with you.

Given that The Block is on hold for now, I think it’s best we fully sink our teeth into House Rules this year. And while there are new hosts and new judges, one thing remains the same: me! Each week you can come here to hear the truth about each room. You know, from an experienced designer who does this job in the real world every day.

Let’s kick off with an examination of some of the highs and lows from last night’s House Rules 2020 penthouse reveal. There were some choices, I’ll say that.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal bedroom with wallpaper headboard and desk

Do: Embrace Bold Pattern in Your Bedroom

I’m actually not angry at this room. I mean, I’m beyond angry at some of the spaces and we’ll never speak again. But this room is probably the best of the lot.

Firstly, it’s a carefully considered colour palette and it feels well-balanced. In most of these makeover shows the contestants never put enough pillows and cushions at the head of the bed. But here they were a success. Sure, they’re not feather-filled and you can’t karate chop them within an inch of their lives (my preferred way to treat cushions) but you can’t have it all.

I’ll also go out on a limb here and say that I like the concept of the wallpaper headboard. The pattern is also not bad. I would prefer it if the pattern was in a smaller scale, and a darker colour. So kinda nothing like the one they used, come to think of it. But at least there’s one focal point; a concept the other rooms failed to grasp.

The bedside tables are too small for the space, but overall it’s a nice room. See, I can be positive during these critiques 😉

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal bedroom with flamingo wallpaper

Don’t: Have So Much Visual Competition in a Room

You might think the wallpaper is the ultimate sin here. But surprise: it’s actually the best feature in the room. It’s everything that was done around it that brought down the look and feel of the space.

There’s something quite cheap about this zone. A few things give it this vibe. The two bench seats pushed together scream ‘I couldn’t afford one long bench’, while the bedding feels quite lifeless and uninspiring. There’s also a tonne of colour clashing going on and it’s making the room feel messy.

I’m not sure of the design intention here. What was the concept? I really do enjoy the wallpaper. What a gutsy decision. But if you’re going to do something so dramatic everything else has to be built off of that. But instead everything else feels like it’s competing with it. And the white walls next to the coloured wallpaper is too big a contrast.

I also don’t understand why one light is a pendant and the other is attached to the wall. Bedrooms always look their best when a sense of symmetry is at play. So that’s unfortunate.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal walk in robe with makeup station

Do: Position Your Dressing Table at the Right Height

Can I start by saying I that also adore the white and grey wallpaper in this space? It gives the wall such a sense of depth and dimension. I love the pattern, and it feels rather soothing.

On another positive note, the colour palette in this space is lovely. The flooring and the cabinetry continues the soft and soothing vibe of the wallpaper. So I can see where this room was going. The gold handles I’m not a huge fan of, but that’s a personal thing. It doesn’t look out of place here.

What does look completely out of place, like me at a football match, is the dressing table area. I have no idea why it was positioned so high. Not only is it positioned too high, but they placed a standard-height chair at it which only draws your attention to how unusable the zone is. A red chair.

You’d need a booster seat to see in the mirror here. Quite odd.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal bathroom with mint green basin

Don’t: Overdo it With Your Accent Colours

I’m guessing the house rules for the penthouse were to adopt a pastel colour palette. I wish they weren’t, because this combination of colours feels quite outdated. There’s nothing here that was forecasted in this year’s top bathroom design trends.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t rock a mint green or dusty pink if they’re your tones of choice. But you have to be careful with how much you use them in a room like this.

In this bathroom it just went over the top. There is nowhere to rest your eyes. Bathrooms should be soothing or luxe or have an organic feel, but this doesn’t evoke any of those feelings. There’s way too much happening.

Even if you stripped all the decor away you’d still be left with a basin and tile colour combo that’s not exactly the same, but not different enough. Like a mullet or me in Speedos, it’s not a good look.

In the two spaces below this style blunder has happened again: there’s just too much colour competing. The pink is rather overbearing as it is, so the gold really pushed it over the edge.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal pink guest bedroom with brass bedside tables house rules 2020 penthouse reveal pink bathroom tiles with gold trim house rules 2020 penthouse reveal powder room with tropical wallpaper

Do: Fully Commit in a Powder Room

You can’t be half pregnant. You either are or you aren’t. That’s how I feel about wallpaper in powder rooms: either have one feature wall or do all the walls. It’s a crime to leave one section of wall forgotten about like it’s the days of the week during the Coronavirus pandemic (seriously, I have no concept of the day, month or time right now).

I’m also not understanding all of the bench space in this section of the room. You could literally bring your dinner in and eat it off of that bench while you’re on the toilet. You could sit a TV on the bench too. And you could have a friend over on the bench behind you and watch Netflix in here. It’s confused and so am I. Why were these choices made? Who needs this much bench space in a toilet?

The black marble tile and tropical wallpaper also feel at odds with each other. They’re not friends.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal living room with tropical wallpaper

Don’t: We Already Spoke About Visual Competition

Loud wallpaper, loud art, loud cushions, gold furniture. The volume needs to be turned down here. I like all of the individual elements but together they’re a mess.

The room above isn’t the only space that failed to understand the notion of one focal point. The laundry below is just as bad. Out of all the sins in the House Rules 2020 penthouse reveal this might be the most obvious one.

There’s such a clash here between the floor and the wallpaper. Let one of them be the star of the show and ditch the other. As it stands you have two beautiful design moments (the tiles especially) that have been made to look bad simply because they were shoved in together.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal laundry with pink wallpaper and black and white floor tiles house rules 2020 penthouse reveal navy blue velvet sofa

Don’t: Buy Small Rugs or High Coffee Tables

Two golden rules for living rooms: your coffee table should never be higher than the seats on your sofa. And the edge of your rug should always extend to the end of your sofa. Both pieces here are the wrong size but for different reasons.

The rug especially is one of my top 8 design mistakes I see people make.

Again, all of the pieces are fine on their one, but they’ve just not been executed properly. I actually rather like the navy blue velvet sofa, but the cushion colours let it down. I don’t know if the room is meant to be luxe or cute, but it’s trying to be both at the moment. And you can’t be luxe and cute at the same time.

What’s your take on the House Rules 2020 penthouse reveal? Were there any elements you were loving? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to check back next week as we go inside the first whole home reveal.

If you want to see clips from the House Rules 2020 penthouse reveal episode, click here.

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He's also spent time on TV, on Channel 10's Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7's Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

COMMENTS
  • Kerry

    REPLY

    It’s like a flamingo-eating unicorn vomited. Whilst there are some nice individual pieces, the apartment will need a significant amount of money spent on it prior to being marketed. Possibly the most hideous reno I have ever seen.

    14 April, 2020
    • Glenda Smith

      REPLY

      I actually liked the wallpaper & nothing else in the room.

      19 April, 2020
  • Helen

    REPLY

    Good lord, I’m glad I didn’t watch it… I feel queasy just looking at the photos good wrap up Chris… maybe a bit too polite

    15 April, 2020
  • Fiona

    REPLY

    The whole apartment was a horrendous mess. I love flamingoes but even I have to draw the line at how many there are in this apartment – I’m not sure anyone really researched what Miami beach penthouse style was and got caught up with slapping anything with a palm tree up on the wall and mixing pink and gold at any opportunity. The actual architecture is pretty awful so most rooms had difficult layouts but the lack of any attempt at cohesion was very worrying. I do hope that when they get into each others’ houses they do a lot better – judges need to be less scripted also.

    15 April, 2020
    • Glenda Smith

      REPLY

      Miami Vice 1980s TV show-styled bordello.

      19 April, 2020
  • Glenda Smith

    REPLY

    I do like the wallpaper in the laundry but not with those tiles.

    19 April, 2020
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