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The Block 2021 Guest Bedroom Recap: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Velvet Walls

The Block is back for 2021, and so are my weekly critiques. A: Did you miss me? And B: Are you ready for a season of truth bombs? Because if it’s one place you know you’ll get facts dropped, it’s the TLC Interiors blog.

The show, like the Covid strain, continues to mutate into new variants. And this season we already have rooms from both fans and faves that even the strongest vaccine won’t protect me from. Buckle up as we go through each space below and uncover which soared, which slumped, and which I thought received some rather harsh judging from The Blaze, D-Paz and N-Dubz. 

As always, I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. It takes a village to critique design, after all! 

The block 2021 ronnie and georgia guest bedroom the block 2021 ronnie and georgia guest bedroom joinery

Ronnie and Georgia Deserved the Win

In terms of mood, Ronnie and Georgia’s guest bedroom truly delivered. It was light and bright, soft and delicate, and incredibly considered when it came to colour palette. It actually reminds me a lot of the Neutral Luxe interior trend I forecasted to be big in 2021. Yes, I’m patting myself on the back and I won’t apologise for it!

The wallpaper was such a welcome change from the stark-white-wall approach The Block often forces upon us. Although to be fair, it would have been better fully-wrapped around the room. Like SPF sunscreen, full coverage is always preferred.

The arched travertine side table was a very delicious (and on-trend) addition to the room, and I adored the bed styling too (even if it did break a few of my bed styling rules). The frame of the artwork connecting to the joinery recess was a very nice touch. It’s clear this is not Ronnie and Georgia’s first rodeo. This room gives a potential buyer a fantasy without pushing it too far. 

the block 2021 ronnie and georgia guest bedroom built in wardrobe

I Do Have a Problem with the Joinery Though

We need to take a step back and consider the function of this room. Depending on the future buyer, it’ll either be a proper guest bedroom, a kids bedroom, or maybe even a rumpus room. As it stands, the joinery doesn’t lend itself to these potential uses.  

If it’s a proper guest bedroom, it’s a lot of storage for a short stay, and there’s no mirror. I would have panelled the back wall of that recess in mirror and removed the shelving. If it’s a kids room, a desk would have been preferred. And if it was to be a rumpus room, you certainly couldn’t fit a TV in the joinery. 

The shelf styling is delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a bit indulgent when practicality should be at the forefront. It just feels a little sponsor-driven, don’t you think, rather than giving the room what it actually needs? The nook looks great in a photo, but what are we actually using it for?

the block 2021 josh and luke guest bedroomthe block 2021 josh and luke guest bedroom velvet fabric wall 

The World’s Gone Mad: Josh and Luke Came Second

Josh and Luke described this week as ‘delusion and confusion’, which is actually how I would best describe their guest bedroom.

There’s a lot about this that feels off for me. But the biggest problem is the mood fight. And by that I mean there are two conflicting messages design-wise that are in battle. On one hand you have what looks to be a moody, luxe bachelor pad vibe. And then on the other hand you have this bright, light-drenched ethereal feel. Sadly you need to choose one and commit to it fully, because like like J-Lo and Ben Affleck, they really don’t work together.

I do appreciate the idea to upholster the wall behind the bed, I really do. I’ve seen it done way better in this bedroom, but they still get points for trying. The end result is not as good as it could be though. The tinted mirror is a yes, but the colour of the material is a no. It needs to be a lot darker, like a charcoal grey. To then put the same material in front of it, in a different colour, is velvet overkill.

the block 2021 josh and luke guest bedroom wardrobe

Shaynna Gurl, You Reading My Mind!

The moment I saw the wardrobe I hated it. Boy was it refreshing to have Shaynna point out how unsuccessful it is. Everything she said about it was correct. It’s not ever going to look like that when someone is living in the space. It will look incredibly messy. And you definitely don’t want to lay in bed looking at it.

What wasn’t mentioned were the strip lights, which I also hate. There’s something a bit on-the-nose about them and the wardrobe as a whole. I just can’t. It’s about as divine as that navy blue shag on the end of the bed and about as nice as those tiny lamps on the bedside tables. At least the sheer curtains are gorgeous, so it’s not all bad.

the block 2021 tanya and vito guest bedroom the block 2021 tanya and vito guest bedroom bedding and artwork

Tanya and Vito Tied for Third

I fully appreciate that there’s encouragement for the use of colour and pattern in the competition. I’m just not as convinced as the judges are about how successful this guest bedroom is. Sure, I don’t want every room to be neutral, I just want the colours to be executed in a way that’s fully realised. This room is not it.

It’s the bright colour against stark white walls approach we’ve seen on The Block year after year. And it never works. Bold vivid colour against a white backdrop always feels juvenile to me. And that’s fine if the idea is that this is a kids space. But this has not been styled as a kids space. It’s lacking all of the refinement you want in a relaxing guest room.

Darren commented that the sheer curtains felt cheap. To me, the entire space does. And while we’re on the subject of sheer curtains, I don’t like the colour. A bit juvenile, a bit garish, a bit much. The hanging plant in the corner, the styling; it’s all a bit knick-knacky. The room needs editing. 

the block 2021 tanya and vito built in desk area

The Room Lacks Balance, That’s The Main Issue

It’s the balance of materials, the balance of hard and soft, that’s off here. The space feels too timber-heavy. If they wanted to do a timber wall feature like that, they would have been wise to carpet the bedroom instead of just rolling out a rug. Also, if you wanted all of that timber, a larger sheer in a lighter colour would have helped as well. 

It’s an overwhelming space to look at. I wonder what it actually feels like to be in. To me it reads as an Airbnb. There’s an easy-clean vibe that doesn’t make me feel cosy and cocooned. Are you seeing it? It doesn’t feel like a home to me. I don’t get that sigh of relief from it.

Even the desk zone doesn’t have a fabric chair at it, which is desperately needs. Instead you have an easy-wipe wicker ottoman that again makes this feel like a room that’s fearful of stains. Let’s see how these two progress in the competition.

the block 2021 Kirsty and Jesse guest bedroom blue and white walls the block 2021 Kirsty and Jesse guest bedroom

Kirsty and Jesse Tied for Third

Public service announcement: please, for the love of the decor gods, do not paint your bedroom panelling blue like this. If a future design client ever shows me this photo and asks me to execute it in their home, all you’ll hear is my car tyres burning rubber outta there. It is so visually jarring, and the tone is not at all working in the space.

Kirsty and Jesse get points for being daring, sure. I want contestants on The Block to be daring. But they need to be educated along the way and ensure there’s refinement at play. And there’s a lot amiss here. We know the blue doesn’t work, but the orientation of the room is the biggest issue we have to discuss (well, one of the biggest issues).

The blank wall the judges were complaining about; that’s where the bed needed to go! You ideally want to walk into a room and see a gorgeous, layered bed. If they had of done this, the wall across from it could have featured a sideboard with a mirror or artwork above it, or a chair, or a bench seat. The room is so empty!

the block 2021 Kirsty and Jesse guest bedroom walk in wardrobe

There Are Some Saving Graces

I will say, I adore the arched entry to this walk-in-robe. It’s a beautiful touch. And I do like the carpet colour in this space. If they repaint the wall panels white and wallpapered the upper half of the entire room the whole space would be *chefs kiss*. I see where Kirsty and Jesse want to take it, they just need to finesse it.

I love me some classic Hamptons design (I’ve done it myself for these Camberwell clients), but it takes a keen eye not to get it right. They did a decent job here of trying to follow a theme, so I will give them some credit where it’s due.

The walk-in-robe is amazing, I’ll also give them that. It’s something none of the other spaces have and I feel it’ll be really appreciated by a buyer. And it’s not like they stole room from their bedroom to put it in either. From a scale perspective it works. I just feel they needed to fully mirror an entire wall in the robe. 

the block 2021 mitch and mark guest bedroom the block 2021 mitch and mark guest bedroom sheer curtains

Then Came Mitch and Mark

I think Mitch and Mark are in a bit of a pickle. Their style the last time they were on the show was not what I’d consider tasteful. It was bright, bold, and a bit OTT. I’d say they were cast this time around to deliver more of the same as a contrast to some of the other subdued spaces/contestants. But in this guest bedroom they’ve proved that their style has evolved. I’m delighted about it, I’m just not sure the show is.

Here’s hoping they stay committed to this style evolution, because it’s way more appropriate for a contemporary Melbourne market than their attempts in 2019. 

It’s a shame their bedroom followed Ronnie and Georgia’s though because it does feel like a not-quite-as-good version. Similar vibe, but just not as refined or polished. I love the wallpaper (notice the full room wrap!), love the sheers, and love the feeling of airiness. It’s just a little bit overcooked. They need to pull back on a few things and make some small tweaks to resolve the room.

the block 2021 mitch and mark guest bedroom built in desk

Small Changes Could Make This Room Better

I personally think the pink is a bit much, but I’m willing to give them their creative freedom here. That said, if your wardrobes are pink, let them be the star of the show and keep the other design elements quiet. There’s too many elements fighting for your attention here, like you’re Jimmy and they’re the women on The Bachelor

An upholstered bed would have been more successful than timber, in a soft grey and with some subtle piping. It is a small room, so floating bedside tables would have helped create the illusion of more space. The plant has to go. It’s shoved into the corner like me trying to shove myself into size 32 pants after lockdown. Not a good fit! Like with Ronnie and Georgia’s room, where’s the mirror? I would have put the artwork above the bed and had a large leaner mirror on the wall instead.

Lastly, the styling of that desk is just OTT. It’s so personalised with the book, drink, snacks and photos I half expected to see rash cream, some knickers and a grocery list in there too. There is such a thing as too much personalisation.

Which guest bedroom from The Block 2021 was your fave? Drop a comment below. You know I love to get your take on the spaces!

Photography in this post via David Cook Photography. See more Block goodness at The Block Shop and nine now.

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Chris Carroll

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

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Comments

13 Responses

  1. The show, like the Covid strain, continues to mutate into new variants. And this season we already have rooms from both fans and faves that even the strongest vaccine won’t protect me from. LOL
    Best comments. PML
    I don’t watch the show but I will be reading your weekly critiques. Keeping it real. Love your work too!

  2. I didn’t go wow over Ronnie and Georgia’s room. I like parts of it but not as a whole.
    I sooooo agree with Shaynna about the clear wardrobes. I won’t even have glass front cupboards in my kitchen let alone my bedroom. I’d never get any sleep. We’ve seen padded walls previously. I just see them as dust collectors.
    I loved the bed styling in Tanya and Vito’s room. I do agree with you Chris about the colour of the walls.
    I think the judges should have suggested that Kirsty and Jesse just move their bed around. Why push everything into one corner. You are correct Chris. All you want to see is a gorgeous, layered bed as soon as you want in the door.
    When I saw Mitch and Mark’s room I thought OMG the 80s are back and this room will date quickly.

  3. I’m just going to enjoy reading your blog because I won’t be watching the show. There’s enough shit & drama going on in this country atm without having to watch it on tv shows that are supposed to show amateurs renovating some homes. Instead they bring back has beens who didn’t make it the last time they were on. Keep up your honesty Chris I love your style

  4. Love reading your comments and throw a different perspective on the rooms, which I would have to agree, even I don’t have foggiest idea about interior. The rooms look so small, they would be better with a single bed in them. Which eventually would have. Who ever has a guest room. Guest rooms tend to be junk rooms, full of stuff.

  5. Absolutely a joy to have you back for your weekly Critique! Love your honesty and especially your sense of humour. Brings a smile to my face in yet another Lockdown !

  6. You’re definitely right 100% on ALL rooms Its probably kind to remember that some of the contestants have not done any Renos or styling, so they will get better(bit stacked against them with Ronnie and Georgia) The blue walls and bed position is an easy fix and Kirsty and Jesse should take your advice re the wall paper, it would totally change that room.

  7. Thank you for this review Chris. I don’t have the time to watch the show but I look forward to reading this blog. I have no idea who these people are but I didn’t really like any of the rooms and agree with most of your comments that are not put together well. I don’t like coloured sheer curtains either. I have always done mine in a natural or off-white colour.

  8. I agree with your choices, what I would really love to say is Skylights? I realise its a sponsor added in choice but we need our sleep and the bright morning light streaming in is not for me. and can I add why is grey still here, it is like people have to follow the herd, remember Mission Brown!!!, I worked for a paint company in the 90’s and it was grey, grey and grey and pink, I have been waiting patiently for everyone to get over it and move on. There I’ve had my soap box rant. lol.

  9. You were so right in all your comments, I do think the room that won deserved it. Look forward to reading your comments every week. Was quite surprised at the no plans this season, wondering how this is going to play out.

  10. Some of the comments you made, Chris, – especially re the AirBnb easy rope vibe, were so en pointe for his I was feeling that it felt like you were reading our collective minds, ha!

    Am just catching up on your other block recaps now.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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