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the block 2022 house decider challenge joel and elle bedroom neutral bedding jute rug

The Block 2022 House Decider Challenge Recap: Country Styling Wins and Sins

The Block 2022 tree change season is officially back, decorating junkies, and with it comes my honest Block recaps: the only place on the internet you’ll get a real-deal design critique!

Let the other sites give you the judges comments and scores. Here we’re delivering something different; discussing what soared and sunk on the design front from an interior designer (that’s me) who works in the industry every single day.

Each reveal I’ll talk you through the wins, the sins, and what the teams could have done better. And as long-time readers will know, I don’t always agree with the judges.

So let’s look at the rooms from The Block 2022 house decider challenge. And drop me a comment at the end of the post to let me know what you thought.

the block 2022 house decider challenge tom and sarah jane bedroom with red quilt cover set the block 2022 house decider challenge tom and sarah jane bedroom green walls red bedding

Tom and Sarah-Jane Came First

I can’t say I feel the same enthusiasm as the judges did for Tom and Sarah-Jane’s bedroom reveal.

Upon first glance, I had the urge for plum pudding, too many champagnes and an argument with an older family member. What I mean to say is, the palette here is pretty festive.

The room is very ‘Christmas Day’ in its red-green-gold colour story. That’s not to say this trio of colours can’t work, but tone is so important. And the tone here isn’t quite right. It’s very vivid, and a little overbearing.

The brass wall sconces are actually very beautiful, but I see them in a white Hamptons-style hallway, not here. I also don’t see a connection to them anywhere else in the room, so they don’t make sense.

If you have brass on the wall, let’s see some more of it in a mirror frame or pendant light to achieve a little cohesion in the room.

the block 2022 house decider challenge tom and sarah jane bedroom

Where My Storage At?

Storage, or lack of it, is something I thought my girl Shaynna would have mentioned. Perhaps it didn’t make the final edit. But what guest wants to stay in a room with no wardrobe and bedside tables without drawers?

I’ll also point out here, and probably again another four times as we explore the other rooms, but what’s with the window treatments? I can only imagine the show’s sheer curtain supplier pulled into the Gisborne Peak Winery and lost track of time. 

I know this is the first week, so we should be encouraging. But there are some basic elements missing here that, if they were included, could have made this room more of a worthy winner.

The ceiling rose and wainscoting were the better inclusions in this space, and gave the room some charm. I just can’t take the roller blinds.

the block 2022 house decider challenge dylan and jenny bedroom with sage green walls the block 2022 house decider challenge dylan and jenny bedroom with arched rattan mirror

Dylan and Jenny Came Second

At first glance, this room gets the green tones right in a way that Tom and Sarah-Jane didn’t. It’s calmer, it’s earthier, it reads as more ‘sanctuary’. It’s the feeling you want in a guest room in any area, but especially in the country.

The unfortunate thing is, they didn’t go far enough with it. They reserved the colour just for one section of wall, as though the paint was lettuce and in short supply. Taking it further would have resolved the icy, sterile feeling the other half of the room evokes.

The inclusion of plants in this zone was successful. When Jenny said “I just did it for style” with reference to the olive tree being staged inside, I felt like she was my sister from another mister. Girl, the amount of times I’ve said the same thing! I see you.

And besides, there are some amazing fake trees out there; don’t knock ‘em before you try ‘em. I use fakies all the time in projects and they’re a roaring success.

the block 2022 house decider challenge dylan and jenny bedroom

That’s Where the Praise Ends

There are a number of issues, and the first one is very much aligned with what Neale was getting at; the room feels very, very modern.

It’s a little Adairs showroom in look and feel. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Adairs, but it’s too cookie-cutter and en masse.

The room reads as very city-living, with the inclusion of the rattan mirror and rope plant holder. The brass door handle also feels very out of place in this almost all-white room.

There’s a ledge behind the bed, which I love, but nothing on it apart from a teeny-tiny vase. If there was a huge landscape painting above the bed in gorgeous green and brown tones it would have done wonders for this space.

the block 2022 house decider challenge ankur and sharon bedroom the block 2022 house decider challenge ankur and sharon bedroom green bedroom with oak furniture

Ankur and Sharon Came Third

Beam me up, Scotty! I have to admit, I quite like this room. Not everything works, I know, but there is a lot to appreciate. And the first thing is those ceiling beams.

They give the room some much-needed character and help the space feel charming. It feels like a room that’s been around for years, unlike Dylan and Jenny’s. I also really enjoy the rustic bed styling. It’s one of the better bedding moments from the week.

That said, the beams and bedding get a little lost because of the green walls and rustic headboard.

the block 2022 house decider challenge ankur and sharon bedroom with timber beams on ceiling

Less Would Have Been More Here

Had the room been a warmer white instead of green, the beams would have shone. Even the rustic headboard would have looked more successful.

I feel for The Block 2022 teams this year. They have a tough gig ahead of them. The feedback is to do country, but not too country. Go rustic, but make it Australian rustic. Don’t go contemporary, but don’t be cliched. There’s a lot of messages coming at them that probably feel confusing.

Ankur and Sharon look to have a good eye for design though. This space only needs a few tweaks. If this was re-do room week, I would paint the walls neutral, replace the bedside tables and dress the windows with a textured sheer or roman blind, and the zone would be complete.

the block 2022 house decider challenge joel and elle bedroom neutral bedding jute rug the block 2022 house decider challenge joel and elle bedroom

Joel and Elle Came Fourth

This is the room that’s going to start conversations, so let’s have it gang!

The Block 2022 is in the country this season. Like nether-regions in the seventies, they’ve gone full bush. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether a potential buyer is going to find contemporary moments off-putting and instead want the full country fantasy. I’m not so sure.

The judges didn’t praise anything about Joel and Elle’s room. Instead, they brought up a valid point about the lack of heritage features. I hear that. I don’t deny that the room could have done with a few more.

That said, I don’t want every home this season to be packed with design that’s so on-the-nose it looks like the set of A Country Practice (RIP Fatso the Wombat).

the block 2022 house decider challenge joel and elle bedroom with jute rug and boucle armchair

Modern Can Work in the Country

The location of these homes is one hour outside Melbourne. It’s not like we’re driving five hours into the wilderness to stay at a country lodge. I would appreciate at least one of these homes taking a more modern approach to see how they compare at the end.

From where I’m sitting, Joel and Elle’s room was a thousand times better than Tom and Sarah-Janes and way more resolved and welcoming than Dylan and Jenny’s.

Some textured sheer curtains, a rustic bench seat at the end of the bed and art that felt more rural in look and feel would have made this room a worthy winner in my eyes.

I welcome some healthy disagreement in the comments at the end of the post if you want to weight in.

the block 2022 house decider challenge omar and oz bedroom white vj panel wall the block 2022 house decider challenge omar and oz bedroom arched oak frame floor mirror

Omar and Oz Came Last

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Omar and Oz’s room. In fact, there are some really gorgeous pieces. I’ve specified that bed for a number of design clients and it’s a stunner.

The artworks are individually rather lovely. And the palette of the room is pretty soothing (actually more soothing than most of the others). And we have bedsides with storage! So all is not lost. At least guests have somewhere to store their clothes.

the block 2022 house decider challenge omar and oz bedroom

It is All a Little Generic Though

Neale was right to call it generic. It’s a room you could pluck from any Block season in the last five years. Nothing is really spectacular or unexpected. Nothing new has been delivered. And some of it, dare I use the word, looks a little cheap.

The palette is really nice though. White and beige and oak tones are all inherently relaxing. So I have to give them points for that. If the timbers were more rustic and there were some black elements in the room I could totally see this as an Airbnb you would want to escape to for the weekend.

This is the fifth room where the window treatments are wack. Roller blinds on their own, on the windows of a country home, are just not going to cut it. I hope the window treatment rep makes it out of the winery soon because we need sheers and romans in these rooms, stat!

Which room from The Block 2022 house decider challenge was your fave this week? I’d love to know which team you think is showing the most promise based on their first room. Sound off in the comments below.

Images for this post were supplied by The Block Shop. Check out Nine Now for more of The Block 2022 house decider challenge.


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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16 Responses

  1. I must have had a bad experience in a dark green country bedroom, with wood features, because those rooms give me the creeps. I think they remind me of school camp dormitories in old country buildings. Or rental properties. Am I being too harsh? I would not be at all thrilled as a guest being shown to my room for the evening. I don’t see how ‘country’ equates to dark green and dark wood. I love the light, bright rooms and agree window dressings need attention – definitely sheers – maybe something a bit textural in an oat colour. I think being ‘country’ Victoria, it would be wise to move away from rustic, towards a more refined ‘farmhouse chic’.
    I know this was the first room. They will improve as they go, and they sure do have a long road ahead. The conditions look torturous. I couldn’t do it, so really, who am I to judge? Haha.

  2. First week, there were some hits and miss’s but they did well for amateurs. For me a North Queenslander, looking at those rooms and the horrible weather, they reflected too much cold weather styling. I would like to see more warm bedrooms. Living areas can have those wonderful softer colours and big country wood fires.

  3. I agree entirely… I did not like Tom and Sarah’s room at all. It resembled Mr and Mrs Claus bedroom. I also question how a room can win when there is NO storage. I did not understand the purpose of the ‘end of the bed table’… On a more positive note, the ceiling rose, and wainscoting were lovely.
    Dylan and Jenny IMHO had a vision they just did not execute it well, resulting in the room looking a little bland. The colours were lovely, they had good storage and I really like the panelling
    Ankur and Sharon tried to bring in the use of timber as a standout feature, for the most it worked well. I was not a fan of the bed head.
    Joel and Elle. I did not think their room deserved quite the level of criticism that it received. Yes, it missed the heritage mark however the colour pallet was lovely and the styling quite good.
    Omar and Oz. I quite liked the pallete and they had good storage. They just need to move away from the scandi look

  4. Response to Shiv: If they used the original doors, they might have original hardware left on. In Qlder and other country houses the handles are high.

  5. Maybe in a short 48hour room presentation, the local shopping centre could only supply a quick roller blind off the shelf solution. It must’ve been a very quick shop and grab for bedlinen and furniture, I’m sure they will get into their groove soon, as the rooms get ticked off and the judges start giving brutal comments, sorry constructive suggestions. lol. good fun for a Sunday night.

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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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