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the block 2021 tanya and vito sunken living room with grey sectional sofa and coloured cushions

The Block 2021 Living and Dining Rooms: From Stunning to the Sunken Room

The 2021 Block teams revealed their living and dining rooms to the judges this week, and it pains me to say this, but I’m pretty disappointed.

I was on such a design high last week when the amazing kitchens were unveiled, and I feel like I’m experiencing a rough comedown now. One of the teams did rather well (I’m sure you know which team that is) and the other four fell really flat for me.

Poor layout/floor plan choices were the main issues this week. But outside of things being in the wrong place, the size and scale of rooms and furniture was also a bit of a mess.

Scroll on as we take a look at the best and worst spaces from this week’s Block living and dining room reveals. And drop me a comment at the end of the post to let me know what you thought of the rooms as well.

the block 2021 tanya and vito sunken living room with white brick fireplace the block 2021 tanya and vito sunken living room with blue carpet and grey sectional sofa

Tanya and Vito Came Joint First

I hate to be a stick in the mud (not really), but I’m not sharing the judges enthusiasm for Tanya and Vito’s sunken living room. I don’t think it has wide buyer appeal, and a number of people will definitely be put off by it. So on saleability alone it gets a big ‘no deal’ from me.

Now, even if I put that aside and look at it purely from a design perspective, I still don’t feel that wowed by the room. I admire their wanting to change it up and bring an element of surprise to the competition (I was a fan of those brown bathroom tiles, remember?), but this isn’t bringing the sense of luxury I want in a Hampton home.

The blue carpet doesn’t give me the kind of relaxation I want in a living room. Anyone not sitting right at the back of the sofa won’t be able to watch TV properly unless they can spin their head 360 like the girl from The Exorcist. And the TV wall itself feels cluttered and unbalanced. 

I do, however, really like the table that houses the record player. That is pretty bloody divine.

the block 2021 tanya and vito dining room with oval timber dining table and leather dining chairs

The Dining Room Fell Flat for Me Too

I don’t see the dining zone and feel wowed. I got those feels in some of the other spaces this week, but not this one. 

The table and chairs feel pretty stock standard. I don’t mean stock standard in design (I love both pieces), but together, and on that floor, it’s just a little basic, a little expected. I don’t get any focal point in this space that feels impressive. Perhaps a feature pendant over the dining table would have corrected this issue.

While the fireplace is a lovely idea, and indeed looks rather impressive, the TV mounted above it with what feels like a cramped sitting zone in front is underwhelming. If they were sold on this concept I feel two armchairs would have been a more successful solution. As it stands there are no armchairs in this home. Surely someone wants one.

I’m not a fan of the round skylights. Or that many skylights. I swear these houses would be murder if you had a hangover.

the block 2021 ronnie and georgia living room with white boucle sofa and pitched ceiling with skylights the block 2021 ronnie and georgia living room with boucle sofa artwork tv

Ronnie and Georgia Came Joint First

When the judges walked through Ronnie and Georgia’s living room and the sun was pouring in through those skylights, it did create a pretty magical moment. The ethereal feeling this space evokes is truly beautiful.

All three zones (kitchen, living and dining) do feel wonderfully cohesive. It takes a lot of work to make a design like this feel so effortless, so Ronnie and Georgia should be commended for the execution. The pops of green atop a neutral palette like this is definitely of-the-moment and feels wonderfully nature-inspired.

Of all the living and dining rooms revealed this week, I want to stop, drop and roll around in this one the most. That painting in the dining room is also doing things to me and I need it in my life ASAP if not sooner. The pendant light above the table is delicious, as is the boucle sofa (see my roundup of boucle furniture and decor here if you’re loving this trend).

The built-in bar zone is a genius idea too, and the rug under the dining table is well proportioned. There’s a lot to love here, and it slays every other room this week.

the block 2021 ronnie and georgia dining room with grey rug green velvet dining chairs

There Are Some Issues to Address Though

While I am loving both zones, I do have a few small issues to address. The first is the styling. It does feel a step too far in the minimal direction. When I take a step back and view all three zones, it looks like more decorative elements need to be on tabletops, benchtops etc, to bring some more personality to the home.

The second issue is the living room furniture. It’s not big enough. This is a sizeable space and I worry a potential buyer won’t envision just how many people you could have around in that room. I would have opted for a much grander sectional sofa here to show people how a family could exist in this zone.

Lastly, I’m not a fan of the black steel door. That long panel of wall has a lot of hard shapes going on and the door is the worst of them. In a zone with loads of white and soothing neutrals, the black really does stand out for all the wrong reasons.

the block 2021 kirsty and jesse living and dining room open plan white sectional sofa the block 2021 kirsty and jesse hamptons dining room with tufted button dining chairs

Kirsty and Jesse Came Third

I’m conflicted over Kristy and Jesse’s living and dining room. On the one hand, almost every single piece of furniture and decor is delicious. And on the other hand, they didn’t make good decisions in terms of how and where they put them. It’s beyond charming, but poorly mapped out.

That sofa, for example, is everything. Perfect shape, colour, fabric and size. The issue is the space it’s sitting in – it’s tiny! Well, perhaps not tiny compared to other homes, but in this home, it’s a really small footprint to dedicate to your living room.

It stands out as too small even more because you have a huge section of nothing between it and the kitchen. You could honestly install a bowling alley in the dead space, it’s that big. A family home of this size needs a larger living room.

And then you move over to the dining space, which is also beautiful stylistically, and it too feels squashed into the corner of the room. I can’t help but feel there were some bad floor plan and layout choices made here in terms of how you enter this open plan space. The flow feels a bit wrong.

the block 2021 kirsty and jesse blue and white stripe wallpaper and blue velvet armchairs

I’m Not Enjoying the Seating Nook

Last week I loved the wallpaper that Kristy and Jesse used in their kitchen. It was stellar. I said I wanted to do more of it across the home, and I still do, but not like this. The stripes are a fine idea, but the colour is too intense. The blue needs to be far softer. The wallpaper doesn’t work against the kitchen, living or dining room.

The velvet chairs with brass accents are only making matters worse. The whole thing feels luxey, but luxey from a few years ago. It’s not in-keeping with the style of kitchen (the blue velvet it too bold), nor does it have the same feeling as the living and dining rooms.

I feel some floating, fixed joinery would have been better here. A large mirror over the top of it would have made this more of a design moment. If they’re set on keeping this as a sitting zone, the chairs should be a soft linen, in an oatmeal tone, the brass needs to be removed, and we need a round rug on the floor to ground the furniture.

the block 2021 mitch and mark living and dining room with pitched ceiling and velux skylights the block 2021 mitch and mark living and dining room recessed tv and curved sectional sofa

Mitch and Mark Came Fourth

What can I say about Mitch and Mark’s living and dining room? It just doesn’t work. At all. In any way.

I usually like the first section of my room critiques to start off with some positives, but I’m struggling. While I love so many individual pieces here, so much of it doesn’t work. From colours to styles, sizes and shapes, it’s so discombobulated. Like me watching an AFL game, it’s very confused. 

I actually really dislike the amount of skylights. At some point we just have to stop with the skylights. They, alongside all of the lighting and those retro fans, creates a ceiling that feels visually chaotic, not luxurious. It also removes the homely feel. It’s like you’re in a retail showroom. And their styling doesn’t help matters either.

The layout of this zone is problematic. It’s really quite large and yet they’ve not made use of it. The entry table needs to be removed, a long dining table needs to go in its place, and the living room can then be reoriented so it’s more open to the rest of the home, as opposed to be squished in a corner.

I’d even go so far as to say that the door is in the wrong place. The whole floor plan is a shambles.

the block 2021 mitch and mark living and dining room with low grey sofa and round green rug

Great Individual Pieces, But They Don’t Work Together

Let’s start with the sofa. Cute, cool, quirky. I love it for a kids room or an upstairs rumpus, but not the main living room. It has no polish or sophistication. Like Britney’s conservatorship, it needs to be removed immediately. The round rug makes the room look smaller, and the pink armchair feels juvenile. None of it works.

That entry table is a gift from the design gods. But again, what is it doing here? It doesn’t create an entrance feel at all. An entrance is what creates an entrance feel. If you don’t have a proper entry, either create one of abandon ship on the idea. 

The marble nest coffee tables I also adore, but you don’t even get to appreciate them with all of the crazy that surrounds them. I also love the artwork between the front door and the window, but you lose its beauty with everything else in the room screaming for your attention.

The dining zone, in its entirety, is the saving grace here. Love the table, dining chairs, rug and all the styling. Just drag it over to where the round entry table is please.

the block 2021 josh and luke living room with blue feature wall and orange sofa the block 2021 josh and luke living room with burnt orange sofa and black sheer curtains

Josh and Luke Came Last

I can see where Josh and Luke wanted to go with their living and dining room. And I think it’s great that they want to create this moody-masculine, nod to industrial interior design scheme. But they’re getting a lot of things wrong and wheeling out a lot of outdated style cliches in the process.

Let’s start with the feedback regarding the dining and living needing to be switched around. I don’t actually agree with this. I do feel it would be odd, as the home owner, to carry dinner from the kitchen all the way over to the dining room every night if it was where the living currently is. 

The issue is less about what is where, and more to do with size and scale of furniture. The dining table they have in the dining room is just way too small. And the wrong shape. This zone needed a large rectangular table in it. A massive rug underneath wouldn’t have hurt either.

The blue chairs (that’s where the outdated style choices come into play) make this zone feel like a place where lads play poker. I think Josh and Luke need to invent an imaginary set of clients for this home, because it feels like they keep designing for themselves.

the block 2021 josh and luke living and dining room with gas fireplace grey feature wall

Major Issues in the Living Room Too

That fireplace. Can we start there? It needs to be removed sooner rather than later. Like a bachelorette party walking into a gay nightclub, it has no business being there. It doesn’t keep anyone warm where it is, nor does it actually look good there. It just juts out from the wall and gets in the way.

Everything in the living room needs steroids. The sofa, rug, armchair and coffee table need beefing up. The blue feature wall feels outdated too, and doesn’t have any art on it. What happened there? I’m surprised this wasn’t mentioned. The orange sofa against the blue wall is a bad combo as well. 

This zone needed a big sectional sofa in it, some impressive art, a feature light, more cushions, a different rug. So I guess what I’m saying is, everything needs to be replaced.

What did you think of The Block 2021 living and dining room reveals? Drop me a comment below and share your take!

Want to see more goodness from The Block? Make sure you check out The Block Shop and nine now.


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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49 Responses

  1. Completely agree with yr assessments. The sky lights in the M&M house are so big they and all same size , shape and placing that they become weird windows, no rhythm . If the were smaller different sizes, less off and randomly set, like playful, it might have worked but then the rest of the design doesn’t match them anyway. The fireplace is just odd. The house with the minimal styling & cool pendant light choose a hideous rug, what in the world and they need a big picture on the wall behind, like a Francis Bonnell, and too many vases on the table looks confused and paltry, . I agree they need to add something, maybe something to hide the heater if that what is see, mellow green Modern sideboard with a couple of eclectic pieces. The house with the blue plates on the table is boring, and style all over the place I hate that table with those chairs actual don’t like them as individual pieces anyway, I actually find the room very unappealing. The lamp is ugly, why is that table there, the pendant light is wrong on all level. The pictures on the wall need to never be seen again, they are horrendous. The set table is so old fashion & the dinnerware is not special so what’s the point. Sorry but that is my least favourite. No personality just cookie cutter wrong. I regret being so harsh but seriously these are pretty disappointing, this is a wonderful opportunity & coveted competition with so many opportunities to explore and take calculated risks, have a portfolio of ideas that U love, have fun. Some of these look like bad Airbnb styling with no idea or interest in beautiful homes and design, architecture.

  2. Hi Chris , like your comments , I think it’s time theses Judges were put out to rest! , their comments are becoming stale and not consistent .
    The boys need to grow up , get off their butts and do some work .
    I hope house 5 wins they were by far the hardest working couple , and their house looks beautiful .
    2nd Mitch and Mark
    3rd Ronnie and Georgia
    4 th The boys
    5 th Tania and Vedo ?

  3. Hi Chris, love reading your critiques, they are spot on. I found Mitch and Mark’s living area chaotic. Dislike Tanya and Vito’s sunken lounge. It looks weird to me with all that negative space surrounding it. I look forward to reading more of your enlightening comments. Cheers Jan.

  4. I agree with most that Tanya n Vito’s sunken lounge was dreadful and substandard for the Block. Ronnie n Georgias was the winner, then Kirsty n Jesse, Mitch n Mark, then the seemingly entitled grumpy twins followed lastly by Tanya n Vito. We need new unbiased judges. Current ones seem to have been told who to promote.

  5. I am not an interior designer but nor do you actually need to be one to say Luke and Josh really don’t have a clue.
    Kirsty and Jesse improving, Georgia and Ronnie winning hands down,
    The show will need new judges for me to even think about watching next year.

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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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