The Block 2015 design choices: Renovating to sell, not renovating to live

Belinda Punshon 15 September 2015 NEWS

The block 2015 renovation design choices

Are contestants prioritising personal taste over designs that will appeal to prospective buyers?

As the Block 2015 teams take a sneak peek at one another’s bathrooms, they praise the daring design choices and distinct "personality" trademarks – but when renovating to sell, rather than renovating to live, is personal taste such a good thing? Are the contestants blindsided by their own preferences instead of renovating with their target audience in mind?

The next challenge for the new recruits is to renovate the guest bedroom and ensuite in the hopes of enticing future guests to overstay their welcome (given that they aren’t thrown by the pizza slice shaped rooms!).

While teams go under the pump, are the blockheads’ design choices based too heavily on personal taste rather than an understanding of their target market?

With Luke and Ebony’s “over-designed” art/deco bathroom, Suzi and Voni’s glamour feature wall and Kingi and Caro’s edgy graffiti bath, have the contestants gone overboard?

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Recap: Design choices gone wrong

We’ve taken a look at which teams have taken their design liberty to a whole new level as for some, the feedback hasn’t been all peachy. So will the contestants learn their lessons and tone things down a notch?

Kingi and Caro: Graffiti bath and tram door

So far the only contestants that have acknowledged their target market are Kingi and Caro. When designing their graffiti bath, they had a certain type of buyer in mind: “We’re just down the road from the Alfred hospital so hopefully they’ll be a doctor that’s hip and cool like us and wants to buy our apartment”, Caro said.

Observing Melbourne’s street art scene and attempting to bring some “Melbourne soul” into their apartment, Kingi and Caro have shown some consideration for the market.

The Block 2015: Kingi and Caro bathtub

For the next challenge, Kingi and Caro plan to turn their door into the feature piece for the guest bedroom by wrapping the door in an “old-school” tram image.

While the risk of the graffiti bath tub paid off, will this next design choice take things too far?

Suzi and Voni: Glamour bathroom

Extreme design choices aren’t foreign to Suzi and Voni. While the judges agreed that The Block can “handle a bit of glamour”, they were concerned about the “nightclub feel” of the tiled feature wall in their main ensuite.

The Block 2015: Suzi and Voni bathroom

Suzi and Voni claim that they want to bring a bit of the Gold Coast to Melbourne, but have they really thought this through? With a secret photography project underway for the next challenge, will this be a game changer?

Luke and Ebony: Cluttered bathroom design

Second-chance siblings, Luke and Ebony, are cursed when it comes to bathrooms. Despite Ebony’s interior design experience, the judges felt that their main bathroom was inconsistent and “over-designed”.

The Block 2015: Luke and Ebony's bathroom

Taking this on board, Luke and Ebony intend to “scale back” some of their design choices for the upcoming guest bedroom and ensuite challenge. But is covering a wall in plum-coloured press metal really “scaling things back?” According to buyer's advocate, Frank, the pair need to work on finding a ‘happy medium’ by working with ‘pops of colour’ that can be adapted.

Covering a feature wall in plum-coloured metal may not tickle everyone’s fancy. Less is more, Luke and Ebony.

Tips for renovating to sell

Think about the target audience

Carefully consider who you’re renovating for and try to set your personal tastes and preferences aside by opting for more neutral elements.

Although Kingi and Caro’s bath may be an acquired taste for some, they get points for versatility, as the vinyl wrap can be removed and replaced with alternative designs to suit the buyer’s taste.

Get to know the market

Research the area to understand what improvements or designs will most likely add value to the property in the area.

Kingi and Caro made decisions based on bringing some “Melbourne soul” into their apartment, the reverse of Voni and Suzi’s attempt to bring the Gold Coast to Melbourne, which may not be well received by ultra-trendy Melbournians.

Consider the costs

In reality, not all of us are handed $150,000 by Channel Nine, so when it comes to renovating to sell, costs are crucial.

You’ll need to consider the costs of holding the property during the renovation project, your budget for upgrading the property as well as tax implications when it comes to putting the property on the market. Keep in mind that if you sell within 12 months, your capital gains tax (CGT) bill will be higher.

Network with professionals

Hiring professional tradesmen is a crucial step for undertaking a renovation project, but you should also consider speaking to real estate agents, conveyancers as well as buyers agents who can provide you with direction and advice for your project.

Luke and Ebony consulted a buyers agent to provide them with some insight regarding their design choices which will hopefully pre-empt any further design blunders.

Create space

Enlarging an area is a great way to create atmosphere for a space.

While some of the contestants attempted to square-off their octagonal shaped rooms, this will only take away from the surface area available. In turn, this could make the space seem cluttered and detract from the final property value.

When working with difficult angles, consider how you can embrace the space, such as using rounded furniture, rather than removing odd-shaped angles and making the room smaller.


Creating extra storage space in bathrooms, making rooms functional and having a practical floorplan with the right zoning are just some ways that you can maximise the appeal of your property.

What put Dean and Shay ahead of the pack for their main bathroom challenge was their choice of versatile blinds that will allow someone to enjoy the views of Melbourne while simultaneously providing privacy when taking a bubble bath.

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