The Block 2015: Tips for renovating foyer and dining room

Belinda Punshon 2 November 2015 NEWS

whitney-andy-dining-roof copy

Create the ultimate dining room with tips from The Block 2015

As the Block teams battled it out to deliver their foyer and dining rooms this week, the judges offered some valuable advice about what you should consider when sprucing up these spaces. Faced with several setbacks, including ominous weather conditions, and the previous pressure from the buyer’s agent's inspection, some of the teams were unable to deliver a finished space this week.

With theatrical and “visually chaotic” styling, poor positioning of artwork and perplexing room orientations, the judges were far from impressed as many teams “checked out” this week.

Here are the main take-aways from the judges.

Foyer and dining room tips from The Block judging panel


  • Use task lighting: To emphasise unique features, such as artwork, task lighting is a great way to create a focal point in your foyer and dining room.
  • Purposeful mirrors: Shaynna says that a mirror needs to have a clear objective, such as to reflect aspect or views, so consider the function of a mirror before investing in one.
  • Positioning: Always make sure you position your artwork at eye level to optimise impact.
  • Consider orientation: Where possible, consider demolishing walls to enhance the aspect and orientation of your property. Luke and Ebony’s decision to remove walls in their apartment was considered a “master stroke” that will auction-proof their apartment on auction day.
  • Embrace non-square angles: Consider changing the structure of your ceiling or using features such as pendant lighting to divert the eye away from unusual angles in a room.


  • Use poster artwork: Shaynna advises that you should avoid using "poster" artwork if you’re trying to achieve a luxurious ambience.
  • Be careful with LED lighting: The judges warn against LED lighting during open inspections as it can highlight defects and dirt.
  • Avoid Imitation: Don’t be obvious in your styling or try to "recycle" designs. Instead, reinvent your own interpretation of the design and use that consistently throughout the space.
  • Style, don’t sell: When making decision choices, you need to style and not sell. For instance, Whitney and Andrew’s dining room styling was too "deliberate" with the placing of the placemats and cutlery. Darren felt that the contestants had misunderstood the styling opportunities as they replicated a "selling" approach that you would see in retail outlets, not an apartment.

Results from the foyer and dining room reveal

As the teams enter The Block HQ, they realise that this is the second-last time their apartments will be analysed by the judging panel. Week eight of The Block 2015 and the foyer and dining room are due. As levels 4 and 5 hit major delays, the contestants are ready to cop the feedback from the judges.

The unsuspecting Andrew and Whitney were crowned the winners this week which marked their first room reveal win.



Whitney and Andrew were the dark horses of the competition this week, as they were crowned the foyer and dining room winners.

On entry, Shaynna commended the craftsmanship of their timber floors and render finish throughout, however she felt that the positioning of the artwork was too low: “It’s too low for a child and with these low ceilings, if you’re going to have a piece of statement art it needs to be the ceiling height” , she said.

Darren described the ceiling as phenomenal: “I think it's the best solution in any of the rooms we've seen where they’ve actually faked part of it to match the part that's feels really graphic, but really elegant”, he said.

Although Whitney and Andrew got all the basics right this week, Neale and Darren were concerned about the styling of the dining table, as Darren said: “This isn’t styling, this is selling.”

kingi caro dining kitchen


Although Kingi and Caro were given positive feedback for their foyer and dining room, Shaynna wasn’t convinced about their styling choices this week.

The judges thought it was clever that the team had kept things neutral and simple throughout the space: “This is quite nostalgic…I don’t mind that they haven’t filled it all, because it allows the buyers to say ‘wow I would put my artwork there’…”, Shaynna said.

However, the judges weren’t thrilled with the LED lights on the skirting: “For open inspection, I would turn it off because what it does is it shows all the dirt”, Shaynna said.

Although the panel felt that some of the styling was "obvious" and industrial "recycled", Darren pointed out that being on the first floor should be no disadvantage come auction day: “This shows that being on Level 1 is no disadvantage in this competition, sitting here all you get is rooftops, treetops and city scrape... it is still a spectacular view”, he said.



As Mother Nature struck this week, the penthouse was a curse to Dean and Shay who faced numerous setbacks.

Featuring green gyprock and unpainted walls, the judges felt that if the room had been completed, it would have been a “stunning art gallery.”

Darren commended the floor and underfloor heating: “This floor is something special, it takes a lot of time and artistry to do is absolutely beautiful. The heat radiating off this underfloor heating is glorious, and it's such a good way to heat the space”.

The panel agreed that the styling on the dining table was “theatrical”, but they thought it worked well: “I feel this is the sexiest apartment we’ve seen so far, there is something about this that says theatrical, it says glamour, it says now... I feel like I’m having a sugar high looking at this, the colours are beautiful”, Shaynna said.



As they came face to face with unpainted gyprock, the judges were disappointed that Luke and Ebony delivered an unfinished room this week.

“It’s a pity that haven’t finished because the magnificence of the scope you can see with the skyline that the whole place is open…”, Shaynna said.

Neale described the apartment as feeling like “the penthouse” and he thought that Luke and Ebony’s decision to remove the walls has “auction-proofed” their apartment, “There will be a buyer who steps out of the lift and is blown away by this”, he said.

Additionally, Neale thought that the pendant light worked really well with the non-square angles of the room: “I think it's really clever to use a pendant light that takes the eye away from the ceiling and absolutely cancels out any irregularity there”, he said.

Although the panel were disappointed that Luke and Ebony hadn’t finished, they felt that the team are in a strong position to win the competition overall.



Upon entering Suzi and Voni’s foyer and dining room, Shaynna said “Oh dear”- which summed up the judge’s views for their reveal this week.

Neale agreed that the team had “bitten off more than they could chew” , and the judges were disappointed with the quality of finishes in the room.

In addition, the panel were perplexed by the orientation of the room as they felt that the position of the dining table with the curtains down obstructed the view which left an “ordinary space.”

The judges were underwhelmed by the styling choices of the room with respect to the metal artwork on the wall: “Every week this apartment feels more confused.. what started with such energy and confidence has just dissipated.

“The styling hits you right between the eyes...this light is too much, it's visually chaotic and heavy…it feels as if it's gone out of its way to hide the view”, Neale said.

The judges felt that Suzi and Voni had “checked out” this week, and that they need to deal with their execution issues.

Next week marks the final week on The Block 2015 and it’s terrace and “re-do room” week. Each team receives yet another budget injection of $10,000 to fix up a room nominated by the judges and deliver that room plus their terrace next Sunday.

A breakdown of the nominated teams for each team are as follows:

Contestants “Re-do” room
Kingi and Caro Living room
Whitney and Andrew Master bedroom
Suzi and Voni Living room
Luke and Ebony Master bedroom and foyer
Shay and Dean Living room and foyer

The team who gets the highest combined score for both the terrace and their “re-do room” wins the final $10,000 prize and a safe to put it in and present it with their apartment on auction day, which should get the bids rolling.

The next episode of The Block 2015 airs tonight Monday 2 November at 7:30pm on Nine.

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