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How to create a winning bedroom

By Rachel Wallace

When The Block’s judges give their verdict during room reveals, it’s easy to see what could have been done better. But how do you think like a winner during the reno process? 

Michael and Carlene Duffy won their fair share of room challenges on their season of The Block, and now that they run interior design, styling and renovation business, Cedar + Suede, they’ve got plenty of inside tips.

Here are seven of their best ways to create a winning bedroom on The Block – or in your own home.

1. Consider the room’s space and light

Carlene says it’s important to “work with what you’ve got”, which means you need to be clear on what that is before making any design or styling choices. The first port of call is to assess the size of your room and how much natural light is available. For example, a small space without much natural light would benefit from moody colours to create atmosphere. The Duffys would then offset this with eye-catching cabinetry, in a calm palette like sage-green, and accent with brass fixtures.

If a room doesn’t have much natural light, cleverly placed mood lighting will help with atmosphere. Picture: Getty

2. Save money with stylish alternatives

Michael says most of your cash can easily go into high-end finishes in a bedroom reno, such as hardwood cabinetry for your wardrobes. He suggests looking into alternatives, such as timber-grade laminate, which can be a cost-effective option that offers a polished finish.

To complement, use quality fixtures, such as brass handles, to round out a sophisticated look.

Carlene says a built-in robe could be a better option for your bedroom, if space is limited. Picture: Nine Network

3. Built-in robes vs. walk-in robes

If space is limited, Carlene says not to feel pressured to fit in a walk-in robe as it may compromise the space. As with tip number one, take a realistic look at what you have and what you need. If a walk-in robe is going to be poky and encroach on the bedroom floor plan, a built-in robe could be a better option.

4. Be smart about lighting

Michael says ceiling lighting ticks the ‘functional’ box, while atmosphere will come from additional lighting such as wall and table lamps. Start with what’s required for practical lighting, such as well-placed downlights, and then layer with statement pieces to build the mood you want. Don’t be afraid to mix it up; a standing lamp in the corner could be a dynamic addition that doubles as a reading light.

Well-placed lighting serves both form and function. Picture: Getty Images

5. Avoid ‘dead space’

Make sure every part of the room has a function, Carlene advises, by working out what you need in the bedroom and “design from there”. You don’t want to end up with unused or underused spaces that have to be filled with furniture.

6. Choose soft surfaces

Avoid harsh flooring options in the bedroom, such as tiles and concrete, as they’re too sterile for your most restful room. Instead, go for timber floors with rugs to soften the surface, or a plush carpet.

This season’s guest bedroom winners, Jesse and Mel, used plush carpet and a soft textured wall to popular effect. Picture: Nine Network

7. Play with tonal colour schemes

Choosing various shades of one colour is a great way to create a calming look, Carlene says, such as a range of blue tones or neutral hues. But if you’re a fan of bold palettes, the bedroom is the best place to experiment with colour, as it’s self-contained and won’t affect the rest of the house.


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