While watching TV has always been one of America’s favorite pastimes, no more has that been the case than with the invention of the design show. Catch us on any given night, and we're unwinding with some HGTV in the background—a channel that successfully put the world of home design shows on the map.
The beauty of design shows is the ability to watch these projects unfold from the comfort of your own home. You avoid the mess of demo day and unforeseen costs of flipping an older home, you get to agree or disagree with the design choices, and then, the final result is visible to you in an hour or less. So, it’s no wonder these shows have become so big in the last decade. But with Chip and Jo’s Fixer Upper ending (the horror!) and Trading Spaces being rebooted (questionable?), it can be hard to know which show is right for you.
Luckily for you, we're big fans of these shows: So, we’ve rounded up a definitive list of our favorites and sorted them into categories, just for you. Now go ahead; set your DVR for endless inspo, entertainment, and some quality television.
The Real Estate Finds
Tiny House, Big Living
When it comes to designing a home that’s no larger than 500 square feet, creativity is key. Tiny House, Big Living is the ultimate celebration of the tiny home movement, spotlighting small dwelling dreams for individuals, couples, and families looking to downsize in a major way. Whether it’s building the homes themselves or working with contractors to make their tiny dreams a big reality, these handmade homes are custom through and through.
Why we love it: This show presents a luxurious, highly customizable side to tiny living, and it’s truly an adventure to see them complete with all the amenities.
Property Brothers: Buying and Selling
Using both their talents, HGTV’s twin sweethearts help homeowners sell their current home and buy a new property. Between Jonathan renovating the family’s current home for a successful sale to Drew going house hunting to get his client's dream new home, everyone’s favorite joke-cracking duo puts a bit of a real estate twist on the original Property Brothers, which successfully made them a household name.
Why we love it: It's the same fun-loving personalities we love, but with a new twist.
The Ones You Can Binge on Netflix
With over 160 episodes filmed over 17 seasons, there’s a reason why Netflix picked up this hugely successful British series. Prepare to be amazed as host Kevin McCloud journeys with homeowners as they undertake grand scheme building projects and risky renovations to make their visions come true. From the whacky and unconventional to the completely over the top, each grand design truly embodies the show’s title.
Why we love it: Every episode of this show is widely varied in style and design. There has literally been everything from an underground home to a converted water tower, so it’s super fun to watch the end results.
Okay, we get it: This isn’t a traditional design show, but the Netflix reboot has gained such a following, it’s already been picked up for a second season. Needless to say, these guys are doing a lot right. As a life makeover show, the design element is just one aspect, but it’s one of the most fun to watch unfold. Design expert Bobby Berk takes these guys’ drab, dated, or downright neglected spaces and transforms them into functional, beautiful homes that serve a purpose.
Why we love it: The design portion truly is just one aspect of transforming these people’s lives, and it’s incredible and inspiring to see it all come together in a matter of days and make such an impact. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t shed a few tears while watching some of these episodes.
Flip or Flop
Flipping team Tarek (former real estate broker for multi million-dollar mansions) and Christina (real estate agent with an eye for design) take on dilapidated properties—sometimes without even seeing their condition first—and transform them into stylish, sellable homes for cash.
Why we love it: Between Christina’s eye for design and Tarek’s knowledge of what buyers are looking for, there’s a lot to learn from this show: Mainly, that flipping homes can be a stressful, nail-biting experience, but the payoff of a sale can totally be worth it.
Watch as seasoned home flipper Jeff Lewis invests in properties to flip and resell, all while expanding his design consulting business and working with some interesting and personality-filled clients and staff.
Why we love it: A healthy mix of Bravo’s classic soapy reality drama and some decidedly good design, it's nice to see the process that goes behind every design decision.
The Inspiring Home Renos
Nate and Jeremiah By Design
After building his following as a frequent guest and friend on The Oprah Winfrey Show, interior designer Nate Berkus returns to TV, this time with his designer husband Jeremiah and their oh-so-adorable daughter Poppy. These guys not only execute some stunning design, but they also rescue people whose “fixer upper” projects have become disastrous money pits. Using their industry connections and a bit of goodwill, Nate and Jeremiah set out to rescue homeowners from their sinking ship projects—and give them their lives and dreams back.
Why we love it: Nate and Jeremiah rescue people out of some pretty dire living and money situations, and the end result is always both emotional and inspirational.
Husband and wife dynamic duo Chip and Joanna Gaines take "the worst house in the best neighborhood, and turn it into their client's dream home" all in their beloved hometown of Waco, Texas. And while they're no longer coming out with brand new episodes, this is one show that's worth watching past seasons of on repeat. They've also got a few spinoffs in the works, so though Fixer Upper is over, it looks like the Gaineses aren't going anywhere.
Why we love it: Chip and Jo’s complementary personalities always keep us coming back for more. Not to mention, they’ve done wonders for their beloved Waco, and that’s some real admirable hometown love.
Flea Market Flip
If you have a bumper sticker that says “I brake for tag sales,” this show is for you. Teams of two transform flea market finds into modern, stylish decor pieces and resell them for a profit. The team that most successfully flips antique trash for cash wins $5,000, so the competition is on. Plus it’s hosted by Good Morning America host Lara Spencer, who’s a major flea market fanatic.
Why we love it: The competition aspect of this one makes it extra fun, plus creativity reigns supreme when it comes to transforming mundane items into pieces that are both chic and unique.
The early 2000s is back and better than ever? Jury’s still out on whether this iconic reboot is going to take a more design-focused spin, or if the shock factor in the room reveals still remains... but hey, anything goes when two neighbors swap homes for a room makeover. With the help of one designer and one carpenter, one room of the home is revamped (on a budget!).
Why we love it: Before design shows were even popular, there was Trading Spaces. We like this one for its relaxed DIY vibe that's almost exactly like the original. Plus, each designer has a very distinct style, so every episode is different.
See more design show news:
Our Favorite Design Moments from Fixer Upper's Final Season
Marie Kondo’s Tidying TV Series Is Coming to Netflix
Everything You Need To Know About HGTV's New, Must-Watch Show
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