With the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic still impacting people’s daily lives and routines across the world, folks are continuing to turn inward and hunkering down for what may be several more weeks of social distancing. What better time, then, to start watching a design-focused TV series that is informative, heartwarming, and/or aesthetically pleasing? Happily, there is no shortage of design shows to choose from during this period, whether you’re more into stories about life-changing renovations or elaborate, gravity-defying feats of architecture. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most bingeable design-centric series on streaming services and cable now, with hopes that they will offer a small respite from an exhausting news cycle. Beautiful imagery aside, these series will remind you of the importance of these places we call home.
Plenty of drama keeps things interesting on this Netflix reality show, which follows the realtors at The Oppenheim Group in Los Angeles. But even if “he said, she said” squabbles are not your thing, it is worth tuning in to check out the gorgeous multimillion-dollar properties featured on the show. There’s the modern Hollywood Hills behemoth viewers saw being constructed during season one, which ultimately sold for a whopping $35.5 million, and numerous other chic homes, such as the traditional property where agent Mary Fitzgerald and her husband Romain Bonnet tied the knot, a favorite of The Oppenheim Group founder Jason Oppenheim. “I really love the house where Mary and Romain get married. It has a stunningly timeless yet refined traditional architecture, beautiful brass fixtures, a pebbled driveway that reminds me of the South of France, and a private and large grassy yard,” he says. “It’s really the type of property that will look just as good in 20 years as it does today.”
There are no homes on this British competition show, but design lovers still won’t be able to look away. In a series of challenges, pairs of both amateur and expert florists compete to be named Best in Bloom, with the last team standing winning an opportunity to create a floral sculpture that will be displayed at London’s Kew Gardens. There are no small bouquets in sight. Instead, these artists create everything from giant thrones to large animals to scenes from classic fairy tales using gorgeous plants and ingenuity.
The format of this Australian show will be familiar to fans of the TLC show Four Weddings or the British hit Come Dine With Me. Contestants take turns staying at each other’s vacation rental properties before ranking their experiences, taking into account things like location, amenities, and of course decor. Quirky personalities make for some truly interesting accommodations all around the land Down Under. On season one, the grand prize at stake is a stay at the former Dinah Shore estate in Palm Springs, a midcentury home reportedly owned by Leonardo DiCaprio.
This is must-watch viewing for HGTV fans, and the entire series is now available on Hulu. The type of show you can watch for hours, Love It or List It consists of designer Hilary Farr renovating a home, while David Visentin takes the owners to look at other properties. In the end, the homeowners must decide if Farr has wowed them enough to make them stay, or if they’d rather sell their house and move.
With the help of her father, Ward Schraeder, house flipper extraordinaire Tamara Day restores dilapidated properties around Kansas City, Missouri, on this HGTV program. “For me, mixing old with new elements and high-end with affordable is my go-to design recipe for making everyone feel welcome. I blend in glamour, modern design elements, comfort, and family into the look and function of the space to create my signature laid-back luxe vibe,” she tells AD.
Home, AppleTV+’s new documentary series, is the aesthetic salve that we all need during these trying times. The premise is simple: Each episode will look at some of the world’s most extraordinary and unique homes, and deep dive into the minds that dreamed them up. Think Mind of a Chef meets Abstract: The Art of Design. “I think people are hungry for better futures, for a rediscovery of the utopian imagination that we seem to have lost,” author Christopher Brown, who is featured on the Austin episode of the show, tells Architectural Digest. “Design at the scale of the home provides people with the means to experiment with new ways of living, in their own lives.”
Anders Solvarm, a sustainable-living consultant based in Sweden, tells AD that there is a big emphasis on sustainability in the show—both as it’s being implemented in futuristic designs, and as it can be applied by the average homeowner. Things that homeowners might not notice include how “water, energy, and the waste that leaves your house are all valuable resources—as well as rain and sunbeams.” The series hit the streaming service April 17, and includes nine episodes in its first season.
On Celebrity I.O.U., it’s the celebrities who get to serve. The series gives some of Hollywood’s biggest names—including Brad Pitt, Viola Davis, and Melissa McCarthy—a chance to give a big thanks to the friends and family members who helped them get where they are by renovating their spaces. Hosted and produced by the Property Brothers, the series promises to elicit both tears and laughter as the celebs get their hands dirty helping with the home renovations. It premiered April 13 and airs on HGTV on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.
Arguably one of the home renovation series that started it all, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition offers up the perfect recipe for a good night in: host Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a whole team coming together to help a family in need, and a stunning reveal at the end of each episode. Previously airing on ABC with host Ty Pennington, the 10-episode HGTV iteration premiered in February. It is unclear if there will be a season two, but for now you can catch up on th
e first season online.
In real estate, the old adage goes: “Location, location, location.” For the owners of the restaurants featured on Netflix’s new series, however, location is actually the least of their worries. Restaurants on the Edge follows three food and design experts as they travel the world to try to amp up the food, decor, branding, and design of near-failing businesses situated in some of the world’s most beautiful locales.
Tarek El Moussa used to be one half of the home renovation team behind Flip or Flop, but this year, he’s venturing out on his own with a new series for HGTV. On Flipping 101, which premiered on March 5, Tarek is mentoring real estate novices and teaching them the basics of how to conduct a successful flip, from negotiating prices to meeting contractor deadlines. The 14-episode series follows on the heels of his other show, Tarek’s Flip Side, which gives fans a glimpse into the entrepreneur’s personal life balancing work with family. The show airs Thursdays at 9 p.m.
Ambitious viewers who want to get the inside scoop on how to build a home from the ground up will likely find HGTV’s 100 Day Dream Home inspirational. Helmed by Tampa-based husband-and-wife team Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt, the series follows clients looking to design and build a perfect home from scratch in under 100 days, with Mika acting as the realtor and Brian as the developer. The eight-episode first season has concluded, but those who missed it can catch up online.
How best to get to the root of why design matters than to dive into the minds of some of today’s most innovative thinkers? This series, now into its second season, explores the applied philosophies of such iconic design pioneers as installation artist Olafur Eliasson, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, and architect Neri Oxman.
Take 10 aspiring interior designers from the U.K., challenge them to reimagine a variety of spaces ranging from cafés to bedrooms to home offices, and add in a bit of feel-good backstory about ordinary people finally pursuing their dreams, and you have the binge-worthy Netflix series Interior Design Masters. What’s at stake on this competition show? The winner is awarded a contract with a top London hotel to redesign its lobby bar.
File this under aspirational fantasy homes come to life. On this series, homeowners show off the eccentric, unique ways that they’ve decked out the interiors of their homes to reflect their specific interests and lifestyles, ranging from a retiree with a full-size aquarium installed in his living room for scuba diving to an origami-inspired apartment with movable walls.
Though it’s been around since 1999, Grand Designs made its way across the pond only this past year. It showcases middle-class homeowners who decide to ditch their average-looking houses in pursuit of more ambitious, often cantilevered designs. The show, hosted by Kevin McCloud, follows the homeowners’ journeys from concept to creation, chronicling all the drama and handwringing in-between, and the results are, indeed, grand.
The tiny house trend is here to stay, and on Tiny House Nation, host John Weisbarth and expert Zack Giffin help folks do some major downsizing and rethink their relationships to space and possessions. In each episode, the two-man team gets to know families looking to go small, assess their needs, and builds them a custom mini home.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would take to turn your home into an inviting, profitable short-term rental, then Stay Here is the series to binge this holiday season. Designer Genevieve Gorder and real estate expert Peter Lorimer team up in this feel-good show to help ordinary homeowners up their rental game, reimagining everything from spaces to decor to marketing.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes fuses t
he aesthetic pleasure of beautiful architecture with the decadence of world travel, visiting unconventionally designed homes in places as far-flung as Norway, India, and Portugal. In each episode, viewers will gush over the inventive spaces that make each house a true one-of-a-kind home.
Every cabin has a story to tell, and on Cabins in the Wild, craftsman Will Hardie and engineer Dick Strawbridge are on a mission to learn more about eight different unique structures—including one modeled after an airship cockpit and another cabin built in a treehouse—before endeavoring to design their own.
Fans of the Great British Baking Show will likely take to this interior design competition, which sees 24 wannabe interior designers tasked with transforming entire rooms from top to bottom, showing off their discerning eyes in a number of different types of housing structures, including Victorian homes and eco homes.
No amateurs allowed in this delicate competition, wherein 10 expert glass blowers are faced with timely challenges that test the limits of their ability to create the most beautiful, unique sculptures under massive amounts of heat. The winner takes home $60,000 and notoriety.
It’s hard to be involved in the home renovation or interior design realms and not know about Chip and Joanna Gaines. The power couple now have an entire home design empire — but before Magnolia, before the books, and before the pair began working with A-list celebrities, they had Fixer Upper, where they helped home buyers see the potential in rundown homes that they would then help renovate within budget.
For some, the adventure is in the homestead. On Extreme Homes, homeowners show off their untraditionally structured dwellings, including one that stretches out like an accordion, one that is made up entirely of refrigerator panels, and yet another one that was built to resemble Easter eggs.
One of the many spinoffs of the wildly popular HGTV series House Hunters, this show chronicles the trials and travails of families, individuals, and couples looking to find the perfect home among three presented to them by agents. On the international version of the series, buyers are searching for homes everywhere from Prague to São Paolo, and tackling the challenges of buying real estate overseas.
Celebrity comedy duo Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman host this reality competition series, which challenges craftspeople to create two handmade projects in different mediums each week, with one person sent home at the end of each episode. Past projects have included children’s toys, snack stadiums, and wedding decor.
Anyone who loves fashion knows Iris Apfel, the interior designer and fashion icon whose round black-rimmed glasses and snow-white hair are synonymous with ageless style. This documentary revisits integral moments of Apfel’s life, and also delves into her own philosophy about creativity and the importance of play.
Double trouble: Brothers Jonathan Scott, a contractor, and Drew Scott, a real estate expert, join together to help families find the right home for them and then transform them into their dream homes in this classic HGTV series.
Though they are no longer romantically involved, after filing for divorce in 2017, Christina and Tarek El Moussa continue to work together as business partners on popular HGTV series Flip or Flop, which shows the pair finding less-than-marketable homes and reimagining them into profitable listings. Many of the homes they work on are foreclosures, bank-owned, or short sales.
Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk are a mother-daughter duo who flip houses in Indianapolis, Indiana, having decided to open a home rehab business together in 2008. Each episode, a different member of their team is highlighted; the duo often incorporate green spaces and art from local artists as an added touch.
One important aspect of home renovation, at least for couple Erin and Ben Napier, is to ensure that even new buildings and structures honor the past—in their series, the Napiers use found materials and old textiles from their Mississippi hometown to reimagine old homes as more modern spaces.
Palm Springs, California, is the location of choice in Desert Flippers,, which sees Wisconsin natives Eric and Lindsey Bennett bringing their Midwestern sensibilities to the sun-drenched town. The couple specifically seek out dilapidated houses that they can gut and renovate, all while combating natural elements such as extreme heat, as well as critters including scorpions and rattlesnakes.
Lara Spencer hosts this series, which homes in on the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Each week, contestants scour flea markets for secondhand items that they purchase, restore, and/or fix, and then flip for a profit—all on a budget of about $500.
Andy Warhol’s famous Brillo Box replicas are the central focus of this documentary, which follows one family’s unlikely connection to the coveted Warhol sculptures. In addition to chronicling the history behind the art pieces, the documentary also explores bigger themes of impermanence and value within the art world.
What is the true price of art? This intellectually stimulating documentary poses the question in the context of today’s capitalistic society and the entire infrastructure of the art world, from artists to collectors to dealers to auctioneers, with interviews of big names like Jeff Koons sprinkled throughout.
There is a true catharsis that comes from spring cleaning, and probably an even greater one that comes from sloughing off an entire relationship post-breakup. Enter Unspouse My House, wherein an interior designer helps newly single clients reimagine their homes and personal spaces to start their next chapter fresh.
Dream Home is, despite its name, actually a show about modest means—set in China, the reality series tackles real-life issu
es like multigenerational homes, small spaces, and longtime homeowners who are afraid of change, and asks designers to enter the equation in order to renovate the houses and thereby help solve these problems.
This show is all glam, all the time. Million Dollar Decorators brings together some of Los Angeles’s most esteemed interior designers—including Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Kathryn Ireland, Jeffrey Alan Marks, and Mary McDonald. The decorators often work with A-list clientele, but it’s more their interpersonal relationships and personalities that really make the series sparkle.
On Rehab Addict, everything old is new again. Designer Nicole Curtis finds historic old homes and refurbishes them to honor their past and bring them up-to-date for more modern homeowners’ tastes.
Designer Jeff Lewis is undeniably the star of this series, which also features his eclectic support crew of friends and colleagues, including his project manager Jenni, housekeeper Zoila, and business manager and boyfriend, Gage. Each episode revolves around Lewis’s home-flipping projects but inevitably delves into his personal life as well.
Egos abound on this reality TV show that pits top up-and-coming designers, artists, and architects (like Todd Oldham) against one another in a series of challenges that range from creating a dream family space to a high-end modern hotel room. Think Top Model–style cattiness, with beautiful design.
One of the original DIY reality competition series, TLC’s Trading Spaces asks a group of designers to show off their skills renovating a wide swath of spaces for contestants who have swapped homes with their neighbors, including attics, teachers’ lounges, and more. The personality clashes are more than half the fun.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest