Trading Spaces + seven other shows that changed the face of home-improvement TV
Back in the early 2000s, and long before every home-reno series became about flipping a property, TLC’s Trading Spaces was appointment television. Viewers tuned in every week to watch two sets of neighbours swap keys and then decorate each other’s homes amid varying degrees of drama and delight.
And on April 7, the binge-worthy series returns on TLC, along with host Paige Davis and most of the original cast, 10 years (!) after its last episode aired.
Easily one of the most entertaining and groundbreaking series in the home-reno genre, Trading Spaces ran for eight seasons (2000-08), featured dozens of now-iconic disastrous reveals (straw on the walls, anyone?), spawned spoofs and multiple spinoffs (including Trading Spaces: Family and Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls), and made household names of many of its onscreen team. Designers Vern Yip, Doug Wilson and Genevieve Gorder were among those who later landed series of their own, as did carpenters Ty Pennington (see below) and Carter Oosterhouse. It was, in short, a television juggernaut.
Here are seven more home-reno series that have helped define – and redefine – the genre.
This Old House (1979 to present)
The granddaddy of them all, originally hosted by Bob Vila, this PBS staple has been on the air for 39 seasons (and still going strong) by remaining true to its roots and offering practical DIY advice to homeowners as the hosts renovate – what else? – old houses.
Designer Guys (2001-08)
Launched by Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman, who co-hosted its first three seasons before moving on to other projects, this interior-design series was less about tearing down walls and more about adding style, flair and value to existing spaces through décor.
Holmes on Homes (2003-08)
Mike Holmes became a big, burly Canadian TV icon thanks to this, his first of many similarly themed series, in which he and his ace crew would come to the renovation rescue of desperate homeowners whose houses were left in a shambles by unscrupulous contractors.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2003-12)
Former Trading Spaces carpenter Ty Pennington hosted this altruistic, three-hanky series in which teams of designers, carpenters and the occasional celebrity guest pitched in on projects that awarded families in need with brand new, epic-scale houses – for free.
Income Property (2008-16)
Who says you can only turn a profit by selling your home? Thanks to Scott McGillivray – and this popular series (currently airing on DIY and HGTV) – homeowners learned to renovate, decorate and rent out apartment space in their houses as a way of offsetting mortgage costs.
Rehab Addict (2010 to present)
Pint-sized but packed with determination, host Nicole Curtis advocates for the restoration – not renovation – of vintage homes in this series (currently airing on HGTV and DIY) that combines helpful how-to tips with Curtis’s efforts to return old houses to their former glory.
Fixer Upper (2013 to present)
Co-hosting couples have become de rigueur for home-reno series of late, but few have captured the hearts of viewers as much as Chip and Joanna Gaines, whose show (currently airing on HGTV) guides homeowners through the renovation of rundown properties in Waco, Tex.
Renovating your home before you sell? We've got some great tips for that.