You might think that going on a home makeover show would be a surefire way to get the house of your dreams, with minimal expense and effort expended. But that isn’t always the case. As these DIY disasters prove, renovations don’t always turn out the way that some homeowners expect. And when this happens, their reactions are often priceless.
20. “The thing above the bed”
As far as classic home makeover show Trading Spaces goes, Chris and Casey have landed themselves with a pretty neutral bedroom update. Their boudoir is adorned with magnolia walls, a beige carpet, a dark brown chest of drawers and a cozy white armchair. But while the room might have been easy on the eye, Casey isn’t impressed at all.
After lowering her hand from her eyes to gaze upon her improved bedroom for the first time, Casey is physically taken aback. No sooner does Chris utter the words, “I love the headboard” than Casey offers an opposing opinion, insisting “the thing above the bed has got to go.” She also takes issue with the color scheme and some new room partitions, asking the neighbor responsible for the latter if he wants to help her “take them down?”
19. Wacky wall design proves the final straw
It’s not clear whether this homeowner requested a natural look for their home renovations. Either way, the chances are that they haven’t got what they might have envisioned. That’s because, when the Trading Spaces team took over, Hildi Santo-Tomás thought it would be a good idea to glue straw – yes, straw – all over her once-spotless walls.
Needless to say, the two women involved in the reveal are completely perplexed by the strange wall art. One of them points out, “The kids will peel it off,” while the other complains, “It’s a farm.” At this moment, host Paige Davis tries to save the sinking ship by claiming a small victory for the designers. She says, “I’m glad you could tell it was straw, because we weren’t sure you’d even know for sure what it was.”
18. The Asian-themed room
When Nancy and Lenny allowed the Trading Spaces team into their home they had one request – they wanted anything but an Asian-inspired room. They couldn’t have been clearer, in fact. But does that stop Hildi Santo-Tomás from doing just that? No, it does not. And the results are just as you’d expect.
During the reveal, Nancy’s facial expressions tell the story of her disappointment. There is shock, nervous laughter and eventually tears as she realizes she’s been given the exact Asian-inspired room she’d dreaded. Lenny, on the other hand, also struggles for words, only managing to point out that a red feature wall is “bright.”
17. Rustic dining room
This brutally honest reaction comes from the U.K.-based home makeover show Your Home in Their Hands. The reveal gets off to a positive start, with the family agreeing that they like the industrial kitchen update they’ve been given by one of the designers on the show. But things go downhill rapidly when they enter their new dining room.
Confronted by an unusual rustic style decor, with light fittings, curtain rails and wall features made out of branches, the family is left speechless. But they soon find their voice. Among the complaints are, “The walls, to me, look unfinished” and “I don’t know how practical it is with kids…” So safe to say they aren’t convinced.
16. Teenager takes an instant dislike to her childish bedroom
When teenager Jessie agrees to appear on Your Home in Their Hands alongside her parents, she no doubt thinks she’ll be getting a grown-up bedroom to see her into her adult years. With that in mind, she can’t disguise her disappointment when she is confronted with bizarre hand-painted decor complete with childish cartoons.
In case anyone watching is in any doubt about Jessie’s thoughts on the room, her first word upon seeing it is, “No.” She adds, “I hate it. I think it’s just more childish than I wanted it to be, a lot more childish than I wanted it to be.” Trying to save the situation, her mom says, “None of your friends are going to have a room like this,” to which her dad points out, “I think that might be why she doesn’t like it.”
15. The great teapot disaster
Sometimes home makeovers can go so disastrously wrong that they become the stuff of legend, and that’s what happened on this memorable episode of Changing Rooms. The team from the British TV show is charged with renovating a lady called Clodagh’s house, but instead, they oversee the destruction of her prized teapot collection.
The antique crockery collection comes crashing down after being displayed on a clearly precariously hung floating shelf unit. The incident leaves designer Linda Barker with egg on her face, and her helpers completely traumatized. In the end, it was Barker who – excuse the pun – breaks the news to Clodagh off-camera.
14. “A room with a view”
When Jo and Russell appear on the BBC’s Your Home in Their Hands they get a bedroom that looks fresh from the pages of a fancy holiday brochure, but probably not in the way they might have imagined. That’s because their so-called “room with a view” has an exotic beach scene plastered across one wall of their sleeping quarters.
Surprisingly, Jo seems to like the idea of having a fake beach backdrop in her abode. But she fails to get on board with the room’s in-your-face color palette. She explains, “It’s just the sort of, the boldness of the other colors, I suppose, which are going to take a little bit of getting used to.”
13. Clash of the fabrics
Your Home in Their Hands has seen its fair share of disasters, but this one is probably down there with the worst. This visual-overload of a bedroom is met with cries of “Oh my God!” and “What have we done?” from its stunned owners. And if we’re being honest, it’s not exactly hard to see why.
The show’s designers have made liberal use of prints in the busy bedroom, from psychedelic to floral and even what appears to be a leopard-print carpet. Commenting on the outcome, the homeowner concludes, “This is color overload I think, definitely. The red [ceiling] and all the tapestries on the wall is way too much.”
12. Trading Spaces double fail
The format of Trading Spaces relies on two sets of neighbors who help to makeover each other’s homes. This can presumably make things a bit awkward when both parties end up disappointed with the final results of the renovations. And that’s exactly what happens here.
After a seemingly heated reveal at their neighbors’ home, this couple is left desperately trying to find something they like about their own refurbed basement. When the opposing team enters to see their reaction, tensions are still high, with one woman even pretending to strangle the other. In the end, host Paige Davis admits, “I can’t remember a time when we’ve had two negative reveals in one show.”
11. John’s “horrendous” bedroom
Some of the recipients on home makeover shows might try to conceal their disappointment, but John is not one of them. During the reveal of his bedroom on Your Home in Their Hands, he lets loose. Even if he hadn’t been forthcoming with his opinions, it’s likely that his stony facial expression would have given the game away.
Upon seeing the room, John pulls no punches. His scathing verdict runs, “It’s too much, for me it’s too busy. I wouldn’t have done anything like it and I don’t like it. You’re supposed to be able to go to sleep in a bedroom and it’s like a kid’s play area. I think it looks horrendous.” Extra tension stems from the fact that his partner Rachel appears to like the decor. But John has the final word, telling host Celia Sawyer that he won’t be keeping the makeover “for long.”
When this lady appears on Trading Spaces apparently all that she’d asked for “was a Prince room.” But aside from a “Little Red Corvette” toy, the finished result is notably lacking any sign of the flamboyant pop star. Not only that, but the female homeowner really doesn’t like it.
She kicks off the reveal by cursing, before adding, “Hell-to-the-no!” She later confesses, “I want to pee myself, literally.” And it seems unlikely that she means this in a positive way, particularly when she complains, “The wall’s gotta go. This is disgusting.” The woman does admit to liking a new bar feature, but it is seemingly not enough to save the rest of the room.
9. “Very boring”
Given the negative reactions that some of the more out-there designs on home makeover shows receive, you’d be forgiven for assuming that minimalist interiors were the best way to go. But when this woman is confronted with a neutral room featuring hues of whites and browns on Changing Rooms she isn’t pleased. And that’s putting it mildly.
It seems that even the addition of a white built-in wall unit complete with a bench seat and adorned with some silver vases isn’t enough to salvage the reveal. After pulling a face that looks nothing less than disgusted, she delivers her damning verdict. Not putting too fine a point on it, she says, “Very boring… It’s really cold.”
8. The beach room
This so-called “cabana” room came straight from the strange mind of Trading Spaces designer Hildi Santo-Tomas. During the reveal, things get off to a worrying start even before the homeowners have opened their eyes. Expressing their concern, one of them complains, “I’m feeling something on my foot.”
The sensation he is experiencing is sand beneath his toes. Yes, that’s right: Santo-Tomas has decided to bring the beach to her design, literally. As if the red-and-yellow color scheme isn’t bad enough, the room has been filled with wheelbarrows full of sand. All the homeowners can do is laugh hysterically as they presumably try to register the mess they are in.
7. Grecian bedroom
When Changing Rooms designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen gets his hands on Aidan and Helen’s bedroom he decides to let his signature flamboyance run wild. That’s how they end up with a Grecian-themed boudoir. Not one to skimp on the details, Llewelyn-Bowen even installs two semi-nude statues standing at the foot of their bed.
Perhaps understating the result somewhat, Llewelyn-Bowen later describes his Grecian design as “quite a statement.” When confronted with the many nude ladies in his room, Aiden comments, “Good grief. There’s no way I can sleep in here, I’ll have too many rotten dreams.” But, surprisingly, both he and Helen seem to like the gaudy decor.
6. “Can’t stand it”
When this couple first lay eyes on their newly-decorated home on Changing Rooms, their perplexed reaction says it all. And it’s not hard to see why they struggle to get on board with the wacky decor. Far from cozy, the room features a modern, cubist design that appears to lack any homely features whatsoever.
During the tense reveal it seems that even host Carol Smillie is having trouble concealing her shock, as she anxiously grips her neck while watching the homeowners’ reactions. They are not impressed at all. The woman complains, “Oh my God. Oh no! It’s horrible,” while her partner adds, “[I] can’t stand it.”
5. The fireplace fiasco
When this couple entrust the team from Trading Spaces to spruce up their home they have one request. All they ask is for the designers not to touch their brick fireplace. So what do the folks on the TV show do? They cover the feature up and add a white modern surround.
Needless to say, the couple are furious when they finally set eyes on their new contemporary fireplace. In fact, the female owner warns host Paige Davis, “You guys are going to be fixing that in a little bit,” before leaving the room in tears. Perhaps stating the obvious, her partner then adds, “She’s not happy. She’s really not happy.”
4. “I just gotta get used to it”
When Elaine and her partner appear on Trading Spaces they receive a modern bedroom makeover that doesn’t seem to be too offensive. The room features a cream color-scheme with accents of a darker hue. But when Elaine’s other half asks her if she likes it, she can’t hide her sense of disappointment as she says, “I gotta get used to it.”
It seems that Elaine wants to reserve judgement on the bedroom decor, at least until the cameras stop rolling. But Paige Davis pushes her for an opinion. When asked if she likes “the color of the ceiling” Elaine replies, “I’m not a ceiling painter person. I don’t like them painted.” She is apparently not taken with the “Egyptian” look of the room either.
3. Bemused reaction to garden-themed home
When Steve and June open the door to their newly-renovated home on an episode of Your Home in Their Hands they must feel as though they’re entering The Twilight Zone. Their first response is to laugh, presumably in shock, as they weigh up the bizarre living wall feature adorning their hallway. Mustering up the strength to speak as he looks at the plants, all Steve can say is, “That’s different, isn’t it?”
Things go downhill from there as the couple take in the new additions of a false-grass carpet and fish tanks built into the wall. For a while, they manage to see the funny side, with June suggesting the designer must have been “off his head.” But as so often happens, a good laugh turns into a good cry, with a tearful June stating she’s let Steve down.
2. A multitude of complaints
This woman doesn’t hold back when expressing her dislike of her new decor on an episode of Changing Rooms in 1999. At first, it’s hard to tell whether she likes the room or not, as she states, “It’s really modern” while seemingly fighting back tears. But all too soon, her true feelings become abundantly clear.
As she surveys her bright contemporary kitchen and living room, the homeowner doesn’t hold back in her opinions. Reeling off a list of grievances, she complains, “It’s too orange… I hate the aluminium and the steel… It’s too white and the curtains are horrible.” Safe to say that the makeover gets a thumbs-down from her, then.
1. The horror room
This room, dreamt up by the Trading Spaces team, is literally the stuff of nightmares. The designers seemingly had the set of a horror movie in mind when they were let loose in the kitchen and the results are, quite frankly, scary. As such, it’s gone down in history as one of the show’s worst fails.
Not only are the walls of the kitchen painted an alarming shade of bright red, but they also feature a disturbing hanging. That comes in the form of what appears to be a bloodstained tarpaulin. To make matters worse, the spooky look is completed by candles and a spice rack in the shape of a coffin.