Interior Design on TV: Shows from USA and Canada

Everyone in the UK is familiar with the interior design celebs on our TV’s. Ever since the property boom in the late 1990’s property has been a common sight in the schedules although much of it has now been relegated to daytime hours rather than prime time. However, now that most of us have access to digital TV or even satellite TV there is the opportunity to catch some foreign imports with bigger budgets and interesting formats.

There are lots of shows around that look at home ‘overhauls’ that actually change the structure of the buildings but we’re just going to focus on the interior design shows and cover foreign shows a la Grand Designs in another article. Let's check some interior design show out from abroad...

America has a whole host of shows encompassing many aspects of interior design, some are mainly entertainment or ‘reality’ shows but others are for the real interior design affectionado who's looking for a glimpse at the next fashion. Trading Spaces is a show based on the Changing Rooms format from the UK so is more an entertainment ‘reality’ style show but it does give the designers sizable budgets and a free reign to choose whatever they want which makes for some interesting confrontations.

On the Style Network is a show called ‘Clean House’ in which predictably messy homes are redesigned. ‘Design on a Dime’, 'Designed to Sell’ and ‘The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price’ are three examples of shows where the presenters are given budgets and certain restrictions but must overcome these challenges to produce a well designed finished home.

Antonio Ballatore

As well as this, both USA and Canada have reality competition shows where contestants compete against each other and are then eliminated depending on the judges decision. This is a format that hasn't really made an impact in the UK which is a shame as due to its format it’s more common to see avant garde design ideas. This is because real people do not have to live with their creations once the production team has left unlike other shows.

Design Star is one of the most popular versions of this style of show and is already on its fifth season. The winners of each season's competition get the own show of which arguably the most interesting is ‘The Antonio Treatment with Antonio Ballatore. His style is apologetically nonconformist in both presenting and designing though this is why the show is worth a watch. His ‘Marmite’ designs are extremely entertaining as are the reactions to the owners of the home or office he’s enforced himself upon.

Interestingly interior design has found a home on radio too. In the US there are two notable examples, ‘Martha Stewart Living’ and ‘ Living Large’ which both discuss popular interior designs and feature the work of famous designers. Though the names of the shows give the impression they are mainstream the content can be quite detailed regarding the history of design and tracing modern trends back to their roots. So, with satellite TV and the internet you have every chance to find new ideas, be ahead of the curve or just learn something new.

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