There’s no other way to say it: TV before and afters are magical. They present a space that needs major upgrading—often relatable to our own living spaces—and show viewers how thoughtful planning, physical hard work, and the right experts can transform it on a fairly strict budget and timeline.
In 2020 alone, we covered TV renovations that each delivered a Houdini-like moment in the home space. From Jonathan and Drew Scott assisting Viola Davis in transforming her friend’s living room in HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU,” to Bobby Berk turning an unpacked loft apartment into a colorful sanctuary in Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” here’s a recap of the best before and afters we watched unfold on TV.
HGTV’s “Good Bones:” Dated kitchen goes from cramped to airy
On an episode of “Good Bones,” mother-daughter team Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak renovated a childhood home, which included a major overhaul of the dated kitchen. The room was cramped, dark, and had old appliances and cabinetry that were in need of some serious TLC. So Laine and Starsiak stepped in to refresh the space for the next homeowners.
They opened up the room by knocking down the walls between the cooking area and the dining room, then smashed through the low ceiling that exposed a vault ceiling. Laine and Starsiak installed all new cabinets and appliances as well as added furniture that they painted in various shades of green, contrasting nicely against the black matted countertops. The white and gold herringbone backsplash and the brass cabinet pulls saved from the old kitchen added personalized touches to the modern space.
Netflix’s “Queer Eye:” A bare loft gets a bold transformation
This year brought us a new season of “Queer Eye,” which meant more incredible home makeovers done by the one and only Bobby Berk. In one episode, he tackled a loft apartment that a couple and their toddler just moved into, which was still in a state of unpacked limbo.
After clearing out the boxes and bins, Berk gave the main living area a statement wall, complete with a fresh coat of dark green paint and colorful, abstract art. That transformed the space alone, but Berk was far from being done. He added light and warmth to the high ceiling with a modern chandelier, and he furnished the living space with flexible furniture that could easily be moved around—a very important detail to include when a toddler is involved.
HGTV’s “Help! I Wrecked My House:” This gutted house is now a light, beachy paradise
HGTV’s “Help! I Wrecked My House” premiered this year, and it’s exactly what it sounds like—designer and builder Jasmine Roth repairs the damage of DIY projects done by homeowners. In one episode, a couple purchased a new home and decided to do all the renovations themselves—which quickly led to nowhere. So Roth stepped in to help finish the gutted living spaces so they could finally enjoyed the property they purchased.
The kitchen, as you can see above, was a massive transformation. Basically starting from scratch, Roth kept the color palette simple and natural, sticking with and whites and wood details. The installed floors complemented the stools and chairs, and the white walls blended nicely with the white kitchen cabinets, island, and table.
To prevent future clutter on the countertops (because we all know too well how easy that can be), Roth made one of the kitchen drawers into a charging station with a plug to keep all the cords out of sight and out of mind.
HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU:” A tiny living room is renovated into a modern oasis
On an episode of “Celebrity IOU,” Jonathan and Drew Scott helped Viola Davis gift her friend Michelle O’Neill, who was always gifting others, the renovation of her dreams. The living room area looked like it had been untouched for years, so the Property Brothers turned the tiny, dated living room into a zen-filled hangout that reflected what was most important to O’Neill: family and peace.
They brightened up the room using medium toned oak hardwood and white paint, and installed a new fireplace for some added warmth. Speaking of warmth, the brothers made sure the O’Neill family stayed cozy through the cold Minneapolis winters by adding double-pane windows to improve insulation. And to add a little personalization, O’Neill’s favorite records were displayed on custom-built shelves.
Netflix’s “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas:” This bare backyard gets a holiday glow-up.
We all need a little extra cheer this year, and Netflix’s new show “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” provides that via festive decorations. In one episode of the show, Mr. Christmas aka interior designer Benjamin Bradley transformed an otherwise empty backyard into a light show for the entire family to hangout in and enjoy.
To avoid making the indoors too cramped, Mr. Christmas created what felt like an additional room by revamping the outdoor space. He built a wooden pergola and wrapped the beams in strings of Edison light bulbs, plus added a total of 32 lanterns to give the space an extra glow. A few lit holiday trees and the menorah (not pictured) was the icing on the cake.
HGTV’s “Build Me Up:” Vintage wallpaper transforms this dated dining room
In the newly debuted HGTV show “Build Me Up,” Orlando Soria helped navigate those going through difficult life changes with a fresh start via a home facelift. In one episode, Soria worked to bring new life into mother-of-three Sarah’s home after she went through a divorce. While the dining room area was by no means in poor shape, Soria identified the area as one that needed some liveliness, and did so through adding pops of color and patterns.
Soria decided to cover the walls in a green and orange floral wallpaper, which tied in nicely with the rest of the chosen color palette. He painted the chairs a bright green, and sanded and stained the dining room table to give it a new look. And if you look in the far lefthand corner, Soria built out an entire work station for Sarah to continue her passion for crafting.
An added note for all the HGTV shows: “Good Bones,” “Celebrity IOU,” “Help! I Wrecked My House,” and “Build Me Up” will be available on the all-new streaming service Discovery+ launching January 4. So if you haven’t watched these episodes yet, you’ll be able to soon enough.