Remembering the Chaotic Home Makeovers of Trading Spaces

The year was 2000. Joanna and Chip Gaines had not yet taken over television with subway tile backsplashes and rustic wooden cabinets. Instagram did not exist, and neither did Pinterest. And the idea of blindly handing over the keys of your house to a reality television show for a home makeover was an exciting and rare prospect. What could go wrong? On Trading Spaces, it turns out everything.

Trading Spaces, TLC’s popular home decorating show, was one of the first of its kind. Two sets of neighbors would “trade spaces,” helping decorate one room in the other’s house with the help of a crew of interior decorators and designers and just $1,000. But where some couples expected elegant makeovers, sometimes they were met with disasters. Here Jezebel pop culture reporter Hazel Cills and senior staff writer Megan Reynolds hash out the wild legacy of Trading Spaces, straw walls and all.



Here’s my brag moment. I was a “homeowner” for one an episode. My friend and I recently did an impromptu oral history of it after he got called out on Twitter for it. Of all things Paige actually joined the conversation to say hi.


-Doug did our room. We loved it. We worked with Genevieve.
- Our room became a personality test for people who came over, people either loved it or loathed it and wondered what was wrong with me.
- We really did all the work in 2 days, though there were a couple behind the scenes people who helped like one extra carpenter and someone who helped with upholstery.
- We all went out for dinner and drinks when it was all done, apparently that didn’t normally happen, and actually hung out a couple times with both Ty, Amy, and Doug later.
- The LA Times did an article on us which means there is now a photo of me and my ex on Getty Images forever.
- The guy who did the pre-interview/pre-pro to find out if we’d be good guests was very familiar to my friend and I and then at the end of the day we couldn’t take it anymore and we asked. He was Harvey, the announcer on Double Dare.

It was a great experience. And because you’re wondering...