Nobody does TV like the 90s. Low budgets, fuzzy screens and disastrous home makeovers, it was the mid-week entertainment we all needed. And guess what? The cult classic Changing Rooms is coming back to our screens complete with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the man who is forever dressed in leather trousers and my grandma’s curtains.
For those not acquainted with the 1996 series Changing Rooms, we’ll give you a breakdown. Changing Rooms was one of many home improvement programmes that saw neighbours swap houses and do up just one room in their house. Yes, just one room, unlike America’s big budget shows, where they would have a whole house renovation. Anyway, a team of ‘experts’ (yes, we use that term very loosely) would be called in to come and help out, which basically meant shoving pink inflatable furniture into a corner and some beaded curtains over a doorway.
The original show was hosted by Smiley Smiley Carol Smillie, who was always… you guessed it… smiling. Then there were two teams of ‘expert’ craftspeople, included Handy Andy, who always had a pencil behind his ear and miraculously landed his own show after the series ended, as well as ‘interior designers’ Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Linda Barker and Anna Ryder Richardson (who now owns a zoo in Wales).
The show is coming back to our screens tomorrow at 8pm. And Laurence is hosting it with a new cast.
You might think I’m being harsh with this obvious emphasis of inverted commas around everyone’s professions… but if you think an interior designer is meant to have vision and exceptional taste, you might want to think again. Take a look at these designs from the original show…
Oh yeah, let’s stick MDF statues to the end of your bed
Now who would want a nice big room to feel much smaller and be a constant fire hazard? Apparently the person living in this house. This bedroom went from spacious to grotesque in one foul swoop. Less Michelangelo and more GCSE project. You just hope the owners have a comfy sofa bed in the sitting room. The owner’s review? “Good grief”.
You asked for sexy bedroom, we gave you a brown furry merkin, I mean duvet
We have no idea if the homeowners here asked for a room out of Fifty Shades of Grey, but we imagine not, considering it wasn’t even published then, but that’s what they’ve got. Purple curtains not just over the windows, but down the wall, add a lovely brothel vibe, while the shaggy bed cover is flanked by champagne buckets – and judging by the budget of this programme, it’s unlikely to be bottles of Dom Perignon resting in there. What’s more, there appear to be hooks on the base of the bed, for what we can only assume are for late-night extra curricular activities.
Sultry, sexy and very cheap, the homeowners actually like this one
Judging from the poorly drawn palm tree in the bottom left of this picture, we can deduce that this design is meant to resemble the theme of Arabian Nights. Bearing in mind that this rooms was probably in Wolverhampton, it seems a little off piste. But nevertheless, the owners were thrilled, declaring: “This is absolutely brilliant”.
Because who doesn’t want to go on safari every time they go to bed?
Imagine getting up in the middle of the night and having to fight your way through bushes and shrubs to get to the bathroom. That’s what the lucky recipient of this safari-themed bedroom now has to deal with (although we assume they redecorated straight after the show).
Oh, you said one vase of flowers? I read that as three walls of flowers
Is there ever such a thing as too much? According to Changing Rooms, there isn’t. 6,000 flowers adorn these walls. There’s no escape. It’s like a budget version of the film set for American Beauty. The candles look worrying close to this fire hazard. And the gold cupboards… a finishing touch with a flourish.
It was a smash
We also thought we should remind you of the moment this woman’s collection of teapots, which was apparently worth over £6,000, smashed to the floor after Linda Barker thought it would be a good idea to place them on suspended shelves… The Guardian spoke to the homeowner who apparently still resents Linda Barker for what she did: “On the very rare occasions she’s on television now, when I do see her, she’s still very bouncy, and I just don’t think she earned the bounce.”
And that concludes our Changing Rooms blast from the past. If you’re keen to avoid any such disasters or want to try your hand at some DIY, then why not check out our Insta-worthy interiors DIY hacks, our favourite Farrow & Ball paints and how to use them or our guide on where to shop for interiors on the high street.