Just about any architect, interior designer, or contractor will tell you that doing your research is a crucial part of renovating or building a home. But who says that research has to be boring? With the evolution of modern entertainment television series are becoming more and more diverse – giving you the wealth of the entire world’s major design principles at your fingertips.

House shows cover everything, from design philosophy to the real estate market to even reality TV series like The Block. This makes them a true repository of insider knowledge from the best architectural minds currently in action. Whether you are watching for inspiration with your own renovations or even just to revel in the fact that you are not going through a stressful home remodel, home tv shows will have you covered.

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One thing Australian house shows do best is renovations. Australia has a number of incredibly successful renovation house shows which focus on different aspects of a home remodel, like Raise the Roof – proving how an updated roof can completely transform the look of a home at large – or the fun family drama of Brother vs Brother – where two brothers compete against each other to renovate investment properties. Another Australian show well worth a watch is Extreme Homes Australia.

House shows evolved into what they are today from the iconic home improvement show This Old House, which began running in 1979 and boasts a whopping 43 seasons. This series practically created the genre, following the renovation story of one house across several episodes with recurring tradespeople and host Kevin O’Connor. In fact, this series was so influential that it still in production. An absolute behemoth of the house television genre, this show is largely credited with popularizing the style and theme of home improvement across the globe.

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Modern house shows tend to be more efficient and neat. As technology and editing practices evolved over the years, audiences have become more used to time lapses and jumps in filming. This has allowed for home improvement shows to skip over the more time-draining renovation efforts and instead merely show a clip or two to establish the work that has been done.

As such, home improvement shows often focus on a different house for each episode. This has become a very popular strategy as it caters to the modern attention span and gives a sense of completion after each episode which viewers tend to find very satisfying.

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The payoff and end reveal is a huge part of home improvement shows. It’s the whole reason that the audience keeps watching until the end, and so having a neat structure to provide that payoff each episode is a genius way to ensure people are invested but regularly pleased.

Home improvement shows also have a tendency to feature (or make!) celebrities. Perhaps one of the most prominent figures in the home improvement industry – and specifically, home improvement entertainment – is Kevin McCloud of the cult classic Grand Designs.

Other prominent interior design figures who made their name through home entertainment media include Amanda Keller (Living Room) and the duo Carter Oosterhouse and Gwen Banta from Million Dollar Rooms. Find a list below of 5 more incredible home improvement shows on TV, covering everything from flipping houses to simple makeovers.

House shows on TV: the 5 best home improvement series available to stream

05. Fixer Upper

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Streaming: 9now (channel 9’s free streaming service!)

Fixer Upper is a home renovation and design show focusing on the projects of married couple Joanna and Chip Gaines. The Gaines’ own their own renovation business in Texas, and they travel across America helping individuals design or remodel their houses into their dream homes.

This show was incredibly popular for its heartwarming and beautiful designs. It held the title of one of HGTV’s most watched programs from 2013-2018 and picked up again after some stalling by the coronavirus pandemic.

04. Flea Market Flip

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Streaming: Freeview, Prime Video, Apple TV

A competition show between two teams of professional pickers, this is a great series to show how interior design is an art form that does not require tons of splashy money. Each week the teams are given only $500 to search for hidden gems at a flea market.

They use this money to purchase whichever items they find and then renovate or fix them to try and turn a profit.This is an excellent show to help inspire your own thrifty and DIY renovation – and a helpful reminder that not all renovations need to break the bank to create something beautiful.

03. Interior Design Masters

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Streaming: Netflix Australia

This British reality home improvement show follows a competition between 10 interior designers for a prestigious design contract with a well-known London hotel. This series keeps it interesting, with new challenges every week displaying the wide range of skills you need in order to undertake an interior design career. It was released in 2019 and a third season is currently in production.

02. The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

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Streaming: Netflix Australia 

This series is an excellent one for those who enjoy looking at breathtaking houses across multiple cultures and settings. Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin travel around the world in search for the most impressive homes on the planet – and boy, do they find them. From tiny houses in the mountains to sprawling urban mansions, this show has something for everyone.

The series began in 2017 and is likely to be renewed for a third season sometime soon. While this series is probably less helpful for the DIY home renovator – unless you happen to know how to install hidden pools or smart furniture – it is a fantastic watch to see the diversity of dream houses across the world.

01. Grand Designs

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Streaming: Foxtel

Perhaps the most iconic house tv show still airing, Grand Designs is a British series hosted by Kevin McCloud that has been running for over a decade.

Each episode gives a detailed overview of one project, usually showing the final product towards the end and occasionally revisiting projects that did not get completed in later episodes. Grand Designs was one of the most influential home design shows in the history of renovation media, and host Kevin McCloud has now reached celebrity status even beyond the architecture community where he began.