The UK features several home improvement shows on its television channels, in which viewers’ homes are renovated to a time scale.

In Grand Designs, presenter Kevin McCloud journeys through ambitious home designs with people who want to realise their self build project dreams and make them a reality. Individuals attempt to design and construct their ideal homes, within budget, over a period of several months and battle financial and natural elements to complete on schedule.

Grand Designs

Grand Designs

Grand Designs features some fascinating projects, such as a Zen retreat in Brixton, designed to resemble glass cubes piled on top of each other. In another episode, a man attempts to renovate the ruins of an Irish castle that he used to play in as a boy, with the intention of creating a traditional retreat.

McCloud then revisits the build upon its final completion and assesses whether the owners have achieved their goals or compromised their design dreams.


DIY SOS has been airing since 1999 and is a popular show presented by Nick Knowles in which part of a viewer’s home is redesigned and built to a tight deadline by the team of builders and designers. During the show, videos are shown of people who want their home to be renovated in the following episode. DIY SOS evolved into DIY SOS – The Big Build in 2010 and involves the local community helping families who, for various reasons, deserve some designer SOS in their homes.

Marbella Mansions

Marbella Mansions is a home improvement show, narrated by the comedian Robert Webb, and featuring interior designers, developers and estate workers in the upmarket residential property industry in the Costa del Sol region of Spain.

Episodes include interior designers who have carved out a niche market providing individual furnishings and must please clients with high expectations for their homes, as well as estate agents trying to find holiday homes for foreign buyers. In one episode, the brief is to create a £10k dog house for a luxury villa.

Changing Rooms

Changing Rooms became so popular that it was franchised to Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. It was one of several home improvement shows in which couples swapped houses with friends or neighbours and renovated a room for each other. In the finale of the show, the couples were surprised with their own room transformations, sometimes with flamboyant and shocking results depending on the designer involved.

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