HGTV’s “Extreme Makeover” Design Team Shared the Best Small-Space Living Tips From This Season

updated Apr 6, 2020
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Credit: HGTV

Throughout the first season of the rebooted “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the design team helped families in cramped, dated quarters start fresh in new homes with smart designs. Some of houses were built from the ground up while others were gutted and renovated, but one overarching theme is for certain—the finished products are filled with tips and tricks that anyone living in small spaces can benefit from. 

The three designers on the show—Breegan Jane, Carrie Locklyn, and Darren Keefe Reiher—all contributed different skills to the process. Locklyn, a professional designer and organizer, brought the mentality of “organize, organize, edit, and organize again,” two things that are at the core of making the most of whatever sized space you have. 

We got to talk the entire design team all at once, and they revealed the home renovations that embodied their favorite small space living tips—plus one that we pulled out ourselves. Check them out below:

Credit: HGTV

The Washington Family, Episode 4: Built-In Dining Room Table 

This mid-century modern home in Los Angeles got a full renovation while embracing its original style. In the living room area, the team decided to take a blank wall with a mere sofa and lamp leaning against it (see lead photo) and transform it into a built-in dining room table. The new carved-out seating area is complete with a U-shaped bench, table, and two chairs, making the most functionality-wise out of the alcove. 

“I think built-ins are always fun,” Reiher tells Apartment Therapy. “I think that’s a great tip for adding storage space without losing space in the home. It also can be a fun DIY project, if you’re capable and want to tackle something like that.” 

Credit: HGTV
Credit: HGTV

Mayo Family, Episode 5: Banquette

The Mayo family renovation, which was episode 5 of the series, also featured a similar small-space hack within their home. The layout didn’t include a formal dining space prior to the remodel, but the design team installed a cozy banquette seating area that had hidden drawers underneath—maximizing storage space to the fullest. 

Credit: HGTV
Credit: HGTV

The Mosley Family, Episode 1: Bedroom Wall Divider 

When Jessica and her five children moved in with her mom, they had to figure out how to squeeze seven people into three bedrooms. Prior to the makeover, three of the teenage girls shared one room, while the two other siblings shared another. But after the massive renovation, they had a handful of new bedrooms—at least, that’s what it felt like thanks to a few dividers. 

By using custom room dividers, the design team was able to create personalized areas for four of the children (the fifth was the only boy and got his own bedroom). Not only did the dividers create the sense of separate spaces, but it also gave the girls more built-in storage. 

“We did a built in divider wall, but on either side of the wall were shelving units and also just a flat surface,” Locklyn says. “It was a really great way if you have one room and you have two children or even two roommates. You could really personalize that space and individualize that space.” 

Credit: HGTV
Credit: HGTV

The Holtzclaw Family, Episode 3: Installed Wall Desks 

The design team stepped in to make the Holtzclaw’s house more assessable for Jeff, a husband and father who had been in a serious motorcycle incident that changed his life forever. The layout of the living room completely transformed into an open concept, offering a space for the whole family to hang out—and for the kids, to get creative with their wall-installed desks. 

The white rectangular boxes stick out of the wall ever so slightly, and the different cubbies inside of lets items stay organized while taking up minimal space. The wooden chairs can easily be pushed in underneath, taking up little to no space when not being used. 

Tune in to the season finale of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” airing Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m. ET on HGTV.