The Best & Worst Rooms from the Original Trading Spaces

updated Mar 4, 2020
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(Image credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Alright all you Trading Spaces heads (Trading Spacers? Trading Spaceophiles?), we’re sure you remember your favorite TS designers, but how well do you remember the actual rooms they made over? In preparation for the all new season with the same old cast, we’ve put together a good, old-fashioned best/worst round up to jog your memory. (Spoiler: this list may contain material unsuitable for those with an aversion to unconventional wall treatments by Hildi Santo-Tomas.)


(Image credit: TLC)

Kitchen Nightmares

Hildi Santo-Tomas gets a bad rap for her avant-garde approach to interior design. In this episode, she transformed a normal kitchen (i.e. a room traditionally used for eating and storing food) into something straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “Blood” splattered fabric was stapled to the walls, along with a dirty old tank top (??) and all-red wall and window treatments. It’s…weird.

(Image credit: TLC)
(Image credit: TLC)

Prison of Love

If you always wanted to spend the night in a prison cell without the legal repercussions, designer Doug Wilson is your man. In this episode, Doug drew inspiration for a couple’s bedroom (aka the room in the house most often associated with rest and sleep) from a legit jail cell. He literally put bars on the walls and made a bench out of two toilet bowls. We will admit, however, that if this room were in the same house as Hildi’s horror kitchen, they’d both get some major cohesiveness points.

(Image credit: TLC)

Sand Trap

Good design is as much about visual aesthetic, as it is about functionality. Hildi intended to create something fun when she chose to design an unconventional beach-themed room, but we don’t think she thought much beyond that. Multiple wheelbarrows full of sand were dumped in the center of this ultimate stay-cay room, and we can’t help but equate this house with our sand-coated bathing suite regions after a day at the beach. Attempting to get in and out of a sandy room without tracking it all over the place was surely a daily challenge these homeowners were not looking forward to.

(Image credit: TLC)

Hay is for Humans

Hildi strikes again by bringing the outside in, regardless of whether or not it may cause irreversible damage and years of clean up. A woman with a vision (respect), Hildi could not be deterred from gluing (literally GLUING) hay (literally HAY) to the walls. Did it give the walls a unique texture? Yes. Did the homeowners complain that it smelled like a petting zoo? Yes. Do we still love Hildi? Duh.


(Image credit: TLC)

Blossoming Bathroom

Ok, Hildi may have won (lost?) 3 out of the 4 rooms in the Worst Rooms category, but in my opinion, she makes up for it with this silk-flower-lined bathroom. I, personally, think this room unfairly gets pinned as one of the worst rooms in Trading Spaces history. First of all, if you’re going to go over-the-top, isn’t the bathroom the best place to do it? Second of all, I’m a huge fan of the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo California, and I feel like this room would fit in perfectly. Come to think of it, the Madonna Inn should add a Hildi-themed room to their list of new additions.

(Image credit: TLC)

Jungalow: The Early Years

Genevieve was definitely one of the more tasteful designers on the show. Even though pretty much every room from the original season looks terribly dated now, this Moroccan-themed girls room still holds up pretty well. The main focus of Genevieve’s design is a dreamy curtained-in bed nook filled with a lush assortment of pillows for a laid back, boho feel. All this room needs is an equally lush assortment of plants and it’s in official jungalow territory.

(Image credit: TLC)

Sentimental Southwest

We love Genevieve’s personal approach to design. She recently told TLC, “my favorite rooms were the ones where I got to connect to a deeper sense of family and merged brand new with the very familiar.” This Southwest-inspired design, which features a cohesive red, white and brown color palette, prominently features an old photo of the homeowners deceased father. Design with a soul.

(Image credit: TLC)

Laurie’s Big-Ticket Treatment

Remember when Trading Spaces upped the stakes with a $100,000 episode? For this ratings-booster, each homeowner was given $50,000 each to complete their room. In case you didn’t know, that’s $49,000 more than usual. Laurie (safe) and Doug (risky) were the two designers chosen for this episode, and Laurie’s room looks like it’s straight out of the pages of Country Living or Better Homes and Gardens, circa 2001. Sure, it’s dated now, but we have to admit the overall design looks professional and pulled-together with top notch window treatments. We also have to admit that seeing how out-of-style a $50,000 design looks only 16 years later is rather alarming.

If one thing is for sure, Trading Spaces was more about the journey than the destination. There’s no denying that whether or not the homeowners liked their made over rooms, they always seemed to have a good time in the process. We can’t wait to see what whacky antics the designers will be up to this season! What Trading Spaces rooms stick out in your memory?