It used to be that the term “home improvement shows” garnered images of Bob Vila, standing in an old house, describing every action as he hammered. While these types of shows were highly informative, they weren’t busting with entertainment appeal: if not for the pounding of the hammer, you might have fallen asleep.
Nowadays it’s different; home improvement shows aren’t only concerned with being educational, they are also concerned with being fun to watch: they want to touch on emotion as much as they want to touch on intellect. For these reasons, the home improvement shows of yore have all but gone away, and the home improvement shows of today are improving television ratings.
The following is our list of the best home improvement shows, shows that hit the entertainment nail on the head.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC: In its third year of prime time exposure, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is seeing extreme success. A show that takes the houses of struggling families – families struggling because of health problems, impoverishment, or natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina – and makes them into architectural and designer masterpieces, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition leaves us all wondering what we would do if we had endless money, and a crew of hundreds. On an unselfish front, this show also tugs on our heart strings, leaving us joyful that the burden of a struggling family has been somewhat lessened. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is the only home improvement show that can routinely make us cry.
Design on a Dime, HGTV: All of us want to remodel, redo, redecorate, but not all of us have the resources. For those of us without tens of thousands of dollars to spend on home improvement, Design on a Dime is singing our song. Design on a Dime features a team of designers who take a budget of a thousand dollars and do wonders to a house. This show shows us that a regular old boring room can be turned into one with flair and appeal without spending great amounts of money. Sure, you might not be able to design on literally a dime, but you might be surprised at how frugally you can fix up your house.
Trading Spaces, Discovery Home: Dueling banjos meets home improvement, Trading Spaces is a show that allows two sets of people to redecorate one room in the other’s house. With each set of people having only two days of decorating, and a budget of just a thousand dollars, Trading Spaces is a great show for people who need quick, cheap decorating ideas. Though the show grants each set of people a carpenter and a designer – two things you might not exactly have lying around – it is still a show that sparks creativity in the person who knows they want to improve their house, but isn’t sure how.
Toolbelt Diva, Discovery Home: I am woman, hear me roar, or at least hear me pour cement. Toolbelt Diva is a show that teaches us all that home improvement isn’t just for the boys. A do-it-yourself program hosted by Norma Vally, this show is aimed at encouraging women to take the bull by the horns: it grants women power… tools. Enlightening, entertaining, and educational, Toolbelt Diva shows the world that you can engage in home improvement and have a uterus… all at the same time.
Home Improvement, now in syndication: Sure, the show Home Improvement – with Tim Allen wreaking havoc on just about anything he touches – is definitely more of a show on how to destroy your house than one on how to repair it, but it makes our list for one reason: it brings heart and comedy to the usually boring concept of fixing up a house. A show that aired on ABC from 1991 to 1999, Home Improvement, eight years later, still has a unique way of bringing out the handyman in all of us.