Changing Rooms is back with a new home

Wednesday: Changing Rooms; (Channel 4, 8pm)

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 5:00 pm

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Changing Rooms was one of the most talked-about shows on TV, making household names of interior designers like Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Linda Barker, and providing viewers with some very memorable moments.

If you missed out first-time around, the idea behind the show is that a couple would swap houses with friends or neighbours so they could each decorate a room in the other’s home.

Each ‘team’ would be given an interior designer, a very limited budget and a couple of days to help them achieve their vision, before the owners returned home to view the results.

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Jordan Cluroe, Russell Whitehead, Tibby Singh, Anna Richardson and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Not everyone was happy with what they saw, which was one of the reasons Changing Rooms became a phenomenon – many people were tuning in to see the experts get carried away by theming and the potential neighbourhood feuds rather than to pick up inspiration for their own decorating plans.

Perhaps the most notorious episode came in 2000, when Barker added a hanging shelving unit, which subsequently collapsed, destroying a collection of vintage teapots.

Now, the series is back with a new home on Channel 4, and many viewers will be wondering what it will look like in an era of Pintrest and Instagram interiors. The good news is that that show hasn’t lost touch with its pattern-and-texture-loving roots, as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is back, and apparently just as colourful as ever.

He says: “There’s no room for beige in our homes and, just as it was in the 90s, Changing Rooms is once more the homestyle antidote to Britain’s blues (and greys and taupes, and even magnolia). It’s taken quite a lot of coaxing to get me under the Changing Rooms banner once more, but nothing like as much coaxing as it’s going to take for me to squeeze those leather trousers back on.”

He’s joined by rival designers Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio, who specialise in what the programme-makers are billing as ‘joyful minimalism’, as well as carpenter and joiner Tibby Singh in what Changing Rooms fans will know as the Handy Andy role.

The re-booted show has also already undergone a bit of a makeover of its own. When it was first announced, Davina McCall was due to be the presenter. However, the logistics around filming in people’s houses during a pandemic meant that the dates had to change, and McCall had a clash of commitments. So now Naked Attraction’s Anna Richardson (not to be confused with her near-namesake, former Changing Rooms designer Anna Ryder Richardson) is stepping in.

In the first episode, the team is in Swansea, where postal-worker Lisa would like a unique, contemporary look for her cluttered, neutral bedroom and florist Claire wants the sea of beige in her living room banished in favour of something more ostentatious. Judging by its 1990s form, Claire in particular has chosen the right programme, but will the neighbours be pleased with the results when they makeover each other’s rooms?

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