After seven years off the air, HGTV’s popular competition “Design Star” is making a comeback on Discovery+ with “Design Star: Next Gen.”
The show, which is hosted by Allison Holker Boss from “So You Think You Can Dance,” features eight designers working hard to impress judges—all in the hopes of winning the $50,000 grand prize, plus a shot at their own HGTV show.
In the first episode, “Welcome to the Hub,” the eight contestants arrive to the design campus to find eight ugly rooms filled with gaudy furniture and dated paint colors. Yikes! Their task is to turn these spaces into stunning living and dining rooms that reflect their signature styles.
At the end of the show, judges Jonathan Adler and Lauren Makk, along with guest judge of the week Jasmine Roth, will pick the winning room—and kick one designer off the show. Check out which upgrades they love—and hate—which might inspire some changes to your own abode.
Slat walls add sophisticated room separation
Each competitor is given a long, rectangular room to design, and one designer from Colorado Springs, CO, Arianna Danielson, decides that while she doesn’t want to close off any part of the space, she needs to create a little separation between the living and dining spaces. So she decides to install slat walls.
“It’s just going to filter all the light through, but still just keep some separation,” Danielson says of the walls.
Danielson describes her style as “grandma chic,” but once the judges view the results, Adler describes it as “kind of ugly.”
While the judges may not love Danielson’s vintage vision, the slat walls do work wonders. They give the two rooms some separation without blocking sightlines.
Arches are in
Contestant Carmeon Hamilton, from Memphis, TN, has a bohemian style that’s modern and unique, so it’s no surprise when the judges praise her living and dining rooms for their stylish look. She gives her space a dark, moody color and finishes off her design with a feature bookshelf in the center of the room.
While some designers might prefer to keep a space clear in the middle to keep a room feeling wide and open, this bookcase acts as a beautiful focal point. It’s a risk, but the placement of this bookcase pays off. Plus, the judges are impressed with the arched top.
“I love the way there’s, like, this arch theme happening, and it’s also very on trend,” Adler says.
To finish off the look, Hamilton gives a table an arch-shaped detail as well.
“It’s actually one of the cutouts from the arches. The pieces were just lying in scraps,” Hamilton says.
This creative addition looks great in the space, and it pulls the arch design together.
Open concept can be overrated
Meanwhile, competitor Chris Goddard, who hails from Springdale, AR, decides to separate his living and dining spaces with a wall. But to give it some personality, he creates a squared-off arch and adds a glimmer of gold paint.
The judges love this feature wall, and Roth points out that the gold paint on the frame is a nice touch. It adds some color to the large entryway.
Subtle changes in paint color make a big difference
When the judges see Pittsburgh designer Tony Allgeier‘s fun design, they’re unimpressed with the colors.
“When I see pink and gray, I see the ’80s and it looks a little sad,” Adler says.
However, when they step into Denver designer Eli Hariton’s room, they notice the same general color combination but praise the slightly different hues.
“The other pink and gray was sad, and this pink and gray is happy,” Adler says.
The brighter pink does indeed look better, proving that even a slight change in color can make a world of difference.
Darker colors make a space feel cozy
While both Allgeier and Hariton are focused on mixing light and dark colors, Peti Lau of Los Angeles is separating colors by room. In her space, she gives the family room a light-green wall color while the dining room is a darker shade.
“What I want to do is really focus on the dining room being cozy and intimate and the living room being very open and expansive,” she says.
Lau uses a partial wall to separate the spaces, and then uses light paint to make the sitting room seem larger and dark paint to make the dining space seem smaller. It’s a good trick of the eye that adds dimension to what would otherwise be just a large rectangle. These two rooms are connected, and yet they feel distinct.
‘Design Star: Next Gen’: Who’s this week’s winner?
In the end, the judges choose Goddard’s fabulous room, complete with the wonderful feature wall, as the best of the bunch.
Meanwhile, the judges say goodbye to Marisa Molinaro from Los Angeles, whose styles are a little too wild for these judges. Now, this competition is down to seven designers who will duke it out next week.
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