The humble beginnings of home renovation shows on television can be traced back to the late 20th century. Before the rush of reality TV and scripted dramas, home improvement-themed shows began taking root, giving everyday homeowners inspiration and advice for their own home projects. This genre, which started off as simple ‘how-to’ guides, has now blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry with a host of trending shows on every major network. These shows combined the allure of transformation with resounding real estate dreams, providing essential entertainment. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the first home renovation shows that paved the way for today’s popular line-up.

Origin of Home Renovation Shows

While home renovation shows may seem like a recent phenomenon given their soaring popularity, their origin dates back to the 1970s. The public’s fascination with home improvement truly started with “This Old House”. Debuting in 1979, the show walked viewers through the renovation of historic homes, combining do-it-yourself advice with storytelling.

Its success inspired other networks to follow suit, with the ’80s and ’90s witnessing a surge in home makeover shows like “Home Again” and “Fixer Upper”. However, it wasn’t until the launch of HGTV in 1994 that home renovation programming became a genre in its own right.

The network tapped into the American dream of homeownership and renovation, offering viewers a glance into spectacular home transformations and igniting the current trend of home renovation reality television.

Impact of Home Improvement (1991-1999)

what were the first home renovation shows

Home Improvement was a pivotal force in the 90s, bringing home renovation into mainstream media. The show’s success created a snowball effect in the industry.

While primarily a comedy and family sitcom, the show didn’t shy away from demonstrating household repairs and upgrades. Tim Allen’s character was all too relatable to the DIY enthusiast, with his love for power tools.

This show played a significant role in inspiring a generation of DIY home enthusiasts. It sparked viewers’ interest in revamping their spaces, leading to an unprecedented rise in the home improvement industry.

Additionally, the series engendered the concept of transforming tired, old rooms into vibrant, appealing spaces. By bringing home remodeling into pop culture, Home Improvement solidly set the trend for subsequent home renovation shows.

Understanding ‘This Old House’ Series

what were the first home renovation shows

In the realm of home renovation shows, ‘This Old House’ holds a distinguished place. Starting its journey in 1979, this series is considered a pioneer in the genre.

‘This Old House’ focuses on home improvement projects, making viewers privy to the overhaul of many old, historic houses. Each episode would feature a rundown house extensively renovated while maintaining its historic charm.

The series offered audiences a surprising amount of technical and educational content. From plumbing to landscaping, the show tackled all aspects of a remodel. The team, led by host Bob Vila, would meticulously discuss each detail, sharing tips, tricks, and invaluable wisdom throughout the process.

Watching ‘This Old House’ is like witnessing history being revived and these restoration stories continue to inspire many viewers. Understanding the roots of home renovation shows helps to appreciate the depth and resonance of this genre.

‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Phenomenon

what were the first home renovation shows

‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ was a phenomenon that revolutionized the home renovation TV genre.

From creating dream homes for deserving families, this show had the perfect blend of emotion, design, and construction. It was never just a repair job; it was a total transformation, often referring to it as “the largest home renovation project you can imagine.”

Each week, viewers tuned in to watch master carpenter Ty Pennington and his team take on a rundown house and deliver a fully renovated and stylish home for families in need.

The ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ has left a prominent mark in the history of home renovation shows and continues to influence contemporary programming. It was an emotional journey not only for the families involved but the millions of people watching from their homes.

Evolution of ‘Trading Spaces’

what were the first home renovation shows

“Trading Spaces”, often credited as the forerunner of home renovation shows, debuted in 2000 and soon became a sensation. Centered around neighbourly camaraderie and cheerful competition, it followed a simple yet riveting concept: neighbours renovate a room in each other’s homes with strict time and budget constraints.

The evolution of “Trading Spaces” is an exemplar of how reality TV adapted to viewers’ tastes. Initially, the show focused primarily on the unexpected transformations. However, as viewers became more design-savvy, its emphasis shifted towards showcasing detailed DIY efforts and design elements, under professional guidance.

The relatable nature of the participants and the show’s egalitarian ethos made complex renovations seem achievable. That combined with expert-led design discussions and a neighbourhood setting, “Trading Spaces” both entertained and educated viewers, catapulting home renovation genre into mainstream television.

Popularity Rise of ‘The Block’

what were the first home renovation shows

Unquestionably, one of the most iconic home renovation shows that magnified the genre’s appeal is ‘The Block’.

Originating from Australia, ‘The Block’ moved audiences from being mere spectators to being renovation enthusiasts. High stakes, constant drama, and innovative designs made it a wholesome entertainment package.

Each episode became a masterclass in landscaping, interior decor, and property development, sparking inspiration for countless viewers. The success of this path-breaking reality show set the stage for numerous others to follow.

Moreover, the captivating way it intertwined personal stories with home architecture resonated with audiences universally.

Emerging trends in home renovations brought to light by ‘The Block’ often set a benchmark for real-life projects as well. Its cultural influence goes beyond the television screens, marking a significant impact on the renovation industry.

‘The Block’ indeed played a phenomenal role in the rise in popularity of home renovation shows.

Influence of ‘Renovation Realities’

what were the first home renovation shows

‘Renovation Realities’ was a pioneering home renovation show that had a significant influence on the mainstream popularity of the home renovation trend. The series provided a realistic depiction of the complexities and challenges that lurk behind seemingly simple DIY home improvement projects.

The show differentiated itself by spotlighting ordinary homeowners instead of professional renovators. This kind of relatable reality content excited viewers and taught them valuable lessons about budgeting, planning, and managing home improvement projects.

This democratization of renovation knowledge contributed heavily to a surge in interest for home improvement culture and cable network DIY programs. ‘Renovation Realities’ success arguably paved the path for a surge in home renovation shows, where today, they sit comfortably at the forefront of popular television and streaming content.

The Succession and Influence of ‘Property Brothers’

what were the first home renovation shows

Starting as a simple pitch in 2011, ‘Property Brothers’ became an unexpected phenomenon in the world of home renovation shows.

Powered by the magnetic charisma of twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, the show combines real estate education with renovation tricks, easily captivating its audience. A successful blend of knowledge and entertainment, it has set a model for others to follow.

Their influence persists even beyond the television screen; the principles they promote have shaped trends in home renovation and interior design, influencing both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

This ripple effect of ‘Property Brothers’ continues to inspire more innovative, engaging home renovation programs. As such, one can argue that the show’s existence has played a pivotal role in perpetuating and expanding the home renovation genre in the world of reality TV.