BBC One's Interior Design Masters is filling the gap that Changing Rooms left behind - Gaby Soutar

Interior Design Masters, Benat and Alan Carr Pic: Darlow Smithson Productions, Georgina VincentInterior Design Masters, Benat and Alan Carr Pic: Darlow Smithson Productions, Georgina Vincent
Interior Design Masters, Benat and Alan Carr Pic: Darlow Smithson Productions, Georgina Vincent
I’m enjoying their property transformations

There’s been a gap in my viewing schedule for an interiors programme since Changing Rooms wrapped after two decades or so.

I didn’t know this vacuum existed, until I got hooked on BBC One’s Interior Design Masters a few years ago.

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We’re currently on series five and the next Tuesday night at 8pm episode – the second last - wil be the semifinal.

Each week, the amateur designers have made over a property. We’ve watched the transformation of rental flats in Sheffield, Ascot hospitality boxes, and a former nunnery that’s been converted into a bed and breakfast. One of the contestants created a sexy smoking nun mural that was deemed inappropriate.

Next up is the dressing rooms at OVO Arena Wembley, with guest judge Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The notable difference between this programme and other interior make-over shows of the past, is that the designers are talented and the budgets seem higher. There’s no stencilling, stippling, or excessive use of MDF wood panelling, as was Changing Rooms’ signature. Although there’s still plenty of staple-gunning to be done, standards have been raised.

Mind you, I do miss the schadenfreude, of a terribly made-over home being unveiled.

Remember the episode when interior designer Linda Barker put a £6k teapot collection on a shoogly shelf, and the whole lot smashed? As much as I adore Laurence Llewlyn-Bowen, he was responsible for some of the biggest crimes against purple paint jobs and toile.

Generally, on Interior Design Masters, the finished designs are tasteful.

There are a few outliers, like the rental flat, which ended up looking more like a children’s playroom, or the shop that was painted an oppressive teal shade, much to guest judge Mary Portas’ chagrin. (Yay, the Queen of Shops is back on the telly).

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I love that the show is presented by Alan Carr, who projects equal measures of supportive warmth and pure cheek. His playfulness contrasts with the gravitas of weekly judge and expert, former Elle Decoration editor and creative consultant, Michelle Ogundehin.

She really knows her onions, and is terrifying in the judging round on the couch, with one person getting punted each week and them all vying to win a contract to create their own line of home furnishings. Basically, she gives them enough rope, and, under pressure, they admit their failings and get ditched. Anthony was the last to go, for that green shop.

Anyway, as we approach the grand finale, my money is on Ben. Unless he gets the stencils and MDF out. Then he’s doomed.



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