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Netflix and Chill: Interior Design

Written by NDA tutor Amy Payler-Carpenter

Search ‘interiors’ on Netflix and there are plenty of shows to entertain you, however as Netflix start to develop their own original content there are a few really interesting new concepts appearing. Here is a rundown of the 4 Netflix Original shows we’ve been watching this week.


Amazing Interiors

As the name suggests this shows boosts some of the worlds most amazing interiors. This show really has a style for everyone, looking at a wealth of projects from across the globe. Within each show, 3 projects are examined. One is a ‘live project’ with filming taking place while the work is carried out, with the other two projects showcased retrospectivity.

The main focus of episode one is a Houseboat, located on the River Thames, London. The main aim of the project is for the couple to be able to live in the location they prefer but at a fraction of the price. There are a number of interesting aspects to the project; limited space, natural light and storage, all of which needed to be addressed. The final scheme illustrates what can be done within the context of a boat and uses reclaimed wood and handmade concrete countertop to cut down on costs.

In episode one we are also introduced to two other projects which have already been completed. The first, in Illinois, USA, is a basement bar dedicated to the baseball team, The Cubs. As well as a place to entertain, this space also needed to house memorabilia. The final touch is a TV above the urinal put there by the owner who didn’t want anyone to miss a game, even if they needed the toilet!

The final project, and most impressive or ‘amazing’ interior, is the world’s 3rd largest domestic fish tank, built into the center of a house by the resident in Israel. The tank was designed first, being the main focal point, with the design of the house becoming secondary. A decision which the owner’s family described as ‘totally mad’.

What is great about this show is the range of project sizes, locations and budgets. There is a variety within this show which you do not always get in interior design shows. As each episode is only 30 minutes long, it is well worth a watch. However, due to the length of the show you do not get into the nitty gritty of a design project as you might in a longer episode.



Stay Here

This is a home improvement show with a twist; the owners, usually previous residents, now use their properties as short term or holiday let through online organisations such as Airbnb. As well as the design aspect of the show, the owners are introduced to a number of techniques used to let a property, as well as being given clear market statistics. This is an interesting premise and one that students studying module 6, ‘home staging and show home design’, might benefit from. The show is presented by interior designer, Genevieve Gorder and Peter Lorimer, a real estate broker.

The first episode again focused on a house boat, but this time the boat is completely removed from the water while the work is completed. If you are interested in this area of design it would be worth watching this and the previous episode discussed as a comparison, learning about the different techniques used in the sector.

All shows must have a ‘hook’, and here it is the presenters’ ability to be completely offensive about the client’s current schemes, whilst maintaining a smile. This is the reality show element coming into play. The show has a competitive edge and is driven solely by revenue.

However, overall the concept in this first episode is clear and the space itself is completely transformed; bright, homely and clean. Like all traditional interior design shows, there is a big reveal, which means that the designer does not work very closely with the clients, meaning that it does not truly reflect a real-life design project. This being said, the clients did like the final design in this instance. Finally, it would have been nice to have revisited the property to see if the changes made had any impact on the revenue of the business.



Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

As an interior design student, you would have had to have been living in a cave to have not heard the name ‘Marie Kondo’ or phrase ‘Spark Joy’, both of which have taken the internet by storm. Within each episode of this show, Marie meets a different family, with a different set of considerations and helps them order their homes. Not strictly a design show, but it could be argued that her methods have a similar effect.

The show surrounds the method ‘KonMari’, which is the organisation of personal effects by category rather than location. Within this there are 5 categories, all of which have their own set of rules:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono (this covers the kitchen, bathroom, garage and any miscellaneous items).
  5. Sentimental

When organising each category, anything that does not ‘spark joy’ (meaning it does not give you a warm and fuzzy feeling), should be thrown out. Although I’m sure the charity shops would be a better place to take unwanted items.

Episode one, 50 minutes long, is titled ‘Tidying with Toddlers’ and covers how a house can be organised around a family and, crucially, stay organised. The hook here is the emotions felt by the participants of the show who believe that their lives would be better is they could just get their house in order. Without a long-range study this is difficult to assess, but initially Marie’s effects seem to have a positive impact.

One of the most popular elements of the show has been The Marie Kondo Method of Folding, whereby everything in a drawer or box can be seen clearly and accessed easily. If you want to learn how to fold like Marie, then watch the first episode as you will find out how. Overall the show contains some helpful tips for those who are struggling to organise a space, however a lot of what is included within it is common sense, do you really need someone to tell you how to tidy up?



Tiny House Nation

With small space design increasingly popular, there have been plenty of design shows focusing on the methods and techniques used within this specialist sector. If you are interested in small spaces, Tiny House Nation will probably not tell you anything you don’t already know. However, the projects are interesting and the presenters, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, are entertaining making for an overall enjoyable show.

In the first episode, John and Zack visit a couple who started their own small house in the form of a trailer, which was never finished. There is a personal element to this show as you start to get to know the participants and this is the main selling point.

This show is not just about interior design, it also has an element of decluttering and organisational solutions. In this episode, the couple are moving from a larger house to this much smaller trailer, so there is also the lifestyle change to address, which the presenters do in a light-hearted manner. There is also an added element of jeopardy in this episode as the build needs to be finished by the time the couple get married, giving the team 1 month to complete. Finally, there is the big reveal, leaving the couple lost for words.


You may not have thought about it before but when carrying out research, shows like this can be used, as long as the information is relevant. Here are just a few available on Netflix, but there are a range of shows and documentary out here for all our specialist subjects, so why not check one out this weekend?

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