The host of the cult-favorite makeover show reveals how those epic 'fail' room reactions went down on set

By Mackenzie Schmidt
April 06, 2018 12:40 PM

On Trading Spaces, every cringe is authentic, says host Paige Davis.

Some of the most memorable moments from the original run of the beloved series, which returns to TLC after a 10-year hiatus on April 7, are the room reveals the homeowners hated. But the “mother of all design shows,” as the reboot’s trailer dubs it, never faked a horrified stare or stifled sob.

Peter Yang

“It’s all real,” says Davis on People Now. “This is the thing we keep trying to tell everybody when we’re promoting the show. It really is done in two days. The homeowners really do the work. They really do spend the night in each other’s house.”

At the end of their decorating sprint, all that stress makes for some real (and really entertaining) drama: “The homeowners are exhausted. Their emotions are very raw. Sometimes they even forget they traded. When I say, ‘It’s time to see your room,’ they’re like ‘Oh, our room!’ They get so into the room they’re doing.”

The often extreme nature of the show’s makeovers — think circus stripes, sand on the floor, and hay on the walls — lead to some disorienting reveals for the homeowners and some tense moments of silence for the viewers.

“It’s often such a radical change that they don’t even know where they’re standing in their own space. [They’re] like wait, where’s my door? Where’s the window? Where did we come in?” Davis says.

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Still, she swears she never tries to elicit the most dramatic reaction from the homeowners. She doesn’t need to! The best thing she can do, she says: “Just wait, wait, wait.”

And even those who weren’t smitten with their space, she notes, left happy. “I’ve never known a homeowner, ever, who’s traded spaces — even someone who didn’t like their room in the end, in fact, even people who have hated their rooms in the end — who didn’t love the experience of Trading Spaces, and would do it again,” she says.