HGTV's Design Star: Would-Be Decorators Blind With Color or Gag With Kitsch

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They come from all over the country to win HGTV’s Design Star title. The sixth season kicked off this past Monday and will air weekly on Mondays at 9pm. Winners of the competition will be given their own design show on HGTV although caution here: this “design show” might be anything from a middle of the night special to a regular series. In the past few months I’ve seen at least three winners of past Design Star competitions on various shows but none on any kind of a regular basis.

The contenders and their projects are judged by a most esteemed panel of HGTV design stars to include Genevieve Gorder, Candace Olson, and Vern Yip.


Genevieve, a beloved HGTV staple on her design show Dear Genevieve, designs for most of us with limited funds and more ordinary living spaces. Candace has upscale tastes and is too an HGTV staple with her Divine Design. Her interiors are interesting - and as an aside, Candace almost obsessively pulls out all lights in the room she is designing to my complete amusement - but often not the stuff of an average American home. Yip, host of Deserving Design, is a former Design Star himself and by my experience is a very tough judge.

I’m like most Americans, I suspect, in that I like my space to look not only neat, organized, and functional, I’d also like my surroundings to look stylish and modern as well. And like many Americans, I lack any sort of inborn talent to do much beyond hanging pictures, straight if luck is on my side.

Thus I appreciate the talents of those able to take my living space and transform it into something that instantly captures the admiration of those who enter, but also makes me and my family feel content to live in a space decorated to please our tastes and sensibilities.

Home decorating is not the skill of the silly, nor is it unimportant. The lowest of the animal kingdom chooses its nest locale for safety and practicality then builds/designs it to suit the needs of its species.

If nothing else, Design Star will give the viewer endless decorating ideas that elude our more pedestrian interior design skills.

The contest begins with a dozen entrants from all walks of life. The initial design challenge was to be their very own penthouse where they would all be staying for the duration of the competition.

Some of the resulting room designs defied any hint that the designers were learned in the art. Most of the rooms as submitted for judging were striking, creative or elegant in design, however.

Contenders Kevin and Bret painted their bedroom one hideous orange/red that almost had me putting on my sunglasses out here in TV land. Entrants Kellie and Karl made over the penthouse’s so-called bonus room and this room design was right up my alley. This space was filled with odd nooks and crannies due to the building’s architecture. These designers created the perfect room that sparkled with style yet spoke quietly of sensible functionality.

Blanche and Mark re-did a girl’s bedroom and, for reasons unknown, filled the walls with ugly insets and foil doily type things that looked like garish prom wrist corsages pasted randomly on a wall.


In fact, since it was Blanche’s idea to festoon the walls with Christmas bows she was the first Design Star contender sent home this season.

The winner of this week’s design challenge was the bonus room, with contender Karl the deserving recipient of much judge praise.


We’ll be checking in occasionally on the status of this successful HGTV reality contest to the end when the next interior designer of note outshines the competition to win his or her own design show on HGTV.

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Pat Fish has been a blogger for almost ten years. She has been published numerous times in the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort book series and wrote for Blogcritics. She has written a few books and vows to write till death does part her from the keyboard. Pat loves to write about current…

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