Trading Spaces Then and Now: 5 Major Differences in the Revival

TLC's hit home design/renovation show Trading Spaces returned April 7 after a decade off the air. But even after 10 years, a lot is the same; the format still features two pairs swapping a room in their respective houses and getting one weekend to give the room a makeover with the help of one Trading Spaces designer and contractor.

But there are also some major differences, some of which may surprise viewers. There were a few things the designers talked to us about that we hadn't even considered when thinking about the new iteration of the show. Check out the Trading Spaces gallery ahead for all the details on the new show.

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Then: the Budget

The original Trading Spaces had a budget of $1,000. The good news is the budget has doubled for the reboot; the bad news is that's still only $2,000 because the show wants their makeovers to be accessible to the viewers at home.

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Now: the Budget

"That budget was set 20 years ago, so it's important that it was raised," said host Paige Davis. "But I think it still represents a manageable and tangible budget for people who are looking to redo rooms in their home . . . we raised the budget to account for inflation, I think we've kept it at a place that people can wrap their heads around, because even today, 10 years since we've been off the air, we want people to know that these are creative ideas that they can do in her own home today."

Then: the Cast
Everett Collection

Then: the Cast

The rebooted Trading Spaces has almost the entire original lineup of designers and carpenters back — what they call "the legacies." But there are five new faces joining the mix as well!

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Now: the Cast

Carpenters Joanie Sprague and Brett Tutor and designers Kahi Lee, John Gidding, and Sabrina Soto are joining the team, which adds some fun new dynamics. Davis tells us that they've been ribbing the newbies nonstop, while Lee says it's a dream come true to be a part of a show she watched as a young adult.

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Then: Technology

Back when the show first premiered, there was a lack of technology that we have today, which designer Laurie Smith told POPSUGAR is a huge advantage now.

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Now: Technology

"[When we premiered] no one had cell phones, it was 1999. Or if you did, they were these huge things and who were you even calling because no one else had one," Smith told POPSUGAR with a laugh. "So I'd fly into a city, there was no GPS, no such thing. I had a map, I had to pull over at a pay phone, put a quarter in, look up in the yellow pages and call a place to find out if they were open. Target didn't have a home section. They didn't sell lamps! That was the world."

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Then: Shopping

With technological advances come pros and cons. While the advent of cell phones is a definite bonus, the influx of online shopping is kind of a detriment.

"Back in the day, people understood that we're here in Austin and we're at a flea market and this is what we found. But now with online shopping . . . logistically, it's easier, but again, there was something safe and confining in the sense of 'these are my only choices, so make it work,'" said Smith. "You make a decision faster. So now when the world is your oyster, it's overwhelming. It keeps you from making that instantaneous decision that you need to do make to get it done."

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Now: Shopping

The designers tell us that people now don't see many limits to their choices because almost anything is available online at the click of a button, so that's a challenge for a designer who only has a weekend to complete a room makeover.

"People know you can buy things online cheaper. And then they watch the show and we are very limited because we don't have all of that at our disposal all the time, so that is a challenge," Lee told us.

Smith added that online shopping has the drawback of shipping and the time and money that comes along with that, something clients don't consider sometimes.

"I have $2000, if I'm going to spend $300 to ship a sofa and then it doesn't arrive — which has happened — what are you gonna do?" said Smith.

Then: Expectations

Then: Expectations

Clients and viewers have now been exposed to a plethora of design shows, which Smith said makes them harder to impress.

"The difference now is where I used to take a lampshade and do some applique on it and people were like, 'Ooh, wow, I've never seen that before!' Now they're like, 'Yeah, whatever. I saw that on Pinterest 10 years ago,'" said Smith with a laugh, though she also acknowledges it does make the designers step up their game.

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Now: Expectations

"Homeowners are a lot more educated now, so now they're much more inclined to push back with knowledge as opposed to push back with fear," said Davis, explaining how participants on the show used to be scared of outside-the-box designs, but now they have their own really creative ideas.