Five interior design tips from Dream Home Makeover on Netflix

Sira Huwiler-Flamm

The new Netflix series “Dream Home Makeover” shows you what’s important if you want to create your very own dream home. Find out here what we can learn from the reality documentary.

Huge golden lamps hang above a white kitchen island with a waterfall worktop. Syd and Shea McGee and the Hutchinsons can be seen in the background. © Netflix
© Netflix

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The series: Dream Home Makeover

Dream Home Makeover” is the name of the new Netflix series in which the American McGee couple turns houses, apartments or individual rooms into dream homes. Shea and Syd have been together for eleven years and have been at the head of two independent interior decorating companies since 2014. In the reality documentary, cameras follow them as they make their clients’ dreams come true – but in real life, after many years of living in rented apartments, they have only just completed, furnished and brought to life their own dream house for themselves and their two daughters.

Shea and Syd McGee are enjoying an amazing success story that proves that determination and enthusiasm for ideas can help you achieve anything. After the birth of their first daughter Wren (6), the young family set up their first own home together. When Shea posted pictures of it on Instagram, she quickly attracted large numbers of followers and recognized the opportunity of a business idea. The couple sold the house, invested every dollar in setting up their own company – and five years later, they not only have two successful companies with around 90 employees, but also 1.8 million Instagram followers and their own Netflix series.

Syd is the managing director of the companies. Businesswoman Shea is responsible for creative realization. She makes lifestyle dreams come true with love, passion and knowledge of human nature. “I believe that furnishings have a direct impact on our mood and how we feel,” she says. As well as passing on sensitive advice like this, each of the six episodes of the first season contains a whole host of practical furnishing tips.

Tip 1: find your own personal style

Some people like light, muted colors, while others love extravagant eye-catching lamps, breathtakingly high ceilings or rustic building elements. “Your home should reflect your personal style,” says Shea, explaining the concept she applies for making homeowners happy. The aim is to capture a person’s attitude to life and to reflect it in the design of their home – in a very individual way.

If you like going to France on vacation and want to reproduce the same way of life in your own four walls, you can work with Mediterranean accessories. If you prefer spending time with lots of friends, you should create a central, comfortable room with a large dining table. And depending on your hobbies and preferences, you can choose to set up your own fitness room, a wellness bathroom or a home cinema with a huge screen. Anything is possible. It all depends on your personal taste.

Shea and Syd McGee are standing with Trey Ennis in front of his new home cinema. A large screen and a Union Jack can be seen in the background: in the foreground there is a brown couch. © Netflix

Trey Ennis from the UK longed for his own home cinema in the basement: Shea and Syd helped him fulfill this dream – complete with the Union Jack.

Tip 2: fill rooms with vitality

No matter whether it’s a private home, an apartment or a vacation property – a home is for living and relaxing in. And the furnishings have a huge influence on how we live our lives: “A good design creates a space where people can spend time and create memories together.” The rooms should therefore be adapted to the living conditions and needs of the inhabitants.

And above all: the rooms should be designed to make you feel good. The couple’s practical tips for making every room homely include incorporating home textiles and other decorative elements. If you’re surrounded by beautiful things that mean a lot to you, it doesn’t matter as much if there’s one not-so-perfect corner. “You spend more time with the people you love in attractively decorated rooms,” says Shea confidently.

A living room in muted colors. A fur throw is lying on an armchair. In the background, green trees can be seen through a floor-level window. © Netflix

Surrounded by greenery in the center of Los Angeles: the McGees have created a cozy living room in muted colors in the dream home of the Ramos family.

Tip 3: anyone can optimize their life if their brave enough

With courage, perseverance and passion, anything seems possible – including interior design. When clients call in Shea in the Netflix series, one thing is clear: they really hate the individual room they want to change. They are often even ashamed to let other people into their house or prefer to hide certain rooms or messy corners behind a large curtain.

“Sometimes all you need is a rug in the kitchen or a new vase in the entrance area so that everything seems new and you become more satisfied with your home again,” advises Shea. If we want to feel really comfortable, the design of each individual room is crucial – as is the elimination of any particularly problematic areas. We just need the guts to tackle them.

The McGees and the Calls are in the unused room with the fireplace. They discuss the details of the conversion work. © Netflix

The room of shame: the Call family only receives guests in the summer because they are ashamed of the room with the fireplace.

Tip 4: change is possible with any budget

If you take care of a job yourself, you can save thousands of francs – this is shown again and again by capable do-it-yourselfers in the series. And Shea says: “A room can still be restyled on a small budget” – whether you can or want to invest 200, 20,000 or 2 million francs in your renovation or transformation project. That’s because even the smallest details and accessories can help you feel you’ve succeeded.

Shea’s favorite decorative elements include cushions and other colored textiles. “Shake cushions and karate chop them.” This arranges them perfectly, according to the interior design expert. “The tone in a room is set by the objects inside it and the way in which they are combined.” This means that the entire room does not always have to be completely renovated immediately. “It just has to feel good,” – then we are able to find inner peace.

Shea McGee shows the Wangsgards their new living room under the roof. Beams from the old barn are visible in the background. © Netflix

The Wangsgard family wanted a living room where they could watch TV and play with the children – but that retained the character of the old barn.

Tip 5: contrasts create interesting rooms

Shea likes to combine strikingly colored paneling on the walls with other elements such as pieces of furniture in opposite tones – for instance dark blue walls with a huge leather sofa in a light cognac color. “If everything is the same color, it soon becomes boring,” she explains.

Contrasts between light and dark, masculine and feminine or modern and rustic create tension and atmosphere. The McGee family’s own ultra-modern house has plenty of elements made of old wood, for instance, such as a 100-year-old wooden beam, which, integrated into the new building, lends atmosphere to the parents’ bathroom.

A dining table stands in front of a white fireplace, in the background is a window, in the foreground a couch and an armchair. © Netflix

No longer a room of shame: the McGees have converted the Call family’s fireplace room into a room where they are happy to invite guests.

Conclusion: a dream home is always very individual

Some people are looking for a decadent style with six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a private basketball court or a home cinema in the basement. For others, it’s a huge achievement if the chaotic storage room finally becomes a comfortable area for the whole family to spend time in. Dream Home Makeover shows that every dream house is extremely individual. The most important thing is that it makes the owners happy.

The series also includes many valuable tips on how to make a small room look bigger or how to combine colors and use contrasts to prevent your home from becoming boring. The McGees give viewers the optimism that everyone can make their homes even more comfortable, cozy and attractive in a few simple steps.

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