How Studio McGee Crafted the Beautiful Spaces in ‘Dream Home Makeover’

Learn all about the colors and decorating secrets Studio McGee uses in the new season, plus decor tips and more from Syd and Shea McGee.

Photos from season four of Dream Home Makeover with Studio McGee on Netflix

Netflix; Design: Better Homes & Gardens

Since its 2014 launch, Studio McGee—and the couple behind the design studio, Syd and Shea McGee—has been busy making waves in the world of home decor. The team’s list of accomplishments over the last few years includes a McGee & Co. online store, a Target partnership, and a Netflix show, just to name a few, and Studio McGee’s signature aesthetic—a twist on contemporary farmhouse decor that blends neutrals with moody pops of color and has a certain effortlessness that is uniquely Studio McGee—is the source of home inspiration for millions. (Literally—Studio McGee boasts an impressive 3.6 million Instagram followers.)

With the release of the fourth season of their Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover, on December 9, Better Homes & Gardens caught up with Syd and Shea to discuss what they’re most excited for viewers to see in the new season, how they get that Studio McGee look, and more.

Packing Drama (the Visual Kind) into Season Four of Dream Home Makeover

“I think we have a really fun variety of projects that we’re showcasing this season, from one of our team members’ homes to an old pioneer home and even our Airstream,” Shea says. “And we did a mid-century bathroom. We’re kind of all over the map as far as styles go, and that’s fun to showcase.”

The Airstream makeover, especially, posed a new challenge to Shea: It’s one of the smaller projects they’ve tried yet, she says, and while she had a vision for the space, she says bringing that vision to life wasn’t easy.

“The style is in line with our look, of course. I had to be mindful of how we used every square inch of it and made everything dual-purpose,” she says. The bench that served as seating for the dining table doubles as a bed, for example, and everything had to be made of lightweight materials, something Shea says she hasn’t had to consider in other projects.

The other highlight Shea is excited for fans to see? Her use of color.

In one moody kitchen remodel, they paired a dark island with a dark countertop, and in a mid-century bathroom remodel, they put a striking dark tile behind the bathtub.

“Those are two very different rooms, but we added some drama with some depth of color, which I think made a big difference,” Shea says.

Photos from season four of Dream Home Makeover with Studio McGee on Netflix


If you want to try the same dramatic splash of color in your own home, Shea says you can try deep tones that speak to you—dark accents don’t always have to be black.

“Instead of a black accent, you can pick deep colors where the tone could be a bit more subdued, and then that keeps it flowing with the rest of the collection in the space,” she says.

Letting Spaces Flow

The Studio McGee look is defined by a sort of casual elegance. Shea says her secret to making that happen is to let the decor flow and come together naturally.

“I think that when it’s too matchy-matchy, it does feel like you try too hard,” she says. “And having some surprises in there, whether that’s mixing metals or it’s mixing styles together, helps the room feel more personal as well.”

Bringing in elements as you find them and focusing on how a room feels rather than trying to make everything look perfectly put-together also allows your space to feel dynamic—even effortless—rather than stiff and static.

Photos from season four of Dream Home Makeover with Studio McGee on Netflix


“I think that if you’re flexible in how you design the room, then it allows the room to be paced organically over time, which you want,” Shea says. “You want the evolution in your home, and you don’t want it to look like a time capsule. I think that when you do mix, that allows you to get more longevity for your design.”

Another way Studio McGee achieves its characteristic look? Bringing in a little bit of what Shea calls wow factor. You can capture that eye-grabbing visual energy through a few methods: She suggests features like full fireplace moments, custom range hoods, and plenty of vintage accents.

Photos from season four of Dream Home Makeover with Studio McGee on Netflix


“You’ll see in the new season of the show that [we’re] having those pieces that have a bit more personality and then mixing and matching,” she says. “I think that if you take everything that’s one style, the design can fall a bit flat, and so really trying to mix styles in materials and textures make a room really interesting.”

All six episodes of season four of Dream Home Makeover are available to stream on Netflix beginning December 9.

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