Spouse vs. House

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Spouse vs. House TV Poster Image
Reality renovation show features relationship drama, too.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show is about design and renovation, but marital love, compromise, and communication are all themes here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While some husbands show consideration for their wives’ wants, others either misunderstand them or ignore them. Friends and family often jump in to help with the remodel and/or attempt to find out how the remodel is going.


Mild arguments sometimes take place during the reveal.


Occasional words like "Goddamn" are bleeped.


Lowe’s Home Improvement store is prominently featured and other retail outlet logos also visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer and wine consumption visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series, which features husbands remodeling rooms while their wives are barred from offering input, contains some bleeped words (like "Goddamn") and drinking (beer, wine). Logos for Lowe’s, as well as local furniture stores and other retail centers, are prominently visible. Themes like trust, compromise, and other relationship-related issues are featured here.

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What's the story?

SPOUSE VS. HOUSE is a reality makeover series designed to test couples’ design and relationship skills. In each episode, a couple is given $25,000 for a three room home remodel. The twist? The wife and kids must leave the house for three weeks before making any design decisions, leaving the husband to complete the entire do-it-yourself project on his own. Cameras follow as husbands struggle with construction challenges, budget woes, and the pressure of trying to figure out their spouses’ design choices. To help the wives cope with the lack of control over the project, they meet with Flipping Out designer Ryan Brown to create a life-size replica of the room of their dreams to be shown to their husbands two days before the reveal. After seeing their designs, each husband must determine if they have the time, money, and/or desire to adjust their renovation accordingly. When project is over, the wives return to a remodeled home that is (hopefully) to her liking.

Is it any good?

The show combines renovation mishaps with relationship drama to showcase how potentially disconnected couples can be when it comes to their design aesthetic. Much of its entertainment value comes from humorously emphasizing the distrust some wives have in their husbands’ choices, while highlighting the ways their husbands are disregarding their tastes and preferences.

The show sends some questionable messages about the featured couples' willingness to compromise with each other. It doesn’t offer much by way of do-it-yourself pointers, either. But no doubt that folks who like this sort of thing will enjoy watching how the remodels go, and the reactions to them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about renovation reality shows. Why is this type of show so popular? Who watches them? Do you think people get practical tips for their own projects from, or do they just find them entertaining?

  • If you were to redesign a space you share with someone else, how could you incorporate both your styles? What if you don’t like their style? In what ways could you compromise and still get the kind of room that you both want?

TV details

  • Premiere date: May 4, 2011
  • Cast: Ryan Brown
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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For kids who love family stories

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