Get the Studio McGee look on a budget, in the UK

If like me, you binged ‘Dream Home Makeover’ during lockdown, you’re probably wondering how to recreate Studio McGee’s beautiful designs in your own home. Luckily, I’m on hand to show you how to make this a reality on a budget, in the UK.

‘Dream Home Makeover’ follows husband and wife team Shea and Sid McGee and their flourishing company ‘Studio McGee‘. They are a successful full-service interior design firm that design homes from concept to completion all over the US. Shea and her team of designers have a portfolio of beautifully balanced spaces that feel refreshingly modern and endlessly classic at the same time. They have a fresh design style that combines modern and vintage in a timeless, yet very contemporary way. They pay close attention to detail every step of the way and create designs sympathetic to the buildings too.

What is the Studio McGee look?

To get the studio McGee style, you have to stop being afraid of combining contrasting elements. Think about mixing masculine and feminine details, combining different furniture styles, using textures and textiles to add depth and interest to a space. Shea has a real eye for mixing textures to create a cosy, inviting place to live.

A soft colour palette and natural materials are synonymous with the Studio McGee look too. They love using wood, stone, and woven textures to balance out and contrast sleeker, more modern accents. Think mixing the old with the new. As you will see from the designs below, Shea loves using white as a backdrop in her projects. White is a great color to use on walls as it helps to bounce the light around, however, colour is needed for definition. Studio McGee tend to add pops of earthy and muted colours within their upholstery, textiles, rugs, artwork and home accessories.

Get the Studio McGee look

Getting the studio McGee look in the UK is fairly difficult as they have quite a distinctive look. But, there are a handful of retailers over here that can help you to achieve it. Even on a tight budget. I’m going to pick out a few of their popular designs and give you a product board to help you replicate their style.

1. Season 1 Episode 1- Forever Home

Stuck on how to re-imagine an underutilized living area, the clients had left this space un-completed when they moved into and remodelled their home. After understanding their goals, Studio McGee decided to break the room up into three distinct spaces: A dining space, a living space, and an office space. In this post, I’ll be showing you how you can recreate the living and dining areas.

When one room serves multiple functions, creating “zones” that make them feel like separate areas is the best idea. Rugs are a great way to start sectioning off a multi-purpose room, and in this space, they grounded the seating area with a vintage-inspired rug that brought some warmth to the look. They used a neutral sofa to compliment the neutral paint and curtains, then added beautiful leather armchairs to add colour and texture. The cozy living space was completed with a textural coffee table, side table, and a few textural decor accents.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Now onto the dining space. Shea was keen to keep the fireplace as it added warmth to the room.  but it was very off centre and didn’t balance with anything. Because the clients wanted a more traditional look, Shea wanted to re-centre it to become the focal point. The vision for this area included a long wooden dining table opposite the fireplace as this would create an inviting entertaining space. In the dining area, they paired black spindle chairs with a light-oak dining table for an updated, classic look.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)
(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Here is how you can get the look in your home:

SHOP THE LOOK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21

2. Season 2 Episode 6- Bedroom Oasis

Looking to update their primary bedroom to feel like an oasis for their family, the clients were excited to bring more personality and light into their room. The result is filled with playful textiles, a soothing colour palette, coastal flair and fun tropical accents. The first thing the clients mentioned was that they wanted their space to feel like their favourite destination, Hawaii. Shea wanted to take cues from what they liked about their vacation in Hawaii and bring their vision to life and create a retreat-like oasis. They incorporated coastal materials in their scheme with woven elements on the bed, textured wood on the dresser, and a shell textured light fixture.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Shea wanted to incorporate wall treatments for an added dimension, rather than just using paint. Whether it’s paneling or interesting ceiling details, wall treatments can elevate your space and bring character like nothing else. In this space, Shea paneled the walls and removed the original tray ceiling’s trim edges to add wooden beams and carry the drywall in between for a cleaner, more modern look. The wall panelling is subtle, but it completely changes the vibe of the room.  It’s also much more visually pleasing than a flat white wall.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Seating was a very important factor in this space. The clients previously had a single chair in the window, but it felt a bit lost in the space. Adding the sofa created a whole new purpose for that corner of their room, creating a space where their family can relax and have time together. While you may not think you could fit a sofa in your bedroom, you might be surprised!

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Here is how you can get the look in your home:

SHOP THE LOOK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23

3. Season 1 Episode 5 – Historic Home Renovation

This has to be my favourite transformation on the show. I absolutely love how Shea managed to balance the old with the new. Originally built in 1851, this home is over 150 years old. The clients had lived there a short five months when Studio McGee started working with them. Although they loved the history and character of their home, they wanted to add a few updates to create a more comfortable space for their family.  

Layout was the most important part of this design as the space needed to be zoned carefully. They maximizeed functionality by placing the sofa near the center of the room and creating a play area for the kids behind the couch. Separating these pieces with a console also created a barrier that made each side feel distinct.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)
(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

It was important that this space would be a place where they could rest and spend time with their kids. We wanted to use materials that said, “It’s okay to come lounge here”. When it comes to soft furnishings, leather is a great go-to material when kids are involved! Not only is it durable and comfortable, but it wears beautifully and adds a sense of character to your space. Shea then layered selection of cushions and a linen look throw to make the space cosy and welcoming.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Here is how you can get the look in your home:

SHOP THE LOOK:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21

4. Season 2 Episode 5 – Mountain Retreat Makeover

Looking to update their mountain retreat to feel brighter and more modern, Studio McGee’s clients wanted to combine their styles and create a vibrant, character-filled retreat. To achieve the perfect mix of styles, Studio McGee decided on a clean, modern style for the larger pieces and added in the eclectic bohemian look through the finishing touches.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Another fundamental idea with this space was to create more flow between the inside and the beautiful surroundings outside. To highlight their incredible view, they streamlined the materials inside by adding glass doors, painting the baseboards and trim, and re-finishing the fireplace with cement mortar to create a minimal but impactful focal point. Simplifying these finishes allows the eye to rest. This draws the eye to the natural beauty outside as well as the gorgeous exposed beams on the ceiling.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

In this gorgeous home, they incorporated a dining nook as a transition piece between the living room and kitchen. This gave the space more function. Using a round table allowed traffic flow to feel natural, creating a flexible space for eating, working, or future entertaining.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Here is how you can get the look in your home:

SHOP THE LOOK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24

5. Season 2 Episode 2- Midcentury Makeover

These clients were looking to transform an old workshop into a liveable, functional space. They wanted to infuse their love for the mid-century modern style into an open-concept suite. With careful space planning, Shea and her team created a studio-like apartment complete with all the essentials and some fun touches too.

While it may seem counterintuitive, large pieces can actually make a small space feel bigger. This is because large pieces allow the eye to rest on visual focal points. Adding large statement pieces through wall décor (over the bed and sideboard in this case) is a simple way to bring a streamlined feeling to a small area, creating the illusion of a larger space.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Yet again, Studio McGee have used a large rug to zone the living space. The textural, vintage rug for this living area gave the furniture pieces a place to land, separating the living space from the bedroom, kitchen, and dining space. The pop of colour helps to add interest and draws the eye away from the white walls.

(Image Credit: Studio McGee)
(Image Credit: Studio McGee)

Here is how you can get the look in your home:

SHOP THE LOOK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25

Thank you for reading this post, this was a really fun one to write!  I hope it gave you the inspiration you were looking for. Let me know in the comments if you are going to use my tips to create the Studio McGee look in your home. I’d love to see your photos!

Speak to you soon,

Eve x



8 thoughts on “Get the Studio McGee look on a budget, in the UK

  1. Everything there is a complete vibe! I’ve not watched Dream home makeover so I’ll have to jump on that, I love home design programmes. I particularly like the the look of the bedroom oasis, that’s a style I would do.

    1. Thanks so much Jordanne. Yes, I’d highly recommend watching Dream Home Makeover. Bedroom Oasis is definitely one of my favourites too x

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I would highly recommend watching it. It is bursting with interior inspiration. x

  2. I loved this show! Shea and Sid are absolute couple goals too haha. My favourite episode was the Historic Home renovation. And I love that you’ve found ways to recreate in the UK on a budget. Great post!

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