Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many summer traditions have fallen by the wayside this year, but for reality TV viewers, there is one reassuring sight, the return of "Big Brother," CBS's annual reality television competition. Every summer, CBS builds an elaborate house on a soundstage in Los Angeles with cameras in every conceivable location to capture every moment of the houseguests' experience during the Big Brother season. This year's theme is All-Star Loft because this is an all-star season. The dramatic theme includes a giant light installation, large murals, and rooms that reference past seasons. Big Brother host Julie Chen Moonves recently gave the media a tour of the home before the cast members moved in, and it was also shared on social media, including the Big Brother Instagram account.
Many vacation homes and short-term rentals are designed for one family at a time, but there is also a large contingent of homes that are used for singles, couples, or multiple families. While you won't be installing tons of cameras in your vacation rental, there are still some tips you can learn from how CBS and their talented team of designers set up the Big Brother house. Here are a few tips inspired by production designer Scott Storey and his work on the Big Brother house.
You need more than one gathering space
A small family or couple may prefer to spend time together, but when you have more than a few people in a house, they need multiple places to hang out in small groups. The Big Brother house has a variety of spaces that are available for guests to lounge around. Some of the rooms are designed for the entire group to gather with large sofas piled high with cushions.
Others invite just one or two people to sit and chat or provide a place where a houseguest can simply be alone for a moment.
Go bold with color
When you're planning a home you'll live in, you often need to be restrained in your color choices. After all, you'll be living with the colors day in and day out. Similarly, when you're preparing a house flip, you need to stay in the neutral zone. But when you're creating a space that people will only inhabit for a short period of time, you can have a lot more fun. Consider a bold accent wall or even wallpaper.
Choose a theme
The Big Brother houses tend to have a theme; while you don't want to be overly kitschy, there's nothing wrong with playing up the nautical theme in a beach house or making your ski house a cozy winter wonderland. The house this year references Big Brother history, with small details like throw pillows that call out past showmances and photos of past winners. You can find your own way to reference the story of your house, either through historical images or perhaps pictures of local scenery and attractions.
The kitchen never closes
A family may gather for set meal times, but when you have a large group of people in one house, there may be multiple meals and a whole lot of snacking. In the Big Brother house, food is always part of the drama. A kitchen island surrounded by bar stools provides a place for quick meals as well as a central gathering spot. Open shelves and cup hooks make it easy to prepare food without rooting around through the cupboards.
A bedroom worthy of a head of household
In a vacation home meant to welcome different types of guests, there are often bunk beds or multiple twin beds in a single room. Even though guests may share a room, they generally don't want to co-mingle their clothing, so make sure there's a separate space for each guest. Big Brother provides a separate dresser for each housemate.
While in the Big Brother house, the houseguests are accustomed to sleeping in the same room. That is of course until a contestant wins the coveted honor of being head of household. On Big Brother, HOH comes with a variety of perks, including a private room with a large bed. This year's HOH suite functions as a loft within the loft, offering not only a king-sized bed but also a couch and a separate sitting area. A private suite that functions as a private retreat is often a desired feature in a house where there are a lot of people running in and out.
Keep them entertained
Have you ever rented a short-term rental and found worn paperback books, old DVDs, and games missing pieces? Some rental hosts tend to skimp on the entertainment aspect of things. The Big Brother house doesn't and you shouldn't either. If you have a pool, keep a box of pool toys as well as outdoor games like cornhole handy. Inside, include things like a simple video game system (ones featuring old Sega Genesis games are surprisingly inexpensive) as well as board games and a small play chest of children's toys. Hopefully, your guests won't be as cutthroat as the Big Brother guests, but they will still have lots of fun.
The Millionacres bottom line
The Big Brother house is all about memorable design that makes the guests feel comfortable as well as excited to be there. Similarly, a vacation house is about creating the right environment where guests can create memories that will make them long to return and hopefully provide a great review on the platform of your choice.