The White Room Challenge: Trip to the Light Store

See the designs and behind-the-scenes photos from The White Room Challenge as four top designers use various forms of lighting to transform their white rooms. Hear what the judges say when the lights go off and the rooms brighten.

Designs for the Dark

For this white room challenge, the designers use a variety of light sources — from fluorescent bulbs to neon rope lighting — to create a bold, bright space with out-of-the-box thinking and design concepts. \"Your challenge is to make your room pop without the help of our studio lights,\" host David Bromstad says. \"I want a room that uses light and shadow, that inspires and surprises me.\" Whose room will impress the judges when the lights go out?

Meet the Designers

From left: Tiffany \"Torche\" Perkins, Clarione Gutierrez, Jessica Goudreau, Eli Levenstein

Guest Judge: Antonio Ballatore

Season four champion of Design Star and host of HGTV's The Antonio Treatment Antonio Ballatore joins Jamie Durie, host of The Outdoor Room With Jamie Durie, and David on the judging panel for the lighting design challenge.

Let the Shopping Begin

The on-set lighting store provides the designers with an abundance of light sources to use for their white room transformations.

Struggling for a Concept

Upon entering the lighting store, Clarione, a caricature artist and freelance designer, is still unsure of a design concept and unfamiliar on how to properly work with a majority of the lights around him. \"I don't know how to use lights. That's not my medium,\" he says, \"I still have no concept, I'm looking around; I was just praying for something to come to me. At that moment, the phrase 'bright lights, big city' pops into my head.\"

Hard at Work

Torche immediately knows she wants to create a soothing and seductive space, so she seeks out lighting with a red tint for a flooded, subtle look. Like David suggests, she wants to use her fluorescent lights to project shadows across the walls to create the ultimate sexy lounge.

Bringing Ideas to Life

Without a concrete concept at the beginning, Eli decides to simply choose an assortment of lights in the lighting store and see how it comes together within his room. When David checks in on Eli's progress, Eli has a difficult time explaining the room's theme. \"I'm used to letting my work speak for itself, not trying to impose a narrative onto it,\" he says. \"Talking about it is incredibly difficult for me.\" David, however, knows Eli must be able to provide some sort of explanation behind the chaos or it will simply come off as that — chaos. \"I want to encourage you, while you're doing this installation, you know, how you're going to explain it to the judges,\" David advises.

Playing With Shadow

To enhance her bar-lounge scene, Jessica wants to hang ropes and chains to really play with light and shadow around the room. As a last-minute decision, she decides to use acrylic tubes to feed fluorescent vinyl through them and then add lights and hang them in the direction of the ropes on the walls. But when David checks in, he suggests that Jessica's first priority be to add more lighting — and stat! \"I wish there was more!\" he says.

Clarione's Finished Space: Bright Lights, Big City

The judges were blown away by Clarione's glowing city-inspired white room transformation. He demonstrated an impressive display of lights, layering and color — one of David's favorite elements of any space.

Showcasing Skills

Clarione puts his freehand artistry skills to use by painting a glamorous city-style woman on the side wall in bold hues. He originally tries to integrate glow-in-the-dark paint in the sunglasses, but the lights from the \"bright lights\" sign over-light the black light and don't provide the effect he had hoped for. Instead, he opts to keep the \"bright lights\" sign and ditch the glow-in-the-dark paint idea.

Strong Display

David is really impressed with Clarione's design execution. \"Your use of light is really good, but your use of color is better. They're all very strong colors, but you've combined them and made them work together in a really beautiful way,\" David says.

Up on the Rooftop

To take his design to the next level, Clarione creates a rooftop scene with lighting inside.

Too Conventional?

According to Antonio, the space feels a little too theatrical and even a bit unfinished in some areas. He also points out that Clarione's unfamiliarity with lights is obvious through his conventional and expected use of bulbs, like using the pegboard with light emitting from behind.

Torche's Finished Space: Sexy Lounge

Torche incorporates inventive design concepts into her room to create a relaxing living room/lounge that exudes romance. First, she builds a subflooring unit and adds lighting below to shine through. Then, she creates various lighting accents throughout the space, like the steel sculpture on the back wall and the credenza light bulb display.

Inviting Environment

The judges all agree that Torche's creative flooring idea brings a sexy and seductive element to the space. \"You've elevated the whole installation, so it feels like there's a floating room happening there and that's very, very effective,\" Jamie says.

Contemporary Elements

For the credenza, Torche installs red light bulbs and then surrounds them with standing twigs to create a contemporary statement. David loves all the individual pieces that make up the design, but he is ultimately looking for more ingenuity. \"I just wish you would have taken it one step further and really shown us some sort of imagination to a room, just to really wow me,\" David says.

Light Bulb Accessories

Torche integrates several light sources into her design, although not all of them are actually utilized. She revamps a plain glass coffee table with white and mosaic fluorescent bulbs, and she even adds broken bulbs to lighting tubes for a contemporary decorative detail along the side wall.

Burning Light Fixture

This industrial-inspired light fixture is just one of the individual pieces that helps make Torche's design stand out. The judges like each individual element, but they aren't convinced the room stands that strong as a whole.

Eli's Finished Space: Outer Space Underground

Halfway through his design, Eli discovers that his fluorescents drown all the color from the space and produce too much light. After some thought, he decides to keep the fluorescent tubes in his room because they had become such a detrimental part of his design. By hanging them from the ceiling, he's hoping to showcase their form and strong lines.

Artistic Visions

With the tangled cluster of Christmas lights, Eli wants to create volume in the center of the room, since they're not often represented in this way. Antonio and Jamie love Eli's eccentric and unique white room transformation and applaud his artistic vision. David, however, doesn't think Eli's design lives up to the challenge's expectations. \"You're a true artist for sure, but this is a design show, not a museum,\" David says. \"And the challenge was to work with light and shadow, to really play off of that, and there is no shadow.\"

Bright Lights

Despite David's take on Eli's design, Antonio is quick to praise his use of paint on the walls and the creative wood sculptures.

Jessica's Finished Space: Late-Night Lounge

For her white room makeover, Jessica creates a bold and funky vignette that you would find in a trendy nightclub. She uses rope lighting, fluorescent bulbs and clever paint techniques to create a bold and eye-catching space. The judges are immediately attracted to the pattern and color combination, but they feel the overall execution is lacking.

Lacking Lighting

Although the acrylic tubes and lighting stretch up and down the walls with the paint stripes, the judges feel there are still not enough noticeable light sources in the room. \"I think you have great ideas, but this is a lighting challenge, and I don't see enough lighting,\" David says.

Cool Graphics

Both Antonio and Jamie like Jessica's overall concept. \"I love the fact that you mimicked the action of the lights with your paint and your installation on the floor,\" Jamie says. Antonio agrees that the room had the fastest impact on him — with the graphics and movement — but that he is drawn away by the messiness.

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