HGTV 'Design Star' Finale Recap: Michael vs. Emily

Emily, Michael HGTV Design Star

It's all come down to this. Emily from Portland, Oregon vs. Michael from New York City. In the final challenge, Emily and Michael must choose one of their previous Design Star competitors (yes, there's a little Nina in this episode for all of you fans) to be their client. Then, they must design an apartment that reflects their client's personality while also shooting a television segment based on their own design show idea.

Both Emily and Michael have great personality and loads of style, but only one will win their own television show on HGTV. Who will be the next Design Star? Quirky Emily? Enthusiastic Michael? It's time to find out.

Spoiler alert: We're telling all.


All of the competitors from Season 5 return to help Emily and Michael in their quest for the title. Michael takes a risk and selects Nina as his client, quickly realizing that he will have to put her in her place in order to get his work done.

Emily first selects Dan as her client but changes her mind in the end, replacing Dan with Tom. This is a riskier choice for Emily as Dan shares a similar style, but this choice also allows Emily the ability to show her range. Great choice, I think.

Let's take a peek at what our designers dreamed up!

First, Michael's design.

Michael's finale design Design Star

We've got what Michael calls "big girl" pink, a Nina original, and lots of room jewelry. Michael chose to re-purpose many of the objects in the room. I'm so curious about that $15,000 budget they were given. He must have come in well under budget. As much as I love Michael, I'm not really feeling this room.

Here's his living room space.

Michael's finale design Design Star

Black lacquer finishes, re-purposed shadow boxes, and that curvy curtain holder built by Courtland. Nothing really wows me in this room.

And now for Emily's design.

Emily's finale design Design Star

Here, I love the color palette she chose for Tom. Pretty fabrics and artwork as well. This room screams Tom to me, and it's so polished just like one of Tom's suits.

Emily's finale design Design Star

The pinstripe walls are fantastic, and I love how the brass elements and different textures give this room an unexpected, old world feel. Emily's design truly reflects Tom's personality and style. Well done.

But it's not over yet. Half of the challenge centers around the television segments. I just love Michael on camera. He's so enthusiastic and full of life. Okay, so maybe he's a bit too hosty, but he's got charisma that can't be denied.

Emily did a fine job of hosting as well. She seems so relaxed and natural on camera, and I definitely preferred her show idea to Michael's.

There's tension in the room. Such a tough decision, and I think both of the designers would be great on television.

The judges deliberate. Cue the music.

The next Design Star is ...

Emily Henderson Design Star

Emily Henderson!

You can catch the premiere of Emily's new show, Secrets From a Stylist, on August 29 at 10 p.m. EST on HGTV.

Was Emily your favorite of the final two?


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