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The second season of House Rules is kicking off on Channel 7. So for those of you agonising over where to get your next DIY fix now that The Block: Fans v Faves is all over, worry not: Six new teams have gathered to fight for the dream of living mortgage free, with just a week per renovation to transform the home of a stranger, and maybe the rest of their lives.

As we know from last season, the teams don't just have to have a good design eye and acute renovation skills, they have to be cunning too. Each time the House Rules teams arrive at the next house to be transformed, the owners will set 5 rules for them to to follow, break or manipulate. Those with the courage to take a few risks might well get a pay off by beating all expectations, but recklessly disobeying the rules could also leave you spending the night in a tent as the round losers. We've come up with a few House Rules of our own to help guide the teams through the challenges...

Rule 1 - Pick up on the tastes of your competitors

The contestants are not really renovating the home of a stranger, they're renovating the homes of their rival competitors, and they should use this to their advantage.

While standing out is often the name of the game in the design world, in House Rules contestants are judged by the setter of the Rules, and that means, at the end of the day, they don't want to offend the very people they need to impress. So the contestants are going to need to pick up on the design tastes and living needs of their rivals for the prize, do this right and they could be coming away with top marks.

Of course, you could argue that the house owner is only one of the three people the contestants will need to impress; there are the two professional judges in the mix too. In Season 1 however, the winner of each round, with the highest scores from all three judges, also happened to be the owner's fave pick. That means it's much safer to come up with a renovation that the owner's going to like, so sticking with their tastes is a safe bet.

Rule 2 - Research the fashions

House Rules is no quaint design show, it's a cutting edge, high-level test of realistic and modern interior design skills. Judge Wendy Moore is the editor of Home Beautiful magazine, a lady who has to stay right at the forefront of home design trends.

This means that to impress in the challenges, the Home Rules contestants are going to have to be on the cutting edge too, they'll need to be fully in tune with what's been happening in the world of Australian design over the past few years. There's no use going for that crisp, superficial minimalist look that's been done to death while all the fashionable homes are beginning to look for more depth and character. Wendy knows this, and won't be letting the contestants get away with cliched designs.

Rule 3 - Be practical

While a lot of design shows or renovations happen in controlled conditions or empty spaces in order to show off certain themes, designs or techniques, House Rules takes place in people's homes. That means one of the main things the contestants will need to bear in mind is that someone actually has to live in the space they are attacking with hammers and drills. It's all well and good going all out rococo on a bathroom renovation, with a grand baroque bath centre stage, but you have to think about modern living needs: a bathroom has to have a shower; a kitchen needs to have a big enough fridge; a bedroom's no good with a couple of trendy fruit crates - it needs wardrobes and drawers; moody lighting in a bathroom is all well and good for a showroom but real people need to see what they're doing. Design is as much about practicality as it is about beauty, so the contestants will need to remember that you can't hide your children's toys under a Persian rug, however authentic it looks.

Rule 4 - Don't be a hero

All the contestants have budgets to work to and that means that they're all restricted when it comes to getting what they really want to make their zone as good as it can be. But House Rules isn't a Do-It-Yourself challenge; it's a renovation challenge, and sometimes you need to bring in the pros to help out and make sure things are done right.

In fact, this rule goes out to all budding DIY enthusiasts: there are some things you just need to bring in the professionals for, even if that means shelling out a large chunk of budget. There's no use being a hero and ending up with a bodged job, or worse - ill-fitted and dangerous appliances. Bringing in contractors at the right time, to do the right jobs is the name of the game in House Rules and, done right, the contestants will be able to make the most of a whole plethora of renovation skills and really get the best out of every challenge.

Rule 5 - Make the most of it

When the prize is as life changing as having your whole mortgage paid off, it's probably quite easy to get carried away. But, even though only one of the six is going to be walking away with the dream, the rest of the contestants don't exactly have it too bad: Every one of them is proffering their house up for renovation by teams that are desperate to pull out all the stops and impress. At the very least, even the first team eliminated is going to have their home transformed into something they can really show off, so why not make the most of it and have some fun.

We'll certainly be having fun watching.

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