HGTV -Getting Real About “Reality” TV

HGTV -Getting Real About “Reality” TV

Raise your hand if you love HGTV!

Chances are you’ve got 5 digits in the air, and you aren’t alone. It seems these days everyone is addicted to this design-centric network, and it’s hard not to get sucked in. I swear I tune in for one show, and then I come-to 3 hours and 6 programs later…

And why wouldn’t you love HGTV? It’s aspirational, motivational and Chip and Joanna? Can you say #relationshipgoals?

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gains of Fixer Upper on HGTV

But truth be told, the good old Home and Garden network can sometimes be a touch “smoke and mirrors”.

Here’s why:

The “simple, fast and affordable” design packages that they present to viewers, are not necessarily a realistic portrayal of how the design process works. It’s just that; a process. It takes time, (sometimes a lot of time) to work through each phase of planning, drawing, furniture/fabric selections, labor etc. The shows however, have selective editing on their side, fitting an entire home re-design into 30-60 minutes of viewing.

Re-designing your space can also be a significant investment, often far off from what you see quoted in these programs. The reason? Many of these shows provide labor and materials that are either discounted or all together free (what a dream!). Meaning, all areas of the process are not always accounted for when they total up costs, and that can be a bit misleading to viewers.

That said, there are definitely some very interesting projects and renovations featured on HGTV, the bulk of which seem follow a pretty standard, uniform formula: One relatable (i.e adorable) family on a strict budget who want it all. Their dream home includes a full renovation, interior design and meticulous landscape work.

We sit, eager to watch the process unfold, and bite our nails wondering, “will they get the heated bathroom floors that they both have to have”? It seems like magic when 20 minutes later (typically after one or two scripted “unexpected bumps in the road”) they’re left with sparkling new countertops, shiny hardwood flooring and a tear in their eye as the big reveal is presented.

They’re happy, and boy are we happy that it all came together for them in the end – why were we even worried? It ALWAYS comes together in the end!

But the moral of this story is: “reality TV” is not always reality (except for the part where it all comes together in the end…that part is real!) :)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a self proclaimed HGTV addict myself (I still can’t decide which property brother I like best), but I’m also glad to know the differences between a reality tv project and, well…a reality project.


Property Brothers

Property Brothers – HGTV


OFFICE POLL: What’s Your Favorite HGTV Show?


If you are about to embark on a home design project, there are some things to know before starting up! Below are our tips for hiring a design professional. Happy Reading!

Tips for Hiring a Design Professional:

  • Educate yourself on the general market place before you begin, understanding what things cost and recognizing the scope and level of the project you are about to undertake.
  • Remember, no two designers are the same: Figure out what you value in the process, and where your budget lies, then interview around to find the right fit!
  • Talk Budget Up Front: A great designer will be very forth coming with what the process costs, (no one wants surprises in this area!) but do note, it’s pretty much impossible to give an exact figure.
  • Get all expectations set from the start: Share what is important to you in the process, and what you are aiming to get out of working together.
  • Articulate how you plan to use your space: Are you always entertaining? Do you have a bunch of pets? Do you have storage concerns? Sharing how you use your space in everyday life will help to create a design road map!
  • Be prepared to discuss appropriate work-around solutions as needed: The process is a marathon not a sprint. Along the way things will inevitably happen (fabrics will be discontinued, items will have delayed shipping timelines). It’s important to remember that there are multiple solutions to everything, not one perfect answer!
  • Have fun! This should be a creative and exciting process. Remember to take the time to stop and enjoy watching it all come together!
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