Is Design TV Sabotaging Your DIY Home Projects?

I admit I do watch a lot of HGTV (and the Food Network for that matter).   It’s not all high quality programming, but some of it does have some value, sparks some creativity, or even a few “you can’t be serious” moments.  There are other channels that also offer the same type of decorating shows, as my husband calls all of them, TLC, DIY, Bravo and even ABC with its Extreme Home Makeover series.  Good or bad they can be addictive, especially to homeowners that are contemplating a few remodeling projects. 

Working in the design industry over the years I’ve noticed how the HGTV effect has taken hold.  People are more knowledgeable about what they want, the latest trends and new products; some have even picked up some design terminology.  This can be helpful when discussing a project with a prospective client, but on the other hand often the client knows just enough to be dangerous.  They think they have things all figured out and you are then forced to squash their dream layout when you explain that the stack of drawers over in the corner will never open with the range on the adjacent wall.  At least they are talking to a designer that can point these things out; everything is easier to change while it’s still on paper.

Kitchen Design Layout Idea with Dura Surpeme Cabinets

The other effect that HGTV has had on the design world holds true for almost all television programming.  It’s amazing that the crime is always solved within an hour, the illness is cured, the jury reaches their verdict. It’s television and they have something like forty seven minutes to make it happen. In reality design television the lines become blurred for many people, they are watching real people in real houses and somehow everything is magically completed in that hour time slot.  It’s  a given that you aren’t going to complete a remodel in an hour, but the way things are edited it creates the unrealistic expectation that it doesn’t take very long, there are few glitches, never a crisis or a backorder!  Depending on the scope of the project the timeline can be weeks or months and as a homeowner you need to know how much time you are talking about.

And this is where I’ve fallen victim.  We just moved into a house which has multiple projects that we would like to complete, paint all the rooms,  put in some new floors, take down a wall, build a closet; pretty standard stuff.  But after a month I feel that HGTV effect kicking in and I’m wondering why this isn’t all finished.  Why did it take me an entire week of evenings to paint two walls? Why am I still walking on the subfloor, where’s the closet and why is that wall still there?  It’s because I don’t have a design team and crew behind me working 24/7 and it’s not reality design television.  It’s me and the paint roller, and I think I need to turn off the television.

Wendy Anderson's picture

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