My take on HGTV
You have to know that not everything you see on TV is real. There are times when watching the HGTV shows make me want to turn off the TV and other times when I feel enthusiastic about the designs! I’ll share why with you below. I’ll also shed some light on what’s real and what’s not!
For the record, my favorite HGTV shows are Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict – but ultimately I spend most of my time in continuing education or getting inspired by the world around me.
I would say the most realistic show HGTV has is Beach Flip because the teams are amateurs with professionals guiding them so you can get a practical idea of what can really go wrong!
Hope you enjoy!

A Designer’s Real Life Reaction to HGTV – What’s Real and What’s Not?
All of the amazing transformations you see on HGTV are inspiring to watch, but the implementation they portray of those makeovers is just not realistic. I watch those shows, too! I really do. But, there are moments within them that make me cringe. I thought it would be fun to give you a realistic understanding of what is real and what isn’t on those entertaining shows!
What happens on HGTV
What happens in real life
Everything is free! We have to budget for project management, materials, contractors…and the list goes on!
Design and construction time is too fast. They show a two day kitchen renovation! We don’t have a dedicated team of contractors and laborers for every project we work on, so that means we have to schedule your job according to the availability of our preferred sub contractors. Which means our timelines are made up of months, not weeks.
They use ready-made, prefab stock items for cabinetry, shelving and furniture. We are often ordering custom cabinetry made of good quality wood. This means additional cost and a longer timeframe but ultimately a high end finished product.
Everyone is always completely satisfied with the end product without stepping foot inside during the project! My clients get to walk through the project multiple times before we do the final walk through to check in, give approval, choose finishes, etc. It’s important to catch things you would like done differently early on!
They never go through inspections or permitting. Our timelines depend on getting the appropriate inspections and permits before we can continue with a project. It’s an essential part of our process.
Their clients get to see a really cool animation of the walls being blown out and a perspective of what the new rooms will look like. They never do drawings! No builder or contractor can work from a perspective. We always do our drawings to scale so that the city can approve the plans and the contractor has a realistic understanding of what we are asking for.
Their clients get a whole new house with brand new furniture. I really wish we could provide this for you, but realistically we work with what you have and improve upon it.
Every room and house has a similar look and feel depending on the designer of the show. We do our best to customize a home based on our clients taste. There may be a consistent feel, but we customize to the individual. We only repeat elements based on what we know serves a client. How it applies to each client will be different.
They don’t work surprises into the scope of the budget. If something comes up, the client has to pay for it or choose what they want to forego in their project. Any contractor we work with makes sure that there is a budget for surprises because something ALWAYS comes up.
Now, these shows aren’t ALL bad! Here is what I love about what the shows do:
  • They make clients ask about what is possible. It opens a conversation for when I am working with a client on a new project.
  • They have opened awareness to what people can do with their houses. You might never have had an idea for your home until you saw it on a show.
  • They expose the general client to great design ideas. For instance, reclaiming an old table to use for a kitchen island or taking down a wall to open up the space. They also introduce new products that are out there and products you wouldn’t see at hardware stores that you frequent.
While we may not be HGTV, we can still make your process enjoyable and fun to work through! Hard to believe, but it’s time to start planning for your interior projects for this winter or exterior projects for next Spring! Let’s talk about what new ideas I can introduce you to for your next project. Give us a call: 704.708.4466!