Home Renos aren’t as Easy as TV makes it Look

By Finesse on July 22, 2014 in Blog



There’s nothing wrong with watching home renovation television. There’s something addicting about watching a space go from a disaster to a masterpiece in just one hour. And the eye candy — fabulous features, bold colours, beautiful textiles — what’s not to love?

It’s all well and good to get your fill of mindless TV watching with channels like HGTV, but it’s important to remember one thing: they are lying to you. Home redesigns and remodels are much more difficult than TV makes it look. Just because you saw it on TV doesn’t mean you can handle it on your own. So, what are they hiding from you?



First of all, renovation television often hides the true cost of a renovation with deflated numbers that make a completely custom renovation seem inexpensive and manageable. On a typical Canadian home reno show, for example, it’s common to see a completely custom and high-end kitchen designed, built and installed for about $20,000, which isn’t completely realistic. To hide the true number, you don’t get an itemized cost analysis to understand where the money went. When it comes to a major renovation, you have to consider the cost of design fees, labour, material costs and furniture. Television program costs are often lower because they often benefit from donated materials and labour in exchange for exposure on national TV. Suddenly, a renovation with all of the luxurious “bells and whistles” costs a lot more than TV makes it look. So when you are setting a budget, keep in mind that just because the homeowner on TV was able to really stretch their dollar doesn’t mean you can or will get all of the same deals.



When you are watching a renovation happen in an hour, it’s nearly impossible to understand a real timeline for the renovation. They may say that the project goes from conception to completion in a few days or weeks, but we don’t know how long those work days were. Through the magic of television, a renovation seems fast and easy. You don’t know how many team members are actually there working, what was completed ahead of time or how long they are on site each day. In fact, when it comes down to the big reveal, the space might not actually be complete! Camera shots can be arranged in such a way to hide and incomplete work that is completed after the deadline. It’s important to talk to your interior designer to draw out an appropriate timeline for your redesign. If it is simply new colour and furniture, of course you are looking at a reasonably shorter project, but where walls and floors are concerned, expect a longer wait for the space of your dreams. A beautiful space takes time and real life doesn’t allow you to hide imperfections with camera angles.



It may look easy on TV, but these are professionals being paid a lot of money to complete these projects. Sure, the hosts and homeowners will get in on the action and swing a hammer or pick up a paint brush for a few shots, but the experts are on hand to guide them and quickly fix and mistakes that may happen — and the viewer is none the wiser. If you have all the time in the world, you might be able to learn how to do some things properly, but you’ve heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none,” there is truth to that. Even if you figure out the basics, it will never be done as well as if you had hired a professional. You can’t expect to become an expert just by reading a book or watching a YouTube video. And when it comes to interior design, you can know what you like, but having the skills to bring together colours, fabrics and features to make a space both fabulous and functional can take years of practice.


Any home renovation, big or small is always best left to the pros. Hiring an interior decorator to plan, coordinate and create the perfect space will, in fact, save you both time and money. Things will be done right the first time and come together easily and beautifully. Best of all, with the responsibility in your decorator’s hands, you can just sit back and watch the magic happen.



About the Author

FinesseView all posts by Finesse
The voice behind the beauty, this is Finesse. A transformer of spaces, a destination for the design-minded and a lover of all things decor.


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