Why watching HGTV won't help you create the home of your dreams

We're all guilty of watching HGTV in an attempt to soak up ideas to help us envision the home of our dreams, right? During my 20+ years of working in interior design, I've been asked like a bazillion times (at least that's what it feels like) if I don't just love to watch the shows as well. 


Well, the truth is, no, I really don't enjoy the shows! I know that might come as a real shocker, but I find that the shows are a delusion and totally misleading - much like a soap opera drama. Here are just some of the things that drive me crazy about the shows on HGTV.

#1 The home of your dreams needs to define YOUR style

I mean, how many of us are now big fans of shabby chic farmhouse style due to Joanna Gaines? This show really gets me going as it doesn't really help homeowners define their own style. It is practically just a demonstration of how to pull together lots of one style to create a more uniformed look. And does that even speak to your personal taste? No! 

It's easier for us to try to copy someone else's style than it is for us to define our own.  The problem is this always leaves us empty - we really haven't defined ourselves and just tried to copy a trend. When this happens we tend to get tired of a look quicker and then it has to be changed. Hello, expensive.

#2 The home of your dreams doesn't always make your heart grow fonder

No one wants to admit that decorating a home can cause conflict in the home. HGTV makes it appear that decorating can make the heart grow fonder like a home fantasy. Just check out some of the chemistry involved in making decisions. This, however,  is just a dream. Remodeling or redecorating can be a time of conflict when each of the members involved has their own ideas about what should be done. Ladies, we have to admit we like to take charge when it comes to decorating the home and sometimes we just leave out the other family members. 

I would discourage this and recommend that you actually do some homework before you even start by talking about the needs of your family. Getting your family's wants and opinions from the start will help avoid conflict- don't assume you know what works for others.

#3 The home of your dreams truth? There more likely are raccoons than antiques in the attic. 

Let's not forget about all the hidden antiques just waiting to be discovered in the attic. It is always a bit too convenient for me to believe that there are all these perfect treasures in these forgotten places that are still in perfect condition. Truth is you're more likely to encounter raccoons than priceless heirlooms in your attic! In reality, most of us would not have placed valuables in such a place to get damaged. 

Your best place to find antiques would be the local antique or consignment store. If you happen to go to the local antique store, make sure that you take a large enough truck with you to bring home your finds. Because - unlike the way it works on TV! - you know not all those finds will fit just perfectly in your car.

#4 The home of your dreams really doesn't come with decor elves to put on the finishing touches

There really are no magical elves that come in and decorate after you go to the park. I know that's really sad news, but the truth is decor shows have professionals come in and stage their room. This process makes it look super simple and ignores the fact that you will probably spend some late nights up putting the personal touch on everything. But that is the beauty of DIY! You get to put your own personal touch in your room! 

Spending time personalizing your room will make this area more about you and you'll feel pride in being able to share your hard work with others.

#5 Shopping for the home of your dreams isn't always fun

Home shows tend to make shopping look like a blast full of informative shopping trips that always provide us with the perfect solution. The contractors always have lots of contacts and experience gathering up materials to complete their projects at hand. For most of us homeowners, though, it's much more difficult. Lots of times we don't really know what it is we are looking for - let alone know where to find it. This can turn what we thought was fun quickly into a dreadful task. 

You may spend hours upon hours searching for what seems like it should be easy to find only to turn up empty-handed and having to settle for a close alternative. Having a design plan in place before shopping can help with this step - this somehow seems to get left off the shows.

#6 Home of your dreams remodels don't always finish on time.

All demolition projects go quickly and smoothly, right? In reality, demolition can be tricky with you playing a game of "if you break it, you fix it". You may not be a stranger to the "oops, that was not supposed to happen" or the dreaded "ugh, why did that break???" In reality - no one needs to tell you - unexpected things happen that can lengthen the time that a project goes on. If you're one of the lucky ones, everything will go perfectly. 

Try to be prepared for the unexpected to happen - build in some additional time if needed to complete the project. You would much rather it take a little extra time and do the job right the first time than have to do it over again. 

HGTV can be a fantasy world when it comes to designing a home. Sorry (not sorry) for my honesty on this matter. I just get a bit tired of unrealistic home decor shows. There are, however, great ways to get decorating done in a realistic way. Planning in advance and being prepared in a calm manner for the unplanned to happen will go a long way to making sure you have a successful new design for your home. Set realistic goals for yourself, your designer, and your contractor along the way to help your project go more smoothly. And always seek the help of a professional if you are unsure of a decision on your project!  

If you are in agreement share this post with your friends, post it on Pinterest, or leave a comment - we need to rid the world of reality TV's expectations!