Home Improvement Shows Give Unrealistic Expectations

Many people today watch television shows about remodeling. While these shows are interesting to watch, and can give design ideas, they also give unrealistic information about remodeling. This is not surprising given that these shows are funded by advertisers. They are entertaining, for sure, but they do not necessarily bear any reality on real-world remodeling. The goal of these shows is to plant the idea in the minds of people that remodeling is quick and easy and cheap, and you can learn to do it in a weekend (the popular “Let’s do This!” phrase from a popular big box store). What they do not tell you is the story behind the scenes.

A friend of mine recently shared a story about his brother. His brother lives in a city in the Northeast United States. He was selected by a popular television show to have his kitchen remodeled by them. The show said they were going to completely renovate the kitchen. At the end of the show they listed the time time from start to finish as 7 days. He was asked to sign a form from the producers of the show that he would not divulge the real timeframe (in reality the project took 3 weeks). Additionally, only the areas of the kitchen that were going to be captured on the camera were remodeled. There were several areas of the kitchen left completely undone. This person had to spend over $10,000 finishing those areas that were out of the way and not shown on set.

But when you look at even this three week timeframe, and dive a little deeper into this, you discover that what was accomplished in three weeks was done by a large dedicated crew on site. There were many more people helping than could ever be on a real life project. It would not be feasible to pay dozens of people on staff who were making this happen. Months of planning went into the design and organizing ahead of time.

I understand that shows like this are attempting to get people to take on home remodeling projects as this generates revenue for the advertisers. There is no problem with this. But it does give a false impression about what really is required, how much planning goes into a remodeling project, how much time it takes to carry out the remodel, and what it really costs. For a TV show, sure you can have 30 people on set helping out. But this would be excessively expensive to do on an actual project. There are only so many things you can feasibly do at one in a given space.