12 Reasons You Need To Stop Watching Home Improvement Shows Right Now!

What do you love about home improvement shows? Maybe it’s the nitty-gritty planning of the layout, the final reveal, or demo day. Every stage of a home renovation shown in an hour has us oohing, ahhing, and wanting more. The shows we watch satisfy a need for a total transformation with all the bells and whistles. But are they realistic? How does a couple, where the wife works from home, and the husband is an accountant, afford a home reno that costs over $100k?!

A major issue inevitably comes up that will turn the budget upside down. How do they solve it? They use the contingency fund, or the couple has more money to cover the overage. Does anyone else think they could dial back some of the finishes to save money in the budget? If you think that you aren’t alone! Yet we’re still drawn to them, and our addiction has us waiting impatiently for the next episode so we can dream about how we would redo our own homes if only we had the money.

Home improvement shows, take them or leave them? Although they are great for inspiration, here are 12 reasons to stop watching home improvement shows right now!

1. Renovating in real-time

architects planning for home improvement
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Home improvement shows will take a “dated kitchen” and 48 minutes later gut and replace the whole room. Renovations, especially major transformations, take substantial time, and the renovation shows will give you a false sense of a timeline.

2. You’re not decorating your home for the next owner

woman fluffing pillows on her sofa
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Home improvement programs, like house-flipping shows, focus on trends that appeal to the masses. Designing your home based on the appeal of the next owner will limit your personality in your decorating. Depending on which show you watch, you’ll often see the same decor theme used repeatedly. Did you know that some shows only use the decor to stage the home and that if the homeowners want the furniture and accessories, they must buy them afterward? A lot more goes on behind the scenes than we know.

3. An open floor plan isn’t just a sledgehammer swing away

a sledge hammer leaning by an old green door over dry wall
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Every episode of home improvement television displays a wall coming down to open up a space, but it’s far from that simple. Removing walls could require architect plans, moving electrical or plumbing, replacing load-bearing structures, or HVAC rerouting, which are costly and time-consuming.

4. Patience is a permit virtue

man impatiently waiting while pointing at his watch
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Significant structural changes often require permits before work can be started. Renovation shows frequently gloss over the time required to get permits approved, and this can give a false sense of a timeline for homeowners.

5. All sales final no return on investments

man and woman working on a renovation
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Home improvement shows will have us all fall prey to the idea that our kitchen needs a full gut to be functional or our bathroom needs a custom-tiled shower. The costs of these projects add up fast, and not every home renovation gets the return on investment to break even.

6. Reality TV isn’t Real

woman disappointed at discovery
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Producers of renovation shows will create manufactured drama to increase viewership. This drama, often resolved quickly without additional cost to the homeowner, is an unrealistic outcome for everyday home renovation.

7. All the boring shades of the same – Do you!

Anika standing in her newly renovated kitchen
Image Credit: Anika’s DIY Life

Trends from home improvement shows are popping up in homes all around, and it is getting pretty repetitive. Avoid the all-white kitchen and gray walls and embrace the individual charm and character of your home. Just do you!

8. That’s totally out of budget

hands holding an empty wallet while budgeting
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Home improvement programs thrive off of false budgets that will have the average homeowner thinking they can get way more bang for their buck. In reality, many companies offer significant discounts for product placement on these shows that you won’t receive as an average buyer.

9. Waste not want not

refaced kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts
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Renovation shows always put in brand new kitchens even when unnecessary. Don’t rip out cabinets because you don’t like the color or hardware. Refacing cabinets is an excellent option for upgrading a kitchen or bathroom without the unnecessary waste involved in a complete gut. 

10. Don’t go chasing the shiny new trend

shiplap wall in the bathroom
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Every season of these programs has a similar design style in every home. Chasing the next trend you see from a television show will have you renovating forever, and who has the patience for a new project every year?

11. Demo Day

drywall on the floor due to renovation
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Demo typically isn’t done in just one day unless you have an entire team of workers. You can’t just go in swinging a sledgehammer and leave a mess. You won’t have a crew to come behind you and clean it up.

12. Who’s Really Doing All That Work?

crew working on a home remodel
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We aren’t saying all show hosts are the same, but some do a small segment where they do some work, then cut to commercial. Who’s doing all the work? It takes a team of people to pull off those home renovations in just six weeks. It will take you a lot longer to do it by yourself.

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Anika Gandhi is on a mission to declutter and organize all the things around her and is here to inspire and encourage you to do the same!

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