Based on the title of this post, you might think I’m not a fan of HGTV. So let me start by telling you what I love about HGTV. As a cultural influence, it has brought high-end design into every living room, and made it accessible for everyone. There is a tremendous wealth of talent roaming the airwaves, and it enriches the conversation for everyone.
But there are some downsides to this type of programming. One of the main issues is that, like most home improvement TV, it tends to mislead the viewer into thinking Interior Design is faster, easier and cheaper than it really is. In the course of an hour you can see someone live out their dreams, with eye-popping results. And of course there is just enough drama to make it reality TV.
Also, the viewer is rarely in any doubt that this will all work out. The stress we see played out on our screens is nothing like what we would actually feel if we were in the homeowners’ shoes. Real life design involves making long term decisions, worrying about the results, paying invoices, having disagreements with family members, dealing with unexpected complications (contractor issues, backordered items, delivery problems), and just generally feeling like this endeavor may not succeed. Now that’s stress! Deep down we all know that TV is unrealistic, but it draws us in all the same.
Despite all that, this valuable resource will hopefully give you inspiration for your own interior design projects. Unfortunately, it might also lead you to believe that redesigning your home will be easier, cheaper and faster than it actually is. This can lead to unnecessary stress when the real life challenges of your project become apparent. The truth is that good design takes time. But it is equally true that good design is worth the effort. If we can balance the fantasy on our TV screens with the unscripted, unedited version of our real life design projects, we will achieve exceptional results.
There is another unfortunate byproduct of this type of entertainment. It’s the same pitfall of social media and advertising. We are drawn to these portrayals of perfection, but they come at the cost of self judgment, that inner voice telling you that you somehow aren’t trying hard enough. You might start to believe that you’re doing something wrong because you haven’t created the ultimate home on a modest budget with minimal disruption to your daily life. Trust me when I tell you that no one is achieving that. Why? Because projects always sound easier in theory, and real life is complicated. Please do not let the gauzy, idealized world of reality design TV to affect your psyche!
If you can channel the excitement that this type of programming brings, you can transform it into personal inspiration. This will allow for the process to play out in real time, with all its variables, and you’ll find that the results are well worth the effort. Every adventure has challenges and rewards, so enjoy what the challenges can teach you, and then bask in the reward!