Are Home Renovation TV Shows Lying to Us? Let’s Take a Look…

Modern apartment interior design can update your dining room

We’ve all watched our favorite home renovation show on HGTV and seen the host/designer tell their clients to open their eyes or pull back the curtain and see their newly transformed space. Once that reveal happens, there’s lots of hugging and tears of joy. What you don’t see is ALL the behind-the-scenes to get to that beautiful end result. How could you see every little detail in an hour-long episode?

Well, have no fear. I’m here to share what truly happens in real life!

Detail #1: The Design is Set Long Before Demo Day

In many shows, you’ll see demo day (which is the fun part – tearing stuff up!) and the next scene is the homeowner picking out finishes. Au contraire, dear readers. It absolutely does not work like this. Designers like myself spend hours upon hours piecing together mood boards, floor plans, presentation meetings, revisions, etc. to ensure that homeowners feel 100% comfortable with the overall game plan before any carpets are ripped up or sledgehammers start swinging.

Detail #2: The Timeline is Reasonable & Well-Thought-Out

Another element you’ll see in many home renovation shows is massive crews of construction workers and tradespeople working around the clock to meet unrealistic deadlines. This isn’t real life! The projects you don’t see on TV involve real people working hard for you during normal business hours. They have families and lives too! Also, you’ll typically see maybe a few professionals in your home on any given renovation day, not an entire football team. Because of this, the timeline is much more reasonable (think weeks/months vs. days).

Not only that, homeowners are usually still living in their homes in real life while the renovation process is happening. They’re not in a hotel or whisked away on a two-week vacation so the end result isn’t spoiled. Instead, they’re navigating the noise and electricity/plumbing being shut off. Take it from someone who was in her home for almost two months while a bathroom was being added!

Modern apartment interior design can update your dining room

Detail #3: The Investment is Inclusive of All Materials & Labor

Some TV shows depict a fully designed space involving every square inch being transformed with a minimal investment. They may show that the tile backsplash costs X and the countertops costs Y.

What you don’t see factored in is that some of the labor and furnishings are donated or sponsored. Think about it. It’s 100% worth it to a furniture company to provide a sofa for a living room design that is going to be seen on the television sets of tens of thousands of homes across the country plus promoted on social media. In real life, homeowners pay for the contractors dedicating hours of hard work to their home and they pay for all of the new furniture and décor that enters their space.


If you’re feeling unsure about starting a renovation project, it’s important to reach out to a designer early to understand the process, as well as potential timelines and investment based on the overall scope of the project. From there, you have all the information you need to decide if it’s the right time to dive into that renovation full force, put it completely on hold to keep saving, spread out the project into phases with breaks in between so you’re able to save for each phase, or scale the scope of work back to save money (i.e. painting kitchen cabinets vs. purchasing them brand new).

If you’re ready to chat with someone who has your real-life best interest in mind (that’s me!), please reach out. I can be reached at I can’t wait to hear about your project!

Until next time,

Angela : )

Affiliate Disclaimer

Friar Tuck Home is based out of Merrimack, New Hampshire. We serve interior design clients located in: Southern NH, NH Seacoast Region, Merrimack Valley, Souhegan Valley, Monadnock Region, Hillsborough County, Middlesex County, North Shore, South Shore, MetroWest, and Worcester, MA area.

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