How to Watch Design Shows (Without Going Crazy)

How to Watch Design Shows (Without Going Crazy)

Jennifer Hunter
Apr 25, 2015

Do you love the good ideas and fun transformations of certain design shows but grit your teeth with rage at the unrealistic turnarounds and manufactured drama? We feel you. So what can you do (besides boycott them completely)? Remember these TV truths to help you watch with the right attitude.'s fake!

When you find yourself incredulous over the "weekend" it took to transform an entire kitchen, top to bottom, remember that it's super likely that they not only fudged the timeline (a lot) but the producers have been prepping the shoot for weeks. Please judge your own reno by your own standards.

You can cherry pick the ideas you like

No matter how ridiculously over-the-top the design, there are always a few solid takeaways to glean from any makeover show, whether it's a painting technique or new design idea. And these shows often pull out feature segments highlighting especially useful lessons which, if you're into design, is never bad knowledge to have in your back pocket.

You might learn something about escrow

Or any other element of the home buying process that you're nervous about. Watching someone else go through a negotiation or renovation — even if it's glossed over and prettied up — is still useful if you're thinking about going down the real estate road yourself soon. If nothing else, it will clarify the steps to ownership and get you thinking about how you want your own journey to shake down.

These ARE real people (who are bad actors)

Sure, the storyline may be manufactured, but the subjects themselves aren't actors so their recreated conversations are bound to sound a little forced. Accept that debating between properties IS something that they did at one time and you are getting a watered-down version of that discussion (or fight!) while they sit at a nondescript coffee shop with a plate of untouched pastries. Maybe give 'em a break.

Okay your turn, what do you love to hate about design shows?

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