Reality Design Shows: Fact or Fiction?

Posted on under Indiana Design

Most of us are spending more time at home than usual right now, perhaps filling some time dreaming about a new home project, or realizing that our homes might function a little better if the design could be improved. We might even be watching more home improvement shows, which can be a source of inspiration to get going on a project, but is that realistic? We have all seen these shows – they seemingly can achieve the impossible in just a few days, and by the end of the 30 minute show there is a magazine-worthy, beautifully-styled result. These types of programs are great to help us envision a new space in our own home, but it’s important to distinguish between a source of project inspiration and project expectations. We consulted with design industry expert Caryn O’Sullivan, owner of Drapery Street, for guidance on what’s fact vs. fiction on the beloved design shows.

Progress vs. Perfection

When thinking about a home renovation, you have to think in terms of time, money and experience to be able to manage expectations of the finished product. On a television show, all of those elements are carefully planned through existing relationships and partnerships that ease timelines and pad budgets. A TV renovation show looks easy because it is easy when you’re just seeing a slice of the real picture.

“Every renovation comes with its own set of challenges which is why it’s so important to work with the right professionals. Experts know all the peaks and pitfalls of a home renovation. We can eyeball your inspiration and translate it, so you can get the effect you want in the space you’re actually dealing with,” says O’Sullivan.

Other distinctions to be made on a television set vs. reality are design elements like lighting for filming as opposed to real life and the true quality of products selected. If it looks great for the final reveal, it’s a win on TV but homeowners should also focus on the quality of a product as much as the overall look (which may affect the budget). Additionally, make sure the space will function how you need it to rather than simply be a pretty room reveal.

O’Sullivan advises that “Experts will help you anticipate challenges you might not see and ensure the finished result lines up with your vision.”

House Blueprints for Windows
Even the best laid plans and budgets are adapted when a home renovation project is in progress.

Timeline & Budget

A good rule to keep in mind and help with your expectations is that any renovation project you have in the works could cost twice as much and take twice as long as the projects you see depicted on television. Chances are you don’t have Chip Gaines doing demo on your home – it will be a hired crew who may have other jobs and commitments, or it may even be you. And maybe you have never done any kind of demo before.

“Work with a team you trust. They will help you set a realistic budget and timeline and stay within those parameters,” assures O’Sullivan.

Steps in the process like paint and tile selections and seeing the cosmetic details come together are always exciting, but the less glamourous stages like living without appliances or waiting two weeks between measuring for and installing a kitchen countertop are both inevitable and daunting.

Reality TV Design
A picture is worth 1,000 words but a beauty shot can’t depict the hard work, experience and major renovation efforts to create this beautiful setting. Interior Design by Marika Designs | Windowcoverings by Drapery Street

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

“In reality, home renovations aren’t tv-easy. But living in your dream home is worth it!” says O’Sullivan.

That is where a team of professionals – like the many talented designers and showroom associates working at the Indiana Design Center – can come in to take charge of your renovation, whether large or small. Experienced designers know how to plan timelines, hire experts, and also have partnerships in place that can help save time and money. They make sure that your project comes in on budget and they make sure to get the details just right.

The team at Drapery Street is conducting Virtual Consultations to help get your project rolling while you social distance. Click here to book a consultation.

Drapery Street Clients
Drapery Street clients meet with a designer to begin their windowcoverings project.