Millions of people indulge in reality television—it’s what we do. In recent years reality TV has expanded to include home improvement shows where seemingly average couples meet with professional decorators and builders, armed with an insane budget and even more insane expectations.
These shows are fun and entertaining, and that’s why we love them. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from them, they also have a tendency to create unrealistic expectations for our DIY projects.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions from these shows, and why you should be prepared for bumps in the road!
Demolition day is a fun and stress-reducing experience. (You get to break stuff!)
If you’re doing a major home remodel, you’ll likely be knocking down some walls and lifting some floorboards, and that might sound like the ultimate way to get your anger out. But what TV doesn’t show you is how long this process can sometimes take, and that you can uncover unwanted snags (hello, faulty wiring) along the way. In many cases, it’s best to work with a professional, and take things slow. Going to town on a wall with a sledgehammer only looks exciting until you end up doing more damage than intended.
Big renovations always equal big ROI
Many home improvement shows mention full-scale kitchen and bathroom remodels as a necessity. While this can bring you a considerable amount of ROI when done correctly, they are also two of the most expensive areas to renovate. Instead of updating them completely, think about more minor changes you can make first—like modern appliances and updated countertops—which will also give you bang for your buck and won’t break the bank all at once.
It only takes Chip and Joanna a week to remodel a house, so I can do it, too.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are now among home improvement TV royalty, and they are extremely talented at what they do. But they are professionals. You get to see the behind-the-scenes process of their projects, which will often involve some sort of unexpected roadblock. But the beauty of TV is that the roadblocks are always overcome in a 30-minute period. Real life is not the same. Everything from building permits to adding finishing touches can take weeks or even months. Be patient.
This hardworking family of four has a budget of $300,000 for their remodel—we need to be willing to spend more.
The adage “less is more” can certainly be applied to home projects. It’s unrealistic for a young couple just starting out to have an enormous budget for their fixer-upper, and yet, we see it on TV all the time. You don’t always have to shell out thousands of dollars for home improvement costs—think efficiently. Develop a realistic budget that won’t leave you underwater, and try your best to stick to it. There’s no point in investing all of your money at one time into a home you plan on spending a long time in.