12 Ways HGTV is Misleading Us

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

Do you watch HGTV? I do. Mindless entertainment and better than a martini. However, time after time, I hear the same false information. I sit here muttering to myself… Are they f-word kidding me? And then, I remember what the deal really is…

 

HGTV EXISTS SOLELY FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES

 

HGTV-shoes-laurel-bern-interiors-3

 

The problem is… Some of you actually believe that what you are hearing (and seeing) is something you need to know and adhere to. But I bet for a lot of you, there is some still small voice that is saying, “really? It must be me. After-all, this is HGTV and they wouldn’t mislead me? Would they? Those cute property brothers (who never lose a sale) and that couple that’s not really married but everyone thinks they are because they are always bickering non-stop about whether their clients are going to Love it or List it?” (like does anyone really care?)

I’m going to tell it to you straight. HGTV is like a really good tranquilizer without any side effects; well, maybe some mild nausea on occasion.

Okay wait. no. There was this one time… that my blood pressure went through the roof. In fact, I was so incensed that I had to write the producer about this absolutely Dreadful [infuriating] kitchen they put in. Here’s what they did. They took a really cute vintage kitchen with a charming vintage stove…

hmofs209-before-kitchen_lg

All it needed was a perky paint color and a vintage school-house pendant light, white subway tile backsplash…and for f sake. DO THE DISHES! Oh, and some anaglypta (embossed) wallpaper on the ceiling to make it look like a tin ceiling. and some cool vintage accessories.

RD0151

but no… nothing like that. This is what they did to it, to make it better?

hmofs209-after-kitchen_lg

yuck

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and even yuckier

What’s with those cabinets with the weird plastic red panels just stuck on the wall? (probably literally) A black Roman Shade and curtain. Huh??? Dizzying back splash. It positively reverberated on TV; some weird pseudo-French cheap-looking toile fabric [on sale at JoAnn’s I guess] hung for no apparent reason. And for an additional dash of the bizarre… a Mies Van Der Rohe repro Barcelona chair.  Everything but the kitchen sink. literally. (you can’t see the kitschy wall decor) And to boot, you can’t even get into the room without killing yourself tripping over that big Barcelona chair! This is a TINY kitchen!

miesvanderrohebarcelona

Are they barking mad? I remember the clients trying to look thrilled with the results. I’m sure that they wanted to choke that overly perky “designer.”

*more about that later

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Here are 12 half-truths, misconceptions and out-and-out lies that HGTV wants us to believe (and then, the truth.)

 

 

 

  • Everyone loves and wants “OPEN CONCEPT” LIVING.

Folks, I’ve been in this business for nearly 25 years… and not once in that time has anyone ever asked me for an open concept floor plan. People generally want light and airy living spaces. They want their small rooms to feel larger and their large rooms to feel cozier, but no one wants to live in only one room. Yes, some of us do have great rooms that open up to the kitchen, but most homes have some separation. In fact, more commonly, we actually need to make MORE separation by making some overly large openings SMALLER!

  • Everyone loves granite counter tops.

granite

Truth. I can’t tell you how many of my clients sheepishly confess to me that they HATE granite. Well, me too! Most of it is hideous. We love marble, [yes it’s porous, however you can seal it!], oiled soapstone and quartz. No need to have some closet hatred of the speckled often barfy colored stone. Shout it out from the rafters.

GRANITE SUCKS!!!

Don’t you feel better now? You knew it all along, but were simply afraid to swim against the HGTV nasal grraaaannnite tide.

  • Everyone wants mixed stone and glass tile in this weirdly elongated psychotic brick pattern

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I’m trying to imagine how that all got started. Hmmmm… the (stoned) stone mason didn’t order enough. They discontinued the color. Shite! Oh, I have an idea… let’s take some of this stuff they have on close-out and mix it in… cool…

  • Everyone wants a matched set of “stainless steel” appliances.

The range yes. Everything else can be clad in wood paneling. We also like white appliances and in some instances, black works. The appliances don’t have to be stainless steel

  • Everyone wants dark stained kitchen cabinets

kitchens11

no. Painted cabinets are still the most popular around these parts. Look in all of the high-end shelter magazines. You will not see this look. ever.

  • Almost every room can benefit from a “feature wall” or “accent wall” painted a different color

We’ve already been through this travesty.

Purple-Accent-Walled-Living-Room

You can read about that on this post about hideous mistakes that people make. Most rooms are not enhanced by an accent wall. Some are, but only in specific circumstances.

  • Dark walls make a room look smaller

NO! they make the room look LARGER, albeit darker. Dark colors make the walls recede, just like black pants make your legs recede.

  • You can renovate a kitchen, living and dining area in only six weeks.

Six to nine months— minimum!

  • Every woman has a vast shoe collection and needs a closet larger than many apartments in Tokyo

 

I like shoes, but they don’t like me and I know that I’m not alone. Most of my clothes are the folding kind. I have a very tiny clothes closet and it is plenty adequate.

  • Everyone ENTERTAINS  like crazy and needs a large open concept room and yard to accommodate that.

pig

I get the ears!

Truth. None of my friends ever entertain at home. We always go out. always. always. always. When my kids were little, there were very few people who even dared to enter our home. (can’t say I blame them) Then, when the kids got old enough so that we could finally let them out in public, their friends started arriving with electric guitars and basses. This was to hook up with the drum set just below the kitchen table. Kinda hard to have an intimate adult dinner party when there’s Nirvana covers blaring from the basement and a steady stream of 16-yr-olds coming in for the show. That is real life.

  • You can fix your place up for resale with 2 thousand dollars

Truth. You can’t do jack with only 2 thousand dollars. Most people need to spend a minimum of 20k on their homes before selling. We did and we got every penny back and then some and we had a buyer within one week of going on the market.

  • Everyone is ecstatically happy with the results.

 

Before I close. There ARE some fabulous designers on HGTV but not this one. Fortunately, they finally pulled his quack show.

It might’ve been after he did this.

hgtvs-david-bromstad-predicts-2012-interior-design-trends

who me?

xo,

laurel

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  • Anita OIeksy - June 13, 2017 - 1:47 PM

    I think the little kitchen above was ruined. The remake is much too trendy and garish. A “lighter touch”, retaining the original character, would’ve been more to my taste.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 13, 2017 - 2:07 PM

      Ya think? lol – You had to see the show. It was like kitchen reno on acid!ReplyCancel

  • Meg - May 25, 2017 - 11:00 AM

    Love this post so much I shared it on my Facebook page! Another HGTV peeve of mine is open shelves in the kitchen rather than cabinets. Two words, dust and grime!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 25, 2017 - 12:40 PM

      Hi Meg,

      Thanks so much for sharing. I haven’t watched HGTV more than once or twice since writing that. I didn’t know that they had advanced to open shelves.

      I actually like them but know that some feel as you do and that’s cool. It’s when someone blindly goes along with something without really thinking if they like it or not that I have an issue with. ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - May 3, 2017 - 8:56 PM

    Hi Laurel, your blog is awesome. I’m so glad I read this. You made so many valid points. There’s so much on HGTV that’s just unobtainable for the average person. I’d rather focus on small changes that reflect me, not what is the latest fad.ReplyCancel

  • CroneD - April 20, 2017 - 12:06 AM

    I loved, loved, loved the old HGTV of 30 or so years ago. I was addicted to it. It was very educational. Designers showed you how to do things. They explained the principles behind color and dimensions and textures. They often were very creative with very inexpensive or found-on-the-curb furniture or accessories, which fit my budget.

    I miss it.

    I barely watch HGTV anymore.ReplyCancel

  • R.A. Wold - April 13, 2017 - 9:07 PM

    Gone are the days when HGTV had gardening and craft shows. There used to be a very serene gardening show where the host would visit gardeners around the country. It was the most soothing 30 minutes on TV. Remember how a home remodel was a six episode series? There was a process. Now, it has to be done start to finish in an hour, or even half an hour. Don’t get me started on Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Flip or Flop (any version). It’s like a marathon every night. Where’s the diversity? Every episode is the same set of problems. I get that it’s all about the production. Probably a cheap way to put a show together. But, it comes at a cost…Originality! Rant over…for now.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2017 - 6:13 PM

      Hi R.A,

      I hear ya! And I wrote this nearly 3 years ago. Not much has changed.ReplyCancel

  • jl lin - April 5, 2017 - 11:32 PM

    I like classical and whimsical, and like many, I am eclectic. I am drawn to what I am drawn to–as a number of people can be. Thing thing w/ following trends it is on the steeple side of things. Balance is always beautiful, no matter what styles, colors, whatever you favor. Form and function is always a good thing IMHO. So, to the trends and “designers” individual likes and dislikes, I say this. Do what you love, keeping this in mind…When do you plan to sell your home. If it isn’t going to be for a number of years, don’t sweat the trends. You and your family are the ones living in the home, not the HGTV people. If you want to stage it for resale or change things for trends for re-sale, to me, that is an entirely different situation than one’s personal tastes and creating and living in what you love. There is whole neurological/psychological influences on what people are drawn to or what they like–ASIDE FROM FOLLOWING TRENDS. Most people follow trends, b/c they just don’t “Know themselves.” Yes. Kitchen re-dos are expensive. You don’t have to rip out your granite, if you like it, just b/c you are thinking of selling. Also, look at it this way. Anything is better than that awful formica and sticky tiles on the floor. Find out who you are and what you love and what you are drawn to, and go from there. Remember the movie the Run Away Bride (? exact title)? The woman didn’t know how she liked her eggs. Of course that is an oversimplification somewhat when it comes to design–and especially with people like me, who like eggs in many different ways. Personally, I am one that will always love the joining of the old and new, depending on what the “new” is. Clean lines are nice, but too modern is often antiseptic and boring. If that is your thing, that’s fine. Tying things into nature is wonderful too. What an amazing palate from which to work. Different cultural and historical influences can be good too. Not everyone wants to do art on walls anymore, but if it speaks to me, I may find a way to work it into the surroundings. The thing is, most people are very phlegmatic, so following trends is something they tend to depend upon–and for sales, markets are always working on these peoples’ minds–b/c they feel like they must rigidly fit in or they are lost. But this certainly is not everyone, and it most definitely isn’t me. And I will also share right now that I am “grayed/greyed,’ whichever you prefer, out! I am bored w/ the subway titles, and yes. Marble gets old too, and it is harder to keep up and chips easier. So again, form and function matters. I have real hickory cabinets w/ clean lines and modern, subtly whimsical handles–mixed–some knobs and some handles. I also love contrast done well. I am feminine but also love masculine influences. So, it really isn’t cut and draw, follow the trends for some of us. We are the ones that have to live in our homes. And God, generally, white cabinets–BORING and show everything! Just some thoughts. Carry on! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • jl lin - April 5, 2017 - 11:39 PM

      Typo warning for above. Meant to write Sheeple but Apple autocorrected me. Point: following trends can me “sheeplish.” Some of us are too passionate for that. 🙂

      Do and live what you love!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Huntsberger - March 13, 2017 - 1:13 PM

    Girl, I LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS BLOG POST!!!! And yes, I am screaming!!! I cannot tell you how many times I have felt the exact same way and held my dang tongue. But thanks to you, no more! People need to be educated! I don’t have near your credentials nor will I ever have but I’ve got enough under my belt to know bad design when I see it and it is way too often on HGTV!!! Then to sit back and watch people ruin good homes with all that crap they see on there just turns my stomach and leaves me smdh uncontrollably! Now, please check out the FB group “HGTV Fixer Upper Show Followers” and do a blog post about it! I can hardly contain myself when I get a notification that one of my FB friends has posted there. It drove me nuts in the beginning, until I blocked all notifications from it. Thought I was a little hormonally, irritable until I decided -NAH it has nothing to do with me. These people are freakin nuts!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 13, 2017 - 1:37 PM

      Thanks so much Sandy. After I wrote that post, I’ve maybe watched HGTV a handful of times, at most. But every time I turn it on, I see that nothing has changed in three years!ReplyCancel

  • Tracie Rosendahl - February 22, 2017 - 8:48 PM

    Loved your blog so much. I am getting ready to completely remodel a 1 bedroom condo I just bought in Hawaii and I am having serious issues on appliances. I am kinda liking the new slate color instead of stainless steel, but it only comes on GE. I hear there are lots of problems with GE appliances. Any input on this? I am going with white shaker cabinets, white Quartz with sparkles and a really soft beachy beige, blue, white, 1×4″ brick backsplash. Should be nice, but, I’m not sure about the stainless.

    Honestly can’t stand the granite that is so busy you can’t tell if there is stuff on your counter or not and then they put these crazy backsplashes that don’t even go with anything and totally clash. Aweful!!! I don’t get it.ReplyCancel

    • nancy - March 12, 2017 - 1:59 PM

      We have the 2015 GE Café frig and stove. I have had SS before but this refrigerator exterior smears like a SOB. The refrigerator is also counter depth and you can’t even put a pizza in it. It’s shocking how small it is. If I had kids at home, it would be gone already.
      The stove has a convection/electric stove combo and the lower drawer is an oven, it’s awesome. I detest stainless steel but the stove only comes in stainless and I thought the frig had to match. I would never do it again. I would move the frig to get a regular one and get it in white. They work well, I can’t complain about that.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 22, 2017 - 9:12 PM

      Thanks so much Tracie! No idea on the appliances. Perhaps try doing a search to see if others are talking about it online.ReplyCancel

  • Audrey - February 12, 2017 - 6:56 PM

    Engineer quartz is not everything great like they are marketing. I work for a granite and engineered quartz fabricator and we have more problems after install with quartz than with granite. We use a 15 year sealer with our granite and we are able to get out any stains to a point with granite. If quartz stains we are unable to do anything. The white marble looking quartz that everyone wants has more resin and plastic than the older darker colors so it stains easier and doesn’t take to heat well because of that. We had to learn the hard way and reach out to our quartz vendors that decided to share the difference after multiple customers complained with stains. So granite does not suck!ReplyCancel

    • jl lin - April 5, 2017 - 11:51 PM

      No. Of course granite “does not suck!” People have also been mixing different stones and textiles for years, and I for one am not going to change my Italian tumbled stone on walls right now! I still very much enjoy it! 🙂ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - April 5, 2017 - 11:55 PM

        jl lin,

        That is not the point. The point is that people AUTOMATICALLY — every single one of them say that they love graaaaaanite and in the same whiny nasal voice.

        Of course, you are free to love whatever you love. That is, has and always will be my philosophy.

        But I don’t like it, so for me it sucks. And I want other people to get in touch with their inner suck. If they still love it, then that’s wonderful and if not, it’s time to find out what it is that they do love.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2017 - 7:32 PM

      Audrey,

      Hey thanks for stopping by with all that great info! Although, if I were commenting on a public blog, where there is an actual living, breathing human being on the other end of my words, I wouldn’t impugn them in that manner. That’s rude. A good rule to follow, IMO, is if one wouldn’t say it to their face standing in their living room, don’t say it to them from the so-called safety of a computer.

      Granite doesn’t suck for practical reasons, but too much of it does for aesthetic reasons. My opinion, of course and it’s my blog, so I am allowed to express that. And the point is that the shows on HGTV ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have the wife going…

      “OH HONEY… LOOK, GRANITE COUNTERS!”

      The point is also that the shows are clearly scripted. The topic of the blog post is about HGTV and the crap they shove down our throats.

      However, thank you for pointing out the issues with the lighter colored quartz counters. My apartment came with medium colored counters. Not my preference, color-wise, but they are really great from a practical stand-point.

      You are welcome to come back and comment as long as you keep your comments respectful. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - January 4, 2017 - 9:27 PM

    This was one of your funniest posts ever.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 4, 2017 - 9:31 PM

      Thanks Linda. That was the post that helped me turn the corner. A very big corner!ReplyCancel

  • Berkeley Fuller-Lewis - December 13, 2016 - 2:33 PM

    Loved your “12-Things . . .” Post about HGTV.

    To your list of ridiculous “fads and trends,” I can’t resist adding:

    o Clunky faux-rustic “barn doors” – which are hideous, faddish and take up reams of wall space. (Pocket doors are another thing entirely).
    o Natural stone counters, versus Quartz. Why install something which stains, needs to be sealed and costs a fortune? Huh?
    o Ship Lap. Really? Joanna Gaines needs to get back on her meds. Busy and ugly ugly, and especially stupid for a kitchen backsplash plus – a home for indoor insects. Great.
    o Goofily over-“decorated” space filled with shabby, kitschty “antiques” but ZERO personality.
    o Fake books as part of the Great Reveal Staging. Does no one ever read actual books? Does no one OWN their own books?
    o Clients having ZERO actual “art.” (Not talking billionaires with Rembrants or Monets, just real personalized ART, as opposed to fake kitsch (see above).
    o Show-off expanses of super-dark “wood” floors. Another faddish cliché.
    o And my latest “favorite” — hideously machine-made, geometrically patterned concrete tiles. All the HGTV crew is falling for this “Your House Is Instantly Dated”, ugly busy schlock.

    Actually we watch HGTV shows for grim fascination of seeing the “clients” / couples, many of whom (a) don’t like each other but haven’t yet figured that out; (b) have never talked to or listened to each other; and (c) have the emotional IQ of a five-year old. The occasional great couples (fun, loving, humorous) are the exception.

    Thanks for listening. Oh and my favorite quote by H.L. Mencken, “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American publis.” Ha ha ha.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - December 13, 2016 - 1:54 PM

    Love your posts!ReplyCancel

  • Anna Mac - October 23, 2016 - 4:17 AM

    I, too, miss some of the early HGTV design shows. They were fun and outrageously over simplified. I’ve used designers for over 30 years. HGTV shows hint at the actual process while ignoring the construction drama. And, in my experience, even small upgrades, e.g., carpet to wood, windows, paint, involve a plethora of sub’s with varying levels of professionalism and skill – even “craftsmen” associated with high end designers. We’re just completing a third major construction project on our house including a two-story addition and kitchen gut. The original completion date was June 2015 and the budget is 100% over and counting. That, my friends, is design reality.ReplyCancel

    • jl lin - April 5, 2017 - 11:54 PM

      Yes, indeed! What happened to the designing shows? Why is it all showing homes and flipping, and showing more homes on HGTV. Used to love to see the input and work of different designers. HGTV hasn’t been the same since they basically cut out most of those show.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - April 5, 2017 - 11:58 PM

        Well… TV is not for the people watching it. It’s for the advertisers. Same with public school. It’s for the teachers and the administrators and the kids get the run-off of what’s left over.

        Maybe it’s like that with everything.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 9:45 AM

      Hi Anna,

      Now, THAT is a show I would watch! Imagine a reality TV show that talks about the never-ending-renovation… and yes, that is far more the norm, not what they are leading folks to believe which never happens.ReplyCancel

  • Scott - September 14, 2016 - 1:29 PM

    Found this by googling “hgtv tasteless remodel”
    Can’t agree with you more. Most homes look best when left original to their era; I’m watching 60’s ranch homes transformed into Tuscan nightmares.
    In the 60’s, many Victorians were covered in stucco and had aluminum windows installed. They were ruined forever, but the owners were “updating” to the current style.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 14, 2016 - 8:35 PM

      Hi Scott,

      Yeah… remuddling, they call it. So sad too. :[ Thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • melissa - August 18, 2016 - 1:36 PM

    Just found your blog and have to say i’m enjoying it and learning a few thing.
    But I don’t agree with your take on granite, dark cabinets, stainless steel, and mosaic backsplashes. I renovated my NYC apartment kitchen and used all of the above. It’s absolutely beautiful. While perhaps it’s not for every kitchen and every renovation, it’s right for me. Would be happy to share a photo.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2016 - 12:09 AM

      Hi Melissa,

      That is absolutely fine and I say that a lot on the blog. If you like something that is all that matters. I want people to choose things because they love them, not because they THINK it’s the only way.

      My beef with HGTV is that on some shows like House Hunters, everyone “hunting” wants the exact same thing!ReplyCancel

  • HeidiP - August 17, 2016 - 9:33 PM

    Awwww I love this post yet it made me so sad because it’s TRUE— I have the ugly brown granite that the previous owners decided to “update” the kitchen with when their listing was getting zero traction. And the wall that they knocked down btwn the kitchen/eating area and the family room…oh and the stainless appliances. We’ve only been here almost 3 years and my husband would never approve of changing the granite to something else. So I’m stuck, bending over to get to eyelevel with the granite countertop to see if there are any crumbs I missed when triple wiping it down…. And they’re ALWAYS there because I can’t tell ever since the counter itself just looks like a bunch of spilled coffee stains. How sad. I love the location of our (1959) home and the property but I must say I can’t wait til we’re able to move on up to the east side into an older (pre-war) home with graceful rooms and natural charm. ahhhhhhhhReplyCancel

    • Judith - March 28, 2017 - 8:53 PM

      I have finished my third kitchen remodel and we love that granite that never shows coffee drips. I do clean often, but could never live with a white marble or quartz. Ours is not a dark pattern but is definite in the brown/gold tones. Our back splashes have all been selected to coordinate and we have stayed away from glass tile because it is so identifiable and will be dated soon. We also avoid stainless sinks and go for sil-granite.

      I totally agree with Laurel that the requests are amazingly predictable. If all those people entertain as much as they say they do, our economy is secure. But I bet they order out more than they cook in those “gourmet” kitchespns.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 17, 2016 - 9:39 PM

      Hi Heidi,

      I had clients who bought a home a couple years ago with the same “upgrade.” ugh. Theirs was this rusty brown and I guess the dude got it on closeout because he covered the counters and the backsplash with it.

      One day you’ll get your dream…
      ReplyCancel

  • Shawna - July 29, 2016 - 5:11 PM

    Love your infoReplyCancel

  • lawrence phelps - July 19, 2016 - 6:55 AM

    Thanks a lot for your insightful critique of the HGTV nonstop commercials channel. I thought I was the only one who noticed the template format of all these home improvement shows. Plus the novice home buyers amazingly can talk in real estate speak! “Look honey…an on suite!”. The nasal idiot who has temper tantrums in Flipping Vegas drives me cuckoo. The only home improvement/real estate show I enjoy is the small blond woman who renovates old homes using as much of the original parts of the house that she can. No on suites, granite, open concept for her!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 19, 2016 - 10:00 AM

      Hi Lawrence,

      That was my grandfather’s name and who I was named after. Yes… it’s all scripted, staged, botoxed and fake. The homeowners trying to decide on which home have already gone to contract on the home they are trying to decide on. (eyes rolling)

      As I said… most of it is nothing but mindless entertainment and there is nothing wrong with that. We all need to unplug now and then. The danger is when folks are paying attention and behaving like it’s an edict from the queen. lolReplyCancel

      • Lawrence Phelps - July 19, 2016 - 1:06 PM

        LOL! Yes…all botoxed, butt and breast implanted and silicone duck lipped! Too bad Nicole Brown on Rehab Addict only comes on once a week. Miss the old days of Jerry Baker’s garden show and the Victory Garden with Roger Swain…interesting and also substance.ReplyCancel

  • Melenia - July 18, 2016 - 12:33 PM

    So – the truth about most home renovations shows out there – on any channel – is the on camera designers are mostly hosts. True – some designers are hosts, but they could not possibly do all the work themselves on each design. To make network air dates, there are about 2 homes renovated in a month and an army of Design Producers, Build Producers, General Contractors, product placement producers, etc. that work feverishly on every design behind the scenes for the host “designer” to present as their own. Some of these armies have better designers than others, and some production budgets are much more robust than others. Some shows have more pre-production time than others, allowing for better thought out and executed designs. Thus the inconsistency and weird projects. For first season shows, networks don’t want to spend too much, so the designs often look like the whoo-hash you have here. The networks bring in sponsors to the table, so there’s that impact on design. These shows can’t be done on budget without product placement, so designers take the sponsored products, and work those in to mixed results. Anyway – I could go on, but that’s the behind the scenes scoop in a nutshell.

    Thanks for your blog. I’m a new subscriber who has been working on these shows for years and feel positively daunted by the home reno I’m about to begin on our home! I know exactly what I’m getting in to. I have to agree, take the time to do it right. Plan for the time and budget, you have to live in the home, after all!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 18, 2016 - 2:47 PM

      Hi Melenia,

      It’s entertainment and all that goes with it that you pointed out so well. ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - July 17, 2016 - 7:32 AM

    I don’t know how I missed this on point HGTV blog entry- but I just want to say that I heartily concur with your criticism! You are so spot on! I thought I was the one out of step because I never liked the finished designs,so I gradually just quit watching. But I make an exception for Chip and Joanna, and have my husband tape the show for me. They are such a sweet, happy couple! I’m not a big fan of their wide open, mostly beige and white, décor- I crave more intimate, warm settings and color for myself. 🙂
    I used to love watching Sarah Richardson, but there’s no one of that caliber on HGTV, so I am out.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 17, 2016 - 2:10 PM

      Hi Dolores,

      Ya know… it’s funny, but since I wrote that post have maybe turned on HGTV at most half a dozen times. At most! I too love Sarah Richardson. And then there was that couple in NYC with the 7 kids. They did some interesting stuff. Of course, Candice Olsen is charming and very talented, but after a while, I feel that it’s all pretty much the same and I really wish she wouldn’t keep doing those ugly hole in the wall fireplaces and call them fabulous.

      It’s probably a sponsor. It wouldn’t surprise me. They do stuff like that.ReplyCancel

      • Dolores - July 17, 2016 - 6:24 PM

        I never really liked the fabrics she chose for most of her design projects- they all sort of reminded me of ‘hotel fabrics’ 🙂 Sturdy, practical and ‘non-offensive’ they might be but they never any pizzazz.Or ‘life’. That’s why I prefeered Sarah Richardson’s work.
        But Candice herself is stunning, warm and elegant, and as you said, a hugely talented designer.ReplyCancel

  • Tim - July 11, 2016 - 2:03 AM

    Laurel, while you seem quite “educated” on the matter of home decor, you happen to be doing the same exact thing you are accusing HGTV of doing to its viewers by shoving your opinion down their throat. Some people actually enjoy the things you pointed out as “horrible”. The people on that channel are putting their own opinions out there in a show that is getting high enough ratings that they keep renewing them for multiple seasons. Obviously SOMEBODY likes the style on HGTV or the shows would be canceled (Like the one mentioned toward the end of your post). If you can’t respect other’s opinions, maybe you should just stop watching their programming because it is OBVIOUSLY torture for you to have to go through, and only an idiot would continually put themselves through torture. You are welcome to have your opinion, but calling someone stupid for having their own makes you in turn stupid. Grow up. There are 7 billion people in the world, each with a mind of their own.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 11, 2016 - 8:24 AM

      Hey Tim,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write me such a heartfelt comment. I hope you don’t mind me saying this but through your words, I see a man in a lot of pain, so please accept the biggest cyber {{{{{{{hug}}}}}}} I can muster.

      Can’t say that I agree with everything you said because in my 60 years have realized that most people are sheep, just following the crowd; clearly not you, because you are sensitive enough to bear your soul and that’s an admirable trait. BTW, really appreciate your concern, but since writing this parody over two years ago, I’ve maybe turned on HGTV twice and immediately turn it off.

      What I find most interesting is that their website is wonderful! But yes, they are selling (0ut) to the masses on tube.

      Hope you’re feeling better soon! Much Love ~ Laurel

      ReplyCancel

      • Christine V - August 18, 2016 - 10:13 AM

        We record property brothers and fixer upper at our cabin. Gives us something to watch if there’s nothing on when we are there. We also watch it at home on occasion, but it’s rare anymore. It’s reality tv. That should cover it. Reality tv…just like that kardashian nonsense, those silly court shows I see while getting a pedi and all the rest. Fun to watch at times, but for the most part no one lives like that. We watch the shows to see how many unfinished things we can find on camera for fun. Just because entertainment is appealing it doesn’t make it the “law”. Jackass anyone? (I’m referring to the show).ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - August 18, 2016 - 10:31 AM

          Hi Christine,

          I love the article I linked to where it spills the truth about filming two different endings or people living in unfinished homes for months. I’ve also heard stories of people having to rip everything out it was so awful.ReplyCancel

  • Betty - May 14, 2016 - 1:46 PM

    Here it is 2016 and HGTV and others are still shoving SS appliances down our collective throats. A SS kitchen looks like a morgue and those huge refrigerators with umpteen drawers – all they need is a foot peaking out with a toe tag and don’t get me started on those lavatories with doors for the toilet. Really? Who has that much traffic in their washroom that the toilet must be in a tiny, windowless room because of all the activity outside that “water closet”. One woman said it best “looks like a coffin”.

    Love this blog,ReplyCancel

  • Marie - October 15, 2015 - 9:49 AM

    I and most people I know, love stainless steel appliances. they look beautiful in a space. I’ve lived abroad where the appliances matched the cabinets and when it’s not brown wood panel that’s a lovely look too. White appliances look cheap, and black says I didn’t want to look cheap but I am. Granite, ehh I can take it or leave it. I initially did butcher block, beautiful but bad decision. Now I have black Quartz. However, I certainly agree with most of your other statements like when I hear a woman prattle on about the closet not being big enough it irritates me because most look like they don’t own that much hang up clothing. I have a horrible shopping addiction and it all fits (mostly) in a deep step in closet. Needing more space to “entertain” ugh. I entertain frequently, but rarely is it more than 6 other people. These people act like they’re throwing weddings every weekend. It’s not a priority I based my home buying decision on. I enjoy the before and after for what they are, pretty entertainment. But I love the show Renovation Realities for its truth of angry success and failure .ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - October 6, 2015 - 10:01 PM

    Okay, if you’re going to take on HGTV, lampoon “Fixer Upper.” Since when does anyone aspire to live in *Waco, Texas*? It’s like Design By Baylor Baptists.

    Jojo — rusty gates nailed to the wall are *not art.*ReplyCancel

    • Robin - June 18, 2017 - 11:28 PM

      I think I love you. LOL!!!!! Waco sucks as bad as HGTV does – and somebody needs to school “Jojo” and her sheeple on what shiplap REALLY is. Plus – at some point somebody should discuss all the lawsuits on the homes “remodeled” on that show.

      And Laurel – you rock. 😀ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2017 - 12:04 AM

        Hi Robin,

        Thanks so much. Yes, I’ve heard about these lawsuits and that folks rip everything out and start over. Not pretty.ReplyCancel

    • lawrence phelps - July 19, 2016 - 7:00 AM
  • KG - September 17, 2015 - 8:09 PM

    I agree with *almost* everything you write on your delightful blog.

    1) living rooms and TVs–if it were up to me we would not own one at all. I’ve allowed one upstairs in a family room but all our other public spaces are for reading, chatting, listening to music, seeing friends

    2) and we have brunches and dinner parties at our house. I actually do not like eating out in the US (where the service is generally suboptimal, the waiters intrusive, and you are meant to leave in an hour) but I love friends lingering over brunch or dinner at our house.

    I have a theory that the bigger and grander and more magazine-ready the kitchen, the more likely it is to be a gallery for kitchen jewellery where the only appliances used are the fridge and the microwave for keeping and heating up leftovers. Real kitchens are imperfect, used a lot and filled with friends and familyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 18, 2015 - 1:04 AM

      Hi KG, Thanks for all of that. Can I have your life? lol It all sounds so wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Georgia - September 17, 2015 - 11:31 AM

    Spot on. Those us propaganda shows are meant for lemmings and Sheeple who think in 4wks and a budget of only $30,000 you can make that track house amazing?!?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 17, 2015 - 1:18 PM

      Haha Georgia. I’ve never heard the word “sheeple.” Perfect! Yes, any big reno is a minimum of six months. MINIMUM! 30k doesn’t go very far. Maybe one very small kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Marissa - September 3, 2015 - 1:39 AM

    Interesting article, too bad the average buyer is just like those on house hunters.
    My house has been on the market for a year now and we constantly get complaints about the layout. The kitchen, breakfast and family room are all one connected area, yet they want an “open” floor plan. Hello, that is open! It also has french doors connecting to the dining room, but that is still not good enough for them.
    It has been sitting empty, since we have already moved. Fortunately we have enough furniture and are thinking about taking some back to stage the house (how I originally ended up on your blog). Maybe the furniture will help them forget how stupid they are.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 3, 2015 - 11:23 AM

      Hi Marissa,

      I suppose they also want the moulding to “pop?” (eyes rolling) I gather these people don’t have a hoard of screaming children. (yet) If so, they’d want a door to every single room with heavy soundproofing! lol Good luck and I’ll send good vibes for a quick sale!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - August 21, 2015 - 2:41 PM

    This article is like valium to me. I live in an area where the real estate agents want everyone to have the exact same style decor. So if HGTV is pushing granite counters, that becomes a must in home decor. If it’s bronze or brushed stainless faucets that are “in” according to HGTV that is what the real estate agents people tell you to do, so they can sell your house. I live in a Georgian colonial and love my brass doorknobs! Laurel, I love your blog.
    You remind me of (may she rest in peace) Joan Rivers, when she used to say, “Can we talk”. Thanks for being so real.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 21, 2015 - 3:45 PM

      awww wow! What a compliment Cindy! I loved her and Nora Ephron. Such funny ladies. Two tremendous losses! There’s so much great material out there! I think that humor comes from talking about the things that live in our subconscious but we never really express it. Like when Lewis Black talks about Starbucks and across the street is…. another Starbucks. (very funny bit if you’ve never seen it. There’s more to it than that and big part is his “angry” delivery.ReplyCancel

  • Sheri Moore - August 20, 2015 - 11:01 PM

    Your blog on HGTV was spot on. Thank you so much, it is a relief to hear this said—and your way of expressing your thoughts always always make me giggle. Your taste is exquisite and I so enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for your wisdom on choosing paint colors—getting ready to paint and will follow your advice. I have granite and I hate it. My appliances are white although I would love a stainless stove and wood on the other appliances.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 21, 2015 - 3:27 PM

      Thank you Sheri,

      This is funny (sorta) but I actually haven’t watched HGTV hardly at all since I wrote that. In fact, I’m so busy with the blog and all that I hardly watch any TV at all! Even the news is too much! (too depressing!) Thanks so much for your kind words!ReplyCancel

  • mark - August 14, 2015 - 10:11 PM

    I just discovered hgtv’s website and after reading how to build a kitchen island and looking at a decor slideshow I googled ‘hgtv sucks’ and wound up here. Thanks L at least it was not a total waste of time 🙂ReplyCancel

    • lawrence phelps - July 19, 2016 - 7:03 AM

      My Google search “HGTV sucks” got me here too!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 16, 2015 - 12:23 AM

      Hi Mark, That’s too funny! If you google “sucks” you’ll probably get me too! LOLReplyCancel

  • Ann - February 15, 2015 - 11:26 AM

    Once I start reading your blog, I keep going, opening other tabs and read and read. When I came on your hgtv series, I was thrilled. I hate granite, I love my Formica ( budget friendly = subzero fridg) and white appliances. All, ALL, of the people I know think granite is the only countertop. I love wide hallways, rooms that have walls, that have more than one way in or out. One day I’ll repaint our pickled kitchen cabinets, yes, the 90’s. In the meantime, I’ll keep learning from your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Kenya - February 15, 2015 - 8:53 AM

    Thank you so much for posting this article! It now makes so much sense to me what is going on…purely entertainment!!!! Because I could never wrap my head around the horrible things they come up with…just horrible, hideous looking rooms!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie - June 2, 2014 - 10:35 PM

    Love this post, you really hit the nail in the head. HGTV often leads us to believe that everyone wants a granite countertop and stainless steel appliances, I am so tired of it. Thanks for this wonderful and informative post.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Jessie
    http://www.mixandchic.comReplyCancel

  • Adele - May 30, 2014 - 6:47 PM

    I HATE stainless steel!! Fingerprints, water stains – everything shows! I never understood why people keep saying they want it. Also, give me quartz over granite any day — non-porous, no need to seal, stands up to high temperatures. I think it’s time HGTV got with the times. Sometimes I suspect they are being paid by vendors to sell certain items. And thank you for sharing the true cost of a “fix-up” before selling a home. So many of us need to have a true idea of the finances it takes to update the home, even minimally. Don’t get me started on the obviously scripted programs that I turn off as soon as they start. Raises my blood pressure watching those certain programs. But – the brothers ARE cute!ReplyCancel

    • La Toya - May 31, 2014 - 12:30 PM

      This post is sooooo right on time. I did my thesis on the misperceptions of interior design created by the media and as part of my research I binged watched 50 hours of HGTV…..it was awful! What I had found so awesome prior to being educated was soooo hard to watch even for a few minutes as I neared my design program. And then we wonder why clients devalue our services…… I will definitely be sharing this post – awesome job!!ReplyCancel

  • RDavis - May 30, 2014 - 7:43 AM

    You are so right. Excellent post! I remember one show on HGTV where silk flowers were stapled all over the master bathroom wall. It looked like a florist shop exploded. Hideous! Then there’s the chandelier in the kitchen. I know how greasy and dusty my range hood gets. I can’t imagine having to clean a delicate glass light fixture every time I turn around….ReplyCancel

  • Christine March - May 30, 2014 - 7:17 AM

    Laurel, you have done the world a great service with this funny but informative post. Good on you!ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - May 29, 2014 - 10:22 PM

    Hi Lisa! I enjoyed meeting you too! I still can’t believe I “accidentally” was sitting next to you. Thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Mende - May 29, 2014 - 10:07 PM

    This is a great post! I have been thinking about writing one about this very topic. Good job Laurel! I enjoyed meeting you at DBCReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - May 29, 2014 - 8:54 PM

    Thank you so much Meg for stopping by and commenting! Oh, I would’ve loved to have seen that. It largely seems to be the mastermind [often tasteless] fantasy of producers and writers living in some alternate universe.ReplyCancel

  • pigtown*design - May 29, 2014 - 8:26 PM

    i went to a lecture given by hgtv and it was all light and smiles until they opened the floor to question. then it was a blood-bath. people were livid at hgtv for giving clients such unreal expectations about a remodeling/renovation job. and how smoothly everything goes, and the lack of real drama. it was ugly!ReplyCancel