what hgtv isn't showing you photo credit: dttspI get clients all the time, quietly whispering to me that they love HGTV.  A guilty pleasure that they are a bit hesitant to admit.  HGTV is entertaining and gets to the core of what many people want, fast, easy and cheap - why do you think McDonald's is so popular?  But when you compare what you see on reality TV home shows it is much different than what an actual design experience would be like. Disclaimer:  I enjoy a HGTV program every once in a while (it would probably be more but I only watch when traveling since we don't have cable) and I have many friends that have appeared on HGTV or work behind the scenes. There is nothing wrong with watching HGTV because it is entertaining.

However they only way you are getting an HGTV-like experience in your own home is to have HGTV come to your home.

Here is how it is different: 

1. Time -  To show you an entire transformation networks have 30 or 60 minutes.  What they don't show is the months of pre-production that happens before they start filming.  They have people working on shows, arranging details, organizing schedules, and generally working behind-the-scenes magic weeks if not months before the camera arrives.  This has to happen no matter what the project is - TV or not.  Good design takes lots of planning and planning takes time.

2. Money - $1000 in a day?  Sure.  But what about the $10,000 they spent before that day?  HGTV can show you want they want to show because their goal is to make interesting television.  But when you are an interior design client and the transformation is happening to your home you see every penny that leaves your bank account.  So on television they may show you that the designer got a great deal on a sofa at a thrift store - only $300!!! But what they don't show is the $700 for fabric and another $900 for reupholstery.  Or maybe that they went cheap on the fabric or upholstery and it is coming apart after three months.  As a client you would certainly notice the additional money for fabric or reupholstery or that your sofa didn't look good after using it for a few months.

3. Labor - An army of people is necessary for any design project.  Upholsterers, contractors, carpenters, curtain workrooms, wallpaper hangers, handymen, painters, installers, movers, and other specialists are needed to get the job done.  For TV there is a separate army of people - producers, hosts, lighting, sound, cameramen.  All these people need to get paid.  But on TV you never see these people who work behind the scenes - because they are confusing to introduce and unnecessary to the story.  But when the credits roll take notice at how many people are required to get that show into your living room.

Emily Henderson a HGTV Design Star and host of Secrets from a Stylist does a wonderful job of showing the realities of interior design both on camera and off.

So tell me in the comments below, how would you like your actual design experience to be like a HGTV show?