With the rising popularity of home improvement shows, it seems like everyone has a favorite few to watch.
But do the seemingly magical results of TV shows make homeowners overconfident with slapdash changes to their homes? Or do they help homeowners find the inspiration to do renovations the right way? We asked our panel of experts whether the media portrayal of home improvement was helpful or hurtful to their businesses. Interested in seeing what they had to say? Here are the top 5 suggestions…
For our thirteenth Blog-Off, Debbie Cannon of CoMar Products, Inc. asked our panel of expert interior designers, contractors, realtors and green builders to weigh in.
We are compiling the information from our experts into a must-read article on how the media’s portrayal affects home businesses. As a preview to this article, we wanted to outline the top 5 comments from our experts.
Does the Media's Portrayal of Home Improvement Help or Hurt Your Business?
With the prevalence of celebrity designers/contractors/etc. and their popular television shows and writing, do you think homeowners are getting an accurate picture of what the remodeling business is like?
If not, what do you think are some of the misconceptions?
How does this affect your business and the homeowner’s experience?
Any advice for homeowners in regards to popular television shows, articles, or blogs?
"[In the past] average people were hungry for professional home improvement advice yet they had only 3 choices:
1) Do it themselves and likely make expensive mistakes.
2) Go to a local store and try to get a salesperson's advice without having to buy a lot of new things they neither wanted or needed.
3) Live with what they already had because they could not afford the high priced services of a design professional.
I believed, and still do, that everyone deserves a beautiful, comfortable home so I decided to become an advocate for folks who wanted affordable design help. I would show people how to use what they already had and teach them how to correct their existing mistakes in order to transform their houses and apartments in hours." read more
"Today, in addition to shows that help people dream and get inspiration, there is a new crop of home improvement programs that focus on fixing others' mistakes (projects that weren't properly done the first time), or bailing homeowners out when they get in over their heads.
These shows really do a good job of highlighting what can go wrong if you're not properly trained to perform certain work, and how every piece of the home's systems work together and affect each other. We're glad to see programs today that are showing the realities of what can happen if someone isn't equipped to plan, manage and execute a project properly." read more
"I'll start by saying that I'm a huge fan of home improvement and home design shows. That being said, last year I got a whole different perspective as to what actually goes on behind the scenes when these shows are being filmed.
I participated on a volunteer design team for an episode of a home makeover show. This particular project was completed over 5 days; yet it was cut down to 30 minutes for TV.
When I watched the edited version on TV, I tried to look at it from the point of view of an audience member; putting aside all of the 'blood, sweat and tears' that everyone involved with this project actually went through. I truly couldn't appreciate on TV the amount of hard work that went into it. It was captured in such a way that made it look quite easy and all fun and games. Some of these shows glorify the whole process and also occasionally add unnecessary drama to make it more interesting to viewers. After all, it's all about the ratings.
In my opinion, sometimes this can diminish in the public's eyes what it is that we as professional designers, contractors, etc. do and that can therefore, undervalue our services." read more
"Like most things, I think the answer to this is in shades of grey where the whole industry is concerned. The TV shows in question have to play to their most important goal, and that is to make good television. As such, a lot of the important stuff – like how long it takes to ship a product to site, or product availability – is cut out. It doesn't make good television to talk about that. But, to me, the most important thing that home improvement shows bring out is the underlying goal and fascination that lies behind nearly any major home renovation, and that is the idea of
This makes for a more enriched relationship with customers, and it is more of an impetus for homeowners to return to those vendors and home improvement professionals who have played a part in their story." read more
"When getting inspired from shows on TV, here are some things you can do to help your designer or contractor:
1) Research! That state-of-the-art wall mounted fireplace may have looked super-fab in Candace Olsen's latest design, but do a quick google search and see how much it costs. If it's really something you can afford, then bring it up with your contractor. Your contractor will be able to look at your home to see if it's feasible. Don't be afraid to ask questions!
2) Set priorities. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all. But the process of home improvement is like an all you can eat buffet – it's easy to bite off more than you can chew. Make a list of your most important projects and don't start the second one until you've finished the first.
3) Be realistic with your expectations. Ever go to the salon and love how your hair looks that day, but you can never get it to look the same? Well, things can look amazing on television where there is proper lighting, brand new items, and the perfect accessories. But realistically, you need a livable space where everything functions well and you can let your hair down." read more