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The Shockingly Shoddy Truth Behind Home Renovation Shows

Home renovation shows sure are fun to watch.

But have you ever wondered if those homes really look as good in real life as they do on the TV? After all, they always manage to miraculously turn these spaces into something remarkable… in a remarkably short amount of time.

A Reddit thread proves that it’s not all as good as viewers are led to believe. One user asked, “People who’ve been on home renovation shows, how’s the house holding up?” And the resulting comments prove that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on HGTV!

Cutting Corners Is Commonplace

When you’re doing it all for a show, you don’t have to do it properly! Cutting corners to get things done on a tight budget and a tiny timeframe seems pretty commonplace. Unfortunately, some homeowners are left with tons of shoddy work they have to fix after the fact.

“Friends were on a show a few years ago. It was super intense 3 weeks of filming and the redesign looked great on camera. In reality it was literally things stuck together with staples and tape. After the show my friend took 2 weeks off work to rebuild everything properly.”

“Dangerous” Tile Work for the Sake of Cameras

looking down at shoes on Moroccan tile floor
Shutterstock

If you had any doubts about how many corners are cut for the sake of TV, this plumber has seen it firsthand.

I’m sure that choice to skip grout looked great on camera, but who could have ever thought that was a good idea? They didn’t even come back after filming to put in grout, either? This sounds like a big waste of beautiful Moroccan tile and a huge disappointment for the homeowners.

“Plumbing and remodeling company I work for did plumbing for an HGTV show about 10 years ago. We did the hook-ups for the new laundry room. The homeowners picked some fancy Moroccan tile for the floors at some upscale NYC boutique and the host of the show decided it would look better without grout…which went about as well as you’d expect.

“Filming wrapped, and we were called back out a few weeks later to replace the fancy tile that immediately chipped and became dangerous with some boring tile. Had to sign NDAs, etc.”

It Looked Good–But Didn’t Last

When a renovation show came through to do a few rooms in this person’s home, I’m sure it looked good on the show. And let’s be honest — a fairy woodland bedroom sounds really cool. Unfortunately, the work wasn’t done well enough to last, leaving this kid with peeling murals. At least they had a cool story to tell their friends, I guess!

“My family was on a home renovation show when I was a kid, in the late 90s early 2000s. I think it was Changing Rooms or possibly another show by the same cast and producers. It was one of those shows where they do 3 rooms in the house and mine was one of the rooms they decorated. It looked so pretty, they decorated it to look like a fairy woodland with huge tree murals on the walls and a nights sky of stars hanging from the ceiling. But it held up really badly, all the murals on the wall peeled off and it looked bad pretty quickly. I had fun shooting the show though and it was a cool story to tell my friends at school.”

I Hope You Like Chip and Jo’s Style

Chip and Joanna on Fixer Upper
HGTV

It sounds like homeowners on Fixer Upper don’t have much of a say when it comes to their home makeovers. Apparently, you just have to take what they give you. I know Joanna Gaines is a master interior designer and all, but I’d rather my space at least be something I like…

“My college roommate and her husband were on Fixer Upper. They were so excited! Until everything started. They could barely give their input for their vision of the house. They had to ‘accept’ whatever style Joanna thought best for their house. It was gorgeous, obviously, but not them. Ya know? They also barely saw Joanna & Chip. Told to act as if they were long time close friends, but in reality she said she spent maybe 1hr total with Joanna.”

Big Renovations Often Force People to Move

On reno shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, they often do more than just decorate — they beef up square footage with additions or even a complete rebuild. But there’s an unspoken truth when it comes to the really big renovations: it makes the homes unaffordable. It won’t change your mortgage, but it will make your property taxes, upkeep costs, and utility bills skyrocket.

“I work for one of the construction companies that was contracted to build the new house on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This was like 10+ years ago when the show was at the height of its popularity. Anyways, it was a huge nice house built for a widowed mother with several kids (father had recently died, hence why she was on the show…). Even though the house was ‘given’ to her, she couldn’t afford it after a year or so (property tax, electricity, water, upkeep, etc…) and put it on the market. Simply owning a home of that size is very expensive and she couldn’t afford it.”

Families Sold Items to Pay Taxes

A person claiming to be a former intern shed some light on how the families dealt with increased property taxes. According to them, many of the homeowners turned to selling all that new stuff to cover the new tax bills. While I’m sure it helped temporarily, I can’t help but wonder how long it lasted before they had to sell the home itself.

“I interned for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the early 2000s. Yes, their taxes go through the roof. Tons of the families on it end up selling everything that was put in the house (computers, appliances, etc) to help pay the property taxes.”

Yes, the Beloved Property Brothers Are Guilty, Too

The Property Brothers
HGTV

When they film these renovation shows, they just skip over the bad stuff. That way, everything looks amazing for TV, right? Unfortunately, it looks like that also means avoiding problem areas — and then leaving them for the homeowner to fix after the TV crew leaves.

“My countertop company was hired to fix cabinets and countertops for a house after a Property Brothers episode. Like I’ve seen others comment, the show filmed around all the problem areas so on the episode it looked great. The homeowners were livid after the show just picked up and left and we were stuck dealing with them. Not a fun few weeks.”

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