If you’ve been spending a bit of time couch-side this lockdown bingeing on home reno shows, chances are you’re side-eyeing at least one room in your house like it’s an uninvited guest at a wedding.
Lockdown holds a figurative magnifying glass up to all the bits of your house that are a bit tired.
All of a sudden, we’re hyper-aware of every little nook and cranny of our homes – how desperate we are for more storage, how manky the bathroom really is, and how much we really (seriously) need more space to escape from the kids.
We get it. We hear your plaintive cries of desperation. And we know – it would be so nice if it really was as quick and easy as it looks on the television.
So, here’s six big things that the home reno shows don’t tell you, that you really (really) need to know before you slip into your matching hi-vis and workboots.
The timeframes may not be realistic for you
Three days of hard work for a new bathroom?
No worries, right?
Three days and you’ll be sinking into a sweet-smelling tub to admire your brand new tiles and cabinetry and wondering if maybe you should give Home Beautiful a call to see if they want to run a feature.
If you believe the home reno shows, that’s all it’ll take.
Rip it out, and put the new one in. Easy!
Except, sadly, it’s really not that easy. Or that quick.
Time frames are short on home reno shows for lots of reasons that just don’t translate to a DIY job at home.
Projects can be completed quickly on television because they have large teams of skilled experts working together, often around the clock, to get things done quickly, but timelines are also abridged for the purposes of entertainment – after all, nobody wants to watch paint dry.
It’s also often not best practice to do so many of the steps at the same time, and there’s no way you’ll find tradespeople willing to work through the night so you can have your bathroom in record time.
The budgets may not be realistic for you either
Home reno shows can often make major home updates, remodelling projects, and interior makeovers look more affordable than you might have imagined.
The spend is always lower on home reno shows than it will be for you, simply because they’re not actually paying for everything they use, and if they do pay, they’re often not paying full price.
Suppliers and contractors benefit from being featured on these shows, and will often donate or discount their goods and services in exchange for the publicity.
Another reason that costs can be kept down on tv renovation shows, is that the work is often purely superficial.
In real life, large projects may require structural work, especially when you’re renovating an older house.
Contractors can be trickier to find than on DIY shows
Contractors on home reno shows are real tradies, however the ones on tv are generally pre-selected, and even if the contestants have to find them themselves, chances are they will drop whatever job they were working on for a chance at the spotlight.
In reality, you’ll have to spend time finding tradespeople you like and trust, and even once you’ve found them and they’ve agreed to do the job, you’ll most likely have to wait for them to have availability in their schedule to do the work for you.
DIY can be a little trickier than it seems...
Contestants on DIY home renovation shows often have every tool they need at their disposal, and a team of experts supervising and on hand to offer tips and advice when needed.
DIY in the real world, unless you’re a skilled tradesperson, can involve a lot of trial and error and muttered expletives before you get it right, and it’s always trickier than it seems as though it will be.
And some jobs just shouldn’t be taken on by someone without experience because it’s just not safe to do so.
Older houses often contain asbestos, that if disturbed during renovations can be highly dangerous, and demolition work can be hazardous unless done safely by professional standards
"DIY in the real world, unless you’re a skilled tradesperson, can involve a lot of trial and error and muttered expletives before you get it right, and it’s always trickier than it seems as though it will be"
Materials may not always available when you need them
On reality tv shows, the materials needed to make the transformations happen seem to be ready and available as soon as they’re needed.
But, in reality, this isn’t always the case, especially at the moment with the global pandemic causing major havoc with the building materials supply chain.
Wait times of weeks are not uncommon when sourcing the materials you’ll need for a home renovation, and this needs to be factored in when you’re making your plans.
You’ll need somewhere to live while you’re renovating
Sometimes you’ll see contestants holed up in one room of the house they’re renovating for the duration of the project, and in others, they’re sent off to a hotel while their home is made-over by the show’s team of experts.
In reality, living in one room for an extended period of time, or even just without a working kitchen or bathroom, can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you have kids to think about.
Alternative accommodation needs to be considered when you’re planning renovations, and if there’s a cost involved with that (like, if the thought of living with your in-laws for an indeterminate amount of time has you diving for a paper bag to breathe into), then that needs to be factored into the overall project budget.
If your home needs a refresh but you’re not up for a full home reno just yet, FURNISHD.’s team of experienced interior decorators can help give your space a whole new look and feel with carefully selected furniture and décor to suit your taste and lifestyle, and it’s all done online!