Design and trade professionals have long endured a love-hate relationship with home renovation shows. While those of us in the industry sometimes grit our teeth through the unfolding ‘miracle makeovers’, we have to accept that everyday Australians can’t get enough of them.

So, what’s to love?

  • The programs highlight the latest decorative trends and products, showcasing paints and wallpapers, tiles and timberwork, cabinetry and storage options and everything in between. They allow suppliers to get their goods and services out there, and give consumers a rough idea of pricing (more about this later).
  • They give us – as designers and trades – an idea of what the average Australian loves and hates. The dramatic reveals are a good indicator of how well (or poorly) received a bold colour, texture or pattern choice can be, and remind us of the value in NOT surprising paying clients with something you think they’ll love.
  • The ‘magical transformations’ of otherwise ordinary homes certainly seem to inspire homeowners – and in a round-about way – could be seen to buoy our industry as Australians look to makeover their humble abodes.

And of course, with the right music, some creative directing and a little bit of storytelling, the shows provide the touch of drama that we all enjoy now and then.

But…

The premise of many of the home reno shows is the same: contestants need to use their often-limited-experience-but-sometimes-creative skills to create a big-statement makeover in a too-short time frame with a budget that will never be replicated in real life. It’s not surprising that this makes life for those of us who do ‘the real thing’ a little (or a lot) more challenging.

So how could these programs combine the pros set out above with some changes to better reflect the industry?

The shows should be highlighting that quality home renovations require experienced and professional designers and tradespeople. Our knowledge and skills – learned through education, training, and most importantly, experience – are of great value.

The programs should demonstrate realistic time frames: successfully overcoming inevitable site issues, coordinating trades for a seamless and safe construction and building structures made to last requires patience, planning and time.

And finally, the shows MUST demonstrate that knowledge, experience, planning and managing projects are of great value. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for, and homeowners need to be better informed about the real value in investing in professionals.

As an industry group, we’re working hard to get this message to consumers on your behalf. If you’ve got some valid points to add to this (in either the ‘love’ or ‘hate’ side of reality tv), please do so below.

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