July 14, 2024


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Home-improvement shows are making everyone’s houses look the same

Home-improvement shows are making everyone’s houses look the same

Home-improvement shows are making everyone’s houses look the same
  • Home-improvement shows have become massively popular in recent years.
  • But the shows only spotlight a handful of home decor styles.
  • As a result, people’s homes are starting to lack personality. 
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

My ideal Saturday morning involves three things: coffee, a bagel, and a “Fixer Upper” marathon. 

I love home-improvement shows because they’re the perfect formula for relaxation. Watching experts transform someone’s home can make the stress of any day fade away.

For years, I worshipped these shows, and I became a believer in the power of open-concept floor plans, barn doors, industrial sinks, and accent walls to transform a house into a home.

But recently, I’ve noticed these shows are becoming a bit too powerful.

People have started to see home-improvement as blueprints for how their spaces should look, creating millions of identical homes that have been drained of any personality. 

Home-improvement shows are making people’s houses look the same

Home-improvement shows have become massively popular in recent years, with millions of Americans tuning in to watch homes get renovated or flipped.

HGTV, for instance, is more in-demand than ever, with a 22% increase in its April 2020 ratings as compared to 2019, according to MarketWatch.

Faithful viewers see HGTV personalities like Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Property Brothers, Ben and Erin Napier, and Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa as design gurus, relying on them to show them how their homes should look.

But the problem with that reliance is that home-improvement shows only spotlight a handful of design styles, giving people a limited view of the ways a home can look good.

There are stylistic choices that are common on the majority of these shows, like shiplap walls, exposed beams, and industrial sinks, and the focus on those styles is leading people to embrace them in real life.

For example, the search term “modern farmhouse” has had a steady increase in search traffic over the last five years, according to Google Trends.

However, the decor highlighted on home-improvement shows isn’t right for everyone, particularly because these designers are renovating with television in mind, and as a result, making design choices they may not have made off-screen.


Home-improvement shows only focus on a few styles of home decor.

Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich/Getty Images

For instance, a former HGTV executive told Insider that open floor plans are popular on the network’s series not because they look good, but because the demolitions appeal to male viewers.

Likewise, these renovations often happen on a time crunch, sometimes making them flashy instead of practical and functional.

Read more: 3 easy ways to start investing in real estate, from ‘the clever investor’ who’s flipped over 1,000 houses

The typical viewer isn’t thinking of these goals and restraints as they watch a home-improvement show, so they assume that what they see on screen is the perfect fit for any home.

And as these shows attract more and more viewers, people’s houses are starting to look identical, since it seems there is only one way for a home to be stylish and inviting.

Your home should be a reflection of your personality — not a television show

Watching home-improvement shows is a great way to get inspiration for how to redecorate your space.

The shows can give you ideas you may not have thought of before, and they’re often educational, as they teach you the mechanics of what it takes to renovate a space. 

But using them as an exact template for how you should remodel your home is a mistake. 

Your home should reflect your personality and taste, not those of a television host or network. 

living room

Your home should reflect your personality.

emmaduckworth/Getty Images

If you focus solely on following trends that you see on TV, you’ll lose sight of the things that are important to you in a home space as you redecorate, likely leaving you with a home that isn’t functional for your family. Your space may also feel impersonal and generic if you’re replicating the renovations you see on screen.

Instead of trying to make your home look like a copy of a space you’ve seen on a home-improvement show, pick and choose the upgrades you see that actually make sense for your life. 

While there’s no denying Joanna Gaines has great taste, your home doesn’t need to look like it’s straight out of an episode of “Fixer Upper” to be perfect for you.