I’m not the only one noticing this trend showing up on every television network when it comes to remodeling. Bigger renovations, more money, more products, more, more, more. We Americans seem to have an insatiable appetite for big home makeovers and a definite desire to keep up with the Joneses.
I remember watching HGTV not too many years ago when episodes of shows like Rehab Addict were filled with refinishing a built-in bookcase and that was basically it. Now, if Nicole isn’t renovating two full historic houses at once while designing a friend’s master suite, it isn’t enough. I’m not ragging on Nicole Curtis because honestly she is one of my favorite DIY personalities to watch. She has a great sense of historic character and importance.
My big issue is with the networks thinking that all we want or need to see are HUGE projects with massive budgets that are completely out of reach for most us. Seriously, can any of my readers drop $200k on a full home makeover? Maybe a handful only, but most of us can barely afford a budget bathroom remodel. Even the old guard at This Old House have upped their renovation budgets into the stratosphere.
Do we really need more and bigger home makeovers? I’d like to challenge that idea!
No More Home Makeovers
Dear HGTV, I love you. Seriously I do! You and your sister DIY Network, which would be weird if you were people, but since you’re television networks, I’m sure it’s OK. Here’s the deal girls, I love a big delicious home makeover just like a night out at the fanciest restaurant in town, but sometimes I like a hotdog too. Not a gourmet dog, just a regular 50¢ ballpark dog with all the nitrates in the world.
I can’t eat foie gras everyday! Full disclosure: I’ve never actually had foie gras, but I hear it’s very rich in both taste and cost so it seemed like the right choice here.
Dave Ramsey has a great and pithy quote that he uses about having too much money. He says that you can only eat so much lobster before it starts to taste like soap. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but the point still stands. We can only handle so much opulence whether it is in food or home renovation and I feel like the makeovers we are being bombarded with have gone so over the top that we are nearing burn out.
I know economic times are good right now in late 2018, and more of us have more money to spend. This is a good thing, but just because we can spend more money doesn’t mean we should. Where are the creative little projects of 10 years ago? The night stand refinishing, a bathroom tile project that doesn’t involve tearing down walls and changing floor plans, a cabinet refacing and painting? There are so many small projects that we could all learn from and tackle on our own rather than feeling the pressure to drop six figures on a kitchen.
I’m a licensed contractor so I know what I am saying sounds contrary to savvy business, but there will always be big projects that need contractors. I’m talking about TV and social media making us feel like we are slackers if we do anything less than a full gut remodel.
Room for the Little Projects
There is most definitely still room for the little projects. The projects that create a huge improvement without a huge budget. Using the cabinet example above, if you don’t need completely new cabinets and refacing will suffice then why not do it? Remember, just because you have the money doesn’t mean you have to spend it or that there will be the ROI to support it.
On this blog, I rarely show you a full room or full house project, but what I will show you are a ton of little projects that you can do yourself. Wanna build a window screen, restore a window, or replace a floor board? Yeah, I can show you that and if you need to do more than one, then just rinse and repeat.
As for me, I’d rather see fun little weekly projects like my friends Sam at DIY Huntress and Brad at Fix This Build That do then watch a full home makeover on a network who says the budget was only $22,000 when I know that in reality the cost should be closer to $62,000.
Tastes are constantly changing and we’ll see where this trend of big home makeover projects goes from here. They may get even bigger in the coming years, but it feels like we may be at the peak soon. Personally, it’s all starting to taste a lot like soap to me.
What do you think? Am I off base and out of touch, or have you felt it too? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.