Eight Years Later – Is HGTV Still Misleading Us?




Hi Everyone,

Many of you may recall a post I wrote eight years ago titled 12 Ways HGTV is Misleading Us.

Please don’t bother looking for it as it no longer exists. However,  this is an updated version, and I will be going back over most of what was discussed eight years ago.


Table of Contents

Here’s what’s sort of funny.


As soon as I wrote the post in 2014, I stopped watching HGTV almost entirely. However, knowing I wanted to update the HGTV post, in the last few weeks, I’ve watched HGTV for at least 20 hours.

While I haven’t watched every show, I have watched several shows. These days, they tend to lump episodes of the same show together.


In 2014, this was my overall assessment of HGTV:


“HGTV is mindless entertainment and better than a martini…like a really good tranquilizer without any side effects; well, maybe some mild nausea on occasion.”



Has the perception of HGTV changed eight years later?


Please keep reading to find out.

The shows that still exist eight years later that I watched are House Hunters, Love it or List it, and Property Brothers. And, Scott McGillivray has a new show about renovating vacation homes. But, this time, it also stars his wife.


Have the old HGTV shows changed?


In terms of format, there’s no change. They follow the same predictable formulas as before.

House Hunters features home buyers who are pretending to house hunt. In recent years it’s become common knowledge that the prospective buyers have already gone to contract on one of the houses. The rest is acting. Some are better actors than others.

Love It Or List It still stars Hillary Farr and David Visentin, who do not age and continue to bicker like an old married couple. However, they are not married; to each other, that is.

Hillary is an interior designer who works with a couple to renovate their home– and stay within their budget. Halfway into the reno, there is always a MAJOR problem that necessitates Hillary having to ask for more money. Or else they’ll have to forego something on their wish list.


David, a realtor, shows three homes in an attempt to get the couple to list their home and purchase a house he’s showing them.


In most episodes, the couple decides to love their home after Hilary has worked her magic on it. However, as viewers, like a rat in a lab experiment, know that once in a while, the couple will list their home. It works.


The Property Brothers are the property brothers. Charming, adorable, and formulaic. Everything they do looks the same. There’s nothing terrible about it, but nothing original, either.


As for Scott McGillivray, he’s so freaking gorgeous; I don’t care what he says or does. ;]


The Other HGTV shows I watched are:


Holmes Family Rescue – I watched an episode with a kitchen with acres of black cabinetry.

Buy it or Build it – I don’t remember too much about this one.

Hometown stars husband and wife Erin and Ben Napier, who live and restore homes in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi. They’re super cute and terrific on camera. She was a graphic designer, and he is a carpenter. I guess that qualifies them for the job.

Hometown Kickstart – This is an offshoot of Hometown. I watched one episode that starred Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent. Remember when I got to sit on a panel with Nate?


The duo showed up in a small town somewhere in New York State.


Once there, they renovated about six places, some retail and some residential. Nate and Jeremiah even got their hands dirty, moving heavy furniture. That is, until the director yelled, “Cut!”

Well, they’re busy guys, and I can attest that Nate is adorable and dripping with charm.

The Hometown shows, in particular, do have a poignant emotional appeal. The recipients of the design services need the help and usually have a down on their luck story, along with tears. The recipients get a twofer; group therapy and a renovation. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal. It’s a feel-good happy ending. The renovation recipients are thrilled and ever so grateful.


Never mind that six weeks is not enough time to do much. But, we can just overlook that minor detail.


However, the disturbing thing for me is that folks watching these shows don’t always understand that it’s impossible to do things that quickly. So, in that aspect, I think HGTV is still misleading the public. Of course, they can’t take nine months to complete a project.


My Lottery Dream Home with host David Bromstad. David has been the star of shows for at least a decade. He’s quite a character with his tats and sometimes odd clothing. However, I have to say David has the best voice. And, his warmth and concern for the people he’s working with feels 100% genuine.


My favorite show is Windy City Rehab starring Alison Victoria.


Alison is a young, pretty, petite, alpha-type woman specializing in contemporary styles. She infuses classic elements with unique features and those that are on-trend, like black kitchen cabinets. 

And, in all spaces, particularly the kitchen, we can see the sponsor’s product placement. Every kitchen I saw had G.E. Cafe appliances.

Her budgets are more realistic. However, a couple is undergoing a large 4-story (including basement with a new gym) FULL GUT. I’m estimating about 3,500 square foot renovation. Their budget is 150k.


Alison does concede that the budget is exceedingly tight.


No, it’s not just tight. It’s IMPOSSIBLE.


As in all HGTV renovation shows, there is always a stressful and expensive problem. In this episode, it’s a massive plumbing issue that will be $12k – 15k to fix. I don’t think so.

Fortunately, I didn’t see anything remotely frightening as the hot mess below. The image is from a show that aired about ten years ago.


This horrible mess was on an old HGTV show

Okay, it’s time to look at the 12 ways HGTV was misleading us back in 2014. Let’s see how things have changed, or not, in 2022.


  • Everyone loves and wants “OPEN CONCEPT” living.


Yes, this is still the prevailing desire of every buyer and renovator on HGTV. But, is it a good idea? I’m not talking about an open kitchen, eating area, and family room. That’s fine. But, in an old home that was meant to have separate rooms and walls are knocked down, I don’t recommend doing that most of the time. Remember this abomination?


In my experience, most folks want light and airy living spaces.


They want their small rooms to feel larger and their large rooms to feel cozier, but I’m not sure that most people want to live in only one room. Here’s an example in this post about a woman who was bemoaning her open concept home.


We often need to make MORE separation by making some overly large openings SMALLER!


Everyone loves granite countertops.


granite counters used to be all over HGTV

Blessedly, I did not see a speck of granite. In one episode of Love it or List It, I observed the demo of granite kitchen counters. Sweet. The replacement? I bet you can guess.

Yes, it’s quartz. Quartz is the new granite on HGTV. And, the designers often select one that looks like concrete.

Clearly, they are trying to diversify in some areas.

Although they did use quartz on HGTV back in 2014 and earlier, it was mostly confined to Candice Olson, who singlehandedly drove up sales of the manufactured material into the stratosphere.


By the way, what is Candice Olson doing these days?


I looked her up, and after more than a decade on HGTV, her last show was canceled in about 2016. I don’t think anything in particular happened. However, Candice has become wildly successful after her exposure on the network. My guess is that she was raising her family. That, plus the fact that being the star of one of these shows is grueling work. She most likely had enough.

I got to meet Candice in 2014. You can see us here.


Since 2014, I’ve met several designers who’ve worked on HGTV. (no names)


However, while grateful for the exposure, each of them was exhausted beyond belief. The nature of the production schedules and grueling long hours of filming takes the blame.


  • Everyone wants mixed stone and glass tile in this weirdly elongated psychotic brick pattern.


horrible glass tile used to appear on HGTV

Thank God this trend is in the rearview mirror. I have no idea why this gained any traction whatsoever. Is there a replacement? Oh yeah, there most definitely is.


cement tile shop BouquetIII
Yes, it’s some version of cement tile. Although, everything I saw was not the original encaustic cement tiles. But instead, porcelain or ceramic tiles with the design printed on them.


willows-rest-UK - bathroom encaustic cement floor - bathroom trends


I think this type of tile is fantastic in this bathroom. Yes, I have heard that authentic encaustic cement can be slippery when wet. However, some say it’s fine.


Lindsey Buckingham Kitchen encaustic cement tiles via Architectural Digest

Lindsey Buckingham’s old home, via Architectural Digest. It sold in 2019 for 29.5 million dollars. I imagine the range is what put it up over 29 million.


Everyone wants a matched set of “stainless steel” appliances on HGTV.


It depends on the kitchen and if the appliances are high-end, like in the Buckingham kitchen. However, I now see more kitchens with panel fronts on the appliances. In addition, the high-end Cafe line manufactured by G.E. figures prominently in the rooms designed by Allison Victoria, as said earlier.


GE-cafe range- matte white appliances- Benjamin Moore True Green - 2042-10- KBIS 2019

The image above showing a Cafe range is one I took in 2019 at the kitchen and bath show (KBIS) in Las Vegas that year.

You can see the entire line of Cafe kitchen appliances.

What about the kitchen cabinets. No, I did not see any green on HGTV. Maybe there will be.


eight years from now. ;]


  • Everyone wants dark stained kitchen cabinets.


dark cabinets used to feature on HGTV but they

And thankfully, I saw none of this. The most common color for kitchen cabinets is black, followed by gray and white. But, many kitchens had a mix of finishes on the cabinets.


  • In 2014, HGTV’s philosophy was that almost every room could benefit from a “feature wall” or “accent wall” painted a different color.


We’ve discussed this issue before.


Purple-Accent-Walled-Living-Room typically found on HGTV


Again, this trend on HGTV has thankfully bitten the dust. However, not so fast. Most rooms are painted a light to medium gray color.


  • I heard repeatedly on HGTV in 2014 that dark walls make a room look smaller.


NO! they make the room look LARGER, albeit darker. Dark colors make the walls recede, just like black pants make your legs recede. I did not see this discussed this year. However, we did in this post.


  • You can renovate a kitchen, living, and dining area in only six weeks.


As mentioned early, no.

Ugh, sadly, this is still the situation. In most cases, they don’t give an exact timeline. However, they make it look like the entire process only takes a couple of months.


  • On HGTV, everyone ENTERTAINS like crazy and needs a large open concept room and yard to accommodate that.


Welcome to the era of Coronavirus. I did not hear much about entertaining on any of the shows.


  • You can fix your place up for resale with two-thousand dollars.


Yeesh. Everyone knows you can’t do jack with only 2 thousand dollars. That is unless you’re this lovely lady.

However, the producers finally got the message and pulled shows like Design on a Dime. Still, are the budgets on these shows realistic?

No, they’re not. And, of course, they are never paying for the services of the designers.


  • Everyone is ecstatically happy with the results.


Well, it’s TV. HGTV is a business. And, the sponsors are paying a lot of money. Of course, the people are happy. At least on camera, they are. However, I’ve heard through the grapevine that people are not always satisfied after their renovations. And, sometimes, they need to redo shoddy work.


Is HGTV still misleading us?


Are there ever any instances where one can glean some helpful information. Yes, there are.


Many of the designers are talented. And, I can see that the producers are trying to keep up with the times while still knowing that their core audience does not have a lot of disposable income. `

In that way, HGTV is not a total washout. I think the shows have improved.

Are you interested in being on HGTV? Here’s a link to casting calls for various shows.

Do any of you watch HGTV? If so, what are your favorite shows?



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!



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