WNA Blog

Tue 10 Sep 2019

Behind the screens

Design & Illustration
A professional's view on reality home shows

When people find out that I’m an Interior Designer, inevitably they end up asking my opinion on the current tv reality home shows that are airing.

I’m sorry to be the kill joy, but I don’t watch them. I started off for the first couple of series, but it became too much and basically too unrealistic for me to bare.


I’m not alone with these thoughts in my industry. Whenever a large group of interior designers gather at product launches, we end up having a laugh and a shudder at these shows.

The tv ads and bits featured on social media and magazines are enough to keep us in the loop. I have been privy to see behind the scenes with some of these shows. As some viewers may have guessed they are very staged. Often the companies who supply the products used on the shows have lobbied the production company for months to have their products featured. This may be the tiles, lights, furniture or even plants supposedly randomly selected by the competitors.

On the day of filming when the contestants run into the showroom to select these feature items the viewer is unaware that a few weeks earlier the professional designers have been in and selected the items. The contestants are directed as to which things to choose. If multiple items are needed or a particular quantity, the stockist has been given a rough guide and tries to have enough product available. Of course there are the drama cases when this gets out of hand and for various reasons stock supply may fail.

Myself and my colleagues groan when we watch full floorplans and concepts designed overnight. The start of a job usually involves many hours and days of work once we’ve taken a client brief. Design is not a mathematical equation. 2+2=4 but so does 3+1. There are many ways to achieve the outcome and space planning is something that I personally put a lot of hours into as I want to ensure that I achieve the best result.

Waterproofing bathrooms is an area that always concerns me. Depending on the weather conditions your drying times between layers will vary. It’s not something that can be rushed. Bathrooms with waterproofing issues become very expensive headaches.

Lead times exist in the real world of design. If a client selects an “indent” product this can take from 2 weeks to 12 weeks to come from overseas. Then it can take another 4-6 wks to have curtains manufactured or upholstery done. Depending upon the time of year these lead times will vary. The pre-Christmas rush ads extra time.

So long as people understand that there is a lot “behind the scenes” on these shows, when it comes to their own reno or build your designer is the best source of reality, not the tv.

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