What You Need to Know about Reality TV vs. Interior Design in Real Life


What You Need to Know about Reality TV vs. Interior Design in Real Life

I chuckle when we go on our initial in-home consultations and the homeowner has the TV tuned to a Home Improvement Reality Show.

They are entertaining and do provide lots of inspiration. The sad part is these “reality shows” are not “real life” at all. In fact, they are misleading and skew expectations of what an actual home remodel costs and how long it takes.

So let’s talk about the three main differences between reality TV and real life interior design: timeline, scope and budget.


What timeline should you expect for a home renovation or design?

Sometimes prospective clients ask me what my favorite HGTV show is and frankly I can’t watch them because I end up screaming at the TV – “that is not even possible” or “that is not how it works.” The shows make it seem like the process happens overnight or in a week. And on the show it does, because teams of tradesmen work around the clock, manufacturers and vendors are poised to hand over their products to be featured on television, and shortcuts are taken on the process.

KTJ Design Co’s Advice:

In #reallife we have normal working hours, contractor schedules, project inspections from the city building department, and the product procurement and expediting. All those things take a lot of time. And the initial design process (which is the most important) can take months. You have to know EXACTLY what materials, finishes, and products you’re going to use before any demolition can take place. We call that remodeling “decision by decision” BEFORE we remodel “brick by brick.” This will save you from costly mistakes, missed deadlines, and many sleepless nights.


What will the scope of your interior design home project look like?

We’ve selected every detail that goes into a remodel before demolition starts because every design element intricately connects.

  • The counter top coordinates with the tile 

  • The cabinet color compliments the flooring finish

  • Light fixtures accentuate a theme

So what happens if you go to pick out your quartz slab in the middle of construction and fall in love with a particular stone only to figure out it doesn’t go well with the cabinet finish or the flooring material.

But if you’ve select everything early on, those changes can be easily made . . . . .  before construction begins, but not during construction (it can be done, but it will cost you time and money).

KTJ Design Co’s Advice:

Fortunately, we at KTJ Design Co has a tried and true interior design process to make sure your interior design exactly addresses your needs, and is in keeping with the architecture and style of your home. We meet with you several times during the initial consultation, during the Design Concept, and through-out the Design Development process to present you with samples and illustrations that convey the design intent and vision, so that you can confidently move into the construction phase knowing you have been well taken care of.


What’s a realistic interior design budget?

It will cost you more than you think. And this is where reality TV shows make me so angry. On these shows, most of the product is donated and labor is volunteered because the manufacturers and tradesman are looking for the publicity. This completely skews the cost they claim because all those factors aren’t disclosed. Another factor that plays into the budget is location. The price is Texas is different from the price in California.

KTJ Design Co’s Advice:

I ask all my prospective clients what they plan to invest in their remodel. And most don’t know (or are not willing to tell me). And that’s ok. The reason we ask is so that we can design your remodel to your budget or help you determine what an appropriate investment is for your property.

The Reveal

One thing that is real about “reality TV” is the final reveal. Our clients often cry with joy and are so appreciative of the final interior design results. The process might be less of a fairy tale, because any home remodel is an arduous process, but we try to make it as painless as possible.

Wondering what it’s like to start your own interior design project? We’d love to chat with you about it!

Until next time,


Not sure what your kitchen remodel budget should be? Download this easy budget calculator

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