Why Home Renovation Shows Are So Popular

Why Home Renovation Shows are so Popular with Owners Today

By Frankie Wallace.

Home renovation shows are available on several TV channels as well as through streaming and subscription apps including Hulu and Netflix. Some of the most popular design celebrities have earned rock-star level fame from their home design shows including twins Drew and Jonathan Scott, AKA Property Brothers. They went from a show on home renovation to selling half a billion dollars of their home design products in just one year. And then there’s the farmhouse style power couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines of the show Fixer Upper, who are responsible for one of Target’s most coveted home collections season after season: Hearth & Hand with Magnolia. 

What makes home renovation shows — and the personalities behind them — so popular? Here are four reasons why.

1. Do It Yourself (DIY) Is More Accessible Than Ever

Decades ago, home renovation projects were left to contractors or professionals. A trip to the hardware store may have meant approaching the man behind the counter, asking for an item, and waiting while he went to find it in a box in the back room. It wasn’t exactly an empowering experience if you were in the mood to change out your light switches.

Home Depot came around in 1978 to revolutionize the way consumers saw home improvement projects. All of a sudden, anyone could wander the aisles of the store for design inspiration and marvel at the variety of stylish (and affordable!) interior and exterior lighting collections, or choose a paint color from the hundreds of paint swatches available. The home improvement superstore even hosted clinics on weekends so people could learn how to do home projects themselves.

The TLC show Trading Spaces debuted in 2000 as what’s arguably the first show to highlight how people could transform a room on a small budget and lots of sweat equity. Then came the explosion of DIY design blogs and Pinterest, inspiring people to try their hand at more creative home renovation projects. Home renovation shows reflect and reinforce the DIY home improvement movement. Watching someone you identify with complete a successful kitchen remodel on TV may encourage you to take matters into your own hands and finally finance the kitchen of your dreams

2. As Home Values Rise, More People See Their Home as an Investment

Home values have risen consistently in the last decades. Of course, there are peaks and valleys as recessions come and go, but in general, buying a home is one of the most important investments you can make towards your future. The Scott brothers’ show, Property Brothers, shows how a fixer-upper can increase in value with a few home renovations. Most homeowners today are aware of the investment value of their homes and how making improvements can impact their bottom dollar when it comes time to sell. 

A homeowner may tune-in to home renovation shows for ideas on projects they can do to increase their home’s value. Interestingly enough, many of the home improvement projects that return the biggest bang for your buck can be completed over a weekend such as replacing the front door, adding a backyard deck, or making smart-technology home upgrades.

3. Homeowners Want a Home That Reflects Their Personality

For most people, their home is their sanctuary. Life can be hectic and chaotic. A home environment that fits your personality is your getaway from the hustle and bustle. 

Then there’s the growing number of remote workers who work from home. They may want, more than ever, a beautiful and functional space. This demographic may need ideas on how to make a smaller home work well as an office and living space. 

The variety of home renovation shows means there’s a design show for every style, need, and personality. There are shows for apartment and loft dwellers, for viewers who prefer to live green and sustainably (or even off the grid shows like Cabins in the Wild on Netflix), and design shows for people in search of tiny house projects, such as Tiny House, Big Living, or for dream vacation homes.

4. Design Tastes Are More Sophisticated Than Ever

Besides the home renovation shows, movies play a large role in what we think about home and design as a whole. The average homeowner or renter may not necessarily pick up a copy of Architectural Digest magazine for their home design ideas, but they may find design inspiration in a movie or TV show setting. Who can forget Diane Keaton’s gorgeous Hamptons beach house in Something’s Gotta Give?

As people are more exposed to aesthetically pleasing room settings in movies, they’re receiving a design education they may not even be aware of. AMC channel’s Mad Men TV series ushered in a wave of cocktail-chic rooms and Fifties fashion that dominated trends long after the show ended. The show revived MidCentury Modern design and a whole new wave of hipsters was born.

The Evolution of Style

As the public becomes more exposed to design in TV series, movies, and other forms of print and digital media, home renovation shows come out on top. The most successful ones fill the public’s need to elevate the style of their home or make changes that reflect their tastes and personalities for a feel-good home environment, and the hosts or trendsetters who are the face of the show become celebrities in their own right with lucrative household lines for sale at your favorite big box or online retailer.

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