Behind the Scenes Insights on Home Makeover Shows That Might Surprise You

Author: Alex Morrison   Date Posted:9 September 2019 

Inside Outside Furnishing & Lifestyle DIY


Australians love their home improvement television, there’s no doubt about that. And when Foxtel introduced Love It or List It Australia, the debut episode of the American reality renovation show, it garnered the biggest audience of a series launch in the history of Lifestyle television. 


But is it really real? You might be surprised (or not) to know that these reality shows are actually scripted, but whether people care about this formulaic fare is doubtful. For example, in 2012, a woman in the US had family members appearing on HGTV’s House Hunters and she was not at all happy about the experience. So she blew the whistle on the whole racket (1) and told how everything was false and misleading, how the show’s producers took liberties with their real story and virtually made it fake news. However, after a bit of a fuss, audiences only shrugged. 

What is Formula Television?

All the reality TV shows you watch are not real at all. Shows such as The Block, The Bachelorette, Survivor, and the rest (not necessarily real estate or home makeover shows) are based on a formula, which most viewers would recognise. The ‘real’ parts of these shows are exaggerated and enhanced heavily through editing, storyboards, character manipulation and massaging. The (albeit boring and repetitive) formula works so well that a plethora of home improvement television series has blossomed on the pay-TV and free-to-air screens in Australia. 

What Else You Mightn’t Know

As already mentioned, home makeover shows, like all reality TV, are scripted. Many participants have disputed the authenticity of these shows(2) and as Country Living reports, a Reddit user claimed that on Love It Or List It, one couple recorded two endings, with the network choosing the one they liked best, which was different to what the homeowners ended up doing. Mind you, most TV companies reject the idea that their reality shows are scripted. 


Home Maintenance On a Mansion is No Joke

It’s often the case that after the TV hosts, the cameras and the contractors have left, the homeowners are left with magnificent, but huge houses they don’t have the means to maintain or run. The furniture and renovations might be wonderful, but the cost of the family’s property tax can rise exponentially, and along with that, electricity and other energy bills go up. 

Being On TV Doesn’t Make it Free 

While every different home makeover ‘reality’ show has its own rules and policies, having your bathroom or kitchen remodelled on one of the shows doesn't necessarily mean you get it for nix. Homeowners can pay varying amounts, and the cost depends on the project. The show sometimes covers the cost of labour and appliances, but not in every case. 

Time Off Work For Filming 

Some home makeover TV shows expect participating homeowners to be available for up to a fortnight while filming takes place and that can be over a period of six or seven weeks. This means that if you agree to participate, you ’ll probably need to take your annual holidays if you are a worker.

Some Homes Are Not Finished 

It doesn’t always happen, but there have been reports(3) that if the contractors get behind on the project, the home makeover show’s producers pretend it’s done so they finish up the episode. They then take the camera crew and the rest to the next house. This means the participants have to endure an unfinished home improvement until the contractors can come and finish the job. This could range from months to never. In the end, you might have to estimate your borrowing capacity and have a talk to your bank about a loan to pay for things that were not done. Your carpets might need cleaning by professionals as well and you might need new locks on your doors and garage. 

The Producers Have Strict Criteria 

There are huge amounts of applications from hopefuls wanting to be on a home improvement TV show, so if that’s your goal, your story and also your personality are important. You could be required to submit an audition tape and go through several interviews to decide whether or not you’re TV material. Also, you might have less control over the renovation that you think. 

Are You Willing to Pretend?

Home makeover shows are in the main about entertainment and some producers will ask you if you’re willing to pretend or let them embellish your story so it fits in with the formula and is more entertaining. Some believe the truth is too boring for TV. Also, you could get screwed. Some participants have been left with a house that looks great on TV but awful in real life. However, 

providing you’re fully aware of the pitfalls and have considered everything involved, have a clear understanding of what the producers will want and what the contractors will do and you’re comfortable with it, then why not have some fun? Remember though, the bottom line is that this is being done for the entertainment of others, not for your home or for you, really. 


There’s no pretence when it comes to furniture shopping at Inside Outside Furnishing & Lifestyle where you can buy quality furniture and other lifestyle items at affordable prices. The variety we offer is sure to please, and if you need to finish a half-done job by a TV show, we are here for you with everything you’ll need. 








Author’s Bio 


Alex Morrison has been an Expert in SEO for over ten years. Throughout this period, he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in-depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, business support and health care. He has used his knowledge and experience to work for clients as diverse as MyHome Carpet Cleaning, CNS Locksmiths and Me Bank to help them reach their business goals.


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