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Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 in Remodeling Tips, Remodeling Tips & Articles

The Reality of Reality TV Shows

Every remodeling project is an adventure, filled with high drama, a little comedy, and anxiety-inducing suspense that lead the viewer to an impressive conclusion—the perfect set up for amazing storytelling! About thirty years ago, television producers realized this and got to work creating the many renovation shows that have become so popular today. But what’s real, and what’s not on these reality TV home shows?

Reality TV Home Shows

Every project begins with an idea, after that, anything goes. Let’s take a peek into the reality of reality TV to examine what is presented, versus what professional remodelers, like Dale’s Remodeling, experience every day on the job.

kitchen remodel prep

Act One: Preparing the Project 

Televised Projects

Setting up the plot by learning the “who, what, where and why” of the story happens at the beginning of every remodeling show. Viewers meet the clients, get a sense of the room’s issues and possibilities, then quickly move on to the next scene. The end result is always discussed, but the details of how the team will get there are typically left to be discovered in the next scene.

Reality TV Home Shows

Interior Designer Rebecca Olsen helps clients with selections

The Reality of Remodeling

Getting to know the space, the clients and the goals for the room is far more important than it is portrayed on television. Understanding as many details as possible provides a solid foundation on which to plan and build the room. At Dale’s Remodeling, we do this by scheduling visits to the client’s home and meeting with them at our office, as well as at the many Salem-Keizer suppliers and artisan workshops who play a part in the project. Once the client has signed off on the final plan, it’s onto the construction phase.

Reality TV Home Shows

Our partner Touch of Class Painting during their phase of construction

Act Two: Digging into the Project

Televised Projects

This is where the action takes off on remodeling projects produced for a television show. All teams get involved and viewers get to watch a several days to several weeks’ project come together quickly in about forty minutes. Throughout that time unforeseen problems are revealed and overcome with quick adjustments to the original plan.

Reality TV Home Shows

The Reality of Remodeling

During the construction phase of a Dale’s project, our team looks for hidden problems as they prep the space so they can be addressed early on in the project. Throughout every project the team lead carpenter meets with the clients to provide updates, suggest options, and ensure their room is coming together as expected. This typically takes several days as opposed to the 5-10 minutes that’s devoted to this stage on reality TV.

Reality of TV Home Shows

Act Three: Delivering what was promised

Televised Projects

Every story must conclude with an ending that will draw emotion from the viewer, so the pressure is on to present the best version of the room—whether or not the project is high quality work, or even completely finished, and oftentimes, the big reveal includes staged furniture for better optics. This is where problems come to light long after the cameras are turned off and the construction team is gone. It’s the suspended reality that comes with reality TV.

makeshift kitchen

Surviving a kitchen remodel 101: Avanti cooktop we offer to each of our clients

The Reality of Remodeling

In the real world, there is no “big reveal.” Instead, the room’s progress is presented to the client throughout the project during visits to the jobsite or every night when clients are living alongside the remodel. Upon conclusion of the project we conduct a walk-thru with the client to ensure that every aspect of the room functions as it should and every detail is in place.

kitchen living


On television, these shows stick closely to this three-act plotting, with important conversations typically conducted off set, but the reality of remodeling is vastly different. When a professional remodeler, like Dale’s Remodeling, takes on a renovation project they are not interested in telling a good story—they are interested in creating a bringing the clients’ dreams to life. Every phase of the project is a collaborative effort, and through that partnership, difficult challenges are faced head-on, often with amazing results.

If you are interested in more information about Dale’s Remodeling’s “7 Step Process” we invite you to visit us at our Commercial Street Showroom to meet our team and see a few examples of the beautiful rooms we’ve produced in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

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