Another wrinkle of consumer culture emerges.
Many of the show feels so wasteful. If I'm going to watch a show, I love No Demo Reno, which takes a more moderate approach. As for my personal approach, I heard something years ago that has stayed with me, the gist being - if you've loved it for years, use that in your decorating. By default that helps you avoid trends (i.e. If I'd followed that years ago, I wouldn't have sponge-painted my walls!).
Thanks for the shoutout! This article about home reno culture from Romper was also a good one: https://www.romper.com/life/tiktok-hgtv-home-reno I think it's also worth noting that most renovations do not actually return on the investment (something no one ever talks about!)
I love this post, as I've been nerding out over these questions for more than a decade. In 2011 we acquired a 70's split-entry that had been glammed up in the 90's, and the only way we could find to love it was to take it back to its roots. But the path to that conclusion was not straight! Now I'm in a house I love--despite it not being very true to its 50's origins--but might need to sell in 5 years or so. So, yeah: the market gaze and the myth of timelessness and freakin' HGTV and all of it. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend Brett Waterman's show Restored. He's all about taking homes back to their authentic origins while updating them for the way people live now.
Excellent post with perspectives I've never thought about (I've also never watched HGTV, so never drank the Kool-Aid). I thought (was told) that the idea of de-personalizing the decor was to let prospective buyers imagine themselves in it ... like a Hilton room...
I have spent exactly 0 time with HGTV and similar. But I am very pleased with my own "light-touch kitchen renovation." The intent was to improve function, and it succeeded wildly. 1) remove 40yo Jenn-Aire downdraft stove, 2) replace with a modern downdraft stove (because on investigation, putting in a hood was going to get messy and expensive) 3) pull the never-used trash compactor 4) replace with a shelf and _matching_ cupboard door to create a badly needed lower cabinet for pots and pans. 5) Replace aged two-handle sink hardware with a modern single-handle-and-sprayer.
Inexpensive and greatly increased my satisfaction with the kitchen. (The matching door thing? Existing cabinets are _beautiful_ solid oak and I love every inch of them, whereas anyone in touch with trends would probably have painted them over five minutes after acquisition.)
My childhood home was built over 200 years ago, and lived in by my family since then. A bathroom was built on the back, but the most that changed was a new carpet when the old one wore out!
But we had to remodel our house when my late husband became paralysed. We struggled to find an architect who understood the issues, and in the end I did the design myself. We need more appreciation of the challenges faced by the elderly and disabled, and remodel so we have efficient, but beautiful forever homes. For instance it seems all mobility aids like railings are horrid, plastic things - when we should include beautiful, strong rails to match the decor.