We are glued to our television sets watching famous Interior Designers! But in reality, cabinets, counters and walls are not destroyed with sledge hammers… that is for dramatics! Also, they make it appear that most jobs can be completed in days or sometimes hours. What you don’t see are the plans that are already in place, a crew of multiple workers and most supplies are out of view of the camera and ready to go.

The true reality is that sometimes, supplies that are ordered get delayed. Recently, I ordered a mantle for a renovation which was supposed to take two weeks or less… ended up taking over four weeks. Permits and inspections can also delay a project. Scheduling various sub-contractors so they are not in each other’s way can also be a challenge. Things need to be done in a certain order and sub-contractors working on different jobs can sometimes delay your schedule.

Often clients are “shocked” with estimates of certain projects. Most television shows don’t even mention price. Some may tally the cost but omit “labor!” When there is any type of construction to be done, you need to factor in supplies, labor, permits and professionally drawn up plans. So, let’s break this scenario down.

You have a designer that comes up with the initial design; you have a general contractor who oversees the sub-contractors, then a graphic artist to draw up the official plans to be submitted for permitting, which also costs. Then, you have supplies and sometimes unforeseen problems arise.

Television has a knack of making Interior Designers look glamorous. Personally, I’m usually in jeans and a tee-shirt during installations. I’m carrying heavy things, climbing ladders, cleaning… pretty much a sweaty mess by the end. And, if there is construction going on, the dust from that is an added unwanted layer on your hair and skin. When you’re sitting on your sofa watching the pros on television, they are dressed in designer clothing; hair and makeup perfect… NICE JOB IF YOU CAN GET IT! Actually, several years ago, I was invited to audition for a show… didn’t get it! It went to someone much younger and more “hip.” NOT BITTER AT ALL!

All these shows give their audience a sense of “So easy, anyone can do it!” The “average Joe” sees it and figures, “Why should I pay someone to do it?” Quite often, they get in over their heads, and then decide to ask for help. I have had numerous calls asking me to tell them where they went wrong and how to correct and finish the job. They aren’t always happy with my answer.

If you have no experience or knowledge of decorating or especially remodeling… DON’T TRY IT! I’ve seen walls destroyed from simply trying to remove wallpaper. PEOPLE, that is not what the sharp corner of the putty knife is for! There are homes that I’ve been called to for “just some advice” and found “support walls” removed! If it looks easy on television, don’t count on it always being in reality.

Guys… asking for help doesn’t make you look weak, it makes you look smart! In school, did the shop teacher say, “There’s the wood and there’s the machine… go for it!” Our home is the biggest investment for most of us, why risk major damage to it? Wanting to do things yourself is great, but get instructions on “how to” first.

Another mistake I have seen time after time is the wrong furniture in the home. You may see a home on television decorated with the most beautiful furnishings that you have ever seen. That is the house you want your home to look like. Is your home the right style, size? Recently, I wrote an article about “Measuring” for this magazine… READ IT! Not every home can pull off any style.

If everyone would keep in mind that what they watch on television is well organized by professionals, maybe they can avoid “costly” and “stressful” mistakes. Getting “professional” advice by licensed designers and contractors before attempting a big project in your home should be the first item on your list. Television is a great source for ideas, so keep watching!