HGTV Life Versus Real Life

HGTV projects have their share of drama, but one can be reasonably sure that by the time the credits roll, everyone will be set to live happily ever after. The real-life versions of those screen stories are a bit less like fairy tales and a bit more like... comic books, let’s say. (That incorporates the goggles and the explosions nicely.)

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HGTV Life: A weekend project ends when the weekend does.

Racing against the clock is tiring, but we all know who’s going to win. On television, a DIYer’s work is done and dusted by the time Monday morning rolls around. Coffee and a book, anyone? 

Real Life: As Sunday winds down, the end is...somewhere.

Better to finish up later than to rush, right? Who needs a completely tiled and painted room to get through the week? Not this guy. 

HGTV Life: “Before” and “after” are a couple of steps apart, tops.

You rip out the stuff you don’t want, you install the stuff you do want, and then you throw a party to show your space to your friends and neighbors. It couldn’t be simpler, really.

Real Life: Home renovation is a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book (there are many paths, and more than half of them seem to end in weird accidents.)

Demolishing the bathtub reveals a bunch of poorly-installed plumbing that could cause your home to disappear into a sinkhole if you don’t redo the whole first floor! Do you A) sigh with resignation and tell your contractor to go ahead, B) buy a few sets of water wings and hope for the best, or C) take up permanent residence in a local hotel?

HGTV Life: Renovation makes the heart grow fonder.

I mean, look at the chemistry between Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines! Their playful-yet-sturdy partnership is their most successful project of all. Talk about #relationshipgoals.

Real Life: Renovation brings out the good, the bad, and the ugly in relationships.

No one would actually seal their partner up behind a layer of drywall after a particularly challenging day, but it’s OK to fantasize about it.

HGTV Life: You find a priceless antique while cleaning out your attic!

Unearthing buried treasure is obviously the best part of clearing out the previously-unexplored corners of an old home. 

Real Life: You find a family of raccoons while cleaning out your attic.

On the bright side, it’s highly unusual for raccoons to be aggressive towards people, according to The Humane Society.

HGTV Life: Your couldn’t-be-more-perfect vintage furniture find just happens to fit perfectly in your car.

Double score! It’s like you two were meant to be. Today, Joanna is your spirit animal. 

Real Life: You end up wrestling with a chair on public transportation.

That chair will feel like a triathlon finisher’s medal by the time you finally make it home. (And hey, you can skip the gym tonight.)

HGTV Life: 3D computer renderings of your project make everything clear.

Ain’t technology grand?

Real Life: You hand your contractor a drawing on the back of a napkin.

To be fair, that napkin sketch really does capture the aesthetic you have in mind.

HGTV Life: A team of pros completes your project and stages your home like magic!

You go out to an amusement park for the day — or on vacation for a week, if it’s a big project — and come back to a whole new kitchen staged by these guys and their crew. Amazing!

Real Life: The hardworking elves who stay up all night to make sure homes look perfect are...the people who live there.

That’s the beauty of DIY: You get to take personal pride in every last inch of a project. Of course, you also get to feel every moment of it in your lower back afterward. Upside: Lots of episodes with your HGTV favorites to keep you company. 

HGTV Life: Shopping goes off without a hitch — in fact, it’s fun!

With a pro’s contacts and market experience, gathering supplies can feel like a delightful game.

Real Life: It is possible to have nightmares about cabinet hardware.

When you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, much less how to find it? Too many options can be anxiety-inducing. 

HGTV Life: The demolition happens quickly and painlessly.

HGTV experts check and double check before taking a swing, making it pure fun. (HGTV hosts' impressively muscular arms don't hurt.) 

Real Life: You break it, you buy it. (Actually, that’s not quite right—it’s already yours.)

O, the existential despair one feels after making a magnificent hole in the wall three feet to the left of where it’s supposed to be! When you gaze long into the hole, to paraphrase Nietzsche, the hole gazes also into you.

HGTV Life: When the Property Brothers remodel your house, they finish right on time.

With Jonathan’s design team on your side, the renovation wraps up exactly when he says it will — just in time for the 9:55 p.m. reveal, of course. 

Real Life: When you remodel your house, the timeline is somehow...different.

10 weeks into your 8 week project, you're still coming home to this guy in your living room. 

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