FAQs About HGTV Shows, Answered by an Expert

From how long a show takes to film to whether or not the families get to keep the furniture, we're answering all of your most-asked questions.

Have you ever watched an HGTV show feeling totally in awe of the seemingly quick turnaround and stunning spaces that the homeowners now get to enjoy every day? It’s a normal reaction but, we have to admit, a lot more happens than meets the eye.

We get asked a lot of questions surrounding the production of the shows, as well as what the homeowners actually get to keep. Intrigued? Keep reading for answers to a handful of the most frequently asked questions at HGTV.

How long does it take to film an HGTV show?

According to Betsy Ayala, the senior vice president of production & development for HGTV, a renovation show can take anywhere from three to eight months to film. Of course, given that most shows are an hour long, the footage is edited together to fit a story within that timeframe.

“It all depends on the types and scale of the projects,” Betsy shares. While she didn’t go in-depth into what exactly that entails, it’s safe to say that shows that tackle both the interior and exterior of the home—like Home Town and Inside Out— are likely to take longer to produce than shows that focus on interiors.

Do homeowners on HGTV shows get to keep the furniture?

Speaking of inside the home, many viewers swoon over the final layouts. But here’s the kicker: More often than not, the homes are staged, meaning the homeowners don’t get to keep the furniture and decor that’s shown on TV.

“Most if not all of our flipping shows are staged,” Betsy admits, noting that, depending on the client, sometimes the renovation will include some of the furniture.

That said, if the homeowners love the end look as much as the viewers do, they do have the option to purchase the staged pieces; it just goes beyond their initial budget for the show.

What happens to the spaces that we don’t see renovated on HGTV shows?

Have you ever watched an HGTV show and wondered why only the living room, kitchen and dining room are being shown? According to Betsy, there’s one of two reasons for this.

“Spaces that we don’t see renovated in the show are either not included in the scope of the project or could be renovated but may not make it to the screen,” she shares. “It is rare to have a space not make it to the screen, but sometimes we have to make cuts to work with the length of the program.”

Does HGTV pay for the renovations?

There’s a common assumption that making it on a show comes with a free renovation, or at least discounted goods. On the contrary, homeowners have to come up with the money for the projects.

While HGTV doesn’t front the bill, Betsy says that the network does, at times, contribute construction funds to help enhance and speed up projects for television.

Nevertheless, even if it’s an out-of-pocket expense, the main draw is still getting to work with HGTV designers.

Why are the books backward on the shelves on HGTV shows?

Smaller in scale but large in impact, backward books always earn HGTV endless questions. While you may have thought that it was some new-age design trend, in reality, Betsy says that it’s typically the consequence of copyright issues.

“But some may say it’s because they would prefer not to be judged by the books they own,” she shares. “Regardless, our designers have figured out a way to make it look good!”

What's the best way to get on an HGTV show?

Want to be a part of an HGTV renovation? HGTV has a website where casting calls are posted.

However, if you don’t see an opening for the show you’re looking for, you can also take the time to watch the end credits of your favorite show in order to identify the production company. That way, you can follow them on social media to stay apprised of all casting announcements.

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