Television portrayals are skewed
With the newfound popularity of Netflix, it is safe to say that a wide variety of people spend their down time binge-watching television shows. In the past few years there has been a steady increase of viewers interested in interior-design-related programs. It is easy to believe that reality shows capture unscripted, real-life events in order to educate a majority of people about the lifestyles of others, but as viewers we need to be conscious of the edited angle of the camera.
If you look at the television industry froma business perspective, it is understandable why a producer is not going to film an interior-design show about drawing floor plans and following safety codes. Producers are looking for profitable entertainment. The majority of the time, they will cast an attractive designer and film the flashy parts of the design process instead of the crucial constructive planning. The majority of shows are on a limited time schedule and have roughly 40 minutes to capture a renovation from start to finish. This filming process devalues the job of the designer and cheapens the necessary months of thorough planning and research.
Most interior-design shows follow five easy steps: assess client’s needs, design space, renovate, accessorize, and reveal to client. This five-step process oversimplifies the designer’s job and removes the client from the design process. Usually the clients are integrated in the planning of the space so they can help the designer capture their style and create a place they will enjoy.
On renovation-related shows, the designers usually do a small assessment of the clients’ needs and come back the next day with a design plan that they instantly approve. This would rarely happen. It takes much longer than a day to draw an intricate, accurate and creative design plan and have it be approved by the client immedi- ately without any changes.
During the renovation stage on television, the designer usually helps bust down somewalls andmaybe puts in some tile, but nobody sees the floor plans and elevations of the house, and it is highly unlikely a designer would be part of the construction crew. Then the TV designer decorates the space in less than a few hours with furniture that coincidently arrived on the same day, never mind back orders or lengthy production times. This process is fast and pretty inaccurate, which makes interior designers seem like magical decorators and not educated professionals.
From what is viewed on television, being an interior designer might seem easy, but interior-design television needs to expose more of the reality of the job. With a few changes, these shows could be really effective and help designers earn the same respect as architects. Interior-design TV has created a space for designers to collaborate, learn and share their work with the world. Now it needs to align with reality.
Lisa Samuel ASID, IIDA, is a Santa Fe native and principal of Samuel Design Group, located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. She is an award-winning interior designer known for creating unique interiors imbued with warmth and elegance. Lisa (info@ samueldesigngroup.com) is passionate about good design that supports well-being.