Form vs. function: Things that are driving me crazy on HGTV…

I’ve been watching HGTV lately, on the treadmill, working off the blogging. I’m trying to keep an open mind… because I would do so much of the stuff differently … but, I have to note some of the things that have been driving me crazy as I see them repeated on so many shows:

  1. When the homeowners say they need a toddler-friendly family room — they mean it. Real storage that allows you to literally pull the stuff out, then shove it away, easily. Or, a real space — right off the kitchen — that you can open and close the door on. Honestly, HGTV needs to get childless 20-somethings away from families altogether, they don’t understand. The toys-rule period lasts about 11 years, and a real solution must be found or you live in chaos.
  2. A family friendly sofa is not upholstered in light beige ultrasuede. There is a reason for all those plaid sofas – they hide the dirt really well. Figure out a solution.
  3. When you remake a room – and see that the current design is centered on TV-watching, deal with it. America watches TV. A lot. Make family room seating truly comfortable and TV-centered. A sectional on the diagonal from the TV is great. No more than 8′-9′ from the screen. (Today’s show had the couch about 18′ feet away – ridiculous.) Nix the big center coffee table – we are gonna sprawl on the floor. Put a big comfy rug or wall to wall carpeting underneath. If the Mr. and Mrs. want a TV in the bedroom – design for it. And in the family room, for gosh sakes, give the Mr. a big comfy chair already. Ask most men, and the only thing they want is a big TV and a really comfortable chair.
  4. Flat screen TVs positioned high above the fireplace – ridiculous. See #3.
  5. Itty bitty window seats under windows to the left and right of fireplaces – do not make for extra seating for guests. No one is ever going to sit there – give your guests real chairs for gosh sakes. Better to do built-in storage in these spots.
  6. Little wrought-iron sconces with candles in them are also ridiculous, except for near bathtubs, where they are also likely to never be used.

HGTV can be a real inspiration… but way too often, at least from my perspective, their designers make it pretty — but pretty disfunctional, too.  Honestly, I tend to have the same bias. My husband actually has been very influential in helping me to better understand, and work to execute, design solutions that do both. If it’s a toss up: Functionality first.

  1. Karen says:

    I agree, the designers seem to lose touch with real time life for people and get stuck on TVs above fireplaces, foolish seating arrangements and art that makes me gag. Glad I design my own home without coffee tables to trip over.

  2. PugFreek says:

    The toys-rule period lasts about 11 years, and a real solution must be found or you live in chaos. Yeah I’m 11

  3. San Diego Amy says:

    Thank you, Pam! I had to laugh as I read your list, in particular #4! My boyfriend and I were just talking about this awful trend this weekend! I detest the flatscreen above the fireplace look. How distracting is it to have a fire and try to watch a show? Not to mention what you are pointing out – it’s just too high for comfortable viewing. And, my boyfriend fantasized about when we are able to get a nice tv, etc – he’d like a comfortable lounge chair – just like you mentioned in #3.
    yeah, the design shows can certainly be humorous entertainment at times. I also like the landscaping shows when they put gravel or sand type material in the back yard, right to the patio door, so that you can track it right inside… that would be nice to clean up all the time….

  4. maddydallas says:

    I laughed as I read through your list because I have had a few of the exact same thoughts…I keep asking myself how many of those rooms get changed back as soon as the cameras are gone. I REALLY get a laugh when I go in a new acquaintance or colleagues house and you can automatically tell where they got the impractical ideas…

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