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My Three Favourite Decorating Shows

Updated on August 10, 2016
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Sharilee and her husband, Vern, live with two cats. Due to Vern's cat allergies, she has done extensive research on the subject.

Addicted to Decorating Shows

Okay, I admit it. I'm addicted to home decorating and real estate shows: I can't get enough of them! First, there's the inspiration factor. Hey, if they can transform that old wreck of a home in three days, some paint, and a great crew, why can't I do my own home? And there's the learning factor: from the best furniture placement to the latest in wall decals, this genre of entertainment is always mind candy, as well as eye candy. So, which ones are the best? Well, here's my take on the three best decorating and real estate shows on television right now.

1. Colour Confidential / Get Color

This is a decorating show that airs on W Network/HGTV in Canada, and on HGTV under the name of Get Color, in the USA, and I think it's brilliant! Focusing on one aspect of design: colour, it is always educational and inspiring.

HOST: For decorating shows, like all T.V. shows, the host definitely makes the show. Jane Lockhart heads up Colour Confidential, and she is affiable, and makes every show like a mini-lesson in decorating. I like her style because she never looks down on her guests, but is always patient with them in their indecision and anguish about choosing the right colour. She is very knowledgeable about many aspects of design, and her background as an artist helps make her well-rounded.

FORMAT: Like most of these shows, the episode starts out with clients lamenting to Jane about their present decorating woes, and reviewing what they would like from the final project. After that, though, this show is different than most. Jane Lockhart has developed a fascinating way to help her clients choose their colour scheme. She uses the famous colour wheel used by artists to give them choices. Instead of using boring colour swatches, however, she creates a customized colour wheel from objects that relate the client's interests.

For example, a sports fanatic is given a whistle to represent grey, and football turf to represent green. Her purpose in doing this, is to make colour personal, and she has her clients choose colours that resonate with them, not that they would necessarily like just for their home. This way, she finds colours that relate to them , not colour that she likes as a decorator. That's the beauty of this show: it's so personal. It's colour psychology 101, and it's fascinating to watch.

RESULTS: Of course, the most gratifying aspect of any re-do show is the big reveal at the end, and Jane never fails to come through. Sometimes the colour choices seem a little questionable (a grey basement office from one episode, comes to mind) but the end results are always so amazing, you wonder how in the world she did it. The end results from Colour Confidential are vibrant and creative, and have that definite "wow" factor, and that, after all, is what it is all about!

2. Color Splash

This is a little gem of a show, and its greatest strength is definitely the creativity of the host, David Bromstad. This shows on HGTV, as well.

FORMAT: The show starts off with a look at an "problem space," which desperately needs some work done to it, and after a needs assessment conversation, the camera pans to David with some coloured pencils and a canvas, sketching out this design solution. David then comes out with two features, each with two options: one bold, one more subdued, and presents these options to the homeowners.

The brilliance of this format it that allows the homeowners some autonomy, without taking away from the creative license of the designer. Like Colour Confidential, David incorporates the owner's personality into the design decisions.

THE HOST: As already mentioned, the host of Colour Splash is David Bromstad. Like many fans, I have been following him since debut on the reality show, Design Star, where he displayed his very obvious talent. David was an artist before he was a designer, and it shows from the way he draws out his plans, to the special art piece he makes for every home that he makes over.

Guests on the show are constantly gushing over him, and it is understandable. He's cute and he's loveable. He banters playfully with all the staff on the show, and always seems so happy!

RESULTS: As in all good decorating shows, the reveal is dramatic. His rooms are transformed, using colour as a key component, and the home owner is always thrilled. Because the show has quite a bit of footage of the room being made over, we are not too surprised at the end, but pleased nonetheless at the beauty and uniqueness that David and his team create. Skilled in furniture building, David has the know-how to make built-in magic that fits the room and the client's needs to perfection.

3. Property Virgins

Deciding what house to buy is one of the biggest and most important decisions we make: we will be paying for it for most of our adult lives, and this is where we will spend the majority of our time. Therefore, the decision is one of drama and uncertainty, especially for someone going through the process for the first time. That is why watching the show, Property Virgins, is so compelling: because the show focuses on such an important and pivotal part of a couple or individual's life. Also shows on HGTV.

FORMAT: The show begins with an overview of two people, usually a married couple, who want to buy a house together. The host, Sandra Rinomato, tells how much they have to spend, what led to their decision to purchase, and what they are looking for in a house. It then cuts to Sandra meeting with the two, reviewing their situations and wishlist, and going out to look at the first choice.The unique feature about this show is that she does not go into the home first, but lets them go in by themselves first. This allows them to give their honest opinion, without worrying about offending their host.

Sandra then goes into the house, and they discuss the pros and cons of the home, and how much it does or does not meet their expectations. Sandra then takes that information, and goes on to show them two more houses, based on the feedback on the first one. The great thing about this show, is that Ms. Rinomato learns from her guests, and modifies her house choices based on their conversation.

HOST: Sandra Rinomato is the key to what makes this T.V. show so charming. Her warm humour and good-natured teasing help the clients to climb the steep learning curve involved in buying a first home. A Toronto realtor herself, her experience and knowledge make her relaxed and confident she will get the job done.

RESULTS: At the end, the prospective homeowners always choose one of the houses they have looked at, and are always very happy with their choice. She does a great job at finding properties that match their needs and desires.

Guilty Pleasure

These three shows, in my opinion, are the high quality veneer of their genre, and are always worth watching. Three great hosts, with three excellent reliable formats make for winning formulas, and an half hour well-wasted.


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