If you watch a lot of HGTV, you’re not alone, as the home improvement channel has exploded in popularity over the last two decades, thanks to shows like “Fixer Upper” and “Property Brothers.” We love to see what hard work and money can do to an old house, but according to one study, home improvement shows are also making some homeowners feel worse about where they live.
The study finds that people used to look at their homes as a place that should reflect the homeowner’s unique personality and preferences. But HGTV and other home improvement media constantly shows people what’s “wrong” with their house, so they’re afraid to take risks with design choices. As a result, they see their home through a “market-reflected gaze,” thinking about their home’s monetary value, rather than its personal value, which is leading to all houses looking the same.
"They're seeing everything that's wrong with their home and imagining when people come into their home that they're also criticizing and scrutinizing and judging their home," explains Annett Grant, a study author and assistant professor at Bucknell University. She says people who would have previously remodeled their homes to suit their personal needs and preferences are now thinking about how their design choices will affect its resale potential. So they choose what they think will appeal to everyone, not just them, and their home ends up looking like everyone else’s.