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  • Writer's pictureBlueLeaf DesignBuild

Why Home Improvement Shows Can Be Misleading About Renovation Costs


We've all been there, sitting on the couch, engrossed in the magic of home improvement shows on TV. Whether it's captivating transformations, charming renovations, the drama of flipping houses, or the cozy cabin upgrades, there's something undeniably thrilling about watching a shabby, outdated property metamorphose into a modern, breathtaking oasis.

But as the saying goes, "Not everything that glitters is gold." Those gleaming home makeovers we witness on TV often come with budgets and timelines that are far from reality. The truth is, behind the camera, a different story unfolds.

The Reality of Renovation Costs

A business such as Blue Leaf Design Build typically subcontracts part of the project out. This might include demo, framing, drywall, or plumbing, electric, and HVAC, to name a few. The remainder of the project is completed by a few skilled laborers. With the current average wages for skilled construction labor, the cost of maintaining just three laborers can easily exceed $5,000 per week.

The cost of materials has also seen a drastic spike, particularly in the post-Covid era. In the pre-Covid days, a modest kitchen remodel could be accomplished for around $30,000. However, today, cabinets alone can swallow that budget whole. Many projects featured on TV involve substantial changes like removing walls, reconfiguring electrical and plumbing systems, and other modifications that can quickly escalate expenses.

The Case of the $150,000 Budget

Occasionally, we watch these shows and wonder where the budget goes. For instance, we once attempted to decipher how a homeowner's $150,000 budget was allocated for a significant home remodel. The project involved extensive changes, including wall removals, a chef's kitchen, a revamped dining room, a new primary suite, an extra bathroom, and a powder room. By our calculations, such an endeavor would realistically cost upwards of $350,000.

Unrealistic Expectations

The crux of the matter is that these shows, while entertaining, often leave homeowners with highly unrealistic expectations. It's not impossible to find a builder willing to take on a project for a remarkably low bid, but we advise caution in such cases. Time and time again, we've encountered homeowners who initially opted for the lowest price, only to contact us later for necessary fixes.

A Realistic Approach

At Blue Leaf Design Build, we take a different approach. We provide you with a realistic estimate and budget that considers the true costs of your project. We believe in transparency and can discuss ways to potentially reduce costs without compromising quality during our meetings with you. We aim to set realistic goals and provide explanations for why certain things cannot be achieved as inexpensively as on TV – as well as why they shouldn't be.


Your home is one of the most significant investments you'll ever make. Blue Leaf Design Build and Dahlia Interiors are here to help you make informed, intelligent decisions when it comes to your remodel. While the allure of home improvement shows is undeniable, it's essential to understand that the budgets and timelines portrayed on TV don't always reflect the real-world costs and complexities of renovation projects. By approaching your project with realistic expectations and working with professionals who prioritize quality, integrity, and transparency, you can achieve your dream home without any unwelcome surprises.

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Conifer, Pine, Bailey, Evergreen, Morrison, Indian Hills, Lakewood, Littleton, Golden, and Western Metro Denver

12424 Big Timber Dr. Unit 4, Conifer, CO 80433


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