23 March, 2016

Real estate. It’s the cornerstone of our national wealth. And it’s still the one of the biggest issues Australians are thinking about in 2016. Will prices go up? Will prices go down? Should I invest? Should I sell? And how can I make my home look as beautiful as the ones in the magazines or on TV? As a country, there is no denying we have an ongoing love affair with our homes. And the TV networks know all too well just how much we’re invested in property. That’s why they’re going ‘all in’ on real estate and renovation again in 2016. Selling Houses Australia is back on our screens and remains Foxtel’s biggest non-sports program. Channel Nine is bringing back The Block for season 12 and its eighth filmed in Melbourne. Channel Seven is rebooting its ‘Rules’ franchise with Crowded House Rules which is likely to start once the current series of My Kitchen Rules finishes up. And this week Channel Nine kicks it all off with Reno Rumble.   the block 2   These shows all rate well. And I’ll happily admit to being a watcher. And having watched so many of these shows before, I feel it is my duty to share my Survival Guide for renovation reality TV in 2016. Recognise that these shows have been cast by some of the best TV minds in the country. The contestants might not all be the best renovators, but you be damn sure they’re going to be entertaining. There’s the gun couple who seem like they’ve got all the skills, but seem to get ahead of themselves and come unstuck by about week four. There’s the cool kids who are usually young and march to the beat of their own drum, even if it brings them undone when the judges go through their room and just scratch their head thinking ‘WTF’? The hard doers always come last because they usually aren’t too hot on the tools but are guaranteed to fluke a win in one inconsequential room. And the ones you love to hate. Just realise that this couple is always going to annoy the other contestants and you. And they can’t hear you through the TV, no matter how loud you shout. Choose which episodes you watch carefully. Most mega fans will watch every episode, but don’t feel you have to keep up. There are key shows worth watching to pick up on how the latest interior design and home styling trends are influencing their work and how you might be able to use them in your home. The reveal show, usually on a Sunday night, is good for seeing all of the renovation work coming together. And you get to hear from industry experts like Shaynna Blaze, Neale Whitaker and Darren Palmer who usually have a few good tips while handing down their judgements. I’d recommend avoiding the ‘challenge’ episodes, which usually have very little to do with renovating or interiors design and are there to fill out the week. They can be fun, but give it a miss if you want to limit your screen time. Prepare to be frustrated by the judges. They’re undoubtedly experts at what they do. But it doesn’t mean they can’t have a wide range of opinions. And believe me, they do. There will be episodes where they say one thing in one room and say something else in another room, even though they’re probably pretty similar. Know that the host is guaranteed to drag out scoring in the results show. Be prepared to use this time more efficiently by multitasking. My recommendation is to boil the kettle, break out a packet of Tim Tams and, well you know the rest. Think about how these shows can inspire your home. Most contestants know what they’re doing and a few have even gone on to have successful careers in the industry, so don’t be afraid to take notice of what they’re doing and think about how you could apply it in your home. Anything you like in one of the rooms presented is usually guaranteed to sell out the day after so have your laptop at the ready during the program. Shows like The Block have capitalised on this over the last couple of years by introducing online stores where you can buy products used by the contestants and put the look together for your own home. A great idea, just don’t think about it too long as you might miss out! And of course, don’t take it too seriously. TV is meant to be entertaining so enjoy it and just be thankful you’re not still up at 3:30am painting the guest bedroom ceiling for the third time before reveal! This piece was originally published in The Huffington Post.

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