- HGTV and other home improvement media are causing people to decorate their homes all the same.
- Homeowners are now seeing their interior design through the prism of monetary, rather than personal, values.
- One person interviewed for the study said people liked her bathroom because it was like a “hotel room.”
Home improvement shows on HGTV and other channels, as well as interior design magazines, are making people see their homes through a so-called “market-reflected gaze,” which is causing houses to all look the same, a new study says.
Annett Grant, an assistant professor of markets, innovation, and design at Bucknell University, and Jay M. Handelman, an associate professor of marketing at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, published a study on how home improvement media influences homeowners.
Traditionally, people thought of home as a place of singularization that should be styled to the homeowner’s unique identity, the study says. But homeowners are starting to shift their thinking to consider their home as a marketplace asset rather than a space that is unique to them, according to the study.
Grant told The Washington Post that home improvement media, which constantly shows people what is “wrong” with their house, makes them fearful to take risks in their interior design.
“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,” Grant told the outlet.
Grant told the Post that the 17 people who participated in the study all wanted to be “that smart homeowner who has invested in my home and now, on paper, my home is worth so much more.”
Homeowners begin to experience a “market-reflected gaze,” by viewing their home through the lens of marketplace standards, thus “shunning singularization.”
“Professionalization of the home, through marketplace expertise and standardization, discourages personalization, leading to an experience of disorientation with the place of home,” the study says.
The phenomenon causes spaces to look broadly neutral with the aim of creating a space that is welcoming to everyone.
One study participant told researchers that people like her bathroom because it’s “a bit more like a hotel room, kind of clean, looking very streamlined, and everything coordinates,” the Post reported.
Grant says this market-reflected gaze has homeowners at odds with themselves about how to view their home, as a way to build wealth or as a living space to be personalized.
They are “torn between two ideas of what the home should be,” Grant told the Post.
HGTV did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.