This was the first time I have ever taken part on a TV game show like this. So I thought I would share some of my insights, and highlight some things that might not be completely obvious to viewers.
The contestants are all volunteers.
We do not get paid for our time on the show. This means that we are incredibly privileged to be on the show, and be able to take time away from paid work for upto 16 weeks to be able to commit to the show. I have spoken to so many people who told me they had applied to be on the show, but couldn't get the time off, or afford the no-wage time.
The budgets are unrealistic.
The budgets do not represent what it would cost to replicate the room that you finally see. In Episode 1 the budget for the showhome makeover is £1500. This does not include the cost for the decorator or the joiner, or indeed the designers fee. If each of the rooms/spaces were to be fitted out properly to a high standard, the budget would need to MUCH higher.
The TV show is filmed over a number of days with hundreds of hours of reel. Each designer is constantly being interviewed, especially when things are going wrong. We are asked the same question numerous times and ways for them to get the content they need to make a show. The editors and producers use all of this content to create a storyline, which might not be a balanced representation of reality - it is afterall a TV show made for entertainment purposes.
As designers we also do not hear any feedback or get any interaction/mentoring from the judges, unless you are on the sofa, and even then, we don't know what was said in our rooms until we see the final show on TV.
Again, due to this being a TV show, the process that we as designers took is totally different to what normal interior design process looks like. If you want to know more about what a real process looks like - head to my full service design blog post here.
Also the show emphasises on the interior designers doing manual/trade labour, such painting walls, hanging wallpaper and upholstering furniture. This is not what an interior designer does. We design, source, coordinate, project manage and style.
Are you surprised by any of the above? I know I hadn't fully appreciated some of these details until I was on the show. Feel free to comment below.