5 myths of HGTV Kitchens, Baths, Homebuying

Since I’ve had basic cable TV for the last three weeks, for the first time ever, I’ve become obsessed with HGTV. Suddenly, conversation references over the last few years make sense, my realtors make sense, my sisters make sense. Duh! That dumb look on my face if you made a reference I failed to recognize, it’s because I’ve lived cable free until June, Twenty Ten. BUT, I take issue with some prevailing information and trends I’ve spotted. Here are five HGTV myths I’m taking issue with:

Myth 1 – Stainless Steel appliances are best. Nope. Every little fingerprint shows, and so do your wipe marks, to say nothing of hard water stains. For that reason, my previous restaurant salad girl experience oiling down the stainless surfaces of the salad kitchen prevented me from falling victim to the stainless steel appliance train when we were looking at houses. I can see now I was expected to ooo and ahhh but I didn’t. I’m not stupid and don’t have a cleaning lady. My new kitchen has black applicances.

Myth 2 – Granite counter tops are the way to go. Okay, they are pretty. But they are hard and cold, and things clinkle when you set them down. I prefer cheap laminate. It’s quieter and gentler. I can change that oh so many more times than you can change your granite. I might use granite or marble for a feature counter, like an island. I watch house hunting shows and folks are enamored with granite. Just silly in my opinion and shouldn’t be enough to keep you from buying a house.

Myth 3 – Tile, Marble, Slate floors are best. That’s silly too. Drop a glass, china plate, or bottle of perfume on any of those tiles and there’s no chance it will not break. Stand for more than 30 minutes and your feet and legs will ache. And in fact, I believe, walking 5 years every day on saltillo tile floors caused heel spurs and other ugly foot issues for me. I love my soft vinyl flooring now, and I love taking care of it with a mop and broom and the occasional steam cleaning. My realtor actually apologized for the flooring when we first walked through our new house, but I was glad to see it was installed over a harder tile flooring choice with less give.

Myth 4 – Laminate is vinyls poor cousin. Pish posh. The person who thinks that isn’t someone who takes care of a home. Laminate is a great alternative and a perfect solution in some cases, especially if you have multiple pets, lots of traffic, move furniture a lot, or have a pool or beach out back. Again, replacing laminate is way easier than glued down options. Think about the future. Make life easy on yourself. We are lucky to have newly refinished hardwood floors in most of the main house. We’ll consider laminate first when we replace flooring on the lower level.

Myth 5 – Kitchen and bathroom updates are preferred. Not if they haven’t been done by a qualified person. Ask questions, ask for evidence of permits, check out qualifications. It might be a pretty update, but cost you a nightmare of redo down the road. It might be better to take on the updating yourself so you can control the quality, or hire someone who can do a proper job.

Bonus Myth – Staging a home will make it sell. Not for me. My preference is to look at an empty house. I much prefer the calm of an empty room, than looking at stuff unrealistically positioned.  I prefer clean houses to dirty but honestly we bought the last house practically online and it had a year’s worth of spiders and roly polies laying around. I knew it was surface stuff we could easily clean. The most recent home we bought was also empty at first look. But in the 60 some other houses I looked through I did look in closets and cupboards so appreciated clean and tidy when I found them that way. For me, there is something very strange at looking through a house with someone’s stuff in it, staged or not. It was offputting. All that said to encourage anyone who has an empty house to sell. I truly believe there’s a buyer for every house.

I’m enjoying HGTV and the Food Network and think there is some good entertainment and information that gets passed along. Just like other stations, one has to discern the usefulness and the value of watching TV over doing something else. I can see the influence it’s had on our culture in the ability to market ideas and concepts. We have to stay smart about what’s real and good.


I have not been asked to review or provide feedback by HGTV or anyone affiliated. The photo above comes from their website.


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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