The Impact Home Improvement Television Has on the Modern-Day Homeowners

Designer and television personality John Gidding reflects on the positive influence home improvement television has made over the past decade.

As a young kid, John Gidding, a Turkish-American designer and television personality, was always asked what he wanted to be when he was older and never had a good answer. He didn’t relate to the more traditional aspirations of young children, like being a doctor or a teacher. This question and longing for a goal was finally realized once he focused on his strengths in art and math. A mentor suggested the idea of being an architect and he was sold. This unique, creative and systematic industry was exactly what Gidding was craving and he excitingly has taken this career to a whole new level.

“When I would tell people about my aspirations to be an architect, their eyes would light up,” said Gidding. “It is a great balance of my strengths but continued to push and challenge me.”

After graduating with a Master’s Degree in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gidding decided to shift his focus into interior design to start his own company, John Gidding Design, Inc. In addition to being a business owner, the entrepreneur was also a model, which ultimately led him to his career as a television personality.

“In the early 2000’s, I went to an audition for one of the first home improvement shows, Knock First,” noted Gidding. “After getting this opportunity, my career really started to be focused more on television, which has been such an incredible experience.”

Knock First, in addition to other shows like the original Trading Spaces, were truly before the times. The average homeowner wasn’t as knowledgeable in the home improvement industry and didn’t know their capabilities of making changes to their home without the help of a professional.

“When the initial round of home improvement shows aired, the average American didn’t have a vocabulary for home design and improvement,” mentioned Gigging. “The first mission was education. Now, shows are able to have more sophistication, which in turn makes for a better TV production.”

Due to this shift in the mission, shows are now able to be more unique with the on-air creations, which in turn continues to push uniqueness and creativity in the industry. However, these shows can be misleading and ultimately provide false misconceptions for viewers of the reality of the project.

“I have been a part of both types of shows,” said Gidding. “There are some TV shows that show a project with an unrealistic timeline or budget. While it may seem not honest, at the end of the day it needs to make good TV so we have to get the project done no matter what. There are other shows, like my new show Trading Spaces, that is very strict about the budget and timeline.”

The mission of Trading Spaces is to be completely honest with the reconstruction and designs so that it is appealing to the everyday homeowner. The designers show exactly how to make the changes and where they got the material. With a more educated audience, this reboot can actually be an extremely helpful and relatable show for many homeowners.

“In addition to an audience with a better knowledge of the industry, this reboot will also feature many designers that have solidified their styles,” mentioned Gidding. “This show will stand up beautifully next to the other amazing home design shows.”

Due to Gidding’s background in architecture, he has a construction focused thought process for new projects, which is what he attributes to a reason why he was graciously asked to be on the show.

“The best piece of advice I would give to someone who is doing their own home renovations or is a designer is to make sure that they don’t design or work in a vacuum,” notes Gidding. “Working in a collaborative studio environment is a really great way to push your comfortability and test the limits with designs. Having a background in architecture, I think of design differently than some of my peers, which is what helped me be picked for Trading Spaces. I won’t just look to repaint a room and add furniture, but rather utilize the space I can and transform it to be something new.”

The increase of home improvement shows has obviously been helpful to grow a uniquely successful career for designers like Gidding, but it has also helped other businesses in this industry tremendously.

“When these shows just started out there went many companies that appealed to this industry,” noted Gidding. “It was really just Home Depot, even Lowes was just getting started. These shows have really helped educate American homeowners and influenced them to want to do these projects in their home.”

While reality TV can get a bad reputation in today’s society, many shows, like those that are focused on home improvement, have truly helped grow the industry and better educate the public. Without these mediums, the world wouldn’t know as much about these uniquely talented professionals, like Gidding, who want to help everyone live in a home they love and feel at ease. Now when children are asked what they want to be when they are older the answer of architect or interior designer might be a more common answer.