Is HGTV Harming Our Hospitality?

A trendy, perfectly furnished home is not required to be useful for the kingdom.

Our first home was my in-laws’ tiny cottage, where we stayed for free. There were unfinished walls, the floors were painted chipboard, and all our furniture was dated and used. When our first guests came by, I remember looking around, my stomach twisting with anxiety. What must they be thinking of us? I wondered if I could ever host company again—at least, not until we moved.

But our next home, a small fixer-upper with shag carpets, was not much better. Meanwhile, it seemed every other house I walked into—whether my peers’, friends’, or family members’—was HGTV worthy. Mine could never compare. Once we moved into a “real home,” I believed, I would be much more hospitable.

Similarly, Trillia Newbell wrote about experiencing this same fear when she moved into an apartment. “Our new home felt like it was too small to truly be welcoming,” she said. HGTV even has an article listing 35 ways to hide the ugly parts of our homes so guests don’t see them.

Apparently, this feeling is more universal than I realized. A recent article from Insider says shows on HGTV might be contributing to this very sense of insecurity—creating a world where people are fearful of being assessed by the aesthetic state of their home:

Homeowners are “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 living spaces, said Annett Grant, an assistant professor of markets, innovation, and design at Bucknell University.

The article set out to show how homeowners’ philosophies have changed over time.

“Traditionally, people …

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