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To Reveal or Not To Reveal

You see it all the time on home improvement shows. At the end of every episode, the homeowners stand in front of their renovated house and the hosts talk about what it looked like when they started. They talk about all the problems that existed before, about what the family wanted out of the house, and about how excited they are to show it off.

And then, the big reveal… Music swells, homeowners gasp, tears run down cheeks, and people jump up and down in utter glee. They walk through their home and simply cannot believe what a transformation it has undergone! Everything looks beautiful, magazine ready, and everything they’ve wanted is right there. It is a magical moment.

Unfortunately, it is also a highly produced moment that isn’t always possible in real life. Depending on the design project, it may actually be a bad idea. So then, the question becomes: to reveal or not to reveal. Let’s look at some of the facts.

The Costs

There are a lot of costs associated with revealing a project that people don’t always realize. Let’s start with the obvious, the one that we actually see in these shows: where will you live? In the shows, people stay with relatives, in their old homes, go on vacation, or just live in a hotel for a few months. Most clients cannot afford to stay somewhere other than their home during a remodel, and staying with family isn’t always a viable—or sane—option. There are a few exceptions, of course. If you are moving or the whole house is being done at once, then that’s understandable. The average person, however, is spending a lot on the materials, contractors, and design. They don’t want to pay for a hotel to live in while their kitchen is redone. Please read the possible answer at the bottom for an option that does work if you don’t peek!

Another thing to think about is the holding cost. A lot of TV shows have specific deals with their vendors so that they can get materials quicker. Your average Interior Designer does not. We help you choose various pieces of furniture and wall accessories to supplement your own and then wait for them to arrive. But, if it is all being moved in at once, that means that we need to store it while we wait for everything to arrive. If the project is moving slowly due to material or contractor availability, those costs can add up.

Type of Design

The type of design project has a massive impact on whether a big reveal is even possible. If you are having your living room or family room redone? It probably won’t be a big problem. Those projects only last a few months and costs for a big reveal can be kept pretty low. But what about a kitchen or bath remodel? Most people want back in as soon as they are functional again, if not sooner. When you are cooking everything in a microwave and you really want to use your new oven and stove, waiting for a reveal just doesn’t make sense.

A Few Possible Answers


There is a modified way to give you this experience by “walling” off the area and asking you to not enter it unless invited. So no peeking!  We can do this mainly for a designated area and love it when it works. We find it satisfying too when we can accommodate this in the design and want to talk about it at the beginning of any design. This is already a common practice when it comes to kitchen remodels, in order to limit the dust that escapes the room. Another option is to do a mini-reveal. If you need furniture immediately or have to use your master bathroom, we can put in the big things—large pieces of furniture and the like—while holding back on all the lovely accessories you’ve chosen. Then, take a day or two off and let us stage it for you! We can bring in the last minute touches before showing it off. This is also a great time to photograph it, so we can give you a before-and-after to show off to family and friends.

There are many options out there to give you what you want, just remember to ask. I won’t know otherwise.


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