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Have you Fallen Prey to ‘The Block Effect’?

Recently, a Sydney interior decorator introduced me to ‘The Block Effect’. Initially I wasn’t sure what she meant when she mentioned the term, explaining that her business was temporarily impacted by this phenomenon. Once she explained the concept, however, I realised that so many people are playing a part in it. The question is: are you?

The Block Effect

The Block Effect, so it was explained, is the period of time after a series of The Block airs – usually two to four weeks – where interior stylists and home decorators experience a drop in business. Clients go quiet, inboxes aren’t filling up as much as they usually are and the phone isn’t ringing as often, either.

The reason for this, so I was told, was that viewers of reno and makeover shows like The Block and House Rules are led to believe that many of the tasks undertaken on the show are easy to do yourself, and that decorating a home or performing these odd jobs didn’t require a professional to be brought in.

The Block Effect - Contestants

It’s an interesting revelation, actually, that got me thinking whether I – and you – have fallen prey to The Block Effect in the past or are in the midst of experiencing it now. 

It reminded me of an article I read years ago about a garden makeover show, that gave viewers the impression that an entire backyard could be transformed in a few days with just a small team of eager beavers. What the show didn’t reveal, of course, was that for every presenter that demonstrated how to dig a hole and pour cement in, there were about eight or nine people behind the scenes doing the hard work to complete the job. Now, I’m not saying that this happens on every show, of course, but it is food for thought.

Being a stylist and having connections in the TV industry, I’ve come to assume that there’s a lot of help going on behind the scenes on these shows. But I have to wonder if viewers are getting the memo, too. I’m also left wondering if these shows do indeed give you a false confidence to take on tasks in your home that you normally wouldn’t do without a professional – and if it’s making you value tradies, stylists and interior designers less as a result.

The Block Effect Contestants

The interior decorator who exposed me to the phenomenon of The Block Effect did give me some peace of mind, though. She revealed that after the two to four week period, client enquiries flooded in again, often admitting that they’d attempted home projects alone, had them fail and needed someone to help them rectify the blunders!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this entire scenario in the comments section below. Do these shows give you confidence to tackle tasks, do they make you value industry professionals more or less – or is it all just a bit of light entertainment?

Let me know what you think about The Block Effect.

Images in this post come courtesy of http://www.jump-in.com.au

Want to know more about The Block? Read our ultimate guide to every season!


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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12 Responses

  1. These shows are great because they inspire me to renovate and teach me how to better do jobs that I feel like I can handle myself eg plaster and paint. Having said that, before I commenced renovating my house, I spent a year reading everything I could about how to do interior design and I’m an artist so I am already good with colour. I hired professionals (ie kitchen designer, wardrobe designer etc) to take my drawings and ideas to the next level. Then I hired professionals to do the bulk of the job. I think the shows are unrealistic for price. I expected to pay $20,000 for a new kitchen that was of decent quality because that is what they say on the shows (even just the other night!!!) I spent almost $50,000. Big difference.

  2. For me The Block Effect has led me to feel inspired to attempt interior design on my own. My own house is under construction (by professionals!) and I’ve had my mind opened to whole new world where you don’t just have to buy the first couch you see and stick some cushions on it. It’s made interior design more attainable to people and has led to more interest in blogs and magazines where professional designers give advice and ideas. So while I can’t afford to hire someone to style my house I can afford to research styling ideas and purchase pieces on my own and see how I go. Which in turn leads to an increase in spending for local stores in my area.

  3. Very interesting article. I think it happens in all industries really. My husband watched Master Chef and tried to make one of the desserts, it tasted amazing but it looked nothing like the show and he had 2 days to do it! If one thing is positive about “the block effect” is the fact that people will realize how much effort and hard work the profissionals put in and sometimes what they thought was overpriced wasn’t that expensive at all.

  4. I think the other side is people then hire tradies/stylists etc with high expectations of getting them to finish the job to the highest standard within unreasonable time frames and then complain when it can’t be done as per the amount of time shown on shows such as the block.
    Everyone is entitled to have a go but they also need to realise their own abilities – I think a good professional should be able to be honest with the client and listen to their story and then inject the clients vision into their home and help the client build confidence in their choices.

    1. Totally Renee; designers do have an eye for putting rooms together, so I think it’s wise to call one in if you can’t replicate it or need some help.

  5. I work in marketing & pr so experience “the social media effect” which is where small businesses usually contact me after they’ve tried to only use Facebook to grow their new business and it’s not working for them. Don’t get me wrong, some people do it really, really well but others don’t!

    1. It does bring to light the fact that people really should value professionals more. Thanks for commenting Chelsea; interesting to hear that it happens in other industries too!

  6. It affects tradies too because people think they can attempt to do their own construction or plumbing work without engaging with a licensed trade. The other effect is the unrealistic expectations of getting a bathroom or kitchen renovated in a week. I have blogged before about avoiding the one week installation promise. In reality it doesn’t happen and if it does what has been missed? And has quality been compromised for a quick turn around? Great post. It’s interesting to read that it affects stylists and designers too.

    1. Totally hear you, Bec! I hate to think of the people at home who try these things and end up ruining their spaces and having to call someone in to fix the mess.

  7. I think after how long all these makeover shows have been going on you’d be crazy to think that so many amateurs would able to create some of these amazing rooms completely solo.
    I’d happily do crafty things or stuff I know my dad could help me with but building, plumping, electrician always a pro!
    But I though that interior decorating would get a rise in sales as everyone wants that light they saw or the clock that was in last weeks room reveal. Interesting insight…

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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