I can confidently say that HGTV has taught me to have a better taste in houses than clothing.
During any sort of break, college students cling to any Netflix or TV show they find binge-worthy. This summer, mine is House Hunters on HGTV. (Yes, I still have cable. Sorry, we can't all afford Apple TV).
Now this is just as bad as a re-run of Fresh Prince of Bel Air that turns into a full-blown marathon of it at 3am. However, everyone knows that the good shows only come on after 8pm, so I had to find something for before then.
Two years later and we're still watching. We have expanded to Love It or List It as well, but House Hunters is still our favorite.
I find it really satisfying to watch those shows and see what a couple could do with a set budget and a location. It allows me to daydream about what I want my house to be like. For instance, would I prefer a sun room or a wrap-around porch? Would I want a huge, three-story house or a quaint, little cabin?
It lets us brainstorm ideas to change things in our own houses. Paint colors, floor types, crown molding and wide bay windows. I find myself walking into my room and saying 'what can I do to make this room feel lighter and less crowded?'
I even convinced my parents to redo our basement and our laundry room. I got to pick out the paint colors and had a say in all the decisions about the floors and furniture. It's like being an interior designer, but getting to see the progress and final results every day. HGTV even has an abroad edition of House Hunters. If I'm having a really bad day, that show will normally make everything else evaporate. There's something about adopting someone else's problems (well, decisions) that is much more therapeutic than working through your own problems.
Seeing other countries and what types of houses they have there is so neat! The varying locations and names of types of housing is also pretty fun. Have you ever noticed that they call apartments "flats" in England? Have you ever seen the inside of a European house or how it differs from American houses?
Truthfully, judging the house itself is my favorite part of the show. Even though my family gets annoyed, I enjoy commenting on things I like or don't like about a house. I get to say my piece without affecting their decision and cuss them out when they pick the "wrong" house.
On your next night off, maybe trade in that eighth season of Grey's Anatomy for an episode or two of House Hunters. You'll be amazed at what you learn and your true taste in housing.