The seven emotional stages of watching Room to Improve

Sophie White reflects on the feelings vortex her weekly date with Room To Improve has become

I'm not sure if it's a particular life stage that I'm at or if RTE is inserting some kind of undetectable mind control frames into the edit; but Room to Improve has become a borderline obsession in the last couple of years. So here are the seven stages of anguish and turmoil that the average Room To Improve viewing inspires. (Sidenote: This is not some #sponcon for Room to Improve – I really am this sad.)

Stage 1 – I'm definitely starting to fancy Dermot Bannon

Oh my god, it's only the opening credits but I'm already weak for architect heartthrob, Dermot. Is fancying Dermot a sign that you've been watching too much Room To Improve? But then there's no such thing as too much Room To Improve.


Stage 2 – It's an art attack! AKA the weird little cartoon thingy of what the house is going to look like

This is the part of the show where Dermot reveals his amazing plan to create an interior atrium. The big reveal is really not necessary as the interior atrium has appeared in pretty much every episode of Room To Improve ever. By now the couple are exchanging inscrutable looks and you can pretty much count on some mutiny on their part after the ads.

Stage 3 – Time for the quantity surveyor to wreck EVERYONE'S buzz

So, it transpires that they thought that they had €230,000 for Dermot's proposed design but actually they only have 50p and there's no way they'll stretch to the interior atrium. An interior atrium that Dermot is now for some baffling reason utterly, emotionally invested in. Did Dermot have an unrequited longing for an interior atrium in his formative years? "I wish Dermot cared about me as much as he cares about that atrium," sighs the part of brain that is now picturing what Dermot would plan for our own light-filled extension after we jettison my pesky family and get married.

Stage 4 – Okay the fancying is slowly shifting to the builder now

Oh ho... how fickle my fancying is... I've transferred my affections to the builder now. He'd be a much better bet, much more practical in reality. Also, Dermot's revealing himself to be quite an unyielding character by this point in the episode, all this couple want is white window frames on THEIR house and Dermot is heavy pushing some "Down Pipe Black" down their throats. Dermot back off, Mairead and Seamus are the ones who have to live with the bloody windows.

Stage 5 –Tea break: In which I fall into a pit of despair over the state of my house (tea break involves wading through the sea of toys, squished banana and rice cakes that actually serve as a carpeting solution in our house)


The ads give us Room to Improve viewers some quality time to reflect on what went so wrong in our lives that we don't have a quarter of a mil to spend on a mezzanine office space with a concept staircase. Of course, this is nothing compared with the pain of engaging with Room To Improve for people living in rental accommodation who's best hope at interior design is more light crafting than light-filled extension. Consider my privilege sufficiently checked.

Stage 6 – Checks Twitter to see what kind of furore is unfolding over there

There's always something. "Don't mention the dividing wall" is basically the new "Don't mention the war" after one recent episode.

Stage 7 – Time for the creepiest party of ALL TIME

So the gang's all back together. Wounds have healed and it feels like the box wine is helping Dermot get over his rage over the choice of window frame colour. But NO, right when we thought they'd reached a detente of sorts, he lobs in one final dig..."I'd-have-gone-with-the-darker-frames-much-more-contemporary," he lobs this emotional grenade out there so quick that Mairead and Seamus don't even have a chance to defend their decision (you know, the decision that they made about THEIR house).

And then he's gone, he doffs his hard hat to the assembled rent-a-crowd guests, skulls a couple of cab savs for the road and flees like an impish waif over the back wall and into the night.

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