12 easy ways to take your home design to the next level, according to HGTV’s Leanne and Steve Ford

Leanne and Steve Ford have a ton of design advice.

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Leanne and Steve Ford have a ton of design advice.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford
  • Insider spoke with brother-and-sister team Leanne and Steve Ford, who host HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords.”
  • They shared some tips on how to get your home look like it just has an HGTV home makeover.
  • Leanne said painting your walls white, adding rugs, and changing your lighting can greatly transform your space.
  • Steve said you should remodel one room at a time and you should be ready to take risks.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more.

Redesigning and redecorating your house can seem like a daunting task, especially when you compare it to the massive home overhauls you see on HGTV.

So Insider spoke with HGTV’s brother-and-sister team Leanne and Steve Ford, to find out how you can get the HGTV results without too much effort or money.

The Fords are hosts of “Restored by the Fords” – where they renovate and redesign older homes in Pittsburgh – and authors of a joint memoir, “Work in Progress.” Together, they said you can take your house to the next level by making small, incremental changes.

Keep reading to find out Leanne and Steve’s tips and tricks to redesigning your home.


The cheapest and fastest way to completely redesign your house is by painting.

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Leanne and Steve Ford.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Leanne said a complete overhaul of your house can be a daunting task. Instead, you can just paint your walls, and it will feel like a completely new space.

“Do not underestimate the power of painting,” Leanne said. “Painting a room can take a weekend, and it can change everything. It freshens things up and it makes you excited and happy.”


If you do decide to paint, you should really stick with white.

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Stick with white.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

While some designers think colorful paint can transform a room, Leanne said white can do the trick just as easily.

“I think white paint is fail-proof [and] timeless,” she said. “It makes everything look better and cleaner.”


Another simple way to take your home to the next level is to change the lighting.

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Change up the lighting.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

“Even if you have a rental, you can always change the lighting,” she said. “You can change it back when you leave. Lighting can really change the space and make a room feel more uniquely your own.”


Adding natural elements to your home can help you feel more relaxed.

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Add wood and greenery.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Leanne said people should be adding more natural elements into their homes, including natural woods and wood textures. She also said greenery is an important addition to any space.

“Earthy elements are becoming more acceptable and popular,” she said. “It allows for people to relax a bit more in design.”


You should include vintage items in your home.

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Add something vintage.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

According to Leanne, vintage items from thrift stores or other retailers can bring character to a space. She said it also “brings some soul into the home.”

“These simple, easy fixes make a big difference,” Leanne said. “Don’t underestimate them.”


Simply adding a new rug can also easily transform a space.

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Add a rug.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Some people live in rentals with wall-to-wall carpet they don’t love. Leanne said you can just throw a rug right over it and completely change a room.

“Rugs can really ground a space,” Leanne said. “Instant gratification.”


While redesigning your space, keep minimalism in mind.

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Keep it simple.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Leanne said she would describe her design style as “easy minimalism” or “warm minimalism.” In other words, she believes less is more when it comes to decorating your house. While bringing in new elements can be overwhelming, she suggests you stick with a minimalistic mentality.


Leanne said you should stop following home trends.

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Leanne Ford.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Every year, designers claim to know the next big home design trend that will sweep the nation, but Leanne doesn’t subscribe to this ideology.

“I try to stay away from trend conversations because trends are so fluid,” she said. “They come and go so fast. You need to ignore trends.”


Likewise, remember to design for yourself — not for anyone else.

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Decorate the way you like.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Sometimes people design their homes based on what’s trendy. Others design based on what their mother, sister, or neighbor have recommended. Instead, Leanne said to forget what everyone else says and decorate your home the way you like.

“You have to understand that design is subjective,” Leanne said. “It’s an art form. Not everybody is going to like the same thing, and that’s OK.”

She went on to say, “At the end of the day, if you don’t love it, do not put it in your house. Nobody lives in your house but you.”


Steve recommends you start small when redesigning your home.

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Steve Ford.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Steve said that designing your whole home all at once can get costly. If you design one room at a time, you can spend as much as you want and then save up money to do another room.

“You don’t have to do a whole scope of work,” Steve said. “You can do one piece at a time.”


You should evolve your ideas as a project goes on.

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Make sure your designs are evolving.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

Leanne said her designs and plans are constantly changing as they go through a project.

“When you rip a wall out and you see something beautiful behind it, it evolves the design,” she told Insider. “Now, [you’re like,] ‘Let’s do this instead.'”

Leanne does admit, however, that her brother doesn’t love when she changes her design plans mid-project, but she thinks it’s worth it.

“When you’re rolling with the punches, that’s when the best stuff happens,” she said.


In the end, you must be ready to take some risks.

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Take risks.
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Courtesy of Leanne and Steve Ford

When redesigning your house, Steve said you have to be ready to think outside the box.

“It’s OK to take risks and chances,” Steve said. “Be fluid and open to change.”