9 Times Hilary Farr Gave Tough Love To Homeowners

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Hilary Farr is HGTV's straight-talking interior designer, famed for hosting the popular renovation shows "Love It or List It" and "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," in which she puts her candid personality to good use by telling home design truths to homeowners. Farr's no-nonsense approach might ruffle some feathers along the way, but ultimately her years of experience updating homes means she knows what she's talking about. In a roundup of her top "tough love" moments, Farr explains, "There is a point where the truth hurts but you have to hear it" (via YouTube).

Though Farr has encountered some pushback from homeowners in the past, she remains unafraid to tell it like it is. Without exception, the outspoken designer plows ahead with her design choices throughout the two seasons of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," and the homeowners agree with her when they see the results. There are a few things we can learn from Farr's honesty and stubbornness that could solve issues in our own homes, from the need to let go of sentimentality and reduce clutter, to prioritizing functionality above selfish desires. Here we look at the times Hilary Farr gave tough love to homeowners.

Farr contests the kitchen color choices of bright and bold homeowners

In Season 2, Episode 9 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV UK), the celebrity designer renovates a property for homeowners who are obsessed with bright colors. They describe themselves as "uninhibited," and they want the style of their home to reflect that. Their current kitchen is a bold shade of tangerine, which Hilary Farr takes offense to. She explains, "I have to say, I am a fan of lots of color. I'm a fan of orange. I'm not a fan of too much color or too much orange. This falls into the latter." She goes on to brutally tell the homeowners, "I'm here to create harmony and function within your home because you clearly do not have that."

When designing the new kitchen, Farr consults with the homeowners to settle upon a color for the kitchen cabinets, but they subsequently go behind her back and order turquoise units from the cabinet maker. Paired with lime green walls, the result is certainly eye-catching. Farr insists on keeping the countertops neutral with a slick white quartz, rather than having bright colors on every surface as the homeowners wish. Ultimately, the homeowners agree that the white countertop was a good call on Farr's part, since it works as a backdrop for colorful accessories.

Farr notes that a cluttered kitchen makes for dysfunctional family life

In Season 2, Episode 7 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV UK), the designer deals with some homeowners who have struggled to remain organized. Every surface in their kitchen is covered with clutter, and when Hilary Farr opens the cabinets, she finds they are bursting with items. Referencing the sheer amount of stuff in the kitchen, Farr comments, "We've got a relatively decent space actually, it's just not well designed, and perhaps there's just a little too much this and that. I don't think even the best chef on the planet could really manage to construct and serve a meal in this kitchen. There's an awful lot of stuff here, it's dysfunctional on every level, I can't wait to rip it apart."

Once Farr is finished with the cluttered kitchen, it is completely unrecognizable. She redesigns the space to accommodate a central island with extra storage and preparation space, along with a wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinets. Farr keeps the finishes white for a clean and sleek look, safe in the knowledge that white kitchens will always be in style. The masses of storage designed into the kitchen layout will allow the homeowners to keep on top of the clutter and prevent it from spilling over onto the countertops.

Farr faces a banquette battle and wins

Hilary Farr faces a challenge from a homeowner in Season 2, Episode 5 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV UK) who has her heart set on having a banquette in the kitchen. She explains that her children will need somewhere to sit, because the planned bar stools would be too high for them. Farr refuses to work a banquette into the design, stating that the homeowner's query is a temporary problem. She frankly says, "Where and why would you want a banquette and a table there? So, basically, can I just say, we're not doing a banquette and a table there. It's not happening." After some back and forth, Farr's stubbornness wins out, and the idea of a banquette gets scrapped.

When the new kitchen is revealed to the homeowners at the end of the makeover, they are thrilled with how it turned out. Farr installed a huge kitchen island with plenty of seating to accommodate the whole family. She also added a low children's table and chairs at the far end of the room where the kids could play, providing a solution to the temporary problem of height until they grow big enough to sit at the kitchen island. Farr's experience reminds us that we shouldn't plan major renovations, like a kitchen makeover, around an issue that won't exist in a few years. The homeowner concedes, stating, "Hilary was right about the banquette. I admit defeat."

A kitchen trash can causes Tough Love drama

Hilary Farr kicks off the second season of her property makeover show with a battle over a kitchen trash can. In Season 2, Episode 1 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (via HGTV UK), the interior designer shows the kitchen plan to homeowners who disagree with the idea of having a trash can inside a kitchen cabinet. Farr tries to convince them that it's preferable to the trash can being out in the open, saying, "Can I explain to you what you're going to have if you don't have a trash can here? You're going to have to, if it's dripping, it's messy, it's whatever from the sink, it will drip on the floor, it will make things messy. It is absolutely not practical. Nobody likes trash cans out in a kitchen. It's ugly, it's smelly, and it just doesn't work."

As we've come to expect from Farr, she ultimately gets her own way. She compromises with the homeowner on the size of the cooktop to get her to agree to have the trash can installed inside the cabinet. Once the renovation is complete, it's hard to argue with Farr's solution, though the homeowner appears reluctant to admit it. The trash cans slide out of the cabinet when it is pulled open, making for a convenient place to store garbage while keeping it out of sight.

Trust issues threaten Farr's floorplan

In Season 1, Episode 2 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV), Hilary Farr designs a new layout in the home to meet the needs of the family. This includes a master suite on the same level as the children's bedrooms, per the homeowner's request. However, once construction begins, the homeowners get cold feet and suggest that Farr's new layout might not be the best use of space. Farr's reaction is straight to the point. She says, "Wow. I've come up with a great plan and they're second-guessing me. I'm not going to give an inch. I know I'm right and they're wrong, and they're just going to have to deal with that."

Farr consults with the homeowners to persuade them to continue with her plan based on decades of experience and expertise. This back and forth demonstrates how difficult it can be to have faith that a complete home transformation is the right decision, especially if you've lived with your current layout for a long time. Having trust in a designer with experience or researching the correct order to structure your home renovation project can help you avoid making costly mistakes.

Oversized furniture and accumulated clutter have to be tackled

Hilary Farr meets homeowners in Season 1, Episode 4 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV) who have collected an array of mismatched furniture during their move from Germany back to the U.S. Unsurprisingly, Farr gets straight to the point and hits the nail right on the head, asking the homeowners, "Do you have a problem letting go of things?" Farr continues, "Ok, I mean, honestly, the house isn't the problem. The house is filled with all sorts of incongruous, oversized pieces of furniture, that's the problem. Clearly it's time for a change for this house, but definitely also for this family."

The celebrity designer gives the home a complete overhaul by relocating external doors, inserting new windows, knocking down internal walls, and upgrading kitchens and bathrooms. She also steals some of the space from the large master bedroom to create a dressing room, designating this as the spot where the couple can keep their clothes to free the bedroom from clutter and mess. Farr also gets rid of all of the oversized and mismatched furniture, replacing it with more appropriate pieces for a sleek and functional result. She even threw out the enormous sofa the homeowners insisted had to stay, proving that sometimes we have to let go of things to make way for a more practical and enjoyable future.

Farr encourages a clothing purge for homeowners

One homeowner in Season 1, Episode 1 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV) accumulated so much clothing that it is taking up all of the closet and storage space in the bedroom. The situation is so extreme that the husband is having to store all of his clothes in the basement. Hilary Farr pointedly asks, "When was the last time you went through them and said, you know, I haven't worn that for two years?" The homeowner believes clothing always comes back in style and therefore holds onto things for longer than she probably should. Farr responds bluntly, saying, "No, no, no, no, you've got to stop that."

Farr creates his and her closets in the bedroom to accommodate the clothes for both homeowners, however, a clean-out is still necessary. It's time for the homeowner to finally deal with overwhelming clutter and make a fresh start in her newly renovated house. Most of us hold onto items we don't need, and this can make for an untidy home where it's difficult to relax and feel at peace. There are lots of ways to prevent clutter from accumulating in your home so that your daily life is easier and less stressful. For example, you could start by choosing digital subscriptions instead of physical subscriptions, or invest in organization systems like this laundry hamper pull-out from Target.

Farr can't contain her distaste for a dated kitchen

In Season 1, Episode 6 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV), straight-talking Hilary Farr comes face to face with a dated and dysfunctional kitchen she just has to give her opinion on. "Can we just say it is a terrible kitchen?" asks Farr, "There is nothing that you should like about the kitchen." The designer transforms the old and cramped room by knocking down a wall and creating a huge, stylish kitchen with white cabinets and a stunning island. She chooses a navy blue, eye-catching backsplash design that HGTV stars can't get enough of to add personality and a soothing atmosphere.

Even when the renovation is complete and she reveals the new kitchen to the homeowners, Farr can't help but recall the distaste she felt for the previous space. She says, "The kitchen didn't work on any level. It was ugly. It was old. It wasn't functioning. It was nasty. The floor was horrible." The homeowner calls Farr out on her frankness, quipping, "Don't hold back Hilary, don't hold back." In true Farr fashion, she responds, "No, no, no, no, let's just be honest." Fortunately, the homeowners agree with Farr and are absolutely in love with their newly-styled home.

Farr addresses a hoarding homeowner with unfiltered frankness

In Season 2, Episode 7 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" (per HGTV UK), a hoarding homeowner is on the receiving end of Hilary Farr's outspoken nature. Upon entering a cluttered home office, a gobsmacked Farr exclaims, "Good God! How did this happen? This just doesn't work." Moving on to a messy bedroom, she continues, "No, this is not ok." Homeowners and fans alike have become accustomed to Farr's candid comments, and it's one of the reasons the show is so popular. Farr herself is perfectly aware of the less-than-subtle way she communicates her opinions. She noted, "Mary Poppins talks about a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down and clearly I'm a bit short on the sugar" (via Discovery Plus).

The hoarding homeowners go through the process of sorting through their belongings, while Farr incorporates clever storage, like built-ins and fold-out tables, into the home so that there are more places to keep clutter organized and hidden. If you're struggling with storage space in your own home, there are plenty of storage hacks even HGTV stars swear by, such as under-stair storage and using cabinet organizers like this plate rack from Wayfair. You could consider budget-friendly pieces of furniture that can also maximize your storage space to improve your living situation without breaking the bank.