Bad Home Advice Dished Out On Restored By The Fords

Based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Steve and Leanne Ford are a brother-sister duo who star on the popular HGTV show "Restored by the Fords." The show, which aired in 2016, follows the Fords as Leanne redesigns entire homes and her brother Steve, a licensed contractor, brings her visions to life. If you want to have your home on the show, you must live within 60 miles of Pittsburgh, which is how Steve himself wound up redesigning his house on his very own show.

According to HGTV, Steve worked with his team to turn his sterile bachelor warehouse into a home that he could both live and work in. While the redesign carries a few hallmarks of the Fords' favorite design elements (like white paint and plenty of concrete), Steve has been living in it and loving it ever since. However, due to the pair's unique sense of taste, there has been plenty of decorating advice dished out on "Restored by the Fords" that might not be everyone's cup of tea. Here are a few of the things you should take with a grain of salt.

1. Destroy your home's unique features

In one episode of "Restored by the Fords," the Ford siblings can be seen destroying a unique brick wall within a home instead of trying to incorporate it into their design. They got rid of it under the guise of opening up the space and making it more conducive for hosting events. However, according to The Washington Post, you need to consider a few more things before taking out a wall. If the Fords thought about this, it wasn't shown on camera.

First, be sure that the wall is not load-bearing in any way. Removing a load-bearing wall without a contingency plan can have catastrophic consequences. Next, be sure that nothing important is hiding in the wall, like plumbing or electrical items that might need to be rerouted. Even if you aren't considering taking out any walls during your remodel, pause to consider what makes your home unique. Then, try to work with your home's unique features, not against them.

2. Start demolition before checking for HVAC systems

One of the most trademark things about "Restored by the Fords" is the sibling's enthusiasm to get things started and rush into demolition day without completing their due diligence on the space. Whether or not these moments are genuine or produced for more interesting TV is up for debate. However, one thing is for certain: If you are remodeling, always check for HVAC systems (and plumbing and electrical, too) before you start knocking things down. Unless you want to end up like the Fords, who were already halfway through tearing down a wall before they discovered what was inside, it is causing them a lot more work.

According to Richmond's Air, there is a small caveat around protecting your current HVAC system. Depending on how old it is, replacing it during your remodel might end up saving you up to 20% on your monthly electric bill. However, if you don't have a new HVAC system in the budget, then it's best to follow the advice from Angi and close your vents to avoid dust building up during construction.

3. Start construction without any solid plan

Unlike the Fords, who often like to see how things turn out along the way, you should have a plan to follow before you get started. It doesn't matter if you are remodeling yourself or need to turn over your preferences to your contractor. Just have a plan. According to The Family Handyman, a good construction plan will reduce your overall budget and stress levels throughout the project. Start by having your end goal in mind: Are you trying to fix up your house to sell or enhancing it for personal use? Next, consider your budget and your own skillset. What kinds of things might call for professional backup?

Budget Dumpster adds that your budget and timeline should leave room for a few hiccups along the way. However, if you change your mind as completely as Leanne did during a kitchen renovation and decide to move the entire island, your contractor is likely to charge a pretty penny for the extra time and work that would be involved.

4. Paint your entire home white

We honestly think that Leanne Ford's favorite color is white. While watching the show, it's easy to notice she adores staging the homes she restores with her brother with stark white walls and crisp white linens. However, when the TV magic fades, the reality of an all-white house can sometimes be not as cozy. According to Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy, white walls can work well, but need a little bit of maintenance. If your home doesn't have a lot of natural light, white walls can easily begin to look dreary. It's the same if you don't decorate your rooms with fun accents: white looks sterile.

Maria Killiam adds that white rooms don't ever look as nice in real life as they do on Instagram and TV. This is because, as we could all probably guess, white is a very easy color to edit. So, when you see your favorite influencer post their white living room, and it looks bright and cheery, it's likely the lighting has been heavily edited. But don't lose all hope. You can help recreate this bright white in real life by using lamps to alleviate shadows throughout your home.

5. Use bold textures in your home without considering the rest of the space

In one episode of "Restored by the Fords," Leanne chooses large, painted ropes as the home's centerpiece. However, the modern art piece stands out awkwardly against the rest of the space instead of boldly complementing it. Viewers should be careful when mimicking this particular design choice, as it's important to use discretion when adding textured elements to your home. According to Xupes, choosing the right kind of sculpture for your home is a great way to show off your personality. Be sure to consider the sculpture's size before choosing it — would it overpower its surroundings? What color is it -– does it clash or complement everything nearby? And where would you like to place it?

According to Amara, even if you don't choose to include sculptures and other modern art pieces in your home, you still need to be careful about using texture when decorating. The old adage of "less is more" still rings true, as too many similar textures can easily crowd a space. To avoid this, consider using textures from different materials, like linen, wood, and metal within the same space. Just maybe skip using the giant rope.

6. You don't actually have to use paint primer

We already know that Leanne loves painting things white. In fact, she loves painting things white so much that she was seen in an episode painting directly onto a wooden wall without any sort of prep. She said it was because she was so excited to see how things would look, but viewers would be wise to take things a bit slower and paint things properly. According to PaintRite Pros, using primer can help avoid more work down the line. This is because it covers imperfections and any color on the surface. So, if you paint without primer, you might have to use way more coats of paint than you want to get the perfect amount of coverage.

Sharper Impression Painting adds that porous surfaces (like the wooden wall Leanne was painting) always need to be primed before painting. If it's not primed, you might likely end up with a lumpy final product. Primer also works well to stave away bad smells, like a wet pet odor or smoking residue from a previous owner.

7. Just think about style when selecting furniture, not comfort

Leanne Ford has staged a few homes on "Restored by the Fords” with what appears to be wicker chairs. This type of furniture would typically be more suitable for outdoor patio use than the living room. This is because their comfort level is likely to be less than padded linen furniture. When decorating a room, take a moment to pause and think about whether you (or your guests) would be comfortable in the furniture you select.

According to House Beautiful, when you select furniture for a room, it's important to think about its material. Non-synthetic materials might discolor in direct sun or if they are exposed to any elements, so if you have a lot of natural light in your room, consider going synthetic. In addition, the cushion filling is important to put some thought into. Will it sag over time and need to be replaced, or can it simply be refluffed back into shape after heavy use?

8. Install your microwave at the lowest point in your kitchen

Leanne's kitchen design choices might confuse some viewers, as they don't always seem to be the most functional. Case in point: She installs a microwave at the lowest point in her client's kitchen. Microwave placement is a lot more important than you might think. Rather than placing the microwave down low (where you will constantly be bending to place and retrieve food), consider a more functional kitchen by placing it at least around waist height.

According to Multi Trade Building Services, one of the most efficient things you can do for your kitchen is organize everything around the work triangle. The "triangle" is the sink, the fridge, and the stove. This way, sourcing your food, cooking it, and cleaning up after yourself all work together in a natural workflow. You won't have to backtrack or double over on yourself while working in your kitchen. And while the microwave is often considered secondary to the oven, placing it out of the way and at an awkward height will easily make you miserable in the long run.

9. It's okay for your contactor to make design changes without telling you

If your contractors make any major design changes, you need to know about them before they are implemented. However, this isn't always the case on "Restored by the Fords." Leanne once convinced Steve to make changes to a kitchen mid-episode, and while the architect was brought in and approved of rearranging things completely, the homeowners still had no idea. While there is a certain level of surprise expected when you hand off your house to appear on renovation reality TV, this should never happen in real life.

According to Alan Mascord Design Associates, making any significant structural changes once construction is underway can really push out your timeline, as you might need to apply for new permits. The cost of your home will also significantly increase, as you'll be on the hook for all the labor and materials already used, plus everything for the new designs, too. Sometimes, however, you might be able to sneak in changes without too much fuss if work hasn't already started. You could choose different roofing materials or even different paint colors for the interior walls. Things like window sizes and door locations are trickier to change once things are underway, as they rely on the home's framework, which is expensive to alter.

10. Use contemporary painting techniques, even if they look like spills

Sometimes, artful design choices end up looking like mistakes. A great example of this in "Restored by the Fords" is when Leanne and Steve decided to paint the stairs black on the home they were renovating, only to add splashes of white paint. This makes the final product look like there was a paint spill and wasn't intentional. If you want to go bold when redoing your home, there are better ways to do it.

According to Michael Helwig Interiors, some of the best ways to go bold in interior design are to make sure to use the 60/30/10 color ratio in each room. That is, the main color is 60% of the room (typically a more neutral shade,) then your accent color is 30%, and the boldest elements are 10%. You can also consider using larger crown molding to liven up a space or use floor-to-ceiling wallpaper in tiny areas (like a closet or powder room) to make them feel brighter and more cheerful.

11. Concrete is the perfect indoor construction material

The Fords love using concrete when decorating, but using it too much indoors can make a place feel sterile. While it can occasionally look great as a flooring option in a gaming room, using concrete for a table or countertop goes a bit over the line. Instead, according to Bustle, it's easier to make your home feel more inviting by using a colorful area rug to anchor furniture, spice up your couch with cozy throw pillows, and use scent to make everyone feel more at home.

Apartment Therapy adds that ensuring your furniture layout leaves plenty of space to navigate around will ensure that all guests feel comfortable in your space. You should also consider playing with fun wallpaper designs to liven up a room or bold colors to accent softer tones throughout the area. If you must have concrete, consider painting it to add more dimension. Or, if you would like, you can use things like rugs and floor runners to absorb sound and soften the room's overall feel.

12. You should have at least one room painted a dark color

In contrast to the rest of the home, which Leanne typically likes to paint bright white, the Ford siblings also love to include at least one dark room when doing a redesign. However, this doesn't mean you should, too. In fact, you should be careful using dark colors when painting living spaces. According to Martha Stewart, there is a right and wrong way to incorporate darker colors into your home. If you aren't sure, take a small step forward by testing the color in a more compact space, like a utility or powder room. Country Living adds that when painting these smaller spaces, the real test of the design is how you choose to accent the deeper color.

If the room doesn't get much natural light, then going for a deeper, darker color might be a great choice to add depth and dimension. However, if you aren't sure about creating a space like this, you can consider painting just the trim, so you still get the effect to some degree.

13. Using upholstered chairs is chic and modern

Upholstered chairs just might be on their way out of style, so think twice before including them in your eating areas. Well, maybe not all upholstered chairs. According to Whom Home, this seating style can add a layer of comfort during longer meals. They also add a pop of personality in your dining room, depending on what design you choose. However, because they are fabric, they do stain easily. So, if you can't go through a meal without spilling something on yourself, be extra careful about your choice. Even if you aren't prone to spilling, you'll still need to clean them semi-regularly as odors and bacteria tend to linger.

Circle Furniture reports that other options for seating, like wooden or metal chairs, are often just as stylish but can become somewhat uncomfortable. Essentially, using upholstered chairs in your dining spaces isn't necessarily bad home advice, but using stark white ones that look a bit like ghosts definitely is.

14. When decorating with plants, use large, unruly ones

Any plants in your home should add to the space, not overpower it. We are all plant lovers, but you need to think of stylish ways to display your collection. According to Apartment Therapy, using a backless bookcase is a great way to get more bang for your buck. That is, display even more plants. You use it as a sort of room divider or simply as a way to show off your succulents. Plants can also be hung from the ceiling, wrapped around clothing racks, or even join you in the shower, depending on their type. However, as Modsy reminds us, plants should complement your space, and even if they are the main focus, you don't want to feel crowded.

The plants we see on "Restored by the Fords" seem to overpower not only the furniture they're placed on, but also the rest of the surrounding space. They burst from it like a waterfall of green, making it hard to focus on anything else.