Published on March 31, 2020

Like many of us, you may be using the extra time indoors to tackle a home project. If this involves anything heavy-lift, consulting a pro’s advice is always a good idea—and that expert could be Leanne Ford. The designer recently set up a Cameo account, and she’s using it as a sort of design hotline. Fire away. 

Here’s how it works: You submit a question about an area of your house you’d like to revamp. Then Ford responds with the upgrades she’d make to the space, occasionally weighing in with a few specific product recs. (Unsurprisingly, her own Crate & Barrel line is her go-to resource.) While we can’t see the prompts, her video answers are currently available to the public—and they include a few evergreen design tips we’re keeping in our back pocket.

On Curtains in a Kitchen

“Lose them!” says Ford. “It’s a kitchen. It doesn’t need to be private.” Ditch the bulky rods and patterned panels to maximize whatever natural light you do have—if you were keeping them around for their color, try bringing that in via paint instead. A window trim refresh goes a long way. 

On Finding an Unexpected Focal Point

If you’re trying to figure out what to do with that unsightly pantry or bathroom door, replace it. Ford recommends hunting around an antiques shop for a vintage one (or if you’re stuck indoors, try scouring online marketplaces like Etsy). Look for something with cool detailing, like stained glass or reclaimed wood, and it will quickly become the centerpiece of the room or hallway. 

On Hiding Unsightly Architectural Features

In response to a client who was stuck on a ductwork-ridden concrete ceiling, Ford had a simple suggestion: Play it up rather than attempting to cover it. “Paint the ducts white or black and let them be industrial,” she says. “Then hang lights below them.” She would pick old Parisian warehouse fixtures to really lean into the nitty-gritty vibe. Embrace those imperfections.

See more design tips from our favorite experts:
Shea McGee Names Her Favorite Shade of White Paint
I’ve Interviewed More Than 100 Designers—These Are the Best Tips They Gave Me
What I Wish I Knew Before Living in a Small Space

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