Ty Pennington is a big believer in the do-it-yourself movement.

The outspoken host of the hit ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — who adds official spokesman for the Ottawa Home & Garden Show to his resumé this weekend — thinks the recession will only serve to make DIY more popular.

“Houses in general, and the way people look at them, will change,” Pennington told Metro. “With things being tighter than they used to be, people are focusing more on what’s really important.”

While people were looking at houses as investments before, “it’s about making it your nest” now, he said.

“People are personalizing their homes, making it fit their own family’s needs. They’re turning the dining room into an office or a kid’s play area.”

People are also putting more focus on their kitchens, said Pennington.

“When things get tight, people eat in more,” he said. “I think people will spend more time at home fixing dinners and having family over.”

Pennington, who got his big break as the carpenter on the home improvement series Trading Spaces, was catapulted into the mainstream as host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He also has an endorsement deal with Sears and a three-year partnership with Marketplace Events, the largest organizer of consumer remodelling, home decor and gardening shows in North America.

Shows are a great way for people to get inspired about their surroundings, Pennington said.

“They give you incredible ideas,” he said. “It lets you see what homes are going to be like in the future — you’ll see state-of-the-art materials and green materials.”

While he’s sure people will be inspired by different things at the show, Pennington — who authored home improvement guide Ty’s Tricks: Home Repair Secrets Plus Cheap and Easy Projects to Transform Any Room — said there are things everyone can do, and things that should be left to the pros.

“If it doesn’t have to do with electrical and plumbing, then absolutely, people can do it themselves,” said Pennington.

Things that everyone can do include “adding colour to the walls, whether through paint, wallpaper, photos, fabric and plants.

“Things like that are very affordable, too,” he said. “And things like photos create a little bit of life, and we all need that in our homes.”

As for Pennington, he’s grateful to be able to have such an effect on people’s lives.

“As a designer, you walk away feeling that you’ve done something that will affect someone for the rest of their life,” he said. “There’s no greater job.”