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10 Things That Joanna Gaines Taught Us About Design

Fixer Upper, the charming HGTV house-flipping show, is coming to an end after five seasons. We’ve loved following Chip and Joanna Gaines as they transform old houses around Waco, Texas. One of the best parts of the show is, of course, the reveal, when we see Joanna’s distinctive design touches applied to a new space. Here are 10 things Joanna Gaines taught us about design over Fixer Upper’s five-season run.

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1. Go With Your Gut

Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts. Chip and Joanna Gaines follow their intuition with every project, even if it doesn’t end up going the way they first expected. Joanna Gaines is known for her “farmhouse chic” look, but that doesn’t mean she puts the same finishing touches on every project. She lets the original character of the house shine through, whether it’s an original door or incredible fireplace, and uses that to guide her aesthetic.

2. Remember What’s Important

Chip and Joanna Gaines put their family first. They don’t take on projects that take them too far away from home. By designing your home as a center to return to, you emphasize what’s important to you. Think about what you, your partner, and your kids love. What are your favorite colors, smells, and images? Keep those as the focus of your design scheme as you plan your home renovation.

3. Use Wall Art to Transform a Boring Room

Got plain walls but not sure what to do with them? Canvas prints are a great way to instantly add a pop of color to any space. They can be a starting point for the rest of your design scheme. Joanna Gaines is known for using prints as a focal point to ground the eye in any room. Canvas prints can also be relatively inexpensive. It’s a simple but powerful design secret for brightening up your home. In addition to canvas prints, DIY artwork is also something you can do if you’re looking for something more personalized.

4. Open Up the Space

“Open concept” is an oft-repeated phrase on HGTV shows like Fixer Upper for a reason. Many homes have walls that block your view of the kitchen or the living room. An open concept plan improves both flow and your sightlines. You can open up the space by literally taking down the walls, or by adding features that brighten up the room. For example, you can put in brighter lighting and neutral backdrops.

5. Pack a Punch with Lighting

Combine subtle layers of light with bolder lamps and light fixtures. This brings in some focal points for the eye to follow when you enter a room. Joanna Gaines loves bringing in big lamps or overhead lights to transform a room.

6. Add Just a Touch of Color

Who said neutrals are boring? Even if gray, white, and beige are your dominant colors, you can still plug in unexpected pops of color. Joanna Gaines loves using gray and white, but she doesn’t shy away from putting in some color too. For example, a gray bathroom can be uplifted with bright blue towels.

7. Outline Doors and Windows

Joanna and Chip Gaines renovate many homes that have stunning outdoor views. They often highlight this by outlining windows and doors with wood trim. Outlining your doors and windows with natural wood trim draws the eye to the landscape outside. Good design isn’t just about what’s inside, it’s also about making a seamless transition to the outside world.

8. Make Your Cabinets Taller

Resist the urge to place plants or other objects on top of your cabinets. Instead, take your cabinets up to the ceiling. This makes your kitchen appear bigger than it is, a must if you have a tiny space. It’s the same principle as wearing solid colors or one-piece outfits to look taller if you’re petite.

9. Make the Old New Again

Joanna Gaines often repurposes old and vintage objects for new spaces. This gives a lived-in feel to any house. You can do the same in your own space. Hunt flea markets and antique sales for inspiration and get creative. You can even look for pieces that will do double duty as storage units.

10. Rearrange Your Furniture

This is a ridiculously simple design trick that anyone can use. Rearrange your furniture to make your space look fresh. For example, if you want to transform a bedroom, you can put the bed against a different wall and reorient your bookshelves. Or, if you want to rearrange your kitchen, you can try moving the kitchen table.

Joanna Gaines has shown us that designing a beautiful home doesn’t need to be complicated. You can take these tricks and transform your home into a space you’ll love coming back to every day.


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Written by Nat Sauteed

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