How To Decorate Your Home Like Joanna Gaines

Fans of HGTV's "Fixer Upper" will know all about Joanna Gaines, the reigning queen of modern farmhouse style. Best known for her starring role on "Fixer Upper," Gaines is also an interior designer, author, and co-founder of the Magnolia lifestyle brand. Along with her husband Chip, she has been renovating homes in Waco, Texas, for the past 12 years. With just a little TLC, maintenance work, cute decor, and some new coats of paint, the couple can make an old and run-down house look fresh as a daisy.

Gaines' passion for modern farmhouse decor started plenty of design trends over the years. A combination of sleek, contemporary lines and cozy, old-fashioned rural decor, the modern farmhouse aesthetic takes cues from country living but gives it a fresh twist, according to Homes & Gardens. Some of Gaines' favorite home design elements include rustic shiplap walls, sliding barn doors, fresh flowers, and statement antiques. Here are some ways to decorate your living space and give your own home a Gaines-approved makeover. 

Be open to open shelving

Open shelving is a great way to showcase your unique personality (and favorite dish collection) in the kitchen. Unlike traditional wall cabinets, these open shelves put everything on display, making it easy to access items and save some space. Gaines is definitely a fan of the look, incorporating many open shelving concepts into her "Fixer Upper" designs, per YouTube. In her Magnolia blog, the designer says that open shelving adds dimension to any room and can help create better organization. 

However, before installing open shelving in your kitchen, there are some downsides to consider. Be careful not to overload shelves since they can quickly appear cluttered and disorganized. Unlike regular cabinets, you can't just close a door on your messy Tupperware collection. To avoid dust, it's best to put the dishes or items you frequently use on lower shelves, per Merry Maids. Since you are moving them in and out daily, you will not have to worry about dust building up. You can store decorative items like plants, cookbooks, and glass jars on the upper shelves. 

It's all about the shiplap walls

While Chip and Jo are definitely a cute couple, the real romance in "Fixer Upper" is between Joanna and shiplap. Gaines' love for this pine paneling is no secret, and she incorporates the rustic material into many of her renovation projects. Shiplap, which quickly rose to fame after being featured in many episodes of "Fixer Upper," is a wooden board originally used in the construction of barns, sheds, and other historic buildings, according to HGTV. The material can sometimes be found under existing wall surfaces since it was historically used as insulation. 

Thanks to Gaines, shiplap is now a popular pick for home interior finishes. From kitchens and living rooms to bedrooms and even bathrooms, it's possible to cover any room in shiplap, per YouTube. If you want to bring shiplap into your own home, you can easily install the wooden planks yourself with just a few tools (via Lowe's). Cover the shiplap in a coat of white paint for a classic look, or if you want to spice things up, Southern Living suggests using a light green shade. The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating your home with shiplap.

Incorporate flowers (fresh and faux)

Watch "Fixer Upper" carefully, and you'll quickly notice there's something Gaines adds to all of her designs — flowers and greenery. From a fresh bouquet on the kitchen table to potted houseplants on living room shelves, Gaines knows how to breathe life into any room with flower arrangements, per YouTube. Not only do flowers smell amazing, but they can also brighten your mood, clean the air, and make it easier to relax, as noted by Romper

However, not all of the designer's beautiful flowers are actually real. According to Southern Living, Gaines supports using faux flowers since keeping fresh blooms everywhere can be challenging and expensive. You can find plenty of beautiful faux floral arrangements on the Magnolia website, perfect for those of us who don't have the time to go out and buy fresh flowers every week. Just add some water to the vase to make them look like the real deal. 

Install some rustic barn doors

Since "Fixer Upper" arrived on the scene in 2013, sliding barn doors have caught on in the world of home design. Whether you own a barn or not, this rustic element is a relatively simple and affordable way to add architectural interest to your home. Gaines often uses interior barn doors in her home designs to separate rooms and add character, as seen on YouTube. Unlike traditional doors, barn doors are hung on a sliding rack and hang against the wall. They take up minimal space and can be easily installed (via Home Depot).

One thing to keep in mind before going barn door crazy is that these doors are typically not soundproof and offer less privacy than traditional alternatives. According to Apartment Therapy, noise travels easily between rooms which can be uncomfortable if you use them for places like your bathroom. It's a good idea to add a sliding latch to keep doors secure.

Transform living spaces with cool farmhouse lighting

One way to effortlessly achieve Gaines' "Fixer Upper" style is to pay attention to your lighting fixtures. Light can dramatically impact any room by brightening its atmosphere and tying decor together seamlessly. As seen in her family's living room, Gaines loves decorating with farmhouse-style lighting fixtures, per YouTube. This room features a cool farmhouse chandelier made with bold curves and black metal. According to American Farmhouse Style, modern farmhouse lighting is all about statement chandeliers, hanging pendant lights, and wall sconces.

According to Southern Living, one of Gaines's best tips is hanging lights in front of mirrors and other reflective surfaces. This trick can help you increase light in dim rooms like kitchens or dining areas that may lack natural light. For example, installing a hanging pendant in front of a mirror will instantly give you two lights for the price of one. How cool is that?

Head to your local flea market

From up-cycled wooden ladders to artfully dated glass windows, Gaines is an expert at flea market style. Per HGTV, Gaines decorates with many thrift store finds and antiqued items in her "Fixer Upper" homes, to stunning effect. Next time you go treasure hunting at your local flea market, keep an eye out for wooden crates, toolboxes, watering cans, glass jars, and old books. These pieces can generally be found at flea markets worldwide and are sure to add some "Fixer Upper" style to your home.

For Gaines-approved antiques, be on the lookout for vintage chairs with beautiful lines and good bones, as seen on YouTube. Even if fabric is ripped, stained, or outdated, you can re-upholster the furniture and give it a modern pick-me-up. According to Architectural Digest, re-covering furniture is simple, and the only thing you need is a staple gun. It just takes a few antique items to give your home a healthy dose of charm and character.

Go crazy with subway tiles

According to HGTV, white subway tiles are Chip and Joanna's material of choice for kitchen backsplashes. This tile can be glimpsed in many of their "Fixer Upper" remodels, per YouTube, and for a good reason. These rectangular, glazed ceramic tiles are timeless and versatile, making them perfect for most homes. Not only is the material sanitary since it can be easily cleaned, but the polished, glossy finish will brighten up your kitchen and make it a more welcoming place to hang out and cook.

As you might have guessed, subway tiles were originally used in the New York City subway system (via Apartment Therapy). The first station, which opened in 1904, featured the classic 3" by 6" tiles. Today, these tiles are a popular interior design trend and come in an endless array of colors and patterns. According to This Old House, prices per square foot start around $2 and can cost up to $50. To ensure you stay within budget, measure your space before starting the project.

Don't shy away from wallpaper

From bold and colorful patterns to simple and subtle prints, there's a type of wallpaper out there for everyone — and every home. Gaines often uses wallpaper to personalize a living space and make a statement, per People. A recent renovation project for "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" features fun newspaper wallpaper in a mudroom (via HGTV). Gaines also designed a wallpaper collection for Magnolia Home, including many prints and patterns (there's even a shiplap-inspired design).

If you're thinking about decorating with wallpaper, you first need to consider your room layout and how much wall space is being covered. According to Architectural Digest, adding wallpaper to rooms with many windows or statement art pieces can be distracting and not worth the hassle. Also, if you need to cover large walls with wallpaper, this can cause the cost of your project to soar. If adding wallpaper to steamy rooms like a bathroom or kitchen, it's a good idea to go for water-resistant paper. 

Choose a neutral color palette

If you think neutral colors are boring, think again. Choosing a neutral color for your walls is the perfect way to let interior decorations and accessories shine, according to HGTV. Gaines favors white, gray, and blue shades in her "Fixer Upper" designs since these create a welcoming environment and allow her style to pop (via YouTube). Lighter neutrals can make your space look larger, while darker shades provide a relaxed and cozy feel.

To create a neutral color scheme for your home, aim to combine light and dark neutrals. According to The Spruce, darker neutrals such as charcoal, black, navy, and deep brown are best paired with lighter neutrals with the same tones. For example, a warm, dark gold will look great with warm, soft neutrals. Another tip is to choose your favorite color and then create a monochromatic palette using darker and lighter shades.

Cozy up to rugs

Nothing pulls a room together like a rug. Gaines is a big fan of adding texture, comfort, and warmth to her designs with the help of a good carpet or two, per Magnolia. Part of what makes the Gaines family living room so cozy is the large rug that unites separate elements of the room, like the couch and coffee table (via YouTube). But knowing the value of a carpet doesn't make choosing one any easier. 

Selecting the right rug for your home can be a challenge, just because there are so many to choose from. First, consider your style, room type, and available floor space to narrow your options down. For example, if your living room already contains some bold and colorful furnishings, perhaps it's better to choose a neutral rug for balance. Larger area rugs are best suited to living rooms, while small round and rectangular rugs belong in the kitchen and bathroom. 

Fill walls with vintage-inspired art

Just like a blank canvas, the walls of your home come alive with the addition of art, signs, and decorative frames. Chip and Jo are really good about letting the walls of a home do the talking with artwork. Their family farmhouse, which you can see on YouTube, features plenty of personalized wall art that tells the home's unique story. For example, the street signs hanging in the living room are from Chip and Jo's honeymoon, while the clock art on the wall reminds Joanna to value the time she has at home with her family. Likewise, the wall art included in the couple's "Fixer Upper" designs is all about personal expression and creating visual interest, per HGTV

When selecting wall art for your home, trust your taste and think about what pieces speak to you. From framed family photos to artwork depicting your favorite city, there are plenty of ways to get inspiration. On a practical level, consider how specific pieces will tie in with the rest of a room's decor and how much wall space is available. As long as you like it, that's all that really matters.

Opt for cool metal chairs

Metal dining chairs are a common design element found throughout "Fixer Upper" and Magnolia designs. Whether arranged around a dining room table, alongside a kitchen island, or beside a breakfast nook, these versatile chairs complement a wide variety of interior design styles, according to SohoConcept. Metal chairs are a great way to layer different styles together in one space. For example, if you have a farmhouse-style dining room table, you can add metal chairs to give it a more sleek and modern look.

Additionally, there are some practical benefits to choosing metal furnishings for your home instead of wood. Not only are they more resistant to moisture and high temperatures, but metal also typically withstands scratches and other signs of wear and tear better than wood. You can also get more bang for your buck, as metal dining chairs often cost less than solid wood pieces.

Pick out classic farmhouse sinks

Farmhouse sinks are more popular than ever, thanks to their starring role on "Fixer Upper." Joanna is not shy about how much she loves her own farmhouse sink, calling it one of her favorite elements in her kitchen, per Architectural Digest. Farmhouse sinks are usually deeper and roomier than traditional sinks, providing plenty of room for meal prep and washing up dishes. Since they arrived in the United States back in the 1990s, they have been known for their unique apron-front design and rustic charm. They are now available in a variety of modern styles and silhouettes. One of the most popular models is the fireclay farmhouse sink, which is the sink Gaines uses.

While farmhouse sinks look great in most kitchens, keep in mind that they come with a higher price tag than regular sinks. Per Realtor, these sinks can be double or triple the price of standard stainless steel. Farmhouse sinks also require more room and counter space, so plan your kitchen accordingly.