15 Amazing Home Décor Tips From Joanna Gaines

Give your space the Fixer Upper treatment.

Whether you're a Texas resident, a fan of the Hearth & Hand line for Target, a regular reader of the Magnolia blog, or just one of the millions of HGTV fans out there, odds are, you know (and love) Joanna Gaines. Alongside her husband Chip, the design guru—and former star of Fixer Upper—has lent her polished style to countless worse-for-wear houses in the Waco area, transforming them into stunning spaces anyone would be eager to call home.

Luckily, even for those of us who can't book the Magnolia maven to personally spruce up our homes, it's still possible to take a page from her playbook. Start by brushing up on these expert décor tips—which come straight from Gaines herself.

Don't hide everything in a drawer or cabinet.

kitchen shelves, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/Tatyana Aksenova

Don't have a ton of storage space? No problem! "I've found that when things are out in the open and you have cute containers to contain the mess, it actually makes it clutter-free," Gaines says in one HGTV video.

Just don't limit yourself to a single type of open storage—opt for wire baskets, clear bottles, and glass containers. "The more storage options you have, the better," she added.

Transform any uninviting room with low-profile design elements.

laundry room, joanna gaines tips

"If there's a room in your house that you dread going into—whether it be a pantry, your office, or even your laundry room—have fun with it and make it more of a creative space so that you actually enjoy going in there," Gaines says in the same video.

She suggests adding subway tile to the walls, and then filling the space with glass jars, handmade signs, storage baskets, and some antique-inspired lights.

Make a small space seem bigger with larger furniture.

small well designed monochromatic modern bedroom with a wooden mirror against the wall, Joanna Gaines tips

While many people assume that you have to use petite furniture to furnish small spaces, using a single larger piece can actually open up the space in unexpected ways. "In tighter spaces, people think you have to go smaller, but I always like to go the opposite," says Gaines. For instance, instead of having a full-sized bed flanked by two small nightstands in a bedroom, a king size bed without the additional furniture can make the space feel larger.

Mix the old with the new.

farmhouse kitchen with persian rug, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/PR Image Factory

A few fabric accents can turn even a room with concrete floors or a steel staircase into a more welcoming space in no time. "If you're not in the market for a huge renovation, try some things like rugs, pillows, throws, even curtains—all those elements really help soften up space," Gaines says.

Create distinct areas in an open space.

open concept dining room and living room, joanna gaines tips

Love the sight lines of your open floor plan, but feel less enthused about having your ground floor function as a single room? Transform the space by delineating separate areas with distinct design elements. "The easiest way to do that is with light fixtures and area rugs," says Gaines. In doing so, "When you walk into [a] space, you have two defined areas."

Go bold with wallpaper.

open concept room with wallpapered wall, joanna gaines tips

While it may seem like wallpapering a small area would overwhelm the space, the opposite is often true. "Small spaces like bathrooms, mudrooms, and entryways are ideal for trying out a bold pattern because they're fairly low-risk in terms of the amount of real estate you're covering," writes Gaines on her Magnolia blog.

This is especially true when you're working on creating a distinct area within an existing room, like turning an area under a dormer into play space. "Hanging a print or pattern that you love in a small spot, like a desk or reading nook, can highlight that space in a way that helps it stand out within the larger context of the room," says Gaines.

Make any space feel larger with the addition of a light.

wall sconce, joanna gaines tips

If your space feels small and cramped, opt for some overhead or sconce lighting—or both! "One of the biggest things I find in small spaces is that there's not enough lighting, so I always encourage people, 'If you have some room in the budget, add extra lighting,'" says Gaines. "Light makes things feel bigger."

Turn bathroom storage into a design centerpiece.

bathroom storage, joanna gaines tips

Those bathroom necessities that you'd usually tuck away can actually be fun accent pieces.

"The fun thing about being creative with the way you contain things is that things that typically wouldn't be cute, like cotton balls and Q-Tips, you can make it cute by getting cute little glass jars and putting them in a basket," says Gaines. Hang the basket on the wall, and voila! Tons of storage and a focal point of the room without sacrificing surface space.

Use cubbies to accent a space.

wooden cube shelving, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/Natty Nana

While wire cube storage may be a staple in dorm rooms, the same type of storage furniture in wood can actually make for a beautiful accent to any room, no matter what your design scheme is.

"You can change the idea of these boxes—keep the concept the same, but change it whether you use reclaimed wood [or] slatted wood," suggests Gaines. "As time goes on, you can add to it, take away, [or] modify it" to suit your evolving needs.

Create stunning centerpieces with clippings from your yard.

glass jars with wildflowers and burlap accent, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Even if you don't have the time—or budget—to run to the flower shop for a centerpiece, you can still wow your guests with some simple flowers or plant clippings placed in plain glass jars or low vases.

"As the seasons change, you can still use that same idea of going out in the front yard" to find greenery for your table, says Gaines. "For instance, for Christmas, you can get Christmas tree clippings."

When decorating open shelving, think diagonal.

open shelves with green books and plants, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

"When I'm doing open shelving, a trick that I like to use is using a grid that goes in a diagonal form," says Gaines. So, if you have a green jar on the upper righthand side of your top shelf, put an item in a similar hue diagonally below it to create a cohesive design. "It's a simple trick that I use on all built-ins; it's a way to balance things out."

Let your textiles do the talking in your bedroom.

pastel bedroom with minimalist design, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/Chris Haver

Instead of overloading your walls with pictures and paintings, opt for rich textiles, like plush rugs, beautiful curtains, and soft, inviting bedding. "Let the textures be the thing that makes the room feel complete, more than all the stuff on the walls because you want to feel like when you step in your bedroom, it's a retreat," Gaines tells Country Living.

Add a chair rail to liven up a boring space.

chair rail, joanna gaines tips
Shutterstock/Brett Taylor Photography

Have an unused entryway that could use some freshening up? Adding a chair rail adds visual intrigue without sacrificing square footage. "It adds some texture to the space, but it also really makes it feel warm and inviting when you walk in," says Gaines. "The walls don't feel so flat…you feel like it draws the walls out, but you still have room for artwork."

Add pops of color with books.

green books stacked with glasses on top, joanna gaines tips

If you're invested in a minimalist aesthetic, but aren't ready to commit to an all-white home, don't break out the paint just yet.

"Choose a color you love and incorporate it throughout your space using books," writes Gaines on her Magnolia blog. Add books in similar hues to your bookshelf or simply neatly stack them on a table for an unexpected pop of color that won't overwhelm the room.

Incorporate antiques into your kids' rooms.

kid in playroom with antiques, joanna gaines tips

Who says that antiques and kids are a recipe for disaster? A few sturdy older pieces can make a playroom a significantly more elegant space in no time.

"One of the things I really love to incorporate into kids' spaces are funkier pieces," says Gaines, who repurposed an old toolbox as crayon storage for a client. "It's a really cute piece that has a story, but now you're just giving it a new purpose." And for more ideas on how to declutter that play space, start with these 15 Genius Design Tricks for Hiding Children's Toys.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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