Have you ever found yourself watching Fixer Upper on HGTV and wondered “if only the Gaines’ could come and remodel MY house!” Well, it sounds like you make up the other 99.9% of viewers on TV! But since the Gaines can not physically make- over every home in America, there are ways to bring the “Fixer Upper” look to your house without having to knock down walls, install French doors, and reframe your house in shiplap. Incorporating simple design elements as seen on the show can give your home the style you’re hoping for, but in a practical and budget-friendly way.
- Mason Jars/ Glass Bottles with Flowers or Greenery. Joanna loves to sprinkle color in small, sophisticated pieces through flower arrangements. And most often, the flowers are fake! She may use some fresh flowers once in a while, but this look is totally achievable and long-lasting. The green adds a warmth and earthiness to the room.
2. Distressed Furniture. You never find a lot of traditional- style wood in Joanna’s designs. Her furniture is often simple, but elegant. But instead of pitching what you already have, consider trying to “fix” it or “Fixer Upper” it. You can sand furniture, paint it or stain it in order to give it the rustic look you desire. A good rule of thumb is to go light (such as white, cream, or beige) or dark (espresso, slate). It just requires a little elbow grease! And don’t forget to consider different hardware to improve the appearance. Simply giving a fresh coat of white paint can brighten it up and bring a cherry wood finish into the 21st Century. Proceed with caution- start off with a small piece of furniture to test it out first and practice technique!
3. Antique Pieces. Rather than spending a fortune at Pier 1 or Bed, Bath & Beyond, Joanna finds her decorative elements at antique shops and garage sales. Unique and creative décor is part of the “Fixer Upper” charm! Begin with less adventurous items like clocks, mirrors and picture frames, then work your way into other extraordinary pieces.
4. 3- Dimensional Wall Art. Most people tend to hang flat décor on their walls (mirrors, picture frames, etc.). But Joanna loves to hang art that stands out (literally). These offer interest and draw your eyes to small and large-scale focal points. And the pieces Joanna chooses are often found on the side of the road or other unlikely places and would otherwise be considered a bit of a misfit to most, but works beautifully.
5. Light Paint Colors. Even though you may not be able to afford white subway tile in your bathroom or a beautiful mosaic for your kitchen backsplash, paint is the cheapest way to transform a room in a dramatic fashion with a humble budget. Maybe it’s time to re-think those 90’s saturated colors. Joanna rarely goes outside the box of light colors. Often, her make-overs are glazed with soft grays, creams and beiges.
6. Letters, Words, & Phrases on the Wall. Most staging experts would advise to limit personal décor- like family portraits- to a minimum. In order to walk this line, but still incorporate a more personal touch, Joanna uses letters, words and phrases to capture the family’s sense of home.
7. Graphic Feature Wall. This might sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy and affordable. And somehow, despite decades of horrifying wallpaper and border prints, wallpaper has made quite the comeback in modern design. A DIY shiplap wall can cost as little as $40 (as seen on Pinterest)! Or you can opt for a more sheek look with a printed wallpaper accent wall. Joanna does not use wallpaper often, but when she does, it is a large, bold print and we all know her relationship with shiplap!
8. Stacks of Thick, Old Books. From a floating shelf to an end table or fireplace- Joanna will likely have a collection of books stacked. These books are not your “New York Times Best Sellers.” These books are more like something you would find in a historic Castle library- large, weathered and purely decorative.
9. Plenty of Throws. This can be easily attainable by scattering pillows on the couch and beds and draping a textured throw blanket over the back of a chair. These kinds of details bring a nostalgic, welcoming invitation for family and friends to sit and relax. Just like paint schemes, Joanna also chooses pillows with simple patterns and colors to compliment a light, airy space. Try using either bold solids, like yellow or subtle patterns.
10. Collages. In most designs, Joanna designates one wall for a collage. This collage could be random art, pictures or clocks. These collages act as a feature wall, creating a different kind of focal point not found in built-in structures like a fireplace or bookshelves.
11. Unique Light Fixtures. Joanna always manages to bring lighting to a space that combines the perfect balance of a polished, yet antique finish. She also does not steer too much towards the modern look and isn’t afraid to utilize a chandelier in non-dining spaces like bedrooms and living rooms.
12. Wood Textures. An important aspect of Joanna’s designs is containing décor pieces of wood. Maybe you don’t live in Texas and your house was not built with beautiful shiplap, but you can still bring natural wood through floating shelves, a bench, or DIY sliding wood shutters.
The Humble Homemaker