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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Design tips from the Mountain House

November 29, 2017

Episode 2 is in the books! Thank you for gathering your friends and family and taking time to watch. My favorite room from this Fixer Upper is the living room. It’s a very traditional room, but with a lot of interesting pieces and layers. Read the “why” behind a few of my favorite design tips from this room below!

Living room design tips from joanna gaines

THE FOCAL POINT | Before I start remodeling a room, I take notice of the focal point in the space and find ways to really draw that feature out in the final design. Because the original coffered ceilings in this living room almost serve as grid lines, drawing your eye directly to the fireplace, I really wanted to focus my attention on making that back wall the main showstopper. In order to get the most out of the budget, I highlighted the area by adding a marble surround to the fireplace and some simple beadboard for subtle texture. By replacing the original built-in bookshelves that flanked both sides of the fireplace with windows, we were able to bring some added light to the back wall. These 2 changes allowed for the mantel to truly become the centerpiece of the entire room.

MULTIFUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS | Something I learned when my kids were young was that you really can have a beautiful andfunctional family room. I’ve said this before, but back then, I spent a lot of time telling the kids not to touch this or that, until I finally realized that I needed to make our family room a place where they felt at home, too. So, when I’m designing a room for clients that have children, I really try to cater the design to fit the stage of life that they’re in. Because I added those 2 windows to either side of the fireplace to enhance the focal point, I also wanted to add in some bench seating so the girls could have a space of their own in this room. These two little seats, with custom-sized cushions made by a local upholsterer, create quaint and unexpected nooks for the girls to sit and read or do homework. And for the sake of practicality, I incorporated drawers underneath the benches to provide extra storage space for pillows, throws, toys or games for family game night.

OVERSIZED ACCENTS | It’s not often that a room allows for large scale decor, so when it does, go big. This living space is unique because not only is the room large to begin with, but it’s made to feel even larger because of all the natural light. This means there is plenty of room to play up large pieces, like this rug, sofa, and coffee table. It’s important that the scale of your furniture is proportionate to the room, so that the space feels full and thoughtfully put together. And as far as rugs go, I typically go with a larger one when I can – they make the room feel anchored, pulling all of the design elements onto one playing field and making the room cohesive and cozy.

WARM LAYERS | I love the combination of wooden roman shades and airy curtains. This layered look brings extra warmth and texture to this living room and makes it feel more complete.

PIECES THAT MAKE THE SPACE | Since we removed the original built-ins next to the fireplace, I felt like the room still needed some sort of shelving so that the walls wouldn’t feel flat. This bookcase is a perfect play on modern and traditional without feeling overpowering or heavy in the space. I love when I come across pieces like this that carry out the renovation style of the home through decor.

I’ll be back next Monday with more design details and before and after pictures from the Mountain House!

For more living room design tips, check out last week’s blog about the Lunar Lander House.


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  • Kendall
    11:43 am, December 12, 2017
    So beautiful! Would love to know where those gorgeous blue pillows are from!? Thanks!
  • Carol Pulver
    10:01 am, December 12, 2017
    I love the dining room chairs. I wish you would publish a list telling us all where we can buy the furnishings and who the vendors are. It isn't fun to see something that you know you can't have because you have no idea where to go to purchase it.
    Disappointed you are leaving the show but understand family is always first. Good luck with whatever you do.
  • Denise Creel
    8:37 pm, December 11, 2017
    I love all of Joann s Designs it’s so hard to pick just one I know I’m going to sell my home and get a ranch Style home and get it done just like Joann would do I I know one thing that I like The doggie spa that was the best I have 2 mal tease and they don’t like a bath I’ll be watching my favorite show
  • Sinead
    2:37 pm, December 10, 2017
    I loooove that rug! Can you share where it’s from?
  • Kirstin
    9:05 am, December 10, 2017
    Hi guys!
    This home is one of our favorites that you’ve done! Absolutely amazing job!!!
    We need your help! We have the cutest, quirkiest home that was designed by famous pop artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1947 for his parents. We bought the house from his sister 5 years ago and have the budget for the Reno, but just keep hitting dead ends! We’d love your advice or any help you can give. I’d love to send you photos. We know where there’s a will there’s a way!! Praying for the way!
    Love, The Hebert’s!
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