Approximately 8 years ago Tom and I walked into Goodwill and found this solid oak large coffee table. It was $20 if I remember correctly. The table was such good quality and the style of it caught my eye. Even Tom was drawn to it. We immediately bought it with the plan to paint it creamy white and distress it. I REALLY believe this was not even a mega popular trend yet at this point in time. At least I didn't know a single person who liked the look of oversized turned legs on furniture or white distressed look yet. This was when DARK woods and clean lines and bold accent walls were booming. I really truly feel like this piece was the defining moment I realized my personal style. Fast forward like 5 years not only did my style grow and start to take over in everything I had been buying and even inspired our choice in our second home, (choosing an outdated home with a great floor plan that we could mold easier to our style than many new builds) but also was when I randomly turned on HGTV to probably either the first or second Fixer Upper episode and was in awe and shock. I recognized Joanna. I had been reading her blog occasionally for year or so! I LOVED everything. I was so inspired by their style and unique niche industry. I was SO EXCITED to see her on TV. Their dynamic as husband and wife - a power couple who work together was inspiring. I felt like they were actually creating a quality show while doing beautiful quality work. I just connected from day one. I remember mentioning this show to a few people and no one really knew what show I was talking about. No matter what though, Tom and I have been original fans from day one. So while I don't always love all her design choices I have picked up a few tricks from her and thought I'd share my top 5 favorite tips I have picked up from Joanna Gains. (And I'm not going to say shiplap because we all already know about that phenomenon! Admittedly, we did base our idea to plank our island and basement wall from her!...and Tom and I do own her #shiplap tee because we are mega fans like that!)
1. Book accents. Turning your books backwards for display. So I like to style with books like she does and I had TONS of books to use but I didn't like all the colors of the books spines. (I should also throw in that the first thing I do when I get a book is throw the dust cover away. I HATE dust covers. gross.) But during an episode a year or so ago I saw her styling the books backwards and actually exposing the edges of pages. BRILLIANT! Shows off that beautiful neutral color and the variation of each books pages adds such beautiful texture! I've used this solution in multiple areas of my house. I LOVE the look of this and it provides easy storage for books that we either want to keep or ones we just aren't ready to let go of yet!
2. Her use of greenery. I think I always picked up a sense of warmth and comfort from spaces that included some greenery or natural living elements but I don't think until I saw her abundant use of greens that it clicked that having plant life in the home is what was conveying that warmth to me. I have tried to add real greens to as many places in my house that is kid proof and has enough natural light and I've supplemented with faux greens in many other places. Green is actually one of my favorite decorating colors too so adding the natural greens to my otherwise mainly neutral palette provides a really nice pop of color too. And I think thats key when whites and creams are your style...those light shades feel very sterile if you don't find ways to bring in warmth and diffuse the all the layers of neutrals.
3. Her love for vintage and antiques SO speaks to my heart. I've written about this a few times before but if you are new you should know that my home is filled with vintage pieces that are very near and dear to my heart and speak loudly about who were are. I love filling a home with meaningful pieces and not filling home with all new random stuff that says nothing about you at all. It takes no effort and a lot of money to go to Pottery Barn and Target and buy ALL new stuff and just fill a home with it and it certainly doesn't reflect anything about you either. **I am NOT hating on those stores and I buy PLENTY of things from many mainstream decor stores too but I'm just stressing the concept of using old with new and putting thought into what you want your home to be filled with ;-) I also just love the sense of comfort aged pieces add to home. Again, it takes away that sparkly, shiny, "don't touch anything" feeling I get from some design styles.
4. Natural lighter woods & mixing different wood tones-- Again, like I mentioned earlier, before everyone started having this obsession with Joanna Gaines I think we were still in the dark on dark on dark wood trend. Which can look really nice in the right home, btw. But I think she has been a huge inspiration to the design world in bringing back lighter woods, white furniture, and mixing tones of woods. I have always had a major crush on white kitchens and I really think she has led the rise in popularity in that. But the most important thing is how she mixes light, medium, and darker woods with white. I have drawn inspiration from her a lot in my own home. I have a light wood kitchen which I always thought we would one day paint (maybe still down the road?? Who knows.) but I feel like I have picked up enough pointers and found enough ways to mix in the whites I love that now I actually really love my kitchen, light cabinets and all! Where as I think previously I would have been much more scared to mix woods as much as I have.
5. Finally, & probably the BEST thing learned from Joanna Gains is more of a testament to who she and Chip are as people. They are such a great example to LAUGH! To enjoy simplicity. To keep God and family at the forefront in all parts of life. I like that I can turn on Fixer Upper when my kids are awake and not worry about what they will see. (I have actually seen BOTH my kids sit and watch an entire episode on multiple occasions too!)
I've seen this image quite a few times to the point of where I'm a little sick of it..BUT it really is true and is exactly my point...so I'll leave you with this: