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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Design Tips from the Plain Jane house

January 16, 2018

Thanks for watching along with tonight’s episode of the Plain Jane house. I think my favorite room in this home has to be the dining room! There were so many interesting features in this home, but this particular space takes the cake. It started out as a very dated front living room with very little interest, so we had to think outside the box and the result is a showstopper.

The couple needed an office and a dining room so we converted the original room into two rooms for the family. Read the “why” behind the design of this room and get a few new ideas for your own dining space below!


This ceiling treatment is meant to grab your attention and it makes this smaller room actually feel larger and more elegant. Adding a feature like this to a space in need of extra detail is a great way to make it stand out. Even better, it can be done on a budget! You’d think elaborate looking trim work would make the ceiling feel lower, but it’s actually the opposite. And by going with this circular design in a small square room, the corners are softened and your eye is drawn up, making the room feel bigger and more dramatic. This space was previously a blank canvas, so adding this detail made a huge impact on the overall look and feel of this dining room.


Because most of the walls in the rest of the house were painted white, I wanted to incorporate this cool blue tone in the dining room. By taking the wall color up to the ceiling, it allowed for the wainscoting and the details in the trim work to really stand out and it gave the space a more seamless look.


This brass pendant light brings an element of warmth to all of the cool tones of the room. If you decide to install a trimmed out ceiling like this one, I’d suggest using a bold light fixture that will help complete the look of the overall design.


Wainscoting, the white paneling on the bottom 1/3rd of the room, is one of the easiest ways to make a room feel finished and bring texture to a space. Typically you see wainscoting in older and more established homes, so adding it to this room adds in that classic timelessness we were going for and helps define the room. I use this material a lot in my designs because it’s such a simple feature to install and makes a huge statement in any room.


When trying to decide what to decorate your home with, remember that your family’s story can be told in what you hang on your walls. In this case, the family loves music, so we framed this antique sheet music. The black frames with the pure white mat board provide a stark contrast to the light walls. It’s simple, unique, and affordable—which is a win in my book!

We loved getting to renovate the Plain Jane house! Be sure to come back to my blog next Monday to see all of the before and after photos and read the design story behind the entire home! Be sure to comment below and let me know what your favorite room from the home is.


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  • Kristina
    10:29 pm, February 19, 2018
    What is the name of the real paint used on the island? It’s beautiful!
    • Kristina
      10:29 pm, February 19, 2018
      I mean “teal” not “real” :)
    • Danielle
      2:43 pm, February 23, 2018
      It looks like Rainy Days or Cement Pots to me after looking at the Magnolia Paint swatches at our local hardwear store. Something to think about would be lighting... it will change the color. So look at where you are going to paint and what type of light and do a few swatches to get the look you’re going for.
  • Maritza Flores
    3:23 pm, February 18, 2018
    I would also love to know the paint color I think it would look great in my living room. Also I had a question. Our house is not very well lit but I was wanting to install dark floors with light colored walls but my husband is afraid our hallway which has no natural light would look like a cave. What do you think? Do I have to go with a light floor?
    • Danielle
      2:34 pm, February 23, 2018
      I also struggled with the light walls and dark floors dilemma. After giving it much thought I decided to go with a light to medium toned flooring. I didn’t want the space fighting for my attention.... for me the contrast was so much. But it’s totally a personal preference. I guess an upside to having light walls would be the eye is drawn up so your walls might seem taller? I also have dogs so the upkeep will be easier with lighter floors.
  • Donna Barber
    1:49 pm, February 14, 2018
    Paint color please, and thank you!
  • Kate
    4:21 pm, February 11, 2018
    Paint color and luster please.
  • Sue Clarke
    3:19 pm, February 11, 2018
    My new home looks like a model, because of your tips. Thanks & God bless.
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