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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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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  • Mimi Wood
    9:40 am, February 3, 2018
    Episode mountain house,where can I purchase those dining chairs?Please help ,desperate!
  • Brandi Urbanosky
    7:08 pm, January 28, 2018
    Desperately need to find out where these oversized couches came from??? Please share.
  • Patty
    10:15 am, January 16, 2018
    Beautiful. I've noticed that you use the same shades in other homes - would you please share the source as well as curtains here. I've not wanted to cover my windows at all since I love light and views of the outdoors but if and when I do - this is exactly the look I have in mind. Thank you!
  • Shannon
    7:48 am, January 16, 2018
    Congrats on the baby! How do you decide what color to paint? I am on really tight budget but wanna give my open kitchen/dining room a face lift..my cabinet s are a medium wood color,and windows have white trim and floor is wood laminate..the kitchen part does not have alot of natural light but the dining room half does...I also want something that goes well with bright colors cause I have accents (counter items etc) in bright colors! I am having the worst time deciding on a color lol.
  • Suzanne Morris
    8:53 pm, January 10, 2018
    Which rug did you use and where can I find it? I’m sure it’s Magnolia.
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