6 Things I Learned While Watching Fixer Upper
And what we'll miss when the show ends.
The end is upon us! Yep, we're deep into the last season of the beloved HGTV renovation show Fixer Upper, and I've got to say, I'll miss watching Joanna and Chip Gaines strategize how to squeeze more shiplap into a home and feed chickens with their adorable kids before showing another family three houses with "potential." Honestly, while I'm not a superfan (I know there are many out there), I've learned a few things from tuning into the show.
1. Old Stuff Is Sometimes the Best Stuff
I live in an old house and I'm gradually trying to update and redecorate it to reflect my family's style, but Joanna reminds me that "character" is important. Even though it's tempting to buy a bunch of brand new, shiny things and be done, she reminds me that some of the best pieces take time to discover at an antique store or auction.
Antique pieces tend to be well-made and unique, and they really never go out of style. Oh how I wish I could spend a day browsing the Round Top Antiques Show with Joanna. She finds the most amazing stuff.
2. Opposites Attract
No, I'm not talking about Joanna's stoic, detail-oriented personality and Chip's wild, fun-loving one (although that seems to work great too). I'm talking about mixing industrial elements with country accents, white with black, metal with wood.
Sure, Joanna's known for "farmhouse style" but did you ever notice how not every piece is typical farmhouse? In fact, the Fixer Upper homes have tons of contrast. A white kitchen gets wood accents, industrial pipe shelving gets topped with textured, feminine baskets, matte black metals get paired with brushed nickel. I remind myself to mix things up and not let one style reign over my house—it would get monotonous.
3. When It Works, It Works
At times, the show has seemed a bit formulaic. For example, no home is complete without a meeting with Clint to create a custom distressed wood furniture piece and a visit to Jimmy Don's shop for a handmade metal sign emblazoned with a meaningful quote. But do you see people's faces when they see these one-of-a-kind statement pieces in their homes? They fall in love every time.
4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone Now and Then
One of my favorite episodes is when Joanna and Chip renovated a midcentury modern ranch. It was such a departure from their usual style. Joanna had to trade in her signature cozy looks for sleek midcentury furniture, modern lighting fixtures, and geometric accent pieces. (There were just a few country-style touches Joanna couldn't help but sneak into the nursery.) That home was seriously gorgeous. We all need to get out of our comfort zone every now and again and try something new—the results can be incredible.
5. Share Your Best Tricks
Something we see this season that we hadn't before is the older Gaines daughter, Ella, learning some tricks of the trade from her mom. Joanna says Ella is interested in design, so she's letting her shadow her as she stages the homes.
It's so sweet to watch—and I'm taking notes right along with Ella. Joanna tells her she chose wood accents to coordinate with wooden ceiling beams, recommends putting white bowls against wood shelves so they "pop," and shows her how to layer pillows just right.
Sometimes, it's nice feeling like a guru in something. But if we keep all our best intel to ourselves, they'll eventually be lost. Whether it's a decorating tip, a tasty recipe, a parenting hack, or a work strategy, it's so personally rewarding to pass your best ones to a friend, a child, a neighbor, or a newbie coworker.
6. There's Always a New Chapter
We're saying goodbye to Fixer Upper but I'm sure we're not seeing the last of Joanna and Chip—yes, even those of us outside of Waco, Texas. This pair already has books, a brick-and-mortar and online shop, merchandise at Target and Pier 1—and who knows what will be in store next? For them and for all of us. Because really, aren't we all always figuring out what's next?