What Not to Do in Your Home, According to Joanna Gaines

Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame is the queen of interior decorating. Here's what she says not to do!

Since 2013, a little HGTV show called Fixer Upper has been changing the home makeover game — ever heard of it?

I’m kidding! Everyone (and their mom) knows Fixer Upper and the show’s stars: Chip and Joanna Gaines. These self-made design stars have done it all. Sure, most people know them from their popular show, but they were already remodeling, flipping, and fixing homes together for years before hitting HGTV. Plus, they run several businesses in Waco, Texas, and Joanna has her own line of home items at Target.

To top it off, Chip and Jo have launched their own TV network. The new network will also see the resurgence of Fixer Upper, which hasn’t seen new episodes since 2018. Happy news for farmhouse-chic fans everywhere!

You could say that Joanna Gaines knows a thing or two about decorating. That’s why so many turn to her for design inspiration when decorating their own homes. So, if you’re looking for some design inspo and advice, I’ve rounded up a few tips on what not to do according to Joanna herself.

Say No to Plastic Storage

Storage is a great thing to have in any room, and really, there’s no such thing as too much storage. Plastic storage can be a necessary and affordable way to organize things. It’s useful for just about anything — art supplies, toys, clothing, etc.

Joanna doesn’t want you to toss the plastic storage, she just doesn’t think it belongs out in plain view in your living room. Plastic boxes or drawers just scream “children’s room,” apparently. If you’re hoping to add a little class and sophistication to your living space, it’s time to ditch the plastic for something a little more “grown-up,” like wood, fabric, or metal.

plastic storage bins on a store shelf
Adobe Stock

^^ Not Joanna approved.

Wave Goodbye to Weird Lamps

Trying to define what a “weird” lamp is might be a little difficult, and is pretty subjective. But basically, if it is too far removed from what we think of as a traditional lamp, it’s a weird lamp. Weird lamps are often touted as having a modern or futuristic aesthetic, but they usually look like the designer got too carried away.

Much like plenty of other things labeled as “futuristic,” it winds up looking extremely dated — which is hilarious when you think about it. In any case, we’ve seen it happen time and time again. And what does that mean for you? If you buy that weird lamp shaped like an abstract sculpture, it’ll probably go out of style faster than you can get it out of the box.

All White is All Too Boring

I rarely see all-white rooms anymore, but just like air, I don’t need to see it to know it exists. They’re still out there somewhere — looking bland, cold, and sterile.


It seems really easy to just do white everything. And for some, it can be hard to branch out and introduce color. However, you need at least a little something to help add visual stimulation, otherwise it’s just too stark and sterile. It can even seem downright haunting. Besides, I don’t even want to think about keeping that much white clean and spotless.

Skip the Cliche Art Prints

Blank walls are a no-no, so you’d better find something to fill that void. What could be better than a painting from one of the greats, right? How about “The Starry Night” from Vincent van Gogh to dress up the space? Joanna says to skip the prints and find something unique instead.

I have a very professional Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, so this one hurts me a little… but she’s right. Choosing a famous, highly recognizable picture can easily take away from the individuality of the room. It’s always best to stay original. Try finding something from a local artist so you can have a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of art in your home.

Curb the Cable Clutter

Living rooms are full of devices these days. Between the sound systems, virtual assistants, TVs, game systems, and more… what do you do with all those cords?


According to Joanna, it’s time to conquer the cord clutter. This kind of chaos is one of Gaines’ pet peeves. We can’t avoid all the cables if we want all the bells and whistles, but we can at least hide them behind the TV cabinet or invest in some cable management.

Live, Laugh, and Love Without Proclaiming It

Plenty of people love to hang up inspiring words and quotes around the home. It really increases the positivity around the home, right? Out of all the inspirational sayings out there, I’m willing to bet that “Live, Laugh, Love” is one of the most popular.

Inspirational quotes as decoration is fine, but perhaps we can skip just this one. Joanna says it’s so overdone, and she’s not wrong. t has turned into a cliche at this point, and it’s best to find something new that has a special meaning for you.

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