Joanna Gaines’ Tips for Renovating RVs and Other Small Spaces

When it comes to renovation and design, Joanna Gaines is like an HGTV fairy godmother. Not only does she have great taste, she knows her way around various design challenges, too. Through her experiences with various Fixer Upper projects, Joanna has found some of the best solutions for small spaces like RVs and apartments.

Ahead, we share the one thing Joanna Gaines wants you to keep in mind when designing a small space (page 4), how to maximize space with combined rooms (page 7) and other tips Joanna swears by for decorating small spaces.

1. Kitchen cabinets

small kitchen

Limiting upper cabinets can make a huge difference. | Magnolia

Whether you’re renovating an RV or decorating a small home (with an even smaller kitchen), taking out the upper cabinets in a kitchen can make a huge difference. According to Joanna, upper cabinets can feel “really heavy” in a small space, so the objective is to create as much storage space as possible without them.

Next: Maximize dining space

2. Outdoor seating

barstools outside

Outdoor seating adds to the living space. | Magnolia

A large dining area can take up a lot of space — especially in a small home. So, if you’re renovating a space that is on the smaller side of the spectrum, consider outdoor seating. If you live in an area where you can enjoy a meal outside throughout the year, an outdoor dining room can make for a great place to gather without cutting into precious real estate indoors.

Next: Keep this in mind when shopping for home decor.

3. Functional decor


Items should look good and be functional. | Magnolia

Another key element to designing small spaces? Functionality. It’s not secret that Joanna loves to find unique pieces for a home; however, when she is decorating a small area, she tries to stick with items that are pretty to look at and functional.

Next: The one thing Joanna wants you to know about small spaces.

4. Rethink the stairs

floating staircase

A floating staircase saves floor space. | Magnolia

Albeit necessary, staircases can take up a lot of space. If it’s in your budget, Joanna recommends a floating staircase to save on square footage and add some character to the room. “The number one thing to remember when designing a tiny house is that every square foot counts, and with a floating staircase you save floor space and create a really unique feature,” she writes in a blog post.

Next: Think outside the box

5. Creativity is key

living room

Get creative with tight spaces. | Magnolia

In addition to functionality, creativity can make a huge difference. “Design challenges present themselves one after another in a tight space, and the trick is to get creative with your solutions,” she writes in a blog post. So, when it comes to storage, appliances, and other home must-haves, think outside the box.

Next: Adding this will make your space look bigger than it is.

6. Large windows

large windows

Windows make a room feel bigger. | Magnolia

To create the illusion of a larger space, consider large windows. Large windows can really open up a room and provide the space with a pretty backdrop (especially if you live on farmland in Waco, Texas!).

Next: How to maximize your space with combined rooms.

7. Combine rooms

office and loft

Spaces must serve multiple purposes. | Magnolia

Whether you’re in an apartment, RV, or small house, saving space is an absolute must. One way to do so is by combining two rooms — like an office and guest room — into one. “When you need a room to serve a specific purpose but have limited space to work with, get creative and think outside the box,” writes Joanna in a blog post. “Combining rooms could be a good solution,” she adds.

Next: The key to staying organized in a small space.

8. Storage

storage chest and bookshelves

Keep items organized to reduce clutter. | Magnolia

Storage is important in any home, but absolutely vital in a small space. Joanna says to maximize your space by adding storage under your bed, or look for unique items that can double as storage (such as, a chicken coop or antique filing cabinet).

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