‘Fixer Upper’: 4 Cheap Ways Joanna Gaines Made Her Reno Projects Feel Upscale

Most Fixer Upper fans fantasize about living in Chip and Joanna Gaines’s dreamy Texas farmhouse. It’s not the biggest house in the world and it doesn’t boast an indoor waterfall or rock climbing wall, yet their stunning abode charms with its simplicity. Chip and Joanna plus their five children choose to live a simple life in their 1800s farmhouse that’s situated on 40 acres of sprawling countryside.

The home is modest yet impeccably decorated, just like every other renovation project Joanna showcased on her hit HGTV show. Fixer Upper fans flocked to their local stores hoping to replicate the same modern farmhouse aesthetic in their own homes. Even years after the show ended, it’s still a popular design choice.

The good news? It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to turn your home into a Fixer Upper-esque escape. Here’s how Joanna Gaines manages to achieve design perfection without spending a lot.

Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Joanna Gaines skips new finds in favor of salvaged treasures

One major secret to Joanna saving so much on her renovations is using repurposed items instead of buying everything brand new. Many episodes of Fixer Upper show Joanna digging through local resale shops or even through her own collection of salvaged pieces she’s been collecting for years.

Resale shops have two great advantages besides just being cheaper. First, using anything salvaged automatically gives your home a very authentic modern farmhouse look that’s not cookie cutter. And second, it helps save the environment from the perils of mass production. You’ll feel good every time you glimpse that vintage milk crate for so many reasons.

Joanna’s Hearth and Home line at Target is surprisingly affordable

Plenty of famous interior designers prefer brands that most middle-class families can’t afford. But instead of doing a collection with an upscale furniture store, Joanna opted to offer her hand-selected décor in conjunction with Target, one of America’s most beloved — and cheapest — retailers.

Using anything from the Hearth and Hand collection can help you create a home that looks like it could have been on an episode of Fixer Upper. And when you score that item on clearance, you’ll love it even more.

Follow a simple formula

The key to getting that Joanna Gaines look isn’t so much about spending money as it is about following a formula. In general, the former Fixer Upper host incorporates wood floors, white walls, and minimal, neutral-colored furnishings into any room she’s designing. She often uses subway tiles for bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes, which is one of the cheapest options available.

To make her designs look upscale, Joanna chooses a completely neutral palette of black, white, gray and tan, only incorporating bold colors in accessories such as pillows and throw rugs. That’s how Joanna manages to achieve a high-end look without spending a lot of money.

Joanna Gaines thinks you should follow your heart to find your unique style

The Fixer Upper queen believes good design doesn’t mean mimicking someone else — it means finding your own personal perfect style.

As Joanna wrote in her book, Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, “I think there are some misconceptions out there that lead people to think that in order to create spaces you truly love, you have to spend a fortune or have flawless taste. I don’t believe that’s true.”

She continued, saying: “More than anything, I hope people will learn that good design isn’t achieved by following arbitrary guidelines or emulating a look they see in someone else’s home … What it comes down to is telling your story and incorporating the things you love into your home.”