‘Fixer Upper’: Joanna Gaines Made 1 Surprising Change to Her Family Farmhouse

Most fans are surprised to find out Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper has no formal design training. But if you look closely at some of her renovated homes, this detail makes total sense. While there’s no denying her natural talent for renovating and decorating, the queen of HGTV frequently employs the same style over and over.

In fact, plenty of design analysts credit Gaines with single-handedly spurring the modern farmhouse design trend that’s been going strong for years. Not every item she adds to her clients’ homes is totally practical. But it does all achieve the goal of looking quintessentially chic in true Fixer Upper fashion.

One place where Gaines shows off her signature style is in her own residence. But the 41-year-old mother of five did make a shocking change in her master bedroom.

Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines | Rob Kim/Getty Images

Joanna Gaines has a few design tricks up her sleeve

Though she manages to make each house look unique, there are a few tried-and-true classic elements Gaines uses in every home. She favors light-colored furniture, off-white paint for the walls, and flooring in natural tones. Everything is mostly monochromatic to make the space look large, bright, and airy.

There are always exceptions to this rule. But in her own home, Gaines fully embraces the modern farmhouse aesthetic she’s known for. Only her master bedroom update included one unexpected paint color: black.

Gaines painted her bedroom fireplace mantel black

Though Gaines does incorporate a larger range of colors and patterns with accessories, she typically utilizes light-colored paint colors. That’s why it was so surprising to see a midnight black fireplace mantel in her bedroom.

“An easy way to update a space in your home is to identify the focal point,” the Magnolia Instagram caption said. “@joannagaines picked the fireplace in her master bedroom and made it stand out by painting it black and adding antiqued glass above the mantel.”

Joanna Gaines’ style is evolving

Even Gaines admits her design style has changed over the years — and sometimes that means incorporating unlikely colors even when white on white would be a “safer” choice.

“Chip and I built the master bedroom as an addition to the original farmhouse, and while the room served its purpose in helping us rest and unwind, I was wanting to add some more color and depth to the space,” she said in a blog post. “The color palette of the original room felt a bit bland and I wanted to create a clear focal point, so we turned our attention to the fireplace.”

“For a bold contrast, I went with a traditional black trim and antiqued glass over the mantel,” she continued. “Since this is the only functioning fireplace in the house, it’s come to serve as a backdrop for many spontaneous family gatherings, especially in the colder months when we can actually use it.”

Even though she wanted to keep the whole thing “neutral and calm,” Gaines knew high contrast would add the right amount of interest. And she was absolutely right! The room looks beautiful, even if it is a little different.