Achieve the Fixer Upper look instantly with these picks.
If there's anyone we can always trust for her paint expertise, it's Joanna Gaines. Every home that she and Chip renovate on Fixer Upper always turns into gold, so Real Simple asked her about her go-to paint colors for her home (and the colors she typically avoids). And if you're wondering what color she's going to paint her nursery, we have intel on that, too. Read our Q&A below with Joanna to discover her favorite—and least favorite—paint shades.
What are the top paint colors you’re seeing everywhere right now? What are your thoughts on using trendy colors versus “safe” colors?
"Right now, I’m seeing a lot of creamy whites and grays, darker shades of green and calming blues. In general, I think neutrals can really help keep a look consistent throughout the primary living areas of a house, but it’s always fun to go a bit bolder in more specific rooms like the dining room, the study or mudroom. In spaces like these, I gravitate toward more unique shades and even wallpaper patterns that add a lot of interest. For us, it really comes down to what colors our clients are drawn to and how we can help bring their vision to life."
What is your favorite nursery paint color and favorite item you've bought for your nursery?
"I haven’t completely decided on a nursery paint color yet, but I have a few darker shades in mind—I want the room to feel cozy with warm contrasts in colors and textures. It’s been eight years since our youngest was born, so over the years, I’ve donated or given away almost all of the baby stuff we had. It’s been really fun and kind of nostalgic to experience all of that again—buying little clothes and sweet books and other items to help get everything ready for this baby’s arrival."
What’s the one paint color you would never use in your own home?
"For my own home, I typically tend to lean more toward neutral colors and a clean palette. I might shy away from reds and purples, but there is a time and place for any color. For example, I do think the right shade of red can add character to a front door and is great for curb appeal!"
Any painting tips or tricks you’ve picked up from working on Fixer Upper?
"Early on, Chip and I would apply paint sample swatches to the walls we planned to paint. But after we made our color selection and finished painting, we noticed that the tint of the finish coat in a space varied based on lighting. Sometimes, this meant a color would look noticeably different on one wall of a room than it did on another. After a few rounds of this, we started using scrap drywall as sample boards that we could take from wall to wall or room to room. This was an easy way to validate a color selection by seeing how different exposures to light would impact the finish coat."
What’s the best color for a front door?
"Lately, I’ve been loving darker green on front doors, but also pretty shades of light blue. I think that’s a spot where people can have fun and really make it their own. For our clients, we've done everything from classic black to mustard yellow. Either way, a beautiful or interesting front door definitely adds to the personality of a home."