clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines talk accent walls, decluttering, and more

Their show might be ending, but not the design tips

A sample application of Magnolia Home with Joanna Gaines interior paint.
A sample application of Magnolia Home with Joanna Gaines interior paint.

It was big news when Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines announced that the fifth and current season of the hit HGTV show would be their last. But the wall-tearing, shiplap-loving couple is far from removed from the world of home design and decor. How’s that massive new home collection with Target for starters?

The Gaineses, in partnership with Kilz, recently also gave a presentation in New York City focusing on paint, color, and refreshing the home—and Curbed there was to listen in.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Gaineses think of accent walls, decluttering, and more, then keep reading.

Using “bold colors”

When it comes to taking risks with paint colors at home, Joanna Gaines says the one room she would take a chance on is the dining room. That’s because the dining room usually gets more light—which can play up the color—compared to, say, the bathroom, which tends to be more cramped and where she’d prefer to experiment with bold fixtures and accessories.

When asked specifically about purple—Pantone’s new Color of the Year as it happens—Gaines admits it’s a “hard” color for her, one that reminds her of Disney princesses. Nevertheless, she’d recommend picking a less essential room to experiment with—like the laundry room—or start by painting furniture.

Accent Walls

Joanna Gaines says she goes “back and forth” on accent walls. As she puts it, “When you do it right, it’s not an accent wall.”

The takeaway, it seems, is to avoid doing an accent wall just to do it, but to do it because there’s a good reason to. For example, it might make sense if the room is “shaped right,” wherein the focal point is exactly the back wall, where the bed or fireplace is located. Or, from a more practical standpoint, an accent wall could help a couple compromise on whether the room should be darker or lighter.


Grey interiors, including the lighter-handed “greige” variety, have been raging for some time now—perhaps especially so in house flips trying to look trendy, as one astute Curbed reader pointed out. So we had to ask the Gaineses, veteran flippers, about a fresh take on this rather overexposed style.

Joanna Gaines, whose line of paints with Kilz includes an ample selection in the greige range, says she likes to make those colors more dynamic by creating high contrasts. One way is to play more with trimwork, like incorporating light wainscoting to bring out darker walls. Another is to hang more “architecture” on the walls—meaning dimension-adding pieces like the statement clock above.

A renovation “must”

When it was his turn to talk reno projects, Chip Gaines drilled home the importance of primers (which was to be expected from an event hosted by a company known for its primers).

Primer “allows paint to do what it scientifically is built to do,” he says, and that’s how you get a finished product to look like the paint chip. More renovation adages from Gaines: “DIY shortcuts always become evident in the final product”; “Saving a step rarely pays off in your favor”; “Always prime.”


Decluttering is basically a way of life now thanks to Marie Kondo (who is getting her own TV show for it), and the Gaineses are on board. “For spring, decluttering is always first,” Joanna Gaines says.

In their household, decluttering isn’t just for adults. She gives the kids each a trash bag and turns it into a game of timed decluttering, everyone removing things they don’t want anymore for 20 minutes.