Chip and Joanna Gaines have popularized many home design trends, but in the latest “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” they prove they still have some new tricks. They unveil a cool new spin on the open floor plan that has potential to be huge, since it could give us all some much needed peace and quiet at home.
In the episode “Girls’ Home Reimagined,” Joanna meets up with Barbara and Trasha, two women who work at a Texas girls’ shelter. These two need some help making the house feel homier for the 16 girls who live there, and Chip and Jo are excited to take it on.
Here’s how the Gaineses reimagine this space, which may inspire some changes around your own home, too—whether you’ve got lots of kids running around or not.
Open floor plan too noisy? Try a wall of windows instead
When Chip and Joanna first walk into this girls’ home, they’re unimpressed by the dull, corporate feel to the front living room. Plus, as Barbara and Trasha point out, the space isn’t very functional. The room is closed off from the rest of the house, making it impossible to watch all 16 girls at once.
While many homeowners would love an open concept, Chip and Jo know that a house with lots of busy kids can get awfully noisy.
The solution? Take down the wall and install a window in its place—a move that works great not only in open floor plans with kids, but with home offices where privacy is also important.
“We added this window unit because I know that you had said, ‘hey, we need to be able to see the girls kind of in every room,’” Joanna says when she shows Barbara and Trasha the space.
With this upgrade, the kids can still be doing different activities in different rooms, but Barbara and Trasha can keep an eye on everyone.
Flower wallpaper can still feel modern
With the window in place, Joanna knows that this front living room will be more functional, but she still wants to improve the look. She adds durable, kid-friendly furniture and a cozy rug; then to inject a youthful feel, she puts up some floral wallpaper.
While floral wallpaper has a rep of looking dated, this black and white design looks distinctly modern. Plus, Joanna likes this wildflower design because it reminds her of the girls who live in this home.
“Those are all wildflowers, I saw that, and I was drawn to it immediately because of the resilience of a wildflower, and I think that’s symbolism for those girls, just their strength and their resilience,” Joanna says.
Add tin ceiling tiles in white to keep an open vibe
Chip and Joanna want to give the girls a convenient place to do homework, so they set up a reading room with computers right off the main living room. However, they notice the ceiling is rather low and drab.
Chip and Jo want to make sure this room feels big and bright, so they install beautiful tin ceiling tiles. Then, to keep the space open, they paint them white.
“You paint ’em, they will feel a little bit like the ceiling’s a little higher,” Chip explains.
Consider color psychology
Joanna knows that kids rooms are traditionally filled with bright, happy colors, but she decides that the dining space could use a moodier makeover. She ends up choosing a dark forest green and a blush tone to fill this space.
“I was looking into, like, the psychology of colors, and green is peace and calming and stability, and then the blush is more for the idea of, like, youthfulness,” Joanna explains. “And so I just kept thinking hopefully these colors, without words, it just makes these girls feel safe and comfortable in here.”
In the end, the green and blush work together nicely, making this dining space feel warm and cozy.
When Trasha and Barbara see it, they’re thrilled to find a space that is not only beautiful, but also spacious enough to fit all 16 girls comfortably at mealtime.
Add planters for easy gardening
Kids love having outdoor space, so it’s lucky that this home has a large back and side yard where the girls can run around. However, Trasha and Barbara are unsure of what to do with all this space. Luckily, Chip and Jo know just how to use this yard.
“To a lot of people, a side yard or backyard really is just a side yard or a backyard, but we’re going to make it a garden,” Chip says.
They update the yard with a new fence, add a pathway, and install some large planters for easy gardening. Chip and Joanna know that with these planters, the girls will have fun learning about plants.