Book Review// Five Takeaways from Home Body by Joanna Gaines

Like most of America, we are huge Chip and Joanna Gaines fans. We’ve read their book The Magnolia Story multiple times–even my boys enjoyed hearing me read it aloud to them (twice!). Can “Chip” stories be any funnier!? And us girls love the beautiful house transformations this down-to-earth couple works on together. But best of all, as business owners ourselves, we love the Gaines’ humble entrepreneurial spirit and grit! And did you hear about how, after having to cancel their “Spring in the Silos” event due to Coronavirus, they’re reimbursing up to $1K in travel and hotel expenses to their vendors and reimbursing all ticket-holders full refunds? My kind of people.

Needless to say, I’ve wanted to make time to read Joanna Gaines’ relatively new book Home Body for some time now, and I’m so glad I finally did. I loved getting a peek into the way she’s designed their family’s farmhouse, along with the other interior design projects she features in the book—total eye candy!

Let’s dig in, shall we?

She begins by helping you identify your design style. The styles she mentions are farmhouse, modern, rustic, industrial, traditional and boho, and how most people are drawn to a mix. I seem to gravitate to a timeless yet eclectic style, so if I had to choose, I’d put myself in the traditional/boho category, but I hate to decide, because I loved elements in each category, hence the eclectic in me.

She also features mock ups of different homes. For fun, I decided our Blackberry Cottage is a blend of The Charming Manor, The Stately Traditional and The Homespun Cottage. So yes, the beginning sections of the book lend themselves well to analyzing your own style preferences and deciphering what you’re working with in your current home. And then she walks you through everything from entryways to utility rooms, giving practical advise all along the way.

As I devoured, word-for-word, all she had to say, I jotted down some quotes and takeaways that left a big impression on me and I, of course, had to share!

Takeaway #1: Everything has potential if you’re optimistic and creative.

“If you can begin to examine your own home through the lens of untapped potential, I think you’ll be surprised by what you find.”

Joanna Gaines, Home Body

The creative process has always felt a bit magical to me, and I have to agree, untapped potential is full of wonder! It’s like you set yourself on a journey with preconceived notions and ideas, and as the process unfolds, you find yourself somewhere even better than your initial imaginings.

Takeaway #2: Function and beauty can and should collide!

“I had this long wooden candle holder, into which, in past homes, I’d place tall votives in each of its twelve holes. This time I filled it with colorful crayons and placed it as the centerpiece of the kids’ craft table. All of a sudden, it became this design element that I loved, and it was providing something functional for my kids.”

Joanna Gaines, Home Body

Gaines talks a lot about how functionality plays into her design. It made me want to organize my pantry and a slew of other things, so that I’m not just working towards a beautiful home, but a functional home that supports each member of our family and the season of life we’re in, too. And how much more exciting to get artsy as you organize?

Takeway #3: Balance, balance, balance.

“I typically try to strike a nice balance between masculine and feminine elements in every room.”

Joanna Gaines, Home Body

I really appreciated this professional perspective because I’ve come to that same loose conclusion through trial and error in my home. I naturally veer a little more feminine, but if everything is too feminine it starts to feel ridiculous and less inviting. I’m sure the same could be said if a room were overly masculine. Unless it’s a boy or girl’s bedroom, it’ll feel a little off-kilter. And it doesn’t just go for contrasting masculine and feminine elements. Throughout her book, she’s constantly pointing out where she sought to strike a balance– for example, quirky lines with symmetry; bold with understated; light with dark.

Takeaway #4: In every room, add plants and do something unexpected!

“Adding plants to a room is the easiest and quickest way to bring life into a room.”

Joanna Gaines, Home Body

Bring it on! I love, love the idea of challenging myself to do something unexpected in every room. It feels like a realistic and measurable goal… just one thing that’s “outside the box.” For instance, the old-world art in the kitchen above!? Definitely unexpected, and the greenery in the pitcher (instead of in a traditional vase) really does bring the room to life… and easy! Adding a plant to each room is definitely straightforward and achievable. We can do this!

Takeaway #5: Tell a Story.

This is a mere skimming of all the goodness in this 300-plus book filled with gorgeous room after gorgeous room… after gorgeous room! But beauty and design aside, to me, this was Joanna Gaines’ overarching message:

“My hope is that wherever you are, you find a way to love the home you’re in. Create a space where everyone who lives there feels at home. Again, more than anything, I hope that when you put this book down you feel encouraged and emboldened to thoughtfully design a home that tells a story without regard for perfection. It’s a story worth telling because it’s yours. That is how you create spaces you never want to leave.”

Joanna Gaines, Home Body

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