Joanna Gaines reveals the biggest mistake she's made on renovations - including her own home

We asked experts for ways to avoid this exterior paint error

Joanna and Chip Gaines
(Image credit: Courtesy of Magnolia Network)

The many decisions you have to make when renovating can feel paralyzing. But there’s perhaps some comfort in knowing that even the professionals don’t always get it right. 

Joanna Gaines has revealed that picking paint for the exterior of a house is one of the biggest mistakes she has made on multiple occasions - not excluding her own home. 

joanna gaines and chip gaines

(Image credit: courtsey of Magnolia Network)

The Fixer Upper star and interior designer shared the story of how she once accidentally had her family home painted bright yellow while she and her family were away on vacation.

‘Early on, one of the biggest mistakes I’d make, almost on every job, was paint. And that would be the most costly mistake,’ she says in an interview on YouTube

‘One time, I painted our house. I really thought it was going to be a light tan - buttercream was the goal. I looked at the swatch and I remember holding it going “I’ve got this!”’

outside of a house from fixer upper with joanna gaines

(Image credit: Magnolia Network)

Confident in her decision, she tells her builder to go for it with the buttercream paint, and Chip and Jo head off for a few days while the paint job is being done.

‘We get home three days later, and we have neighbors standing outside, you have people driving by shaking their heads. It was highlighter yellow,’ she recalls.

‘I remember sitting there crying. It cost $11,000 to paint that entire exterior. I don’t want people feeling like that, so that was really the heart behind the paint line.’

exterior of home from fixer upper

(Image credit: Courtsey of Magnolia Network)

Picking exterior paint color is hard. Sure, it’s just paint, but show us someone who when presented with a color chart, instantly knows the shade they want their whole house to be. For the best color to paint your house before you sell, read our story.

We asked real estate broker Kris Lippi from ISoldMyHouse for advice on picking the right paint for the outside of our homes for instant kerb appeal. 'The exterior of your house is like the cover of a magazine,' says Kris. 

'Aside from it being the first to be seen, it is the first to be judged as well. My top advice for picking paint for the exterior parts of a house is to consider the colors of the other elements which would not be painted.

joanna and chip gaines on fixer upper

(Image credit: Courtesy of Magnolia Network)

'Say, your roof is something you’re not planning to replace or retouch anytime soon and it is color blue. If this is the case, don’t go for exterior paint colors that would not match. Consider blue as your ‘given’ then play with the other colors,' Kris suggests. 

'That way, your roof will look coordinated with the rest of the house and the overall value of the house will most likely increase.' 

If you're currently planning to repaint your house yourself, read our piece on how to paint outside of a house like a pro.

Next time you're stuck on what fabric to choose or what sofa to buy, don't panic. None of us is above making the occasional decorating faux pas - even Jo Gaines. We can't live in fear of making mistakes, so back yourself with your decision.

Millie Hurst

Millie joined Real Homes in January 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.