How are the Fixer Upper houses staged? Joanna Gaines reveals more design secrets

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Believe it or not, one of the most frequently asked question about HGTV’s smash hit Fixer Upper is a variant the most popular question asked about the show: Are the Fixer Upper houses staged? (The most popular, of course, is whether or not the people on the show get to keep the furnishings–click here for our breakdown of the answer.)

We’re pretty sure there’s a subtle hint of snobbery about *some* of the people asking this–as in, what they really mean to ask is whether Fixer Upper is fake. And the answer to that question is a definite “no.” But the answer to whether the homes are staged, like the answer to whether people get to keep the furnishings, is more complicated than you might think–so we’ll explain it step-by-step.

Are the Fixer Upper houses staged?
The most obvious answer is Yes–we see Joanna arranging each house’s furnishings the night before the big reveal. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. For one thing, Joanna doesn’t do every single bit of the staging herself; she gets help from the crew at Magnolia Market (and every so often from her children). For another, some of the items involved in the staging actually belong to the families who’ll be moving in: objects that are especially crafty or furniture that fits the overall aesthetic Joanna is going for are sometimes added before the cameras roll.

If you’re a member of the vocal minority who thinks that this makes the show fake, remember that every hour of Fixer Upper is both a feel-good story and a lifestyle promotion. Joanna and Chip are there to do good work for an eager family; they also have a product to push. And, as fans who’ve participated with them have attested, they are 100% up-front about both facts–there’s no behind-the-scenes trickery involved.

Do the houses stay that way once the filming is done?
That actually depends on the families involved. Fixer Upper participants have the option of purchasing as many of the Magnolia-based staging goodies as they’d like. As Joanna has explained, though, it’s not usually something that families can afford to do, for the simple reason that they just spent all their money on remodeling a house:

It all depends on the client and their budget. Our show features real clients with real budgets. The furniture budget is not part of the renovation budget, it’s something some clients add at the end. About half of our clients already have all their own furnishings (some of which I use for the reveal), and others buy the items I decorate the home with. The main reason I decorate the rooms for the reveal is because I want the clients to get the full picture of how to maximize their newly renovated space.

On a related note, Chip and Joanna now have their very own real estate agency. Magnolia Realty has offices in five cities across Texas; if you’re especially eager to be associated with the Gaines brand, and moving to Texas is an option, you can get the affiliation without applying to be on the show.

Now that we’ve said all that, it’s time for a few Fixer Upper sneak peeks, courtesy of Joanna herself 🙂 Here’s the latest round of Season 5 house stagings, just ahead of the show’s last-ever season premiere:

Finished another #fixerupper reveal this week. So hard to believe there is only ONE left! @hgtv #season5iscoming #diffuserwall

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Raw and organic ❤️ #designingtinyspaces

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Open shelving and lots of natural light makes this quaint office a good place to get some work done✔️ #anddontforgettheplants

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Brass and Black ❤#magnoliahomes

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Finally, remember that with the exception of the families’ personal affectations and the custom-made pieces of furniture or metal signage, almost every single item you see in a staged Fixer Upper house is available for purchase through Magnolia Market. Whether you’ve got a green thumb…

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…or a baker’s imagination…

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..or you’re more of an entertainer…

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..or you’re just looking for some little touches to spruce up your house:

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Fixer Upper may be ceasing production soon, but Magnolia Market shows no signs of slowing down. If you’ve been inspired by a design choice on the show, you can make it real.

Fixer Upper Season 5 premieres Tuesday, November 21 at 9 PM on HGTV.

(Photo credits: Are the Fixer Upper houses staged via Instagram, HGTV)

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