Joanna Gaines' tiny home reno offers 3 fail-safe techniques that allow small space dwellers to dream big

Joanna Gaines has created a dream cozy yet spacious-feeling modern cottage that uses the property's natural features to enhance the space

Joanna Gaines
(Image credit: Alamy)

This week, Atlanta-based Morse Design shared an exciting look into a cottage designed by Joanna Gaines on Instagram. We have no further details, other than what we can see, but we can say that the design is the perfect mix for a tiny home – and one that small home dwellers might like to copy when decorating their small spaces to make them feel bigger and airier. Plus, it cleverly combines Joanna's inimitable modern farmhouse aesthetic with elements of cottage decor, seamlessly integrating authentic rustic features, such as the exposed wooden beams and stove fireplace with the modern, cozy elements.

Alongside the post, Morse Design commented, 'SUNDAY HOUSE TOUR! @joannagaines created the perfect little cottage! It has everything you need for a couple of days or a lifetime. A fully loaded kitchen that not only takes advantage of every square inch but is beautiful, too! An inviting bathroom with tons of natural light. And a hangout area that’s warm and comfy. All the comforts of home in this cute, little cottage! What’s your favorite part?'

It's hard to pick a single favorite part, since each room is so individually striking, so our editors have selected our top three. You can slide across the carousel to match the pictures to the commentary. 

Get the look

1. Fit horizontal, pale exterior paneling to exaggerate width

The house is as eye-catching from the outside as it is inside, with elegant light gray wood paneling and white-framed windows and porch to create a classic country aesthetic with a contemporary appeal. 

'The horizontal layout of the boards and the just-right shade of gray do much to exaggerate the width of the cottage and to balance out the relatively steep pitch of the roof,' says Jennifer Ebert, Homes & Gardens' Digital Editor.

The beautiful porch adorns the front of the home. 'The use of long flower container helps to exaggerate the breadth of the house, and creates a zen space to relax and feel in touch with nature, and is a very in-keeping feature to display summer porch decor,' continues Jen. 

'Joanna has also effectively incorporated authentic, small details into the front of the house, such as the black lamps above the front door, and the black railings which tie in with the black metal porch chairs, creating a coherent theme, all of which creates a feeling of space.'

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jen is the Deputy Editor (Digital) of Homes & Gardens online. Before starting this position, she had completed various interior design courses at KLC Design School, as well as working across Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes and Country Homes & Interiors as an interiors writer.

2. Choose repeated motifs and patterns to enhance space

'The kitchen is a prime example of how to make a small cottage kitchen feel spacious and open through repetition,' says Jo Bailey, Homes & Gardens' Print Editor. 'Joanna's effective use of wooden panels that feature on the house's exterior is repeated vertically in the kitchen to draw the eye upwards to increase the impression of ceiling height. These white wooden ceiling panels are echoed by the country-style kitchen island that tones perfectly with the color of the wooden floor. 

'The pendant lighting over the island matches the wall color perfectly so there's no visual interruption across the space, again, heightening the feeling of space.

'The arched undersides of the kitchen island mirror the wooden arches between the rooms, which is a clever touch that creates a harmony and repetition between original features of the cottage with the new, sleek design.

'Joanna also ties together smaller features in the kitchen by using a brass finish on the kitchen island stools, drawer handles, faucets, lamps, and rail,' continues Jo.

'The dark green kitchen drawers bring the green of nature outside into the house; Joanna's use of plants throughout the property makes the most of the lovely natural landscape beyond the windows. I'd always recommend finding the best indoor plants for a tiny house to elevate any space small space.'

Jo Bailey Author Profile Picture
Jo Bailey

Jo Bailey is Deputy Editor of Homes & Gardens, overseeing all features for the print edition. Before joining Future PLC, she worked as an interior stylist for over ten years, specializing in commercial photo shoots for luxury clients such as; Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Christopher Farr Cloth and Heal's. She has worked with Homes & Gardens for over a decade, having styled and produced editorial shoots and events over the years.

3. Be clever with a small bathroom layout

'Tiny bathroom layouts are often space-compromised, and this one has the added complication of a huge window. The benefit is the space-enhancing natural light that floods in but it does rob the room of useful wall space,' says Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief. 'However, Joanna has cleverly mitigated this with a storage-packed double vanity, with wall-mounted bathroom vanity mirrors that can be angled for use. 

'Joanna has also balanced the white walls and countertop with the natural wooden drawers and vanity to create a warm yet modern feel. Again, the materials and fittings used are coherent with those in the rest of the house, which helps this tiny home feel elegant and curated.'

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

That's our top three, but let's not overlook the homey living room, in which Joanna again uses horizontal wooden panels on the window seat with white wooden paneling repeated on the wall. This cozy space is a beautiful place for reading and makes hosting so much more fun. The white arched fireplace is effectively minimalist and creates a great centerpiece within the room, with a white tiled section, to make it subtly stand out. 

This truly inviting property that has comfort, practical spaces, and consistent, recurring themes to tie the whole property together is a key example of how to make a tiny home feel larger.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.