Grab The Shiplap, Here's How ‘Fixer Upper’ Altered The Course Of Design

It’s Chip and Joanna’s world and the rest of us are just living in it.

fixer upper chip joanna gaines
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In 2013, Chip and Joanna brought their Texas spirit and shiplap to HGTV, and our televisions/Pinterest boards have never been quite the same.

, a new media design site, commissioned a study analyzing ten popular HGTV and DIY network shows. Researchers studied more than six hundred rooms from these shows — including Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, and Design On A Dime — to identify key trends in colors, styles, and materials from 2012 to 2017.

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, shared with ELLEDecor.com earlier this year, mapped the growth and dips in popularity of everything from the color green to the use of subway tiles. What they found is kind of like the “army pants and flip flops” phenomenon of Mean Girls.


According to , Fixer Upper was the most watched cable telecast of the second quarter of 2017, while no other design shows even cracked the top 50. “If I was a designer on another show, I’d be looking at their show and thinking, ‘What are they doing right and why are they so popular,’” said lead researcher on the study Carly Johnson.

Look at the use of country and shabby chic designs on television in particular, and you can trace how the Gaines’ style has impacted other shows.

Before Fixer Upper aired, other shows in the study were not routinely featuring ‘country’ and ‘shabby chic’ designs. Sure, there were flea markets and craft stores all over America selling “primitive-style decor” that fit the farmhouse vibe — but these styles weren’t popping up every day on TV.

fixer upper
Courtesy of House Method
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In 2012, the most popular design style among TV designers was ‘eclecticism,’ which uses multiple textures, patterns, time periods, and colors. So, English garden mixed with mid-century-modern and so on and so on.

After Fixer Upper aired, the study says there’s been an increase in the use of the country aesthetic across television.

“Country” is the No. 1 trend for dining rooms in particular on TV design shows. Additionally, grey is the top accent wall color, followed by muted colors and cerused wood. All of these trends are staples of any episode of Fixer Upper, particularly the cerused wood, also known as “#shiplap,” a cutesy hashtag that Chip and Joanna have printed on shirts.

“They have an influence that reaches the whole design community,” says Johnson. When the Gaines announced that they are saying goodbye to Fixer Upper, “everything came to a halt,” and “it was national news for weeks.”

fixer upper
Courtesy of House Method

Millennials are an emerging target for home renovation businesses, and are predicted to . A lot of their tastes are in line with Chip and Jo.

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Almost half of millennials said grey was their favorite wall color, according to study. Younger homeowners are also more likely to try a farmhouse style (14 percent) for their renovation than boomers, and, on Pinterest, there was a being saved in 2016.

A next-generation Martha Stewart, Joanna’s influence is undeniable across (and even this very magazine). Martha Stewart has even acknowledged her likeness to Joanna, claiming the “greige” trend, a combination of grey and beige paint palettes also favored in Joanna’s styling. “I cannot believe that ‘greige’ is trending as a paint color! All my homes are based on grey/beige,” .

fixer upper
Courtesy of House Method

The Gaines’ audience extends beyond millenials, too, and that devoted fanbase is tuning in to every spin-off show and scooping up every product they put out.

Speaking on Fixer Upper’s impact on the design world, Johnson offered a personal anecdote from her trips to Target, which sells Joanna’s ‘Hearth & Hand’ line.

The Target near her home is generally uncrowded and clean — other than the aisles hawking Gaines’ goods. That area “is continually getting messed up," Johnson says, "because people are just grabbing everything they see."

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