The 8 Best Design Tips Fans Have Learned From HGTV's Fixer To Fabulous

With 20 years of renovating properties and hundreds of completed projects under their toolbelts, Dave and Jenny Marrs are no strangers to home design. Throughout their popular HGTV series, "Fixer to Fabulous", the design duo has imparted numerous invaluable tips to fans, helping them make smart and stylish choices in their own homes.

Despite their experience, Dave admits that not all his projects with his wife and partner in design go to plan. However, he recommends having the confidence to fail and keep trying when it comes to home design and renovation. He tells The Tennessean, "Our show is authentic because it shows our failures and the things that don't work out for us. But when we get together as a family, we figure it out, and we move forward. Rarely does it ever go right the first time, but you bounce back and do it again and you learn from those experiences." And, we can also learn from those experiences and use some of the best design tips the two have shared on the show.

A coat of paint can seriously upgrade a home's exterior

In Season 4, Episode 14, the Marrs family shows that you can completely transform the look of a house with a few coats of paint. The traditional California red-brick home was considered dull and dated by the homeowners. So, it was given a modern makeover, and the bricks were painted white in contrast with black shutters. Jenny explains to the owners, "We tried to get a really timeless, classic house," explaining that the paint shade was used to brighten the exterior.

Painting the outside of a brick home is a relatively simple DIY project that has a big impact. Remember to use a paint specifically designed for brick exteriors, like this one from The Home Depot, and select a few dry weather days to get the job done. White paint on the outside of a home will always give it a fresh look, the wrong shade can look gray or washed out in low light. So, when selecting an exterior paint color, test it on all sides of the exterior and in different levels of light throughout the day.

Don't disregard modern replicas

Replicas are often snubbed for not being the real deal, but when it comes to design and renovation the original materials aren't always practical for modern life. In Season 4, Episode 12, Dave and Jenny Marrs decide to retile a roof with an authentic Peruvian look. Once the project is complete, Jenny says in her blog, "The old roof was replaced with gorgeous composite roof tiles that are made to look like the clay roofs you see in Peru. These are great because they're much lighter than actual clay roof tiles, more affordable, and look beautiful."

When designing a room or undertaking a home renovation project, the budget always seems to get eaten up quicker than expected. Opting for modern replica finishes can save money, and they are often more functional. One way to do this is to opt for laminate flooring instead of hardwood to save some money on materials and installation. Another way you can embrace this tip is to opt for composite materials instead of wood for things like exterior trim work. 

Make an impact with feature wallpaper

Jenny Marrs is known for her love of neutral colors, but that doesn't mean she shies away from bold colors and prints. She just uses them very intentionally to bring drama and interest to specific areas in the home. In Season 5, Episode 9 of "Fixer to Fabulous", Jenny designs a dressing room with a striking wallpaper that's applied in an unusual spot. On her blog, she says, "For extra drama, I painted everything a soft blush and installed a gorgeous floral wallpaper on the ceiling. It adds a fun, unexpected touch." 

Feature wallpaper works brilliantly in compact, lesser-used spaces. These are the rooms where you can afford to make a bold impact without worrying about becoming overstimulated. Bathrooms, laundry rooms, and walk-in closets are perfect spaces where a showy pattern could inject fun and personality. Applying it to the ceiling as Jenny did is an innovative way to use wallpaper, drawing the eye upward. You could also adhere it to furniture to give it an interesting new look or install it on one focal wall as an accent. Opt for a pattern that coordinates with the rest of your space and mirrors your design aesthetic. Foliage-inspired prints, like this one from World of Wallpaper, can work in a variety of rooms.

Move plants to improve landscaping

"Landscaping transforms a house, no matter the size of your yard, and even the easiest changes can be so influential," Jenny tells Homes & Gardens. With this in mind, Jenny recommends thinking carefully about the landscaping around your home and making small but impactful changes to boost curb appeal. In Season 4, Episode 12, Jenny reveals her design tip for saving money and minimizing waste by digging up shrubs and trees and planting them more strategically. She says (via, "Now that we have the plants out, the root balls are intact, we can actually replant these, which I love, so they will not be wasted. We can get them replanted, and they will go on to live a nice happy plant life."

Landscaping can be expensive, but you don't need to remortgage your house to get it looking good. With a bit of effort and time spent in the dirt, you can reposition plants you already own to make the exterior of your home more appealing. Move backyard pots to either side of your front door, or dig up a poorly placed young tree and move it somewhere it will be more appreciated. Another great trick to create more greenery is to make more out of your existing plants. There are a lot of perennials that can be divided to make multiple new ones. There are also varieties of plants that can be propagated by dividing the roots

Get a luxury marble look with cheaper tiles

If you've ever watched any home renovation show, you'll have likely noticed the designers using Calcata and Carrara marble in the kitchens and bathrooms. This stunning but expensive material is imported from Italy. In Season 4, Episode 14, Jenny opts for a marble-style porcelain tile in the bathroom to give the look and feel of marble, but with a significantly smaller price tag. Discussing the finished bathroom on her blog, Jenny says, "I love how the large porcelain tile gives off a Calcata marble feel."

You too could use tile if your budget doesn't stretch to genuine marble. Porcelain tiles with veining give the look and feel of this luxury stone, and they're also much easier to install. You can even use porcelain tiles around the fireplace to create that iconic marble hearth vibe. To get a more authentic luxury look, opt for oversized tiles. Large-format tiles, like these from Lowes, provide a budget alternative to using porcelain.

Invest in high-quality hardware

Have you ever heard the phrase 'buy cheap, buy twice'? This is the thought process behind Dave Marrs's recommendation for investing in high-quality hardware when you're renovating a home. He tells Homes & Gardens, "The quality of the materials is really important, particularly in a kitchen, which is a hardworking space you use a lot. Opt for high-quality hardware and cabinets in these spaces. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to get the most expensive, but do your homework and find good quality materials that will stand the test of time." The Marrs couple put this ethos to the test in Season 4, Episode 10, when they installed a stunning black faucet and gold cabinet hardware.

There's a difference between splurging on expensive items and investing in good workmanship. In the long run, it pays to outfit your home with products that will last for a long time, rather than substandard pieces that need replacing every few years. Poring over online research and user reviews will help you find the top cabinet hardware for your kitchen. Pay attention to manufacturer warranties as this can be an indicator of the quality and offer you protection and peace of mind.

Paint built-ins instead of replacing them to save time and money

Old built-ins can make a room feel dated, especially if they're in an old-fashioned wood finish or have intricate carvings on the cabinet doors. While you could rip out old built-ins and replace them with new ones, you can expect this to cost a lot of time and money. In Season 5, Episode 9, Jenny kept the existing built-ins but gave them a contemporary makeover. She says in her blog, "The old fireplace with its oak trim was dark and dated. We kept the existing body of the built-in but removed the old doors and replaced them with clean, shaker doors. We painted the entire structure an airy, mushroom color." 

This design tip is a perfect DIY hack that can transform cabinets and built-ins across many rooms in your home. Built-in closets in the bedroom can be given a facelift by painting the main structure and adding new, matching doors. You could also give the kitchen a budget-friendly refresh by upgrading the handles or knobs on the cabinets and painting them a modern shade.

If in doubt, choose white for kitchens

Jenny Marrs from Fixer to Fabulous has plenty of timeless kitchen design tips, including classic white kitchens. Discussing the longevity of style in the kitchen, she tells Homes & Gardens, "In terms of colors, I love putty hues, tones with a muted richness to them, and, of course, white. White kitchens will always be beautiful." White works especially well if your kitchen is compact because it will reflect light to make the space feel more open and airy. The kitchen makeover in Season 2, Episode 8 is a perfect example of how white cabinets and countertops make a space look timeless.

White works in any color palette, so it's the perfect base for a kitchen. Opt for countertops or cabinets in the airy neutral, then use brighter colors for other areas you may be inclined to change more frequently. For example, if you're into blue right now, paint the walls a powdery blue or navy and keep the main components of the kitchen white. When your taste changes in a few years and you enter a green phase, you can just paint the walls or add some green vases without having to replace your predominantly white kitchen.