Lingo And Design Features You Should Know If You Love Fixer Upper

Fans of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper," starring Chip and Joanna Gaines, will know that the Fixer Upper team has a very particular aesthetic. Guided by Joanna's design preferences, there are a few common design features or elements found in many of the homes she helps transform. The blend of rustic and farmhouse elements paired with minimalist and industrial touches has created a signature look that many can't get enough of. And interestingly enough, her whole aesthetic was actually inspired by a road trip she and Chip took to a small town in New Mexico, as Homes & Gardens reveals.

If you want to incorporate the "Fixer Upper" aesthetic without actually appearing on the show, there are a few key terms and design features you should be familiar with — adding even a few of them will help move your space in a Joanna-approved direction.

The first design terms have to do with the exterior of your home because that's just as important as the interior. The "Fixer Upper" team is a huge fan of "German smear," which is a type of mortar wash that allows you to transform brick and give it more of a rustic cottage-like feel, as HGTV explains. Then, in your home's entry, consider swapping out your regular door for a "Dutch door" — these eye-catching alternatives are split horizontally, meaning you can open half to allow fresh air into your home (although you may not have the same stunning countryside views as the Gaines house does).

Wall treatments galore

If you think the only choice to transform the walls in your home is to splash on a different paint color, you haven't been watching "Fixer Upper" very long. One of Joanna's go-to design moves is to add visual interest and texture to the walls with a variety of different techniques.

Perhaps the most commonly associated with the "Fixer Upper" style is good old "shiplap" — as HGTV explains, this type of treatment originated in boats and barns, and adding it can help give your space that old-world charm. The wide planks of wood add some character to your space and can easily be painted or stained, depending on which suits your home best.

Another option to add some serious style is "beadboard," which is made of narrower slats of wood that stretch vertically. While shiplap can be applied anywhere, beadboard is typically found on the lower portion of a wall, with a horizontal seam stretching along the top of the boards. It's a great way to add personality to a small space like a bathroom with minimal effort since, as This Old House explains, it's now often sold in panels rather than individual slats.

Last but not least, "board-and-batten walls" offers a more architectural take, with various battens coming together to form a geometric pattern of sorts. As Angela Rose Home demonstrates, it's relatively easy to DIY, and you can customize it according to what width or pattern you want, from symmetrical squares to carefully-arranged rectangles.

Interior features that add character

One key thing that Joanna Gaines has demonstrated time and time again with her "Fixer Upper" renovations is that if your home doesn't inherently have architectural details that add character, that's okay — with a bit of skill and sweat equity, you can add in some details yourself to create the aesthetic you want.

One easy swap is to incorporate "barn doors" in your home, a term HGTV includes in their "Fixer Upper" dictionary. Anyone with some degree of familiarity with farmhouse style will be accustomed to seeing these clever ways to add a rustic touch and added visual interest to a space. There are some limitations — you need to have a doorway with enough space on either side of the opening for the barn door panels to slide. However, it's easy to customize this addition, with different wood finishes and designs, unique hardware, and more. There are even sleek, modern versions, as Dwell highlights, if you like the general concept but would prefer something other than the farmhouse feel.

Another interior feature that adds major charm is what's called a "cased opening." This feature is when you take some type of opening between rooms that may be relatively plain and unadorned and embellish it with your moldings of choice. As Pine and Prospect Home demonstrates, it's easy and inexpensive to DIY and can transform an unremarkable area connecting two rooms into a character-packed design feature that draws your eye.

The heart of the home

The kitchen is often one of the first spaces people turn to when they're looking to refresh or renovate their home, according to Houzz — and luckily, Joanna Gaines has a few design features that are typically found in this important room of the home, as HGTV shares.

The first is an alternative to a basic fixture that every home has — a "farmhouse sink." Many homes have standard stainless steel sinks that are functional and easy to clean but somewhat unremarkable. They don't exactly make an aesthetic splash. That's where a farmhouse sink can come in. These sinks are also sometimes referred to as "apron-front sinks," and this is because they have a portion of the sink exposed at the front, as per Sinkology. These sinks come in a variety of finishes and materials that can match any kitchen's aesthetic and make more of a visual statement than many typical drop-in sinks.

Another interesting design feature that Gaines favors in her spaces is the "butler's pantry." This feature is typically nestled right beside the kitchen or dining room, as Realtor explains, and can include cabinets, countertop space, and sometimes even extra appliances such as a hidden microwave, wine fridge, etc. While a dedicated butler's pantry is usually found in larger spaces, you can try creating your own version by setting up a few shelving units in a tucked-away corner of your kitchen for a similar effect.

Decorative touches that draw the eye

No matter how masterfully you embellish the interior of your home with various architectural details like wall treatments and farmhouse-style fixtures, you still need decorative touches in the form of accessories and art to bring a space to life.

However, you can be super creative with this component of your home's decor. Take a page out of Gaines's book, and don't restrict yourself to prints or paintings, or even sculptures, the types of items you'd typically think of as art, as per HGTV. Instead, try to find something that truly captures your home's spirit in the form of "object art." This term is exactly what it sounds like — things like guitars, antique keys, old tools or equipment related to a particular hobby you have, and so on.

And, of course, you may need some extra shelving to display those one-of-a-kind object art pieces once you find the right ones for your home. Another key term for any fan of the "Fixer Upper" aesthetic is "galvanized-pipe shelving." You may have seen this type of shelving in spaces with an industrial twist, although it can fit in a wide range of design styles. It's a minimalist type of shelving that uses pipes as the frame, with wooden boards laid across them to create shelves. As Instructables outlines, this style of shelving is quite easy to DIY, and as a bonus, the customizable nature of this shelving means you can tailor it to fit your space exactly.

Bringing your aesthetic outdoors

If you've already considered the exterior of your home in terms of its curb appeal, and you've added embellishments to the interior of your home, make sure you're not forgetting about another important area — your backyard. Whether you have a tiny backyard or a huge expanse of green lawn to work with, your backyard is a great space to gather with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors.

The "Fixer Upper"-approved improvement in this area is the incorporation of a "pergola." As HGTV explains, a pergola is a structure that features several beams or columns over an area in a patio or yard, typically with beams or planks of wood positioned horizontally at the top of those columns. They can be customized to the exact size you need and can be stained or painted according to whatever look you want in your backyard space.

While it may seem like an unnecessary addition if you already have a deck or other defined areas in your backyard, a pergola doesn't just add beauty to your space — it adds functionality as well. As Love Your Landscape states, it can offer shade from the sun and can even be upgraded with a retractable shade cover if desired. Plus, this unique outdoor structure is essentially a frame for other decor and can easily be embellished with lights, fabric, speakers, and whatever else you need to create a true outdoor oasis.