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Kitchen Counter with Subway Tile, Stainless Steel oven stove, Shaker Cabinets

Many of today’s homebuyers look to TV remodeling shows as a major source of inspiration. They see the transformed living spaces on hit programming like “Fixer Upper,” “Property Brothers,” and “Rehab Addict” and hope to emulate those designs in their new houses.

If you’re a contractor who works with couples building their dream houses or individuals ready to renovate their current homes, you may hear frequent requests for the following features, made popular by celebrity decorators.


Nearly every person who appears on “Fixer Upper” requests shiplap in at least one room. Shiplap is a type of wall paneling. The individual panels interlock with one another, creating a series of horizontal spaces between each board. Although shiplap originated as an exterior finish for barns and sheds, many homeowners have brought this look indoors to create a cozy, rustic look.

Your clients may request shiplap in virtually any living area, from large, open living rooms to small spare bathrooms. Shiplap looks great wrapped around all the walls in a particular room, but you can also use it to create an accent wall. Shiplap also fits nicely underneath a chair rail or as a contrast to a kitchen backsplash.

Subway Tile

Designers and homeowners alike praise the look of subway tile, which feels guaranteed to stay stylish for decades. This design gets its name from New York City’s early subways, where rectangular tiles lined the walls of underground train stops. The tiles lay in tight horizontal rows in an offset-joint pattern, meaning the edges of one tile align with the centers of the tiles above and below it.

Kitchens and bathrooms remain the most popular places to install subway tile. It works well as a backsplash or as a shower or tub surround. Your clients may prefer traditional white or muted tones, but colored subway tiles or patterns can add drama to a room’s design.

Built-In Storage and Cabinets

Although some homeowners don’t like the look of old or outdated built-ins, many want to add as much storage as possible to key areas of their house. For example, they may want to put in shelves and cabinets around a living room fireplace, or they may want to increase the usability of a walk-in closet with shoe racks and a vanity area.

The key to making built-ins look chic (not cheap) is custom, quality cabinetry. The materials should complement the overall room design and the house’s style. They should also only be used in rooms that have enough space to accommodate them; otherwise, built-ins can make a room feel cramped.

Apron or Farmhouse Sinks

If your client requests one of these deep, wide kitchen sinks, they may use either of these terms. Many designers use the terms interchangeably as well. Many sinks of this type feature only one large basin, but some models come with a central or offset partition. The front of the sink typically juts out an inch or two from the countertop and cabinets around it.

Homeowners enjoy these sinks because they are both stylish and functional. The wide bowl can hold even the largest pots or pans comfortably, making dishwashing a simpler task. Traditional farmhouse sinks create the look of a country cottage kitchen, but apron sinks now also come in materials like stainless steel that appear sleek and contemporary.

Vaulted Ceilings

Homeowners who want to add elegance and class to their favorite living areas often ask their builders to put in vaulted ceilings. These angled ceilings can unify open-concept living spaces or help an otherwise small room feel open and inviting.

This feature requires specially built roof trusses that balance the forces created by the roof, the supporting walls, and the pitch angle of the vault. Vaulted ceilings are expensive to retrofit into an existing house, but they can be added in later if the home design allows.

If you keep getting requests for these trendy home elements, partner with companies who provide the quality materials you need. Nisbet Brower offers cabinetry, trusses, wall panels, and other home essentials that will please your clients, no matter what features they want in their new or remodeled home.