If you take off your Gaines-colored glasses for a second, you'll see that while Chip and Jo are the most inspirational couple ever, HGTV has been serving up some solid shows way before Fixer Upper aired. Since the network launched in 1994, the hosts' pleated pants and denim vests have gone out of style, but their design principles certainly haven't. If only these ones would make a comeback, ASAP.
1. Designer's Challenge
Before Chris Harrison was Chris Harrison of, he was Chris Harrison of Designer's Challenge. That's right: Instead of consoling weeping women, he helped homeowners choose a new design plan from one of three interior designers. The meetings between homeowner and designer were like Pinterest come to life, with mood boards of layout sketches, carpet samples, and paint chips.
2. Gardening by the Yard
The punny title of this show was too good to ignore. And once you gave it a shot, you found a lovable, bespectacled silver fox (with a mysteriously still-dark mustache) at the helm. That man, Paul James or "The Gardener Guy," gave homeowners basic tips to spruce up their yards — something that's mostly glossed over in today's decorating shows.
3. Designing for the Sexes
Hand-talker and skinny British man Michael Payne brought this show to us in simpler times, when the biggest problem married couples had was how to mesh their unique design styles. He'd talk the issue over with the husband and wife and come up with a solution — like give the man a darn accent wall if he doesn't like your paint choice.
4. Dear Genevieve
This was like Dear Abby for design-minded folks, in which host Genevieve Gorder helped families who'd submitted problems with their homes to HGTV. She made super-difficult dilemmas (the couch, like, totally won't fit in my new living room!) seem manageable when she provided solutions in her perky-meets-soothing voice.
5. Decorating Cents
If your budget was more "Help me, I'm poor" than "Show me the money!", host Joan Steffend was your girl. She'd make over a space with only $500, with special segments like "Trash to Treasure," where she and guest hosts would make garbage look classy AF. And while we mourn the loss of her show, Joan's living her best life as a .
6. Secrets from a Stylist
If there's one common request from people who are renovating their homes, it's this: Make my house look like it's in a magazine. And that's exactly what Emily Henderson, winner of season 5 of HGTV's Design Star, did. The former stylist offered tips to viewers looking to create picture-perfect rooms. The peppy blonde isn't on television anymore, but thankfully we can drool over her vintage-meets-modern designs on her .
7. Spice Up My Kitchen
No home makeover show is complete without a handsome carpenter, and Spice Up My Kitchen excelled in that requirement: Every week, Jeff Devlin would demolish a homeowner's ugly kitchen and rebuild it based on one of two plans from designer and host Lauren Lake.