I recently read “No Regrets Purchases” on Elements Of Style and I loved the idea of it. Since Emma, Laura and I are all in the process of moving to new homes, I thought it’d be fun to share some of the things from our previous homes that we did not regret.
I firmly believe that making mistakes is a normal and healthy part of every home owner’s process. It’s not really possible to decorate a home, start to finish, without a few regrets. Maybe it’s an accent wall you end up painting over, a trend you tire of, or something that just does not hold up well over time. This post is dedicated to the rest of it, the stuff that did last, that we still love and that we would possibly do again in a new space. And for the record, this isn’t just about purchases—it’s all the choices you make when decorating a new space! Here are our lists—
I LOVE this table. It’s simple, but it fills the space perfectly and has been a great table for our family for the past three years. We’ve hosted countless parties, holidays and dinners and it’s still in great shape.
When it came time to start figuring out what I wanted to move to our new home vs. sell or donate, I spent a little time looking for other eight-seat tables and I couldn’t find one I liked more. So we’re moving it to our next home too. In addition, I have seen a LOT of ABM readers make this table over the years (I LOVE getting these emails), and it always looks a little bit different depending on the space and the styling. I’m really happy it’s such a veritably useful DIY project and maybe one of the biggest money-saving DIYs we did in this house.
When we moved into this home, I knew almost nothing about countertops. Laura helped me pick this countertop out and it’s definitely one of the best choices we made. Quartz is super durable, stain-resistant and easy to care for. After three years, ours still looks like new. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wiped a gross stain (red wine, etc.) off of the countertop and been thankful we picked quartz. It just ages really well and is great for our slightly messy lifestyle (let’s just say we don’t do the dishes everyyy day). I would definitely do it again, in fact—I already ordered a quartz countertop for our next kitchen (but this time it looks like marble!).
Side note—I do regret not choosing a brighter white for the cabinet paint.
I love this fridge more than ever. It’s HUGE and really adds a lot of color and personality to our kitchen. Definitely no regrets.
I still love the way it looks and the paint has held up great (I need to contact our painter and ask him what he used!). We originally painted the stairs black and the risers white. It looked great, but they looked dirty FAST and the first time my grandparents came over, they had a really tough time seeing the steps. It seemed kind of dangerous at night. So we went white and I haven’t regretted it at all.
I guess if I had one regret, it would be that we didn’t put in a stair runner so that it was more comfortable for our dogs. I remember we considered adding one at first, but it ended up being one of those projects we never got around to.
My only regret is not doing this sooner. I love it so much!
Ugh—the whole new dining room has me face-palming so hard because we lived with a room that was either messy or unfinished for the majority of the time we were in this house. Then this spring we decorated this space and it has been WONDERFUL ever since. Not only does it provide extra hangout space for parties (hello, kid table!), but it’s located pretty centrally in the floor plan so it just ties the whole downstairs together and makes it feel complete.
One of the biggest lessons I learned in this space is to not stop until we are DONE. No year-long breaks this next time. And no rooms full of junk that I don’t know what to do with. Not allowed. 🙂
This project was a keeper. It adds tons of personality to boring appliances and holds up really well despite being completely removable. I’m not sure where or how, but I’ll definitely use this technique again in the future!
Still love it! Excited to pack it up for a cozy spot in our next living room. That little wicker footstool too! (It was a flea market find.)
I’ve had this bed for nearly ten years now. It’s been with me through SO many moves and is still in stellar condition because it’s metal and not wood. My parents gave it to me as a gift, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever owned. Similar beds here and here.
Also, you can kinda see it in the photo above, but the Capiz Pendants in our bedroom are so perfect. I love how the light is pretty and diffused at night. They’re really the perfect chandeliers for a bedroom.
As much as I love patterned rugs, this simple gray area rug (similar here) was the best/most practical rug I’ve purchased. I recently took it to be cleaned so we can take it with us to our next home. It has held up really well despite lots of traffic and naughty puppies. Same with our cowhide rugs—they’re indestructible!
DIY Light Fixture (also pictured above) Still love it! Obviously, I can’t take this with me, but I have zero regrets. The atmosphere is just So. Much. Cooler. than it was with the vintage chandelier (you can see it here). I love chandeliers, don’t get me wrong, but this space needed something larger, and this DIY fixture fills it up perfectly. Plus, it’s one of my favorite “Daddy Donnie” memories (we made a LOT of projects together in this house).
Open Shelving Kitchen. (opening image) This was our studio house (not my personal home), but I still wanted to mention how much I LOVED those open shelves. Loved them so much they inspired my next kitchen. I know they aren’t for everyone, but I am a HUGE fan.
Emma: As I was thinking through all the rooms in my house, I just kept thinking, “Hmm, I still really like everything (pretty much), but there are a few things that I just don’t love anymore.” I would say the main thing I have learned while living in my first house is that I am a person who needs to change every now and again. I think my mom has this in her too (as I’ve watched her redecorate over the years). I don’t think giving your WHOLE house a makeover every other year is realistic, as that would be potentially wasteful and pretty expensive. But, I do think in my next home I want to plan some areas that I can change up easily (with minor expenses, like paint or supplies I can reuse) because I think it’s just something I enjoy and that makes me feel more creative and grounded in my space. I think I just have to give myself permission to change things every now and again, instead of thinking that once a room is “done” I’m not allowed to change ANYTHING in it ever again.
After a few years of living with my beige laminate countertops (that came with the house), I upgraded to stainless steel. This is somewhat unusual for a home, as it’s more often used in commercial kitchens. But I LOVE them! They are so durable and easy to clean, and as someone who cooks at home a LOT, I really appreciate that.
The other “purchase” in my home that I think was worth every penny is our floor to ceiling living room bookshelf (see them and our living room here). The shelves themselves can be adjusted to different heights, so you can make space for things like a TV. This added SO much personality to our home and really made the room feel bigger and more colorful (due to the books). I have an ever-growing collection of cookbooks, magazines and other books. So filling up the space didn’t take too long for us.
You can see the tutorial for those quotation mark bookends here.
On that note, I’d also say that I’m still really happy with our decision to paint the living room black. It’s a pretty bold choice for a large room, even though black is technically a neutral. So, I probably won’t do another black living room in my next house just because, like I said, I like to change things up.
I am still very much in love with our DIY pegboard. I use it every day and it saves SO much space in my kitchen since I don’t have a pantry. So half of our cabinets are taken up by flours, canned food and other pantry staples. I did paint it solid white after a few years. But again, I think I just crave little changes. So don’t let me near a bucket of paint on a lazy weekend!
I’m also really happy that we decided to build a table that could fit six in our small dining area. We have people over now and again and often fill up the space. Plus when we have friends over just to hang out and watch a movie, we have extra chairs to use. This comes up at least a few times every month for us, so that’s helpful too.
I did want to share at least one big regret with you all, and probably my biggest are these stripes I painted over the fireplace. I loved them for about 4-5 months, and then I was over them. Luckily, paint isn’t that expensive, so painting over them was no big deal. But still, probably would have done something else the night that I spent painting those if I could take it back because they just didn’t last long. Live and learn!
You make SO many decisions when you are updating or renovating a house, and while it’s hard to know in the moment which decisions will really make the biggest impact on a space, it doesn’t take very long of living with the changes to know if they were the right call overall. Here’s a few of mine that I loved from the very first moment!
I had a bit of a mental dilemma when I wanted to paint the natural stone fireplace white at my house. I totally get when people like to keep stone and brick their original color, but the orangey grey stone just wasn’t working for me. So I took the plunge and went for a white stone instead. The result was immediate and the room felt so much fresher and cleaner than before it was painted. No regrets there for sure.
I also still love the midcentury leather couch and chair we got for the living room. They are such a classic, clean look, and I know I’ll have them for a long time to come.
I have definitely never regretted doing this gold moon wall in my art room. Just a few small jars of Martha Stewart gold paint and a projector gave me one of my favorite statement walls I’ve ever done. Who said cool things always have to be difficult to create?
One of my favorite things in our outdoor space was this painted rug DIY that I did last summer. It was a lot of work since I picked such an intricate pattern, but it was totally worth it. I was so happy to see that it not only survived the Missouri winter months, but it looks just as good this summer. So all my hard work didn’t go to waste. Phew!
While it may seem weird for some people to hang an oversized photo of themselves in their house, I absolutely loved having this giant photo booth picture) of Todd and me in the living room. Since he travels a lot for work, I love still being able to see his face everyday in the room that I spend the most time in. It always makes me smile.
We had such a small master bathroom at our house that the door was always an issue when trying to walk into the space. My mom actually suggested we do a sliding door of some sort, and I love how this striped version came out. Not only did it solve a major everyday annoyance for us, it looks so cute in the space as well.
OK, your turn! What have been your best and worst decisions when it comes to home decor? xx. Elsie (and Emma and Laura too!)