“No Regrets” Purchases & Decor

Open shelving ohh la la 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—


DIY dining room tableMy DIY Dining Room Table (and also my more recent decision to paint it white)

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.

See Laura’s version of this same table here

Quartz CountertopsQuartz Countertops

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. 

Big ChillOur Big Chill Fridge

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. 

White staircaseOur White Staircase 

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. 

Record frame instagram wallRecord Frame Instagram Wall 

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. 🙂 

Washer + Dryer Makeover (removable and EASY!)Washer Dryer Makeover

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!  

Hanging chairHanging Wicker Chair

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.)

Handwriting statement wallThis Bed!

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. 

UO Area RugArea Rug

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. 


Counter topsStainless Steel Countertops

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. 

Book shelfFloor to Ceiling Bookshelves 

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. 

PegboardDIY Pegboard and Six-Seater Table

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. 

FireplaceI 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!

White fireplaceWhite Stone Fireplace and Leather Couch

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.

Moon wallGold Moon Wall

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?

Painted rugPainted Rug DIY

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!

Oversized photobooth photoGiant Photo Booth Picture

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.

Striped sliding doorStriped Sliding Door

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!) 

  • Where did you find the hanging wooden containers in the first picture? That is such a cute idea & a great space saver!

  • I LOVE THIS HOUSE! I’m recently moved into shared accommodations and am always looking for simple ways to spruce up the space and just seeing the decor in these photos gives me so many ideas!

  • This post is wonderful! What beautiful, welcoming and bright spaces

    Colour Me In Blog

  • My suggestion is to be careful about using the wax sealers. Ours kept melting off with the heat from the dishwasher!

  • Elsie, I love your comment about the area rug in your dining room holding up well over time. Do you mind sharing what color you got? Was it the “neutral multi” that’s listed at that Urban Outfitters link you shared?

  • My worst decision was monochrome decor with dark grey walls. I was so convinced that it will be fine…but it was not. My mom came to visit me and she was kind of frightened. A month later I made monochrome with lighter color.Best regards! 🙂

  • I think I have to make a list of REGRETTED PURCHASES… there have been so many lately 🙁


  • Great list, thank you for sharing. So much decorating inspiration and ideas.

  • The “wallpaper” in the bedroom Elsie hand-painted! I don’t have the link, but I remember when they posted it and have wanted to do it ever since. 🙂

  • Loving this post so much that we created our own! Check out our “No Regrets Purchases” at www.sbsdesignla.com/blog/
    xo Tami and Lauren

  • Hi Deborah,
    I’m doing a DIY colored fridge later this fall- so stay tuned!

    Thank you for the compliments!!! xx- Elsie

  • We actually didn’t post a tutorial for the record shelf. But there are lots of other similar projects that you could customize! 🙂 Browse the decor archives.
    XX- Elsie

  • Elsie,
    Love that hanging wicker chair! And the bed! Been looking for something just like it! Simple, clean, sturdy. Thanks for the links!
    Also, did you DIY the cubby shelf under the collage wall? Link to that? 🙂
    Absolutely loved this post!

  • I’m almost 100% sure that is a Room&Board bed frame. I have the version without the tall posts and I love it, won’t need a new bed frame for the rest of my life! Plus the natural steel is so unique.


  • LOVE this post – my husband and I are getting ready to completely renovate the fixer-upper we just purchased, and it’s overwhelming to think of all the decisions we have to make. This gave me some great ideas! Thanks! 🙂

  • My favourite home decor decision are these waist-hight book shelves (see instagram link). In my old place, I had a high book shelf. I thought it would be the perfect backdrop for the living room, but somehow it made the room very “noisy”. I tried sorting the books by colour, which helped a lot (and it was so much fun!), but it was not very practical to say the least. So, this time ’round, I decided to banish the old shelves to the office and buy these lower ones instead – and it made SUCH a difference! Originally, the pictures were only meant to stand on top of the shelves while they were waiting to be hung, but I ended up changing them a lot, which wouldn’t really work if they’d been hung. I think, like Emma said, I need a space in the flat that I can change and redecorate spontaneously.

  • Awesome decor! I love the mixture of natural, clean and something bold. Can I live in a different house every month? I love redecorating SO MUCH! Great photos.
    x M.

  • Ugh I love this!! My boyfriend and I are moving into our first apartment together and I’m so excited to eventaully decorate!

    xx Chelsea

  • Your homes reflect you so well! I like the idea of decorating the appliances! They can be so dull otherwise!


  • There are too many things in this post that made my heart skip a beat. The gold moon wall and I love you more than ever decor in the bedroom are so beautiful! The time and effort put into decorating these rooms really show, and I’m absolutely in love!

  • Get outta here you two! OBSESSED with your styles and designs. We love that your tastes are different yet you come together so beautifully!

    Strive to thrive,
    Thriving Wives

  • These posts are some of my very favorites! I love talking about the home stuff. I think my biggest regret was spending the first three years my husband and I lived together putting together a “Pinterest-ready” home that looked great in photos but didn’t feel completely like us. It is so easy for me to get swept up in making decor decisions based on what I see around me on blogs, Pinterest, etc. One day I just looked around and realized all the white and carefully arranged minimalism had me feeling so unhappy and stressed at home and I went on a huge sweep through our apartment, getting rid of anything that I didn’t feel was really “us” …then putting our home back together with what we really do love, even if it is a colorful and mismatched hodge podge has been so much more fun. I still stress about it sometimes, because I’m a photographer, and conveying how good an eclectic room feels in film is a lot harder than making a minimalistic room look good. So I get that itch at times. But overall, that realization/journey was my biggest regret and learning experience. Decorate to your own drum, other opinions be damned.

  • When my boyfriend and I moved in together we invested in a nice, new couch, and it was such a good decision. Having a comfy, clean, jointly-selected couch has made our house such a nice place to relax at the end of the day!

  • I love your bright kitchen cupboards and the inside of them!!! 🙂 Definatley a inspiration for my future kitchen! 🙂 xx


  • I guess it’s good that I don’t own a house/flat, since it would end up a reproduction of all the cool stuff you did in yours 🙂
    Emma – you’re moving as well? I guess things are gonna get über interesting on the blog this year with 3 new homes coming up!!

  • omg I just want to crawl into that house and never leave… I love all the decor – especially the retro fridge and polka dot decorated laundry machines. I love how you all inject so much FUN and life into everyday things. Makes doing simple tasks feel fun and alive. 🙂 I’m always so inspired reading this site. xoxo


  • This is such a great post idea! It’s really got me thinking about the crazy little things I have that I definitely don’t regret!

    & Projects

  • This is such a great post idea! It’s really got me thinking about the crazy little things I have that I definitely don’t regret!

    & Projects

  • I love this post!
    The washer and dryer are so awesome! Love that idea

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  • Oh my gosh I loved all the parts of your homes that you showed! There is almost too much amazing home inspiration in this one post!


  • This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! My husband and I just bought a house and we are flipping it. I love hearing what y’all loved and what you would do differently.
    So far, I’m SO glad we decided to paint the trim in the whole house white and use pale greys for the walls. Everything feels so open!

    Blessings, gals!!


  • I have always adored everything you do, but the washer dryer makeover is my favourite.


  • I really want a sliding door. They are so practical and beautiful!

    Such a great post, thanks for sharing.


  • What a lovely ode to your homes! Elsie, your dining room definitely inspired our dining space (currently doubling has a workspace) … I bought an awesome woodgrain extension table at Ikea, some white eames chairs, and hung three strings of globe lights from targets directly over it. You’re so right – the atmosphere is so amazing considered to traditional chandeliers! It’s a perfect soft light for sharing a meal, but well distributed enough that it never feels dark!

  • When we moved into our beautiful 1940’s home it had been painted red, beige, and brown inside. Not historical or current. We splurged on a professional painter to repaint the trim white and the walls a historical light gray. We love it! We also ripped out the stinky carpet in the bedrooms and my husband brought the original hardwood floors back to their original glory. Now we have hardwood throughout. I love ABM. Thank you for the inspiration to create, design, and cook!

  • Elsie – Where can I find the wire crates you have all over your house? I have been on the hunt for something like that!

  • This post really inspired me to take a harder look of what’s working in our apartment and what isn’t. This post was inspiring. Thank you for sharing!


  • Hi Stacy! It’s a DIY 🙂 https://abeautifulmess.com/2013/10/hand-stamped-clementine-wall-1.html -Jacki

  • It’s electrical tape & it totally comes in white. Cute!!
    xx- Elsie

  • Thanks Brooke!
    Yeah- it was totally a wasted wall before. I’m gonna miss that space!
    xx- Elsie

  • these are really beautiful pictures. When I see striped walls on home decor shows, I always wonder how long before it feels dated. It’s interesting to see but so much easier to accessorize a plain wall, I’m sure.

  • That DIY dining room table looks perfect for a party! The hanging wicker chair looks super comfy as well. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  • After seeing your pics of bookshelves, I know that’s something I will definitely have in a future home! I love your ideas for sprucing up a space and finding more use for it. My favorite corner is the Record and Instagram wall! Love the decor and the idea of using it as an additional space for parties.

  • I have a quartz countertop and it’s really practical ESPECIALLY with our messy of everyday. And Elsie, your laundry room is the most amazing laundry room ever. I’m always thinking about what I can make in mine, but it’s so smaller than yours. But this project have always inspired me.
    I love your instagram wall too, and your bedroom wallpaper is so beautiful!

    I always wanted a retro fridge since I can remember. but it’s such a big investment that I never felt ready to make. Plus since I live in a rental house right now, it doesn’t seem right to get one now. Maybe when I buy my house and be sure about the space I’ll have in my kitchen I’ll be more comfortable purchasing one.
    I love Emma’s pegboard and wow Laura, this golden moon is AMAZING! And I loved the painted rug.

    You guys always inspire me so much. I’m already thinking about some projects for my rental house.
    But I can’t wait to buy my own. We are planning this big step for next year. 🙂

    Xo, Deborah

  • I really love the wood wall in the first picture. I was thinking about ding that myself but haven’t picked the room I want to do it in. I also love the decoration on the washer and dryer. Mine are black though and I would have to find white tape.

  • I like this post about things you didn’t regret buying. My husband and I haven’t bought a place of our own yet, so we haven’t really invested in big pieces. But I would say getting a good mattress is the best investment for a house. Definitely no regrets there.



  • Everything is so expertly and beautifully done! I loved it all. We just bought a new home and I just gathered about 12 decorating ideas! Thank you!!! What size is the grey area rug under the dining table? (I also just sent that dining table DIY to my husband – I NEED it in my new dining room.)

  • OMG EVERYTHING is SO beautiful!!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  • The little dashes of yellow really make this special : vibrant and more creative . So much Inspiration here !


  • Hi Ella! They have help up perfectly. We would definitely do them again! 🙂 -Jacki

  • I’m thinking about doing the concrete countertops in my home. How have they held up over time at the ABM studio? Would you suggest doing it again?

  • I’ve been looking into retro fridges — glad to see yours has held up! it’s hard to find many reviews on them!

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