Five Decorating Mistakes I Wish I Hadn’t Made

Five Decorating Mistakes I Wish I Hadn’t Made

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decorating-mistakes

I’ve made a few decorating mistakes before.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the farmhouse.  I love its quirks and its randomness like a door on a set of stairs from almost 100 years ago.  I love its fancy chandeliers and ceiling medallions and floor grates (thanks for all the floor grate love).

We’ve remodeled almost everything from top to bottom and while the house makes my heart beat faster, there’s still a few things I would ask for a do over on.

Because just like my mother said about stirrup pants and legwarmers.

It’s always a good idea to learn from your mistakes.

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  1. AAAKKK, your home is gorgeous. When we updated the kids’ bathroom, hubs was p.o.’d that I bought new outlet covers (honest!). They were yellowed and plastic and hideous. Every little bit counts.

  2. My walls are currently mocha mush brown. Starting a Go Fund Me to have them professionally painted. 😉

  3. How funny that ” I’ll get back to that later”, so rarely happens!!!! lol…. My BIG MISTAKE??? TOOOOO much wallpaper… and now… I tend to look at the wallpaper with rose colored glasses!! … It looks better that way!!! lolol… s l o w l y but surely … little by little it will all come down !! 🙂 …… BUT RIGHT NOW??? Just the thought of pulling down border and priming the bottom half of the walls in the guest room is a little “overwhelming” !!! BUT keeping my eye on the “Goal” …. the “Prize”.. will be so worth it!!!!!! AND .. ( Karianne, secretly I have to tell you .. I kind of like the “Brown” room!! ) lol But seriously…. drooling over those wide plank floors!!!! GORGEOUS!!!!! Happy Day!!!!!

  4. I love to laugh with you!! We have been sofa shopping to get rid of the loose pillowed one we have now that do the same tired repose your attached ones do!! My mistake is buying the loose unattached version! And I’m still in the middle of the ceiling fan banter here with opposing views!! You can’t try without having mistakes along the way…and please don’t ever stop trying. You make all of the rest of us happy, rockstar!

    • oh how I can relate to this!! I have the loose back sofa; I hate it so much; but have to live with it for the moment, I believe we all have our quirks.

      • I discovered this post and the comments on Pinterest – highly amusing. As far as I can see from many of these comments, nobody seems to have thought that a sofa doesn’t actually have to have back cushions at all. A sofa should be comfortable, of course. It should be suitable for lounging in front of the TV, but also for making polite conversation before a dinner party. My solution is always to have firm backs and add (not too many) scatter cushions for comfort and decorative effect, thus softening a good, streamlined shape – with the added bonus of being able to change the cushions according to the season.

    • I laughed when you said you wished you had a sofa with the loose cushions on the back. I raised 5 boys and with any and all loose cushions they were always on the floor. Much better to have them attached so they can’t be removed. Forts anyone??

    • I’m right there with you guys. I always look for sofas with attached backs. And we have to have ceiling fans in the bedrooms. They make such a difference in the warm weather months.

  5. PS…. actually drooling over alllll those wood floors… but the closer I look at them now….. are they wide plank??? Geeezzzzz… I may need to update the “script” on these glasses!!!!!!!!lololololololol

  6. Karianne- where to start?
    Since retiring 9 months ago I’ve been purging and the amount of very expensive mistakes that have been making their way to the “Goodwill” is almost embarrassing and the realization that I probably would have been able to retire years earlier if I hadn’t spent the money I did on mistakes is shocking. But I do have to say the folks at Goodwill are very, very happy to see the little black truck pull up with its weekly donation!!
    I continually tell myself as long as each mistake is a learning experience it wasn’t wasted – I just wish I was a bit quicker in the “learning” process.
    As always your blog continues to make me smile, you are so real and it’s always like we are having a glass of tea and catching up!

    • Deb, one of the best things about being on this good earth for awhile is the lessons we learn. I understand how you feel……I often think of the money I would have if I just followed my heart in my purchases instead of trends. My husband and I downsized last year to 960 sq.ft. I donated so much to Goodwill. But now when I look around I see things that I really love……some old family pieces, some new, furniture handmade by my husband. I’ve always admired my sisters house because she has a mix of everything and her house never looks dated. I hope you are enjoying your retirement!

  7. Christina in FL :

    Karianne, we ALLLLLL have those moments. 🙂 Like when I painted a dark wooden wall with a light-ish pumpkin/salmon color and then painted over it with two different darker tones of the same color… using a feather duster. It was cute for about a month. lol OR the 80’s trend of light pink and two different shades of grey. Then getting a GINORMOUS sofa with 2 GINORMOUS ottomans (otto-man and otto-woman I called them) which no one could sit in normally because the sofa was super long and super deep (think 36 inches or so).
    Okay, that said, I am assuming your electrician made sure your farmhouse does not have knob and tube wiring. That is so a fire hazard. I ask because I wondered about the old outlets’ behind the scenes wiring.
    Lastly, I am SO looking forward to hearing more about your windows! Have you chosen a style? The only thing I am sure of is jalousie windows are not an option. :)))
    Hugs and happiness, Christina in FL

  8. Oh Kari my friend, I am channeling you today! I am in the process of repainting the family room, kitchen and adjoining hall spaces, and have realized my mistake. The ceilings, oh the ceilings. The family room is finished, we totally redid it over the years, graduating from the “colonial” motif, complete with 20′ hearth and mantel over a 3 ‘ fireplace on one random end, to sage green, which has finally been replaced by soothing Revere Pewter. BUT…we removed the faux beams from the colonial era and I didn’t repaint the ceiling in its entirety and now the touch ups show horribly, but the painting is done….and it’s a horrible swirled, craggy plastered ceiling that will splatter the world. I’m stuck.
    I also had brown outlets and covers. I’ve found that the previous owners painted over some of the outlets after replacing the covers, I kid you not. I finally replaced them myself after my electrician showed me how on one. For someone as talented as you, it’s super simple, easy and inexpensive. It’s a rainy day, two hour project that will make you happy every time you move a lamp. Go for it!

  9. It is funny. I am older than most that write on here so I will tell you some stories of long ago and far away. In the 70’s I decorated my first place sorta with what ever I had. I made a jean sofa, I baked a lot of bread and still do, but I put the baskets on the wall that I used to cool the bread. I had no counter space at the time. I used a spool from the electric company as a table and 4 smaller ones as chairs.. They were free and I loved them. I made my rugs out of old clothes and material my NANA would give me, except for the ones I made from samples I got for free from carpet places . I would sew them all together and make a large rug. People would come into my home and just stop. Not too many people made their own things then so my house looked like a crazy woman’s house( the exact words they would say). One last thing. I didn’t paint my walls I used fabric to cover them.. Back then you could get fabric for .25 cents a yard. Try and beat this story. Ha ha.

    • Christina in FL :

      Oh Gail, your house sounds completely warm and charming. Thank you for the spool flashback. 🙂

  10. popcorn ceilings. We bought a 1974 spanish-style ranch in Florida and knew that some updates would be necessary. But, we didn’t have an endless budget (who really does?). I knew we needed to rip out the floors (tile and carpet) and wanted to replace them with all of the same tile throughout. After all, we live on sand here in Florida. So, with our budget, I had to choose. I went with the flooring. Now I’m left with the ceilings. Yes, we could do it ourselves and make a horrible mess of the house and our new tile and…no. That’s my mistake.

    • Sort of the same idea but….when we built our log house 26 years ago for some reason at the time plastering was cheaper than drywall (?!) so some, thankfully not all, of our interior walls that aren’t logs are that hideous swirly look. Including our very long hallway. So many skinned knuckles & elbows & no way to clean them! & like you can’t really sand them down & redo without making a huge mess. Live & learn.

  11. Lots of great hints, Karianne! My big mistakes were putting in shag carpet when it became popular again (why, oh why?), not putting in the farmhouse sink I wanted when we re-did our countertops, and putting in countertops that are too dark for me. The list goes on and on…but we are probably going to move in a year or two, and I can start making new mistakes there, when we do lol.

  12. Well, “Live and Learn”, right? I happen to like your brown room…

  13. My big mistake was letting my husband measure for curtains while I was away. Every single window in our old house has a curtain that is too short! Even with taking down hems! I love your farmhouse look, Karianne.

    • Yvonne, could you add a border along the bottom to bring them to the right length?

      And yes, I’ve made my mistakes and lived with them for years. Cream colored wall to wall carpet in the room with the only door to the back yard. Imagine that rug the day we spread compost. I’d put in cream colored carpet on the stairs (so neutral!) and it was fine. And a long ways away from feet coming in the door.

      Moved into a three story house from a tiny condo. So I bought the biggest off white sofa I could find. To fill up the room. It only fit the room in one position. And I cringed anytime red wine drinkers sat down.

      Live and learn. And I did have hot pink stirrup pants in eighth grade. Went with nothing else I owned. Missed out on leg warmers (my non-gym decade).

  14. I have similar issues with my sofa backs…never again! Your “mistakes” are so minor in the scheme of things because you have an amazing home and decorating style! We have been in our house almost 17 years and we really made some bad choices early on. Although I hated the size and height of my kitchen window while our house was being built, I never spoke up and hated the thing for 16 years until we replaced it last year. I made the mistake of buying matchy matchy dining room furniture and now I am constantly frustrated with that room. My husband will NEVER agree to changing it so I just have to work with what I have. The list could go on and on but I might get depressed focusing on it all so I will just sit back and stare at your pretty rooms a little longer. Fun post!
    Shelley

  15. Oh we all do this. I think it is so hard to put on your blinders and not be swayed by what other people are doing..even those on TV…just because it’s popular. I have the opposite problem. If it becomes popular, I no longer want it. That causes me to lose out on some things I really like. Be true to yourself.
    My big mistakes have been in building this house. I picked off white cabinets with a chocolate glaze because it looked good with the granite options I had. But in my heart I wanted another white kitchen like the one in the last house. Now I think I’m going to paint my new cabinets a combination of taupe on the bottom and white on the top just to make it feel more like me. Have a great day.

    Nancy

  16. Great post, Kari! I’m guilty of cutting corners on what should be investment pieces and also getting impatient and rushing/skipping steps I later regret. Why, oh why? 😉
    xo Heidi

  17. My very first view of your blog, the gatehouse…the pink and black really drew me in~ and while I appreciated that, I knew that it was too fun to live with for too long a period (in my house). I love, love, love your real style~ mistakes and all. Adjustments and discoveries are what help to keep your home happy!!!

  18. I have a sofa with the pillow backs attached. I can see the backs ever so slightly beginning to “slump”, as the gravity begins to pull at them. I am wondering if I turn my couch up side down and punch the cushions back in place if I could get a longer life out of them? Couldn’t hurt! Lol! Your home is gorgeous! Ignore the little things! Opportunity may come along to change some of those things at just the right time. Enjoy what you have! You have a treasure!

  19. You can order switch plate covers that cover everything. All you have to do is screw them in. Amazon sells them for $2.12 a piece. They are called Taymac 2500W switch plate covers.

  20. My number one mistake is not snatching up pieces that I truly deeply love in my soul while I have a chance because I can’t think of exactly how I would use them. I have a tight budget and aren’t very good at impulse buying. But the oxblood leather chair at that estate sale 10 years ago? I should have bought it. The antique armoire/linen cuboard with the incredible carving that was being clearanced at goodwill for half off and just a a leetle bit more than I should spend. It spoke to me, but I wasn’t quite sure where I would put it. I spent the three hour drive home realizing all the places in my home that I not only could use it, but where it would be a practical solution. Still mourning that one. The duvet on clearance at homegirls that would have made the perfect curtains and pillow covers….I see my house with those items in them. I should just do it. Sigh.

  21. As I was reading this post, I found myself looking around at the good things and the mistakes I’ve made in our home. In the late 90’s, we added on, a master bedroom and upstairs laundry. Best thing we ever did! We also recarpeted, it’s cold here, beautiful blue carpeting…now…I cannot wait to rip it out and replace with something more neutral! A few years later, we remodeled our kitchen….good thing! We did add ceiling fans…this is good…and our love seats have loose cushion backs, which are great…but that blue carpeting is staring at me at this very moment. Woulda, shoulda, coulda…at least I’m in good company! 😉

  22. I remember purchasing a standing torchiere lamp years ago, when I was a young mother. It was stained glass and I drooled over it for ages. I knew it would look perfect in the corner of my NYC apartment with all the purple and grey and black I had going on in there. And it did….until a guest pointed out that one of the stained glass designs looked remarkably like a portion of the male anatomy, shall we say. And from that moment on, all I could see when I looked at that lamp was…..that.

    When I moved to the country I left it behind!

    I hope the new owners never saw what my guest saw in that lamp!

  23. This is an excellent post for anyone preparing for any kind of renovation.
    True confession: I was still collecting my blog family the era of the gatehouse and stopped visiting for a while. Your home is a most favorite, but the gatehouse, it did not speak to me. It was impeccable for that style, but not my style. I’m glad I got past the gatehouse and hang out in your house again. It’s lovely.
    Oh, and I don’t have much to work with, but my worst mistake is always scrimping. I’ve probably spent more money scrimping than just doing it right the first time.

  24. This is one of the best blogs I’ve ever read. You all who have blogs aren’t perfect all the time. How refreshing and what great ideas!

  25. Karianne changing electrical outlets is an easy fix!! You could probably do it yourself. I recently repainted our dining room, which made the beige outlets look awful and my husband changed out about six of them in 15 minutes. Just plug a lamp into each one before you start to make sure you get the circuits turned off. I bet there are even tutorials on YouTube.

  26. I love your blog and regardless of the mistakes you listed, your house is totally gorgeous!! Your comments about being true to your style are spot on. Pinterest has lots of great ideas and some drool-worthy photos, but there are a lot of quirky things out there, however cute they may be….some are just not what I am trying to achieve in my home. I have to walk away from those things, too, all the time wishing I could have 2 or 3 homes that I could decorate each differently!!! lol!!! Have a blessed day!

  27. Debra Matcovich :

    I made major mistakes, which at this time I will never fix. One, not putting in a fireplace. Two, not doing hardwood stairs, and three using a neighbors hardscape contractor to do my raised patio. It sank three times. Major headache. The painting mistakes and décor can be changed in time. I’m finally doing my bedroom over after looking at my 31 year old Thomasville wall unit bed.

  28. Definitely agree with the sofa cushions. I did keep all of our ceiling fans and I’m so happy I did. My worst mistake was taking out a counter with seating between the kitchen and dining room. I still can’t figure out a way to place or replace it.

    Love your new camera views. I could just picture myself walking down your hallway and taking a break sitting in the chair with the 123 pillow!

  29. Biggest mistake – when we brought our home it had formica countertops. I longed for absolute black granite so that’s what I got. I still love them when they are supper clean but they are so hard to keep that way. Every fingerprint shows – and even a little grease leaves a terrible mess. Not sure exactly what I would get now – quartz probably but since it will never again be in the budget the black granite seems to be here to stay.

    • Glad to see all the others out there with remorse on home choices. We had our home built while we were in another state and some of my choices I’m sure I would have changed if I had been at the house. Also got black granite, I’ve been told it’s the shiny kind that is so hard to keep clean. I make of a bottle of 1/2 rubbing alcohol, water and 1tsps white vinegar and clean with a blue Quicky cloth. Wish I had put the wood floors in the bedrooms and choose white subway tile. All very expensive to change now. Really, not many people see my house anyway!

  30. I used to buy clearance home decor even if I didn’t totally love it..because it was cheap ya know! Then it would be the 1st thing thrown into the take to goodwill bin. Now I only buy what I love and my house thanks me and I save up for special purchases. I also think less is more so my house is not cluttered! (We have 5 kids ages 8 and under anyway!)

  31. Your house is gorgeous even with minor mistakes. My biggest mistake was buying a sofa with recliners in it. It’s so heavy and we rarely use the recliner part of it but have to live with it for the time being.

  32. Love your house, Karianne. You’re so right about being yourself when decorating. After 50 yrs of doing everything ourselves (hubby has been a builder since 1968) I have learned One very important thing. When you remove the outlet covers use them as diaries…..write info on the back for the paint you used (that extra paint can label folded up), the year you did the room and tape those screw to it while you’re painting. Then tape the cover to a window til you’re ready to put it back on. Also, I completely agree with you about sofas. I’ve had a very pricey Ethan Allen sofa and a custom made to my design along with a few others over the years but the $400 IKEA Ektorp that sits in my living room now is the best we’ve ever had. Here’s to loose pillows and happy ladies!

  33. I purposely try to stay away from Pinterest and HGTV because it’s so darn easy to be distracted by them. I love your “be true to who you are” advice. I find that I am happiest when I stick with my “classic with a touch of quirky” style. My mistake, which I am looking at right now, is the desk I bought in the late 90’s. My gut was to go with a smaller-boned style but one of my friends told me I would regret it if I didn’t buy one with lots of space and storage. It was the era of clunky oak … and I still have it and we use it constantly. It’s too huge to bother with repainting it, and my husband looks like he will cry whenever I suggest getting rid of it, so it’s hidden in the corner. Boo. But … when we re-did our kitchen 2 years ago, I went with my gut and I have a lovely white kitchen that looks clean and bright and classy with a touch of quirk.

  34. The door on the stairs isn’t a quirk. It’s how one controlled the warm and the cool air flow before the invention of ceiling fans and AC. 🙂

  35. Karianne: You have such a delightful style and your home is really you! Our first home, 5 homes ago, was a 100 yr. old farmhouse. Had a great barn, old bubble glass windows in the front and some updates. It also had some issues. We came to call it the moneypit. Something all the time. We spent almost every dime we had, redid most of it ourselves, but 4 years and 2 children later, it was lovely and thankfully 6 years later we sold it for almost 3 times the original price. Oh, the lessons we learned! We still treasure every minute in that house, the good, the bad AND the ugly.

  36. The mistake I make EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I get new white/cream carpets and I think – the kids are babies – they can’t make a mess. Flash forward – the kids are teens – the will take off their shoes and won’t make a mess. Flash forward again – the oldest is out of the house and the other 2 are in high school – they really don’t make much of a mess and will happily clean up after themselves. Moral of the story – white or cream carpets only look good and beautiful for 1 day – so why do I keep putting them back in? Now I’m thinking – the cat, dog and kids and friends home from college, and grand baby don’t make much of a mess! I’m am vowing right here – right now I will NOT buy another white or cream carpet!

  37. I like your advise about not getting distracted by Pinterest and being true to who you are. I’ve been looking at Pinterest for a month trying to get ideas for my kitchen make-over. Grey is all the rage. The problem is…I love yellow. It makes me happy when skies (and walls) are grey. I’m glad you wrote this because I half had myself talked into doing grey, even though I don’t really like it. Isn’t that silly? Thank you for reminding me that my house should be a reflection of me and not somebody elses Pinterest page.

  38. Oh Karianne – I have an expensive mistake that I have done TWICE already…ugh…Wood Floors in the Bathroom. I LOVE wood floors and stood my (shaky) ground and insisted I wanted wood all through the house…Do Not Stop at the Bathroom Door…keep going. Wood Glorious Wood. Hmmm…the tiniest water leak, drip, wet feet after a shower, over time, and the wood warps. Well, of course it does. Oh well. Love this Post. Removing ceiling fans for antique chandeliers…Check…Sofas with non-moveable back cushions….Check. Guess we’re all on the Same Team!

  39. My biggest decor mistake was putting DARK wood floors throughout the house. In West Texas, dust and dirt are EVERYWHERE, and you simply cannot keep that stuff looking good. Second mistake, stacked-rock backsplash. Looked fabulous but IMPOSSIBLE to clean. We moved out of that house and the new house has much lighter wood floors that are much more kid, dog, dirt, and dust friendly; as well as a tumbled marble backsplash. Some ideas look good, but don’t quite cut it for actual living.

  40. I haven’t seen anyone report this mistake yet – I buy something for decorating that I think I’ll use later. I know I like it and that it is not a “mistake.” But, then it ends up sitting around with all of the other well-intentioned purchases and I fear I will qualify for an episode of “Hoarders.” I’m like the gal above who is loved by Goodwill. Moral – don’t buy extra stuff unless you can use it now, or you have a storage building and don’t mind things piling up in there. Another mistake is, when I moved into my house years back, there were two rooms with textured (not popcorn) ceilings. I hated them but thought I could live with them. I can’t, but I don’t know how to get rid of them without putting 1/4″ sheetrock over the top. Sigh. Before you wish too hard for a loose-cushion sofa, know that those cushions get “mushy” as well. I spent a fortune on a gorgeous microfiber couch with loose back cushions, and I have to fluff them up almost every time I sit on it. Now, for your ceilings that need paint, I have a solution. Purchase a small fold-up scaffolding set from Lowe’s (your neck will thank you). Push all furniture to one side of the room. Cover the furniture just in case, and paint half the room at a time. As to outlets and covers, I don’t think I even notice them, anywhere!

  41. I learned the lesson about non-removal back cushions from my sister; she had a Pottery Barn couch that was still solid but the back cushions were completely slouched and there was nothing to be done about it.
    My go-to sofa has a solid back and loose seat cushions so they can be turned and moved for better wear. It is hard to find a sofa with a solid back, most have cushions or pillows. And this style is easy to slip-cover too.
    Thanks for sharing! We all have things we wish we’d done differently 🙂

  42. Umm, Kah? Couldn’t you just paint the
    brown outlets to match the switchplates?
    Also, I really like the first brown room!! : )

  43. Oops! In telling you about the switchboard covers, I forgot to tell you that your blog is awesome and so are you. I enjoy reading about you and your wonderful family.

  44. When we moved into our house, you walked into the front door and were in this narrow hallway with a bedroom wall to the right and the dining room wall to the left. One day I decided that my husband should take down the dining room wall to make the entry bigger. He did. 2 days later, I decided I didn’t like the wall gone, so could he pretty please put it back up? He did. The next day I realized my mistake….it should have been a HALF WALL all along!!!! Do you know that man actually made it a half wall?!?! Lol. We still laugh about it-and about 2 months ago the wall came down again….for good!

  45. The best sofas (I have a huge room that needs 2 full ones) I ever bought had tight backs. They were so comfortable, had great support that didn’t make you slouch too much, and always looked pretty tidy. I could never find any others like it that I could afford, sigh.
    And – sorry tv decorators who always yank them down and replace with chandeliers – ceiling fans are a necessity in keeping down the cost of utilities and keeping the air moving.
    Hearken to Ecclesiastes 3:6b: (there is) a time to keep, and a time to throw away.

  46. 46 years ago when I was decorating my first house…my new mother-in-law made a statement I have never forgotten. “Your taste will change in time.” My mistake: not asking for advice, her home was beautiful, tastefull, thoughtfull. I still try to emulate her.

  47. Hi KariAnne, yes-you are definitely rocking the new lens. Love the new, larger perspective.

    One mistake I made a few years ago that I am dying to change is the suede textured paint effect on ALL the walls in my master bedroom. One of the painters told me at the time, “I hope you don’t change your mind about this”.

    I started with a gorgeous faux suede fawn color by Ralph Lauren paint. The first place I put it was inside the crown molding shadow boxes in my foyer. I loved the effect so much that I put it on the walls in my guest powder room. Again, wonderful wall treatment.

    In fact, it looked too wonderful because then I decided to put it on all the walls in master bedroom.

    Yup! I should have stopped with the powder room.

    Lesson learned-Quit while you’re ahead.

    Happy day to you!

  48. Barbara Mawdsley :

    Chandeliers and ceiling fans are a “no go” in a 1970’s New England house with 7’6″ ceilings. We got whole house air conditions in 1990. Our electric bill went down. We had previously used a 5000 BTU window air conditioner. I didn’t realize the efficiency of whole house air conditioning.

  49. Okay, I am LOVING your new lens!!

    The outlets are easy peasy to change out!! Mine were all off-white and I wanted white-white. I changed the plates and I have the outlets sitting in a bag in my office because let’s be real I haven’t gotten to it yet. But it is easy to do – I mean, if I can do it, any idiot can do it. 😉

    And I don’t care what HGTV says, they can pry my bedroom ceiling fan from my cold dead hands. 😉 I would love a fancy chandy in there because it would look so much nicer, but in the summer I HAVE to have the ceiling fan on to sleep, so it stays!

  50. Beautiful, of course…just like you! Also, saw you on Nashville TV a couple of weeks ago. Great job and your Valentine was the best new idea I’ve seen in years for Feb 14th! Thanks for all the inspiration… Cheryl Ann

  51. I think the biggest mistake I made was decorating everything in neutral when I love color. I used to watch Christopher Lowell who would always say to buy the big ticket items in a neutral, but somehow I mixed it up in my head and I wound up buying everything in shades of beige to brown. Once I found decorating blogs a few years ago I really honed in on what I loved, which is color, especially blue! So little by little I’ve been adding color and I’m loving the changes.
    So now I’m stuck with a big ole brown sectional when what I really want is a sexy, velvet, navy blue couch….. Maybe I’ll have to stage an “accident” with some bleach sometime soon!

  52. I’ve never been a fan of granite. Too busy, too much color, too much movement. So what did I put in my kitchen. Yup. Granite. The salesman and my husband convinced me…its durable, low maintenance, and buyers will love it. Marble was out of the budget and my husband feared that buyers (we plan to sell in 3 years) wouldn’t think Quartz was as nice as real stone. Big, big mistake. I dislike it so much. In my friends homes somehow it looks lovely…but it just isn’t me. There are only so many cutting boards, cheese boards, and giant bowls of fruit you can put on your countertop. This granite refuses to take a backseat to any decor. And don’t get me started on the floor to ceiling travertine in the master bath. Why??? Karianne, I really like the brown room. I still love brown anything…and dare I say, I still like beige. Especially paired with white. Your home is gorgeous, thank you for all the inspiration.

  53. Oh my word, too many of my mistakes to list here, lol. I still make them and will continue to do so, I’m sure of it. But, I’ve learned so much along the way about what not to do, so it’s okay.

  54. Wonderful post. I couldn’t agree more about the ceiling fans. We have an open living room and kitchen facing west with an 18 ft ceiling and all windows. I hate the ceiling fans and dream of beautiful chandeliers hanging in their place; but when summer arrives each and every ceiling fan is on my “Grateful For” list.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and advice!
    Shelley
    PS I would love to have you write a post on beautiful ceiling fan options. I think it’s an overlooked necessity for many of us.

  55. First of all let me say that I love your wide lens!! I could tell right away you were using it 🙂 Now, I understand about not following trends — I know what I like and I just have to get hubby motivated to paint. I know that is NOT his favorite thing — he wants to fish. And ceiling fans??? I’m sorry but I could not live without them, especially in the bedroom. When I get those “power surges” the blanket and sheet are thrown off and thank the Lord for that ceiling fan. In the meantime poor hubby is freezing. But that ceiling fan goes on full blast. I made sure it had hurricane power. And when we remodeled hubby did change out our old brown plugins for white. And your old pics are just fine — not everyone can remember things like tree skirts. But that’s okay. You’re a rock star and that’s all that counts. Have a great day!!

  56. Miz karianne…..honey, I’ve never made any decorating mistakes.
    And if you believe that, I have an adorable Gatehouse with awesome pink and orange décor that I’m sure you would be interested in taking a look at…..
    LOL

  57. My biggest recent booboo in decorating land was listening to one of my best friends! She is a high end interior designer with taste that lends itself to silk moire wall coverings and crystal chandeliers. As I tried to take her advice, I found myself so conflicted that I just had to stop–dead still–and ask if what I was doing was me. The answer was no, so I told her. Like all good friends, she understood. She’s city; I’m country. She’s crystal chandelier; I’m twig chandelier and candeliers. And that’s cool with both of us.

  58. Our biggest and expensive decorating mistake was when we hung vinyl wallpaper with a two foot large floral repeat on our staircase walls. It was pretty to look at but a doooooozzyyyy to hang and allllll the waste OOOOOOO my!!
    Our best decision was when we put ceiling fans in alllllllllll our rooms…………moves air esp. in the bedroom (sleep body odors – plus over thirty years of “personal summers”…..wooooooooooooonderful cooooooling fans N O W!!!! In every room YESSSS ! ! ! ! And we do have central air conditioning. 🙂
    My advice is to ask your “twinkle eyes” to PLEASE change alllll the outlets……….its easy (as some of the above ladies wrote), inexpensive, and quick.
    Jean McGee

  59. Two words: wallpaper border

  60. All I can say is your house is so true to you and so beautiful. I hope that one day our little farm house is a quarter of that and I will be happy. PS I love the new camera lense!

  61. Early marriage mistake…orange couch in polyester (that never showed wear…no matter how many kids & dogs I invited over to jump on it…ever!) with two black slate end tables attached. We thought we were the height of sophistication and of course since Mediterranean was “in” we bought the big orange & black bull fighter pic to hang above it. Really!?! No wonder I love my neutrals… Cheryl Ann

  62. Now my living room is too brown….BUT my switch plates match!! 🙂

  63. I really had to laugh (along with you) because we’ve all had decorating boo-boo’s. I hate outlets that are not in the right places and I hate when your contractor tells you there is no way they can’t be moved ~ at least not for under the $$ of the national debt. We have our alarm pad in the bedroom by my husband’s side of the bed and it bugs me every time I walk in the room. I’m sure no one every notices, just like no one notices yours (We all love your farmhouse and I wish I could put one in the middle of my neighbor!) Thanks for letting us know you are human too!

  64. It is difficult not to be pulled in by the latest trends. You are right in that we should follow our hearts because that is when we are happiest in most things in life, including what we do with our homes decor. Funny how those things we wish we could have a do over on are much more conspicuous to us than to anyone else. I think you home is lovely, even with the brown outlets with white cover plates. I probably would not have noticed them unless I was looking for something to criticize, which I try not to spend a lot of time doing. Again, your home is simply lovely and pleasant to look at!

  65. Oh yeah, have I ever. Like staining my mom’s bedroom furniture blue when I wanted to paint it white. That’s just a recent one. I’ve done so many dumb things following rabbit trails and trends. Live and learn, yes?

  66. My daughter and adoring son in law asked me to re-upholster 2 attached- back sofas handed down from her husband’s side of the family. As they both stood there in utter shock, I calmly told them they will thank me someday for this, and promptly cut those suckers right off the sofa. #noregrets, #listentoyourmama, #justwaituntilthebabypukesonyoursofa
    #orthepuppypeesonit

  67. Hi Karianne! I consider you a “rockstar” in blogland so seeing that I’ve made ALL the same “mistakes” makes me feel better! My plan is to remove the back cushions on my couches and make oversized pillows. I am spray painting my outlet covers to blend in with the grey walls (I already painted the inner part grey) and I’m still figuring how I’m going to cover the off white ceiling in my freshly painted bright white 2 story foyer (builders need to take some décor lessons!!lol) I totally get being caught up in the decorating idea frenzy (yes Pinterest) and not being true to our own style! So thanks for making me feel like I’m not a total décor screwup!!lo

  68. No one is laughing about your new lens… We love seeing all the wide-angle pictures! I am finally understanding your layout. Thank you for sharing!

  69. Hi Karianne – this is my first posted comment. I absolutely love, love, love your blog! I feel that we are long-last friends (that haven’t yet met). I would sit down with a tall glass of sweet tea and our conversation would just pick up and go on and on. We are in the middle of down-sizing and our new house is just being completed. We have spent a crazy 2 months of picking lights, cabinets, flooring, paint – everything floor to ceiling. I have had a few sleepless nights until they were in place. I have taken some “bold” ideas and used them in this house, I had the steps painted black and the risers painted the trim color and using a runner up the stairs. I’m sure the contractor at this point has figured that I have finally lost my mind, but they look fabulous. I also had them paint the inside of the front door black. There are a few things that I wish I could have done differently and have tried to keep things reasonable (to some degree) but decisions are made around budget. But so far so good…I love reading the comments regarding sofa’s. I hope to be able to replace my current family room furniture and was thinking of a sectional with loose backs but it seems to be a mix of opinions. Thank you for all the inspiration you share with us all.

  70. I was recovering from having rods put in my spine and my husband left me home with a painting crew. He says I told them to paint all the doors the same color as the rooms they were painting. UGH! Who listens to someone on serious pain medication for such a decision. Needless to say I have yet to fix that one.

  71. Sorry this is a little late, bad and sad Karma is hanging out in my house and will not leave, BUT I still continue to read your blog. Its like getting an email from a dear friend, filled with beautiful pictures and stories.
    So you only made 5 mistakes !!!!!, WOW I have got you topped. I can tell you about shag carpeting that Barbie shoes and silly putty got stuck in , bright green and pink vinyl bathroom wallpaper along with wall to wall carpet in the bathroom. Avocado appliances, and flush panel doors…….. Wait another 20 years and what is old becomes new again….but I will never follow that trend again. Your home is beautiful, wait a while and brown outlets may return.

  72. I recently purchased herringbone carpet for my stairs, I left the installers alone, not wanting to be a pain. By the time I looked, they had lain the carpet with the pattern running horizontally ! I had to argue with the company and pay extra to have it torn up and replaced. Also, I neglected to tell a contractor that I was planning to put side lights beside my bathroom mirror instead of strip light. The box was installed and I had to change my design. I would say know what you want and make sure workers know what you mean! Also, measure, measure! I bought a few too small sofas that looked spacious in the showroom. Over the years I have had to turn a few lemons into lemonade. Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know that even decorators we admire sometimes make mistakes albeit tiny ones.

  73. You hit the nail on the head today Karianne. I have made some of those same decorating mistakes. I did finally finish painting all my ceilings but it would’ve been so much easier to do them first and get them out of the way. I too have bought things that weren’t quite my style and then ended up selling it all because I absolutely HATED it. I too also have old outlets. I painted over most of mine with the same paint that I painted the walls. There were some though that I chose not to do that to. Instead I spray painted the brown part white and put on fresh new white face plates. Super easy. To do that I took the old covers off and threw them away. I then cut a small rectangular hole in the bottom of a cardboard shoe box. I used the shoe box kind of as a spray guard so that when I sprayed the paint it only coated the outlet and not the wall around it….did that make sense? Anyway, super easy fix without having to change the entire outlet…no wiring or electrical expertise involved! Anyway, that may be a solution for yours too. Have a terrific day and by the way your house is totally gorgeous….I don’t see ANY mistakes!!

  74. I never would’ve thought to have the outlets changed, either, KariAnne, but you are right…it does make a huge difference to the space! Such valuable tips! I think my biggest design mistake was how we left the popcorn ceilings in our old home. We should’ve gotten rid of them instead of painting them…and boy did they take A LOT of paint! The thing is, after you paint them, it makes it even harder to remove them…so we wound up leaving them and I always regretted it. Thank you for sharing your design regrets with us! Oh, and I just love seeing you have fun with that new lens…I’m enjoying seeing the beautiful photos!

  75. I believe our homes evolve just as we do. Our families change, our needs change, and our likes and dislikes change, it’s a part of life. As for mistakes, I’ve made more than my share. I think back to he days of blue and mauve and ducks and one thing I learned was NOT to follow the fads and trends of the day. What I really like is antiques and rooms filled with neutral colors and furniture that make me feel comfortable. I do love my wood floors! You are an amazing decorator and I always admire the way you know what you want and finish what you start ( not my strong suit). I am pleased that you removed the orange, red and pink from the gatehouse. Ha!

  76. I made mistake #2 also, and when my oldest son was about 5 he decided to see how well scissors would work on couch cushions, and I ended up stitching the gaping hole closed with fishing line – hoping it wouldn’t show.

    I ended up putting that couch in the burn pile – the only thing I have left to show from it is the fat feet, which I removed, because I was sure I could think of a way to repurpose them ….still haven’t done it! 🙂

  77. First-time commenter here! Number five really spoke to me. I am always tempted to push my style limits, and when I do, I’m never satisfied. As much as I love color and fun patterns, they don’t work out for me. I painted my dining room a pinky coral color last year and loved it at first, but then it felt blinding. Plus, it’s not a color I regularly decorate with, so nothing else in my house coordinated. I repainted it the same week. Live and learn!

    Your farmhouse style is wonderful, by the way. Soothing neutrals for the win!

  78. I’ve literally made all these mistakes! I think if you love your home and love decorating it you’re not doing it right if you don’t make some mistakes along the way way!!!!

  79. I’ve just discovered your blog through Emily Clark’s site and spent a happy Saturday morning sipping tea and having a good old laugh at all the comments from your too funny followers. I, too have made mistakes (but some can be considered changes in taste as one readers very smart mother in law stated will happen) so technically readers, shave off a good 50% off your number. We have just moved (think oh so recent) and renovated a new house and I was bound and determined NOT to make any mistakes. I am good at following my own desires and know what I love. However, I am so bad at picking the right undertone of paint even when I slap 5 samples on the wall, so I hired a lovely designer to help me pick. Well, although I love most of the choices we decided on, I should have stayed with the lovely muslin walls for our master bedroom that we had in our previous home because although “cake batter” is delicious to eat, and looks so sophisticated with black accents during the daylight, when you cozy up with a good book at night, all I can think about is bananas!!!! By the way, I have just purchased a couch with attached cushions and love it. Our oh so comfy feather and fill removable cushions from our tv room couch deflate like a burst ballon as soon as the dogs perch on the back to look out the window. I have now added more feathers so although it looks good and I’m not fluffing 10 times a day, there is now only about eight inches of seat to sit on. 🙂

  80. I don’t know if someone already said this, but I think it’s pretty easy to change the inside part of the outlet. I think my husband youtubed it and he is not overly handy. Just make sure to shut off the power to that receptacle. Makes a huge difference!

  81. #5 yes – It isn’t just Pinterest that does it either. I will go in to a home decor store and sometimes something just calls out to me and the colors are right and I am happy with the purchase until I walk through the door of my home and think, “What was I thinking?” because the style is totally not mine…Now I will sometimes take a photo with my phone say of my sofa and surroundings if I am looking for throw pillows, etc. I don’t like that I get style distracted but sometimes I do. I remind myself that I can appreciate a different style without bringing it home : )

  82. I found this post through Emily Clark’s link. Too bad husbands have such a hard time understanding decorating mistakes! I keep telling mine that now I know so much more about interior design than I did when I bought x, y, z and now I need a new x,y, z to replace it!! Usually he just doesn’t get it :(. I did push for moving our kitchen outlets down to be flush with the counter and reducing the number because there was an over abundance of outlets right in the middle of the wall where I want to install a new tile backsplash. Lesson learned? Get an estimate! Whatever it is you’re envisioning may not be as expensive or complicated as you think it will. Great post 🙂

  83. I soooo get your mistakes and claim many of them for my own life!! The sofa cushions, the ‘red basement walls’ (that everyone tried to talk me out of), not doing things b/c you are feeling rushed–you’ll get back to it anyway later—NOT! One thing I am so glad I did when we built our little cottage is that I put ceiling fans in every room. My heating and A/C bills thank me all the time. Yep. I love them, other people laugh at me until I recite my heating/cooling bills to them. I do regret not putting more can lights in my home and dimmers. I know, I am soooo out of it, lol. But they are things I DO love. Good to know others make mistakes too. Great post. I am owning it.

  84. Vanessa knows best :

    I love your blog! We have started our own top to bottom remodel. I heard start in your room create a sanctuary that you can run and hide from the rest of the unfinished things that are staring at you. Haha. I love my bedroom, but so many learning opportunities. My husband is an electrician and we did not update any of the wiring in our bedroom. Luckily we don’t spend a lot of time in there with our electronics we will be ok. I painted stripes on the bedroom wall! Love them! Pain in the butt to get that perfect edge. We put the floor in before I finished painting the closest. Big mistake! So many paint drops. Thank goodness for mineral spirits. Today we are putting up the trim, baseboards, and door casings up. Wish us luck we will be able to move into the room and start on the living area!

  85. I love your raw honesty here. I moved into a house 3 years ago that we are slowing “reviving cham” to. I don’t particularly have any regrets at this point since we are going through the renovation process but what worries me is that there might be design mistakes waiting in the wings that I will regret in years to come.

    The biggest mistake I made at our old place was installing custom grey silk drapes in the bedroom. They never looked quite right. I didn’t live with them for very long; we replaced them almost immediately before replacing them with a beautiful linen.

    I do go back and forth with the whole ceiling fan issue. We currently have two and we have a love/hate relationship with eachother! I have my eye on a light fixture for the guest room but deep down I think the ceiling fan is a better choice. That internal debate is what is keeping me from making a decision.

  86. I love ceiling fans, seriously! They are a life saver during our hot summers! Number 5 is a great lesson!

  87. I have made every single one of these mistakes, including yellowing outlets, popcorn ceilings still in place and not a single ceiling fan in the whole house! uggh

  88. Oh, there are so many… I have struggled to find my style and have made “bad” choices as a result of not having a clear vision. The more I decorate and tweak, the more I’ve developed a clear picture of my style, but I still have to work on meshing my vision with my husband’s (or his lack of appreciation for my vision – I’m not sure which it is). And then there’s always the challenge of executing the vision within the budget. That’s a continual work in progress.

  89. I love these tips! Super helpful in planning some house hunting and what to keep in mind when starting the renovations!

  90. I still hate ceiling fans. I don’t find them to be a necessity, but I have ranch, 8′ ceilings.
    I have the luxury of changing my mind, so mistakes aren’t mistakes anymore. They’re inconsequential changes I wish I’d known before I did xxxx.
    I am divorced now and have ripped out, changed, and rebuilt everything I ever did to accommodate a 6’5″ deadbeat, now-ex-DH. I’m 5’2″ and my house and its furnishings are now my size and my taste. It helps that I’m rebuilding from a fire (now by myself. As in I’m doing it without help) and have a somewhat clean slate. If I don’t like something, or find something I like better? I just take it down, apart, out, or dismantle it and give it away. I’ve recently discovered a nice income stream from this and my extra construction materials on CL!

    I have learned to only pick up things that cause me to scream, “AH HA! THAT’S IT!” and never, ever to settle for, “Oh, that’s nice. It’ll do. I can do xxxxx to it.” Even to the point I bought and built 65′ lf of cabinetry, then took it down and gave it away because I discovered I DIE for beaded inset cabinetry. I retrofitted several reach-in base cabinets with drawers in my kitchen, mbr and mb. (Why would you want to crawl around on the floor to find things you only remember you have when you’re cleaning those cabinets out?) I ripped out a tile kitchen floor and put in reclaimed pine (12×3/4″ lumber from reuse centers, packing crates and pallets) that I stand and stare at all the time.

    My mistakes have been letting someone “little lady” me, or to talk me out of something I want. EVERY single outlet in my house is a quad, for example. Today’s electrical needs are a lot different than even 20 years go. Dual outlets just don’t cut it. (I use Mulberry “wrinkled” outlet covers because you can paint them and it doesn’t peel.) I have studs in my walls where I know I’ll probably hang a picture our something. Whether they’re on center or not. I have 15 pocket doors now, with antique doors I have acquired and stripped. Yes, I am selling 15 beautiful, unfinished 1.75″ thick, modern door slabs. A mistake? Sure. But one that’s changeable.

    ‘I guess my point is that all of these “mistakes” you’ve all talked about are fixable! Sure, they might take time or some more money, but nothing is necessary NOW. Plan for 2 days off in a row. Save a few pennies here and there (how much does pop, Starbuck’s or ick-a-pack of cigarettes cost?) No one has to live with something you wish were different. It’s called “live and learn” and go with your gut. If your gut loves it… If your gut is “eh” about it? Hold off.

    That said, your home is gorgeous. Your mistakes are things I believe only you see. Even those little outlet eyes staring at you blend in until you mentioned them. (Paint ’em. It’ll last for a while at least!) I know I’d trade my entire house with you, for one finished room like you’ve done. Just so peaceful.

  91. A lot of mistakes fill the pages above me so I’m not sure this will even be read but this helps me learn to write again so on I shall go as I’ve been doing for four years. Making sense or sometimes not. One thing I thought was that in the grand scheme of things, you did just fine. Just fine. Your errors were not of great magnitude. Not horrific that cost fortunes.
    I taught school and walked into classrooms so pristine with black bulletin boards and SuzyQ matching borders and red sheets of paper ready to back students’ work all in pristine straight rows. I drooled. But I could not do it. I needed yellow, this pretty sky blue as my backgrounds and student art always hung a bit purposely crooked going this way and that so that a piece of art could be hung and an entire wall looked fun not boring. Plus it irritated me if the papers cut were crooked for the backing!! So in all that I learned that while I might admire someone else’s room, I needed mine to feel warm and inviting and let the kids’ work be the true star.
    In my home? I do not really decorate the trends. My home is small and colorful and has just a touch of stuff from the popular shops for fun. But is it up to date? No. Money went for universities and weddings and helping someone and so it goes. But the man here to fix our water leak in piping from main over the garage stood in awe, my husband said, and said Your home is decorated so nicely. It feels so warm and inviting. Like my classroom? Maybe I’m doing something okay after all?

  92. I have a 1200 foot cottage. I tore out the ceiling fans year one, I hated them. I put them back in year two! I love my fans and now have more than I started with. I was willing to pay what I had to to get what I wanted and ended up getting three blade stainless steel and black fans at a big box store for under $200 each.

    My biggest mistake was engaging my teenage children and encouraging them to participate in the decorating process…nope, never again.

  93. Style is not a mistake. It’s whatever you love at that moment. This white/neutral trend will also pass. I actually like your room with the brown. Thank goodness I don’t like the same style I did 25 years ago! My home is ever changing!!!

  94. House of Antique Hardware has some beautiful switch plate covers in an antique brass or bronze finish. They would look great with the brown switches! I have the opposite problem-white switches sticking out of my nice bronze switch plate covers….

  95. Claudine Pate :

    Wow. Your home is so beautiful. I love all the light that comes from your windows. I’m also jealous of the wood floors. I’m also a pintrest nut. I moved into my apartment in oct an started OVER decorating to fast and to soon, always looking at a pic an saying yuppies thats for me! Lol. I paint an upscale almost everything cause on a very tight budget. Furniture, pictures an Deco accents. You name it I’ve created something out of it. But I’m finally done with thinking ‘what will people say when they see my new place?’. So thanks an keep up the great blog.
    Claudine oxox