Design Regret
Jeannie Nguyen
March 27, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Have you ever had a perfect vision of a particular design/theme for your home, but then once it was finished, it didn't turn out how you expected?

Share your stories of your regretful home design projects! If you have before and after photos, feel free to share those too!

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Had a bright idea after returning from the South Pacific - I wanted a tropical/beachy theme in the bedroom. I used 2 or 3 different species of fresh palm fronds as "stencils" and painted over them with a light green/pea color. The effect: baby puked on the plant!
3 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 12:34AM
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We have a long narrow rowhouse and my original color scheme came from a book of blues. Spouse and I both fell in love with Scandanavian-style blues, those cool grayish blues that look simple and spare. We envisioned all three floors of hallway in cool blue and the public rooms (front parlor/living area, rear parlor/TV area, library) in some similar complementary shade or a white that keep the cool elegant theme alive. Our furniture and lighting would also be simple, a little rustic, comfortable, nothing frilly. Little did we know, our north-facing house chews up grays and spits them out. Any cool-toned paint reads as sad, depressing, battleship gray. We repainted the halls white but kept the public rooms lighter shades of blue-gray until it just got too oppressive AND we found a painter who said, um, this is wrong for this space. Now we have a vibrant yellow up front, a rosy peach in the rear and the library is red. All the woodwork pops against the warm undertones of the paint and the whole place feels happier.
12 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 4:07AM
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Beware the vacation inspiration! I used to vacation with two girlfriends in Nantucket every summer. Once there, we'd get swept away with whale themed sweaters, bags, belts, and lightship baskets and and. Finally we agreed: " No WHALE _ _ _ _! " Once home, this stuff can seem nothing short of what- was- I- thinking"?! Same holds true for Mediterranean colors in places like London which lack the brilliant seaside light, or Tuscan color and artifact in your Florida condo, or a tiki bar in your living room in Minneapolis. Breathe. Let that air go right to your brain and common sense, and ignore the call of the Pina Colada, and the whales too.
22 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 4:19AM
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Loved the look in the showroom of a deep, wine-red, plush carpet and bought it for the master bedroom. It always looked beautiful, too, for about 10 minutes after I ran the sweeper. Then it showed EVERY speck of dust. I also fell in love with a paint chip once--Martha Stewart's Punch--an intense coral orange. Decided I could use it in my laundry room and adjoining half bath. Wrong! The painter got the first coat on 2 of the bath walls and called me in to look. It felt like a punch in the face. Had to have him stop work while my husband ran to the store for a lighter hue.
4 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 5:29AM
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Sclawson, been there with orange. In an old apartment we picked expensive Donald Kaufman colors, then tried to color-match with Benjamin Moore. All the blues and greens and creamy yellows color-matched acceptably, but DK has this great peachy-apricot-blush-soft mustard orange that BM could not get. The painter would put down a two-coat test patch, and I'd think, "oh my, traffic cone." The paint store tweaked the formula and then it looked like Tang. We eventually bit the bullet and paid DK paint prices for that room only.
1 Like   March 30, 2014 at 6:53AM
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I thought it would be a great idea to paint the wall at the end of my hallway black. I have used black throughout the house already so I wasn't worried. Yuk! It was horrid, took three coats of white and a top coat of cream to paint it back as before.
0 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Marla Oppenheim: Decorating Consultant
At least paint is relatively inexpensive to rectify. I once spent $2000 to reupholster a sectional couch in my family room with a Kravet tweed fabric that looked beautiful, in a small sample, with the others I had chosen for the space. Once the couch was done, the fabric read "PEACH blob" anywhere from 2 feet or more away from it. Bleh. I was trying for warm corals and salmon shades with chocolate brown accents. I lived with it for 3 years...then gave it away. Expensive lesson.
2 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 8:10AM
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I made the mistake of ordering a custom round dining table in a much-too-small diameter for the size of the room, and the wood chairs I ordered were so dull and blah. None of it matched with the feel of the rest of the room.
I fixed it with scrap wood to enlarge the table into an oval, spray paint for the chairs, and 2 additional thrift store upholstered chairs. Whew!
3 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 3:46PM
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Marie Obrien
I remodeled a livingroom/diningroom (700 sq ft.) I saw a wood-look vinyl flloor in a decorator showroom. It was being installed in the showroom and they generously gave me a sample. I came home, bought it, had it installed and hate it. It has not one saving grace, It looks dusty, it creaks, it looks cheap. The flooring itself was not expensive ($1500), however, prep, matching the steps (stained) and installation probably came to over $5000. My husband wanted carpeting, I like the look of hardwood, I wish I could think of some story (for hubby) to replace this with a hardwood or laminate. Does vinyl cause cancer? lol
1 Like   March 30, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Omg, I feel so awful after reading some of these stories! Mine was much easier. I fell in love with a Milo Boughman rosewood and steel table BEFORE the house closed. Since I didn't want to make a huge mistake (and drop a ton of cash), I let it go..... Sadly, when I moved into the space, I just couldn't get over the table so started thinking about ways I could have that streamlined/vintage look with a modern table since good vintage is difficult to find. Bought one at Crate and Barrel that I thought looked pretty versatile. As soon as it arrived, I knew it was wrong, called to have it returned. I lost all of $200 on shipping. Found a vintage teak table of the absolute perfect size/proportion within a couple of months for a mere $600 on CL. A steal! And it looked great instantly. Do I still wish I had that Milo Boughman......? Yeah. But I'm happy. I spent the money on chairs instead. And honestly, I decorate far too slowly and use far too many "props" before purchasing to make many mistakes. In fact, I'm one year into the house (and several rooms down) and that table was my first and only mistake besides my son's shag rug (you can't clean them easily). And that will be replaced very soon.
0 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 8:17PM
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