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What's the WORST home advice you've ever been given?

Emily H
8 years ago
People mean well, but sometimes their advice is just off the mark. What's the worst advice you've ever been given about your home or caring for your home?

Share your experience! (photos encouraged)

Plan #013S-0014 · More Info

Comments (233)

  • km kane
    7 years ago
    denita, all my friends and family miss it too. The current owner keeps offering to let me have a party with everyone as long as she can attend. Now THAT's love!
  • bungalowmo
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    kmkane....wow, what a wonderful home! I really like that kitchen. The skinny strip of...is it chrome(?)...in the subway tile is such a special touch! I really like that red in the DR too. I guess my red I'm liking is leaning toward a cranberry tone.

    That woodwork in the upstairs is exactly like mine! That was a pretty popular trim style, but still really nice when preserved! :0)

    I also loved the glass towel bar in the bathroom! I have one too. My place is not childproof at all. But I guess back then, kids learned what not to mess with & parents didn't sue...

    Oh...and that backyard is really nice...love the old shade trees! :0)
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  • babbs50
    7 years ago
    Painting a bedroom green. Ugh.
  • km kane
    7 years ago
    Hi bungalomo, the chrome strip in the subway tile was meant to break up all the off white in the kitchen, and I think it worked. Same thing with the thin shelf above the range (tho I would have loved a 36" Viking!) The skinny strip is made up of stainless steel covered tiles of different sizes. They came on one 12" square sheet, which I bought at 1/4 price - for about $10! I tore the sheet apart and made one long line.

    Found the glass towel bars on eBay. Light fixtures too. Brass switch plates - didn't pay more than $3. Portland has a place called The Rebuilding Center and Hippo Hardware that sells used house parts. Rejuvenation started here too, so I was there often. Tried my best to save $ where I could. Being a single lady and all......
  • bungalowmo
    7 years ago
    kmkane....I'm right there with ya Hon...single lady doing all the work on one paycheck. I also do what I can, myself.

    *another example of bad advice.....
    When I began my porch restoration last Summer, I had some guy walk by & say "you really ought to hire someone to do that"!

    To which I replied..."I did. His attention to detail was like a 5 year old. Wanted to sand out the detail work in the railings because it was 'easier' ".

    I sent him packing. I'll do it myself, thank you.....
  • Paulina V.
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    bungalowmo, I recognize that from all sorts of fields, not just construction (Oh goodness, my father-in-law "helping" my husband fix our chicken coop was an ordeal. A chronological age doesn't trump your daughter-in-law's structural engineering background. Call it a hunch! I'd have roofed it myself, but at almost 8 months pregnant, good luck getting up that ladder! At least the coop will work until I have the time to build a more permanent, bigger structure, complete with permanent brooders, feed storage, and a few "isolation units" for sick birds...)

    For the past decade, I've been a "20-something" blonde, so for example if I stop at a gas station with our car or truck and pop the hood open, and am checking oil, or tire pressure, or changing out headlights, or some such minor car maintenance chore, "gentlemen" will just swarm around me to offer help. A lot of them have never even looked under the hood of a vehicle, let alone changed tires. My dad (really, both parents... My mom taught me how to change tires) insisted I know how to do some of that basic stuff, to make sure I'm able to get out of a pickle without calling roadside assistance for minor car trouble.

    I learned most of what I know about plumbing from my mom. She's a tough lady. :)

    You can imagine how, when I worked as one of those people who answers, and forwards building maintenance calls for condos and rental units outside business hours and weekends, trying to explain to a caller, that their "massive leak"-problem (usually, there's a drip in a drain pipe under the kitchen sink or such, if even that, and it'd be a total DIY job for a half competent condo owner) can wait until Monday morning, and what a temporary "fix" is, until then, when the caller was an older man, they insisted on talking to a man in stead of a "gel". I have, as the shift supervisor, given the phone to one of the interns, who didn't even know what the call was about, and dictated to him the exact thing I said. At least the customer was happy in 99% of those cases...
  • chloebud
    7 years ago
    The worst advice was being told a zillion "musts" to get our house ready for selling. Other than cleaning and staging, we did almost nothing. The home sold in 2 weeks for well over the asking price.
  • bungalowmo
    7 years ago
    I gotcha Penny....I've been an Audio/Acoustical & Video Engineer for nearly 14 years. When I would explain a situation or reasoning behind a decision, the guys would usually ask for my "boss".

    I was the boss....
  • bungalowmo
    7 years ago
    Ok....back on track to bad advice......at a wine festival last year there was a replacement window salesman trying to get me to enter a contest for free replacements.

    He didn't understand my reasoning for wanting to restore my 100 yo sash on my own.
  • mllow
    7 years ago
    We can do it ourselves!

    Nope. We can't.
  • alh1881
    7 years ago
    Bungalowmo-- I get calls from people wanting to sell me replacement windows and plastic siding. I tell them "My house is 130 years old and in a historic district, so no." They usually say something like. "Oh, I see. Thank you for your time." (Really- I don't think one has ever tried to pressure me)
  • druesig
    7 years ago
    I am so proud of the ladies (especially the blond ones...) who 'do it themselves'!!!! I used to do most of my own repairs (can't bend any longer) but so many times when getting supplies, I was treated...not well in the stores. I sold automotive services, batteries, tires wearing a dress and high heels (dress code) and often ignored because they wanted to 'talk to a man'...then the staff would turn to me for the information!!! Keep up the good work ladies and pass it on to your daughters and grand-daughters!!!
  • shars55
    7 years ago
    Mine was from a friend who wanted me to "faux paint" my walls like hers. She did it herself, and it looked like she just took a paint brush and randomly went over a green wall with brown paint. It was ugly! No thanks...:/
  • PRO
    LB Interiors
    7 years ago
    shars, I've seen those kinds of faux walls. They are not what faux is all about. Done well, they are beautiful. So many textures, products, tools and paint color mixes to create beautiful walls.
  • bluenan
    7 years ago
    In our last home, 25 years ago, our architect kept touting the wonders of Masonite siding. Thanks goodness we went with authentic beveled cedar siding and avoided the many problems and class action lawsuits that followed the demise of Masonite siding!
  • shars55
    7 years ago
    True, LB! If I decided to faux paint my walls, I would have a pro do it. Hers looked just awful.
  • Jennifer
    7 years ago
    Builder's sales associate convinced me to put in "bone-colored" fixtures in all three bathrooms because it was traditional. Hate it!! So wishing I had gone with my gut and gone with the white. Will change out when budget permits...
  • MJ Stephens
    7 years ago
    I'm doing a kitchen renovation....I hired a designer.....mistake #1. We haven't started yet...and I have already paid her over $2000.00. I have no samples of anything, she has given me a design with two outlandish quotes. The biggest problem is she is insisting I rip out my current hardwood that is not in the kitchen but in the living room and hallways. I live my eleven year old maple, clear lacquered hardwood...I told her I love it. She HATES it and says they are too yellow and she is insisting I have hardwood throughout the house that she chooses. I don't understand why I can't just have tile in the kitchen and connecting TV room. I am doing a white kitchen with marble counter top or quartz. I gave her a healthy budget and so far all I have is STRESS from her insistence to rip out floors that I love. I am a single Mom and have taken out a loan for this renovation...I want to fire her and do my own thing. How can I get some money back? I don't understand what she has done for over $2000.00...I don't mind paying for the design but I don't want her as my designer. I believe she is laughing all the way to the bank with my hard earned money. If anyone has any advice for me.....I would so appreciate it.
  • PRO
    sstarr93
    7 years ago
    harmonydream, do you have a contract with this person? You should be able to get out of it, and if there are stipulations about what she was to deliver, and she hasn't delivered, then you can be successful in small claims court.
    Yes, go with your own vision for this; you are correct that there is nothing wrong with your maple flooring, and tile in a kitchen is very appropriate.
    I have put hardwood in a kitchen, but I don't usually recommend it; tile is more durable, and there are many beautiful tile options now. S*
  • Sigrid
    7 years ago
    Why don't you plan a meeting with your designer and tell her you expect a design that meets your needs for the $2K. Further, don't argue over the floors. Just tell her, the floors stay. Period. Further, you don't want her to charge a single penny for time she spends on the floor question. In fact, you could suggest she estimate the time she's spent on your floors and deduct if from her fee. The minute you told her that you want to keep the floors, she should have shut up.

    Contact her boss, if need be.

    Ultimately, she's working for you and you need to remind her of it. I always get stressed out by telling people they're not doing their job, but when the alternative is paying her to tell you to spend lots of money to replace floors you like, well . . .
  • partim
    7 years ago
    I was interviewing designers and one of them went on and on about how I needed a decorative baker's rack in my large front hallway. With lots of pottery on it. Um, no.

    First, I'm redesigning my whole house including kitchen and baths, and you're focused on one decorative item? Second, you can see that my style is very clean and spare. That's because I don't like things like decorative shelving.
  • MJ Stephens
    7 years ago
    sstar and Sigrid ....THANK YOU! I like your comments. On top of everything.... I have done tons of leg work, she had me measure my home and each room for square footage. I know exactly what I want.... And I agree that hardwood looks great in white kitchens BUT it opens up a big can of worms that I want to avoid which includes cost and an even bigger renovation than anticipated. I asked her if she could tell me which companies she got the quotes from and she didn't tell me. She only said one came in at $18k and one at $14k and that is ONLY for cabinets. I have also gone and got a quote for new fireplace and a quote to replace sliding doors with French doors that would go out to the patio. I'm not sure what she is doing? Every time I speak with her it's about how I should get new hardwood floors throughout. Her total fee is $3000.00 excluding the $300.00 consult fee. I think she is also getting huge kickbacks for the kitchen quotes and that is why she won't tell me who the quotes came from. My Neighbor across the street who is a kitchen designer herself was horrified and feels I have not gotten my monies worth. She said tile is an excellent choice and she totally "got it". She suggested I ask my designer to give me an itemized list of what the $2000.00 has included so far.
  • PRO
    sstarr93
    7 years ago
    Well, cancel the contract formally and ask for money back.
    Yes, she is probably getting a special deal on materials and skimming $$$ from each item.
    You will enjoy the process of costing out each component of your new space. S*
  • druesig
    7 years ago
    Contact your better business bureau and file a complaint. If she doesn't itemize what the $2000 covers so far, request a refund in writing except for the $300 consult fee. And I agree, she is getting a kickback from where ever she got those 2 estimates and what kind of cabinets are they?? Did you see them, touch them, try the hinges, etc??? She should have brought samples by now and deduct TIME for the floors SHE keeps talking about as that is NOT what you requested her to do.
  • Chromatic
    7 years ago
    Had a contractor over for quote on roofing frame-in issue. He took the opportunity to give advice on everything! I had just bought the fixer upper and there was tons to do. But he would not let up that I HAD to put carpet in the bedrooms....resale etc. I am in Florida with a pool and sandy soil and many dogs and cats. I was SURE I did NOT want any carpet. So glad I didn't listen. Having no carpet has been a blessing. I can just start up the robotic vacuum and let it go all over the place. All he could do is think of my house as a flip.
  • resist9
    7 years ago
    From a carpenter doing otherwise good work on the house: "Remove all the trees on the side of the driveway so you can park more cars and drive directly to your garden shed in the side of the yard." The driveway already fits two cars side-by-side and the wooded lot is an asset not a detriment.
  • bbarick
    7 years ago
    Twenty some years ago a realtor told us to multiply our income by 2.5 and buy a house in that price range. Then as we get raises to upgrade to ever more expensive houses. So glad we didn't listen to that advice! We built a house that cost about 1/3 of what we "should" have (according to that realtor), invested the other 2/3 in mutual funds and retirement accounts, paid off the house early and are now retired young healthy and financially independent. No, we don't have a big fancy house like our peers do but I don't regret our choices for one second....those peers are still working.
  • makaloco
    7 years ago
    Me: "The pool patio needs to be nonslip when wet and walkable in bare feet."
    Contractor: "Textured ceramic tile is the way to go."

    Wrong advice on so many levels that I won't even get started. Plus it's badly installed and criminally ugly.
  • mdorey
    7 years ago
    When we sold our house we had 2 realtors and an appraiser advise us on how much we could sell it for. As we were about to heed their advice a former neighbor stopped by and said she would buy the house for what the realtors quoted then she would turn around an resell it for $50k more than the highest estimate.

    We already had 3 interested parties by word of mouth, without any advertising. So we added $50k to the highest estimate and gave that price to the potential buyers. One dropped out, but one offered us even more to eliminate the competition and we sold it for the higher price.

    Moral of the story: Do your research and trust your gut. You can always go down if needed.
  • redchilihothots
    7 years ago
    @hayleydaniels Regarding your statement to how easy french doors are to break into - I thought so too UNTIL I found this. It's amazing! It's a 3 point lock that you only have to turn one lock to engage all three. Truly amazing, I think everyone could appreciate this (and maybe it will help you get your french doors!) :)

    http://www.nicksbuilding.com/3_point_locks.php
  • mrsstem
    7 years ago
    Worst advice. I was told my one-of-a-kind antique cabinet was too big and my collection of ceramics (some dating back to 200 BC) were old-fashioned and clutter...and I needed to get rid of them and buy new.

    When I stopped laughing, I realized she wasn't standing there anymore...
  • Mary
    7 years ago

    Paint the whole house taupe, with beige Berber carpet," You want everything consistent dear" How about No! if I'm going to live here for the rest of my life, I want color, Chartreuse in the living room, red white and blue in the kitchen, yellow walls and Ceiling in the family room , black, white and terracotta ,in the main bath, Kelly green rug in the master bedroom! As the song goes " I don't care! I love it! You don't live here I do. My adult children are Artists, I wonder why? LOL

  • sandiocd
    7 years ago

    @juliesayer. Our neighbors across the street advised us to cut down our giant, shady, old maple trees so they could sit on their porch and look at the front of our house

    However, Worst advice ever must have been given to the previous owners of our 1907 house, who covered the original hand painted mural in the pic below with floral wallpaper.




  • sandiocd
    7 years ago
    Trying again to attach photo
  • mrsstem
    6 years ago
    Ohhh wow sandiocd....you managed to restore it though?

    What an awesome feature!
  • Catherine Hounslow
    6 years ago

    White tiled floor in kitchen.

  • bunnyllg
    6 years ago
    Worst advice was to put the laundry room on the second floor. Have hated it for 10 years. No wonder that my new house has it back down by the kitchen and near the first floor Master.
  • rachuba
    6 years ago
    Worst was not to put the washer dryer in the master bath. We love the convenience of having the linen and master walk in closets so close. But we did keep the old water hook up and electrical in the old garage pass through, albeit tiled over, a quick fix for some future owner to put it back if they want.
  • joannpb
    6 years ago

    @Catherine Hounslow, I agree completely... in fact White tile floor ANYWHERE! They always look SO bright and clean in pictures and such a major pain to live with.

  • BB Galore
    6 years ago

    Worst home advice hubby and I received came from a well-meaning family member, who insisted we should, as newlyweds, buy a condo to get our foot up on the first rung of the real estate ladder. I'm sure condos are great for some people in some circumstances, but a young couple who want to build a family don't need a condo. The money we paid in association fees alone was almost as high as our former rent. In order to sell it, we put in new carpeting, and then had to replace the AC unit. Between the real estate agent fees, the improvements we made, and other expenses, we barely broke even at closing, and even then, the whole experience was a net loss of several thousand dollars. We should have stayed in our apartment, and used the savings toward the house we eventually bought.

  • PRO
    Tumblewood Designs
    6 years ago

    When I was 10 I gave my parents the advice of painting the house we lived in a baby blue color. WHY they listened to me I have no idea but that house is STILL baby blue. They moved from there 25 years ago. Still cracks me up when I drive by there. What can I say?? - I can be very convincing ;-)

  • henleyot
    6 years ago

    You need an extra bedroom for guests to visit 3-4 days per year. No, mom, that's why there are hotels

  • cheribob
    6 years ago
    I was considering hiring an interior decorator. I said I had $10k to redecorate the living room. I told her the most important thing was to get one (or two) lighted curio cabinets for my Lladro collection.

    She came back with an estimate of $20k & no curio cabinet but suggested an armoire for my TV. She had not measured anything & I had not picked out any materials.
  • deloss
    6 years ago

    To install light colored carpet!!!!!! Not ever anywhere for any reason!

  • mom3333
    6 years ago

    It wasn't really advice, but the advice was implied, about a year after we bought our home (35 years ago):

    "It's a great starter home"

    It's our forever home, and I have genes on both sides of my family that makes living to 95 or so not out of the question.

  • Elaine Doremus Resumes Written
    6 years ago

    A bank told me (when I was unemployed) - if you can't pay the bills, get a loan off your house and get money that way. (horrible advice - if I can't pay back that loan - the bank gets my house!) Great for the bank - not great for me.

  • cupofkindnessgw
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The worst advice given was to attach a cheap piano hinge to a glass/ aluminum-framed shower door to the tile doorway. This from a guy who was too stupid to measure the door before he finished retiling the shower stall. The piano hinge was meant to extend the aluminum frame. The remodeler tore out thick concrete walls and installed hardibacker, which would have been fine if he had measured correctly. The new doorway was an inch and a half too wide. We fired him.

    The silver lining: I posted the problem, which seemed like a crisis at the time since it involved thousands of dollars, on the John Bridge Tile Forum and learned that one of the forum moderators lived in my area. Since then, that moderator has renovated all three baths/showers in our house using the "mud" method (meaning a concrete and chickenwire underlayment that the tile is applied to) and really, they are still beautiful, functional, and no shower pan leaks! All white tile, just perfect! Love that tile forum too.

  • smdrovetto
    6 years ago

    I don't even remember where I found them, but I hired one contractor for a small job, that did a good job, but disappeared just before he was done, no big deal.................but he finally called and said he was hiding from the mob. He was an older guy, said he was from Las Vegas, with a perm and a gold chain. Another guy that did a good job, but one day several years later, I heard a familiar voice on TV, and looked, and it was him, on a local talk show talking about how he put his life together after being in prison.........................

  • ninjaphoto
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Resurrecting an old thread here, but I'm going to have to say the worst advice we got was from ILs:

    "This is a good house, I think you should buy it, we like it."

    They convinced us to walk away from two homes that we really liked that we're closer to my husbands job but further from "home". still regret it. (We brought parents along to the second or third viewings of homes)

    Fixing up a dream/forever home we were okay with, fixing up a starter home has turned into a mess of calculating what will help us sell and get an ROI on. If they're not doing the work, or living there, I'm not listening to personal opinion.... next round will only "listen" to about technical issues from my grand pap or father in law on the second viewings.

  • Sylvia Wendel
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Many years ago I was instructed to rip out the vinyl in the kitchen and breakfast nook, replace it with ceramic tile, and extend the tile into the den. Ok, the vinyl had to go, but the tile was a BAD choice ... too shiny, always cold, and hurt my back. Worse, it made the den look like a bathroom. I had a young child and a dog at the time, so I suppose the idea was that tile would be “practical,” but after six months it looked awful and after a year, completely dated... and my back hurt. I didn’t like having to put rugs down in front of the sink. Far more hassle than it was worth.


    Additionally, the tile increased noise levels. Nothing to absorb the sound of the TV or appliances. Putting dishes away made a racket like a bowling alley.


    That house was sold two years ago and torn down.. I want to say,”thankfully.” And who gave me the bad advice? My mom.She was a wonderful person and a domestic goddess, but I never shared her taste for “modern”, which to me looks institutional.


    Do what you want, not what your family members want. Sometimes even mom is wrong.