buyer’s remorse anony

We’ve all experienced it. If this were a buyer’s remorse anony meeting, I would totally be the prez. And it would be because you all love me, right?

{Flutters eye lashes} No? Okay.


Ten plus years ago when we were first married, it felt like a bit of a race to furnish our home. I have no idea where the pressure came from, other than ourselves. We naively put a little on credit trying to fill up our empty, brand new house with big box store purchases. We were young and foolish and hiding behind excuses like ‘we need this’ and ‘we’ll use this to entertain’ followed by ‘we’ll pay it off right away’.

When we actually had cold hard cash a little further down the road, in an effort to be frugal and make up for past mistakes we went for the discounted pieces because they were cheaper… even if we weren’t crazy about them. We weren’t even sure what we liked.

In the long run, we ended up spending more money trying to replace pieces we just didn’t love.

What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were making the same mistakes again, in a different way.

We didn’t really think through our purchases. We went for the instant gratification pieces that could fill up an empty space quickly. There was this pretend, underlying expectation we put on ourselves. Now that we were married, we were to pursue the “American Dream”, right? {Cue inspirational Chariots of Fire music. Now cue a massive record screech.}

What is the ‘American Dream’, anyway? Isn’t it a little different for everyone? Mine was to have the living dollhouse where I could hostess and entertain to my heart’s content.

Then we had three children. I guess you could say a new (reality infused) dream was born to get through the next three years without losing my head.

Looking back, I wish I could grab my 22 year old self with stars in her eyes (yes, we were babies) and shake her firmly by the shoulders until the stars fell out and she could see again. Apart from telling her that she doesn’t have to be all things to everyone, stop her from taking that waste of a “design” job… (even if she would inevitably learn from her mistakes) And inform her that the boxy blouse does absolutely nothing for her torso, I would tell her that of all things: Take your sweet time in furnishing your home.

This isn’t trading spaces and your home isn’t a microwave. It’s a crock pot. Just like your budget. A very slow, avocado green one left over from 1965.

I would tell her, “You kind of have the rest of your life to ‘get there’.”

Beautiful homes are created over time. It takes time to decide what your taste will be…to cultivate that taste. Once it’s cultivated, it’s still organic and changing.

What if we were different, ten years ago, and simply sat on the floor for a while? Had an empty space where a dining room table should go? What would be so wrong with waiting? Would the proverbial walls of my own ridiculous expectations come crashing down? Would they now?

Ten years later, I’m beginning to grasp this concept. I wish I had been secure enough in my choices to wait for what I really wanted, while I discovered who I was.

I think we’ve all been there. Anxious to move on from those pieces that were handed down to us in the early years, we make a few buyer’s remorse kind of mistakes…and we pay for them in the long run. If we want to be intentional with how we create our spaces and not just ‘buy’ them… if we wish for them to express who we are, I think it’s important to be careful about what we bring into our homes.

I’m still purging our home of those past items. Are you?

So what constitutes a smart purchase? How to we avoid the dreaded impulse buy? And how do we manage all of this on such a tight budget?

No truer words on the subject have ever been spoken.

I want to discuss a little about this next week, but in the meantime, I’d really like to hear some of your answers. What’s your take on this process of owning your first home or renting your first place all on your own? Did you feel pressure to own nice things? Were they wise purchases? What have you learned from that?

Even better yet, what’s your number one buyer’s remorse? Who could be my vice prezzy?

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Responses to buyer’s remorse anony

  1. I have a few hand-me-down items from my in-laws that I’d rather not have, but we eat breakfast on it everyday, so what’re you gonna do? I pretty much love everything else, but now our couch is so old it’s starting to fall apart–though you can’t see it in pictures. I’m taking your advice and waiting it out until it absolutely has to be done AND we have the cash : )

  2. Danielle says:

    Um yes. I do have a few major purchases I regretted. Actually, our first couch purchase ended up leaving our house just 3 years after purchasing it. What guilt and buyers remorse I had. I seriously try to ask myself every time I buy something now, do I love this or need this or am I just buying it because it has the red clearance sticker on it? This helps… Most of the time.

  3. Lori H says:

    We were married young as well. Growing up in a house full of antiques, I was immediately smitten with my mother-in-law’s very modern home. We outfitted our home with all modern everything! We have been married 26 years now and have weeded out the modern over time – I can still appreciate that style and do tend toward clean lines and non-fussy decor. We could have saved a lot of money by waiting to develop our tastes, but at the time, you think it IS you taste. Live and learn :)

  4. Lori H says:

    “your” taste, that is

  5. Jackie says:

    Hmm… probably the recliner in our living room. It’s very big and puffy, extremely comfortable and ugly. Ironically, we rarely sit in it, but I can’t seem to let it go because I remember the price tag so well. I hate it a little more every time I see it.. and then I feel guilty about that.

  6. dawn g says:

    i think my biggest buyer’s remorse is my dining room set-we very rarely use the dining room-we eat at kitchen table or island-and with 5 kids, I feel like that room could be better used for something else-kind of an all purpose computer, craft, relaxing, reading, homework room, but i haven’t done anything to change it because the dining room table and hutch are in there

    • Isn’t there something obligatory about a dining room in itself? We use ours and our big table for more of a schooling room, and homework…but I won’t get rid of it because I might use it twice a year. GUILT.

      • Janine says:

        After fours years of wedging our growing family around a tiny kitchen table with barely enough room to pull out the chairs while staring at a formal dining room that we only used twice, we decided to knock down the wall dividing the two and eliminate the formal dining room. My mother was aghast but we love our new space. My only regret was undertaking the renovation (which, of course, dragged on forever) while 6 months pregnant!

        As for the brownish-greenish, monster sectional in the living room….just wondering how long I have to hold on to it before I can justify getting a new one.

  7. Melissa says:

    That design job was like a bad relationship. Sometimes you have to have a bad experience to appreciate the good. It was also a great lesson on how NOT to treat people.

    • Dear Ex coworker, Thank you for picking up on my subtle jabs. It was a great lesson. It also took me a while to get over a huge paralysis that took over my design side of life after that. I was young and people pleasing fragile. ;}

  8. Jocelyn says:

    I did, and still do, feel the pressure. And you’re right, the pressure comes from me. I do not go into other’s homes looking at their furniture wondering why it isn’t nicer. So I don’t know why I feel that people would do that in my home. And if they did, I don’t know why I would care. It’s something I’m struggling with. I’m gradually trying to declutter and get rid of our “stuff.” I feel once we have less “stuff” we will be able to appreciate the items that have meaning, serve a purpose, or just plain make us happy. I think that when you have stuff upon stuff upon stuff, it just generates this desire for more… stuff. And it weighs you down. I want to be to a place where I’m happy with what we have… a place where what we have is enough. Not for everyone else, but for me. So, I look forward to your future posts on this topic. I also really liked your post on “being enough.”

    • Amen, Jocelyn. I think that with our decision to not sell our home and stay here, I have decided that to do that. Because of that, we have to let go of some of our stuff, if we want our home to last and be a happy place. The solution for that, for me, is not to buy a bigger home. But to make the one that I have, work. I still struggle with a frustration of space…and the problem is all of our stuff. Not the size of our house. Thus my lazy gal’s guide series. On another note, I’m totally ready for a gargantuan PRE CHRISTMAS PURGE for sure. ;}

  9. We just moved into our house four months ago and I’m anxious to get it furnished, layered and comfortable. I feel that tension that you talk of about wanting to be at the finish line now. But, I’m holding back on the reigns–and it’s really, really hard. :)

    We have done several projects, we have several more to go. And it’s important for us to pay cash along the way. So we have our thrift store chairs with the wobbly arms and the apartment sized sofa that we bought when we had just one kiddo. Our family of four doesn’t fit on it so someone gets the ottoman.

    But, like you said, making a home beautiful takes time. And buying the right pieces is key. I could go out and buy a cheap-o couch and chairs. But I wouldn’t really love them. The pieces I love are picked out and will be purchased once we have cash on hand. I want to love whatever I bring into our home and maybe because this is our third home that we have purchased, I learned that somewhere along the way. Or maybe it’s because my husband has banned Ikea furniture from our home and forbidden me to pick up any more chairs from the side of the road. :)

    Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  10. Lisa says:

    This is such a BEAUTIFUL post. Every word is so wise and GOOD to read. Thank you!

  11. Pamelotta says:

    When I was single, with my own apartment, I had all kinds of cool stuff I picked up at thrift stores and garage sales and I was actually kind of proud of my cheap-ola style. Then I got married. For some reason, I believed that when you get married, you’re supposed to grow up and trade that cheap-ola style for a living room and bedroom full of matchy-match furniture from a high end store that you put on a credit card and pay for until the end of time. Apparently you get a lot of adult points for doing that. Well, we did all of that and I racked up my adult points. Then I realized I didn’t feel comfortable in my own house.

    It only took me 15 years of marriage to figure it out. :-/

    • Dear DEAR Pamoletta.

      You just nailed it on the head. We did the exact same thing. I was emulating what I thought you were ‘supposed’ to do. When you’re a grown up, you’re supposed to have the ‘nice’ stuff right? The mass produced ‘nice stuff’, that is. It turns out the nice stuff is just glossy particle board that chips easily and makes my room look too dark. Not to mention, everyone else and their grandmother has it. ;}

      • Gigi says:

        Gosh ladies, it’s like looking in the mirror. I did the exact same thing! Maybe it’s that next “phase” of your life that makes the crazy pressure set in. Or the finally having your house feeling and wanting it to be instantly beautiful. None of my girlfriends seemed to go through this, so I thought I was just being a whackadoo. I bought lots of overpriced fancy furniture that oh yeah, it really does chip horribly and the worst shock eas to find particle board underneath all that fancy shine. I stopped decorating in my Girly frilly colors that I loved, as well. Out went all my pastels, pinks, turquoise, purples. I felt I needed more “mature” style, in came neutrals, red and tooons of browns. I also was a single lady when I bought my first home, so I had this huge house and nothing to put into it. I bought really big furniture to fill it, and it looked great… Fast forward 5 years, marriage and combining homes, and we literally could not get my couch into our new house (that is older and much smaller than my first house). We literally removed a window, frame and all to get the couch inside. I’d tell my younger self to slow down and really find those timeless pieces (that will move with you) I really should have noticed that ALL my main pieces of furniture were just too large. I would have purhased fewer and more streamlined pieces.

  12. Beth D says:

    “Beautiful homes are created over time.”
    So true! This is something I have to remind myself often. As a young family with a two year old, we really don’t have the time or the money right now to make our house what we want it to be. My husband says I suffer “blogger envy” because I read blogs like yours for inspiration, but usually just end up depressed that our home doesn’t look like your beautiful photos. Which is why I love that you also post your “messy” photos as well. Helps me keep things in perspective. Its hard to realize that what you want may take years to accomplish, when we would all rather have that instant gratification. But I’ve come to realize that the more work it takes for me to get to the end result, the more satisfied i will be when I finally get there!

    • Amen Beth. It took us ten years to get over our fears and get our home to a semi decent state. And I emphasize SEMI. We made a lot of mistakes to learn from. It’s my deepest hope that everyone knows that whenever there’s a pretty shot, there’s CRAP that I need to PURGE my home of, shoved out of the way. I want more than anything, to have that nice balance of the “pretties” along with REALITY. I can’t keep up with the laundry. Jamin has to cook. Next up: a sobering shot of our depressing garage. It sends me to the corner in the fetal position, every single time. ;}

  13. melissa gray says:

    Buying our condo for sure! HUGE buyer’s remorse after 5 years. But we have since moved on to a nice little house that needs lots of updating that we can make our own. Thankfully we’ve been pinching our pennies so hard to save for a house that we didn’t have any spare cash to even purchase anything for our condo, it was all leftovers from friends and family. Now we are trying to figure out how to make them work in our new house, but thankfully we don’t feel too much pressure (if any at all) to get our place furnished quickly. Everybody has been telling us to take our time, that we will be there for years so buy smart pieces you love! Definitely taking in all the advice:)

  14. Leslie says:

    I’ve made so many mistakes, and some still happen. I took the sage design advice to buy a classic sofa in a neutral color and it would last forever. First came the bomber leather Natuzzi set for $2000 on clearance. Know what? It felt like 2 huge dead cows in my living room. Like coffins. Cold and hard and it scratches and needed conditioning and, well, yuck. So then I spent $2300 on a clean-lined, simple, timeless beauty in a dirt color of gray/brown at Mitchell Gold. We’ve had it 4 years. You want it? :) It bores me. The back cushions slouch. It sits too low. The cushions aren’t squishy enough. I cutey it up and try to make it comfy with a bazillion throw pillows but those all end up on the floor. GRRR. Now I’ll spend another $300 to have the upholsterer make me new back cushions in a squishy down blend with a delicious interesting/textured contrasting fabric and hope that gets me through this season. For surely, my taste and wants will change again and there will be something else I love. :) Smart moves… a little white and glass lawyer’s cabinet. $205 at a “junk shop”. Its lived everywhere in this house. Its classic square lines, perfect scale, great size and “openness” make it timeless and useful for everything. Its been the media cabinet, the linen closet, the blanket and display cabinet in the nursery, the buffet. You name it. The $1000 Sligh distressed maple desk I had to have on clearance? Its in the Craigslist pile. Its so manly and heavy and huge and boring. Classic? Maybe. But it feels like a coffin to me so its gotta go. For me, I’m a changer. I love to add, subtract, move, change my house all the time. I can’t do classic. I can’t do investment piece. Because when I fall out of love, I want to bless someone with what I have and get something I love for that moment in time, be that a few months or years or decades.

  15. Mollie says:

    My dining room set. It is big (it will be perfect for our next house, of course) and dark. I love the table but I wish the chairs were slipcovered and that I hadn’t bought the buffet at all. It’s exactly what I thought everyone else was buying (they were) and now I cringe every time I go in there.

    I also have a dark leather sofa in my living room and Duncan’s twin (pre-reupholstery fabric) is in my basement. I so want to move it up to my living room but obviously have to ditch the awful fabric first.

    I think I should be vice prez since we are practically sisters. Malones, Auburn, Duncan, furniture regret…it’s like we were separated at birth.

  16. Alli says:

    Our living room furniture is my number 1 regret. We made do with hand-me-downs for years, until the couch we had finally gave up the good fight and kind of collapsed. When we bought our new couch and loveseat I was so happy. They were a very rich, chocolate brown, in something the sales girl called “almost leather” we couldn’t afford the real leather ones, these were on sale, and I was totally in love with the colour and the lines. However, after being away from home for 4 months we came to home to find them cracking and splitting. (guess you really do need to condition “almost leather” every 3 months or else!) And after living with them for a while they just weren’t comfortable for lounging or snuggling. :-( We learned our lesson, next time we’ll wait to afford the real deal i stead of settling.

  17. Jessica says:

    My problem as a young homemaker was that I wanted an “adult” house. So I filled it with furniture and fabrics more suited to my mom’s taste. Now that I am older, and wiser I realize how that wasn’t “my” style at all and I amhaving to weed out all the old stuff.

  18. Kelly says:

    When I was quite young, I mocked my husbands grandmother’s rooster collection by saying yes I want a cock collection too. My mother bought me hand painted mustard yellow rooster dishes from Sur la Table. Expensive, kind of pretty, but not matching my style. My mom passed away, and I found myself buying more pieces of it. I ended up always receiving rooster things for my “collection” from both sides of the family. What started as a bad joke, became a burden. I put it all away last year, and I felt like I could breathe again. I realized also that my mother would never have wanted me to feel like I needed things to help me remember her or to feel close to her. I still have to fend off family members at the holidays who want to give me weird rooster items though…:)

  19. Dixie says:

    I bought a chair and ottoman that swivels and rocks. Can’t keep it still. Wish I had just got an stationary one. Plus it’s cloth and I have a cat. So cat hair. I prefer leather so I can wipe it down.

  20. Debe says:

    I am much older than you, my kids are about your age and I am still doing that with accessories not to mention the dining room table & chairs I still have that I didn’t want in the first place but my husband didn’t like what I wanted then and I surely wouldn’t like what I wanted then anymore than I like what I do still have from then!!! Whew!!! Think you touched a nerve? I think this is a live and learn process accompanied by the $ value. Only really wise people don’t fall into this or their taste is so fined tuned early that their impulse purchases are still might fine. Interesting topic!

  21. Maren says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I married into my first house. Hubby already had a house. An awful, ugly house. Nothing had been renovated since it was built in 1973 and the layout was awful. Completely non-functional for my life. I found myself working around the problems the house created, rather than the house working for me.

    So when 5 years later we moved and I actually had a SAY in the house we would live in, a functional floorplan was the most important thing. It took me OVER A YEAR and viewing OVER A 100 HOUSES for me to find the right one. I took my time. I knew what I wanted. And I wasn’t going to compromise. And now I’m decorating with the same philosophy.

    I’ve lived in this house for 2.5 years now and I still have empty rooms. Because I’m taking my time, saving my money for pieces I truly love, and renovating DIY style (read: slowly). My mom keeps bugging me to go spend a bunch of money and just get the house furnished already, but I want my furnishings to grow organically, collected over time. It’s more authentic that way, and more representative of me and my family’s interests and tastes. I don’t want my house to look like a matchy matchy magazine spread. I want it to be beautiful, yes, but also authentically me. And that is a process that can’t be rushed.

    Great post!

  22. Meg says:

    I’ll be your vice prezzy!

    I wouldn’t say that I regretted many of my decorating purchases or decisions, but I’m right there with you on the urge to become complete/finished/established.

    My biggest regret is not having fun with my home. I tried to be more formal over fun, when I as well was married at 22. I decorated like my super cool aunt who is a professional awesome girl who is in her 40s. Then, I started seeing pictures of younger friends in their college apartments (I’m 31) and they did cheap things to make their space their own. I specifically remember a collection of pictures simply taped on the wall. I remember thinking how cute that was and how not-serious it was. I was having so much serious fun decorating. Now, I’m trying to loosen up. I probably won’t have maps when I’m in my 40s or maybe I will. I like straight lines, balanced off-balance, and simplicity. But I want a big side of spunk to go with it.

    update: I regret buying those faux wall shelves that look like crown molding. I would like to say I’m so much more creative than that.

    love your blog! I’m a new reader.

  23. Gaaaaaah, you are reading my mind! What I wouldn’t give for a do-over! My house is nicely furnished, but my story is pretty much like yours………and now I want to replace so many things with things I *LOVE*, and not what was easy, way on sale, or at Costco. haha!

  24. diane says:

    Having a mother who was a designer it was somehow instilled in me at a very early age to wait for what you want in your home. For this reason I still have the very first dining room table and chairs we purchased. When I bought it for a condo I knew someday it would sit on a terrace. It has been used by both my daughters and still looks brand new. My advice, wait until you find exactly what you want even if it takes years and you will have it forever and buy the very best you can afford.

  25. Thank you so much for this post! It is so true! I have felt and done the same thing through the years! I’m glad I’m not alone…

  26. Melissa says:

    EVERYBODY leaves that place a nervous chihuahua. Bullies have that effect on people. I experienced writing paralysis.

  27. Laura says:

    As a newlywed with a big empty house, I take comfort from your words. I like the idea of saving up for pieces we really love as opposed to buying things to fill up space. Thank you for your wise words, I will really take them to heart.

  28. Jenna says:

    My husband and I just bought our first home and are so excited about the projects we want to do (but don’t necessarily have the money for yet) and I definitely can relate to putting that pressure on myself to have it all done. Thanks for this refreshing post and reminder that it’s okay if I don’t have everything picture perfect within the first few months.

  29. Nicole says:

    Among a few other pieces, we made the mistake of buying a couch to fit our space rather than buying one we loved (our first major purchase together, so budget was a definite consideration!) and five years later the couch is the bane of our living space… but this time we’re making do and saving up to get what we really want!

  30. Kelli says:

    Love this post! I just had this same conversation with a dear friend. My husband and I were lucky enough to live with our parents before getting married to save money for the wedding and build a new home. As such, we moved into the house with zero furniture. We ran out to all the big box stores to buy the needed couch and bedroom furniture – all matching of course. 4 years later I look at the furniture along with “you need to fill your house gifts” from family members and don’t see a true reflection of our style and our family. I have recently become obsessed with reading blogs and finding inspiration to truly turn our house into a home. Thank you for sharing and being a part of that inspiration!!

  31. Tia says:

    Oh my! I did the same thing!!! I have changed my ways though. One of the blessings (??) of divorce was that I could purge, without remorse, EVERYTHING and start over. That was about 7 years ago and now I only buy pieces that I absolutely LOVE. It took me 3 years to get my down, slipcovered sofa but we will be together forever. I treasure every piece and scour swap meets and catalogs for that perfect piece. It’s time-consuming, but very rewarding.

    Keep up the great posts!

  32. shelley says:

    Does being remorseful of a purchase my husband made right before we met and got married count? His mom told him he “needed” a full bedroom set because he was at that age. So he bought a full up matching set with all the bells and whistles. A set we still live with today, over 8 years later. I HATE it, he loves it :( It needs to have an accident with a sledge hammer.

  33. Michelle says:

    Hi … I am new here … found you from The Nesting Place (LOVE HER!!). I agree with you on our need to fill a space. I too am thoroughly guilty of it!!! I just now (in my late 30’s) am realizing what I truly like when it comes to furniture and decor. I am trying to drag my husband over to my side (with no avail) but I am able to sneak in a piece or two here and there. I think my biggest buyer’s remorse of recent was our large leather sectional. I was DYING for a sectional and now I just feel it is so overwhelming. It fits the space, is super comfy and works for our family of 5, but it does not necessarily meet the look and feel I wanted for our family room. Our old leather couch had seen better days (much better days) and I couldn’t wait to get a new piece in our family room. We found this sectional at a tent sale … it didn’t have the right sided return I wanted but for the price I felt I could deal with it[ and my husband was actually willing to buy it]. I now wish I would have waited a bit longer to find EXACTLY what I wanted for the space to feel and look great.

  34. Jane says:

    Wow…you expressed my sentiments (and regrets) perfectly. I think we all have a big desire to fill those empty spaces a little too quickly…maybe it makes us think we have “arrived”, or become adults. When I first got married I was so influenced by my family and friends who already had their homes and style established and we felt the need to catch up. Many wrong choices later and precious money spent, I learned that it does take time to find our true selves, what works and how the little family is growing, as well as what you can desire and afford. Learning to be content with what we have is a gracious thing. Growing to love who we are is even better.


  35. beth says:

    Ok, this should make you feel better. When we were newly married, we thought we had to have a nice bedroom suite so we bought a top line bed frame, night stand, 3 large dressers, mirror all for $10.000.00!! Totally ridulous! How much time do you spend in your bedroom really ? And who ever sees it except you and your husband! What a waste!
    Everyone makes mistakes, that was a painful one for us!:)

  36. Heather says:

    A big denim slipcovered sofa from Ethan Allen that at the time cost sooooo much I had to make some kind of insane promise to my husband that I would neverevereverever buy furniture again, so help me God. I liked the way it looked in the store, and was assured by the sales clerk that it was fully washable, which was a critical point for me because I had small kids. The clerk and I actually had a 10 minute conversation about how important it was to have a washable slipcover. Turns out it was dry clean only (didn’t tell me that until they delivered it) and it looked good for exactly 6 seconds after you tweaked, fluffed and straightened it. Then someone would inevitably try to do something stupid like sit on it and it would immediately look like a drunk had put the slipcovers on. In the dark. Oh how I grew to hate that couch. The irony is, I really wanted a Pottery Barn slipcovered couch, which was smaller and cost less, but my husband thought Pottery Barn was too expensive, so we went with EA and ended up paying $300 more because it turned out the floor model came with a bunch of options which jacked the price up and I was too chicken to buy a sofa I hadn’t actually sat on. I must have had “sucka” stamped on my forehead. Last time around, I went in fully armed with pictures of what I was looking for and I borrowed multiple fabric samples and kept them for days and days until I was certain I was getting just the right couch for us. I didn’t pay a fortune, and I got a sofa that makes my heart sing when I see it.

  37. Tonya Talone says:

    Reading your post brought back so many memories! My husband was in school when we first married and we couldn’t afford to buy anything until he finished school & residency, five years later. When he got his first job, we thought we were rich & ran out to buy everything brand new. Unfortunately, i didn’t use those first five years to discover what we really liked and wanted. Everything just had to be new! Done with the hand-me-downs and bargain prices. We spent so much money and made so many mistakes. Couches, pictures, the whole hunter-green-and-burgundy-thing. Perhaps as newlyweds we finally have a space all to ourselves in which to express our individuality and we are oh so eager to show the world we have our act together! Unfortunately, I don’t think there are many people who can learn this lesson without first experiencing it.

  38. Lisa says:

    We did the whole fill up the first house buying quality furniture and still have the bedroom suite. I wouldn’t say it is my favorite but when we passed our four-poster bed on to our daughter when she got married it made me feel good that it had lasted that long. We have my parents first bedroom suite being used by one of our children and love the fact that it comes with heritage from the past! We learned alot when we moved to our first big family home which included a living room that we didn’t need! One of our best decisions was to leave it empty for the first 5 years. We all have great memories of family dance parties, spend the night parties, hot wheel tracks and everything else filling up that room. It wasn’t pretty for company but was perfect for our growing family. We’ve matured and now the only remaining original piece besides our bedroom furniture is a big leather wing back chair that I still love to curl up in and hope we have forever!! We’ve gone the IKEA route in some rooms and I love it and we’ve gone the expensive and flea market route in others and I still love it. I think it’s all a matter of being comfortable with your own style and not to be afraid to show it. Our favorite dining room and kitchen tables were from estate sales along with our console record player that the kids have fond memories of picking out their favorite record from our old collection to play during dinner time. I guess were just eclectic from my 50s flea market boomerang coffee table to my moder iKEA white slip covered couch. We’re comfortable and that is all that matters!!

  39. Nancy says:

    After cleaning out houses from parents passing away, I am now in favor of becoming a minimalist. 😉 My house is full of memories for me and very eclectic and doesn’t follow anyone’s design idea but my own. But I really do need to purge~ I promised my children that I will not do to them what our parents have done to us…….

  40. Baileywife says:

    Oh, my ‘finished’ basement is a graveyard for all of our buyer’s remorse items…all of our furniture fads we went through….I TRY to decorate around 3 different styles down there. Someday I will get the nerve to purge it all! (I hope) ~Kim

  41. Kim says:

    Every purchase I have made has led to some sort of remorse on my part. My husband and I joke that our entire adult life has been that way – purchases we regret later (including our house at times). 3 years ago when pregnant with our 2nd child I had the chance to buy new furniture (couch, chair and entertainment center-type piece). BAD thing to do when 7 months pregnant! I tell my husband I cannot be held responsible for decisions I made then and he should’ve known to stop me – to which he says he’s smart enough to know not to argue with a pregnant wife. Ugh.

  42. Sandy says:

    “Your home isn’t a microwave. It’s a crock pot. Just like your budget. A very slow, avocado green one left over from 1965.”

    I love this in a way I can’t explain! Thank you for posting this. As an Army wife, we always have the threat of moving, and I always want things to feel “done.” This is the first house we haven’t rushed with, and I am feeling really bad about having so much up in the air.

  43. Amanda W. says:

    Love this post. I have actually been thinking A LOT about this lately. With all of these beautiful design blogs, I think its very easy to get overwhelmed with all of the many ways a house can become beautiful, especially when you’re someone like me who can find beauty in everything.

    Fortunately/unfortunately, I was able to realize I needed to slow down and think about what I want and works best for my husband and after planning my wedding. I was really into wedding blogs at the time so everytime it looked like I had made a final decision about my wedding plans, I’d but like “but wait – look at that!”. In the end, I ended up doing (almost) exactly what I planned to do in the first place, but had wasted so much time/energy/sanity/money in the process. Even more unfortunate, I spent so must time obsessing over this stuff that I really didn’t get to enjoy the planning or spend enough time with my vendors finalizing the logistics. Everything turned out fine, but it definitelly could have gone better.

    I’ve made a few not so smart decisions decor wise and overthought some ideas, but have, in the process, grasped what style/colors I really like (I apparently HATE brown on anything other than furniture pieces… which means I have to redo an entire bathroom lol). I agree that a big key to avoiding alot of this is to stop trying to appease/please other people. Do what YOU love and what works for YOUR family beause ultimately, those two factors will determine how long a piece stays in your home.

  44. I totally get this – as newlyweds with big design dreams, I have a burning impatience to create the perfect home, right NOW. I seriously can’t help it. I’m slowly realising that 10-second artworks and rushed paint jobs aren’t that satisfying and end up costing more. (I wonder if some of the (self-imposed) pressure comes from having a blog, too). Love hearing your wisdom! I’m so impatient and need to work on that!

  45. when we first got married we purchased junk pieces because that’s what we could afford. we have slowly been redoing nice pieces that don’t look so nice and even just built a new bed from scratch!

  46. Kym V says:

    YES! I have so been there.

    We bought our first home last year and I instantly had a need to fill it up with everything I could get my hands on. I had to show off how awesome and fully furnished it could be.

    Then my smart husband said….wait a second. We don’t NEED these things, let’s take time to figure it out. Now we are defining our style and I have yet to hang drapes in our living room or buy a massive dining room rug because I’m just not sure what the end vision for those two rooms will be. I’m getting closer though.

    As for my buyers remorse, I am going to go with “accessories”. Does that count. I seem to have bought a bunch of stuff to fill out the shelves or put on the counter that hindsight being 20/20 I probably didn’t need to buy afterall. Welcome to the pile in our garage called “The Sale” pile.

  47. maggie says:

    My husband has been in residency for 8 years, so we’ve not had a lot of money to furnish our home. Blogs like yours have been a huge help, guiding me creatively and aesthetically in decorating on a small budget. My husband will finish and go out into the real world next summer…we’re already scared of docitis! His income will increase (just in time to start paying back those student loans…), and we’re already trying to think through what we’ll need and what will just be something to fill the space. We want to be good stewards of that money, especially in furnishing our home.

    I totally get what you’re saying about sitting in a room for a while. We did rush into some purchases in the past. They’ve all worked out, but one of the things I’ve learned is when you wait, you usually get it right the first time. I’ve also found the same to be true about making it yourself. I don’t want to spend hours sewing four 96-inch panel curtains twice because I hated them two weeks after they went up! I want to get that kind of DIY time investment right the first time. So I’ve noticed I tend to wait and think and ponder more when I’m about to tackle something myself. I’ve also noticed I research more…which leads to better, prettier, longer-lasting results!

  48. Stephanie says:

    I love this. Six years ago when I moved from Ohio to Atlanta right out of college {literally the day after I graduated} for a job my parents took me to IKEA and let me go wild. I was 22, on my own, and they were
    footing the decorating bill for my 700 sq ft apartment.

    Now 6 years later I have a husband, two pets, and two kids two and under. We are still rocking that IKEA furniture for the most part with some new additions for the kids’ room from Target, We have talked about redecorating, but I love that old furniture. Instead I update it buy painting it or moving it to a new room. I decorate the walls with photos and Goodwill frames that I update.

    I have certainly gotten rid of some things, but while my kids are young I am okay with that worn red corduroy couch from IKEA. It isn’t ideal, but what is ideal is the removal cover with two very young kids.

    I can’t wait to read your series!

    • Jessica says:

      I love my Ikea stuff for the same reason. Especially knowing my two boys are sooooo rough on everything. I’m learning to feel comfortable with banged up items.

  49. Jennifer says:

    I regret that I didn’t try harder to convince my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) to spend a little more and get the beautiful, classic couch. Instead he bought the giant, cheaply made sofa. When I sit all the way back on it I can’t even bend my knees. My legs float above the floor. The best thing about it is that I don’t care if anything happens to it. It doesn’t help that we only ever had well-made and custom furniture growing up. My parents had a real appreciation for good furniture. My father was a fantastic woodworker and built our bedroom sets, grandfather clock and kitchen cabinets from trees he picked out, had milled and dried in a barn he built. We went without a couch and chairs for two years because the upholstery on the custom living room set was from two different dye lots and didn’t quite match. They were all about waiting and taking the time to get exactly what they wanted.

  50. This post hits home for me </3

    I'm currently a 23 year graduate, with a BS in Graphic Design, a boyfriend of 3 years, and a sickening, makes-me-depressed-every-time-I-think-about-it desire to own my first home. Even just moving out of my controlling parents' house would be fine. I'm starting to consider a cardboard box – at least I could make it look pretty? Even with a degree and the full-time job I got out of college, it's stupidly expensive to live in MA.

    Shattered hopes and dreams aside, I have to say, I'm very thankful for being as frugal and inspired as I am for being so "young." Thanks to your blog, other blogs, and things like Pintrest, I have learned what and what not to do when the time does come to purchase my first home. I've discovered that I can utilize that creative-side of me not only in my career, but my everyday life. I look at things differently now – I COULD buy that, but I could also make it myself for much cheaper.

    Of course, these things make me ever more excited to get my life started, which in turn depresses me more, but keep on keeping on – right?

  51. Samantha says:

    When we were newly married (first two years… we’re on our fourth, so I don’t have a ton of experience to go on.), I definitely felt the pressure of filling our apartment with stuff so that I didn’t feel empty and alone.

    Now that we’re closer to family and we’ve spent a lot of time and money buying then getting rid of new, cheap stuff that we didn’t need, we’ve enjoyed living in a small apartment with borrowed furniture and spray painted cheap-o side tables. I’m excited to slowly, but surely find all the flea market cabinets, all in aged, different colors to line the walls of my kitchen. I’m really looking forward to trading out borrowed/Good Will furniture with the piece that screams my name. Until then, I’m working make my borrowed stuff reflect our personality and life style.

  52. My number 1 hated purchase is a HUGE armoire from ikea in BLACK in my living room to store my husband’s computer. I thought it would look o.k and that it closed was great. But between him and the kids, it is never closed. I thought maybe I would paint it. But honestly it’s just the size and structure that I hate.

    I have finally convince my husband that we need built ins on either side of our fireplace. One side a desk, the other display.

    Yay! We’re getting there too!

  53. Lara says:

    Great post!! I think the hardest thing for me was that I love love love to be home (wherever that is) and I want my home to be comfortable, relaxing and a place that reflects me and somewhere I can be proud of (but lets be serious mostly comfortable)
    So that is what makes me want to jump right to the finish line especially after living in group homes for years. Then I got lucky and had found a place that’s furnished. So while it isn’t exactly my style, I have the necessities and can really save up for items that I love when I move into an unfurnished place. I think as artistic types many of us have probably overlooked furnished homes in the past because we want to put our own spin on it but it has really been the best thing for me. And like so many challenges in life, it tests my weaknesses (i.e. patience)

  54. Jessica says:

    AMEN sister. I nominate myself for the Vice Pres. No, maybe I should be Pres. Seriously. My biggest most expensive buyers remorse is for the brand new car I purchased in 2004 when my current car was ALMOST PAID FOR. I want to shake that girl who made that decision. I had my reasons, but they were stupid (in hindsight). Wait… I should be nicer to myself… not stupid… but not wise.

    I have also fallen into the exact same scenario you describe above. I want to read and read this post, let it sink in…

  55. Mindy says:

    It took me many years to finally give up the household buyers remorse purchases. I still have them now and again but have learned to go with more neutral, less trend and have also learned to go with our style and not what other’s are telling us.

    Now if I could do the same with boots…I am trying to live with less and make smarter, classic purchases but oh do I get off track. Especially with boots!

  56. I needed this post as a reminder that I’m doing okay. My husband and I are newlyweds living on a Mediterranean island. For the first year, we lived in an itty, itty bitty furnished flat. We have recently moved into a home that feels palatial but was unfurnished. Financial realities have mandated that we wait for a coffee table, rugs, sideboards, and just about everything else. Our mattress is on the floor, for crying out loud! But you know what? I’m really enjoying the process. I’m getting to rediscover my style and figure out just how I want my home to feel and wait for that perfect piece to come along. The piece I’ll be willing to ship back to the States someday. Until then, I’m on the hunt and waiting…and loving it…

  57. Aimee J says:

    ugh, I’m still purging my “premade, compressed wood, cheapo big box” furniture. Most of it is gone and I don’t miss it one bit. Sure my son sleeps on a matress and box springs on the floor but that is because I haven’t found the bed that both of us love yet. And yes, our book cases are falling apart (see that comment before about compressed wood furniture? They’re all that is left of it) and yes, we will make our own when we finally get into a home of our own (no more of this moving every year or so!). I do have to say that the piece i get the most compliments on is my armoire – its GORGEOUS and hand carved and painted and was a huge steal. I will forever love this piece of furniture!! Yes it was pricy but it was worth it!! And the other peices I get the most compliments on I bought second (or third or fourth) hand and painted and refinished to my own liking. It takes time but after 11 years my home is finally starting to look like me and its worth the wait!

  58. Christine says:

    My husband and I have been in our first house for 4 months now, and we have made many purchases. We haven’t regretted any of them, because we always wait for “that feeling” when shopping for things. However, I believe sometimes we wait TOO long for “that feeling”, since we’re 4 months in and have absolutely nothing on our walls! I bought your book the first day it was available, and have been thoroughly going through it, to decide which projects to attempt for our walls. I LOVE THE E-BOOK!!! You guys did an amazing job on it, and I’m thrilled to start a project. The walls in our home are all stained knotty pine, and our living room took 4 FULL days to prep, prime and paint! They turned out really nice, plenty of compliments from friends. I’m looking forward to adding more character with the projects in your e-book, but I believe we will simply dry wall the rest of the rooms in our house! Anyway, long story short, thanks so much for doing that book, and keep up the hard work! <3

  59. Angel says:

    Biggest buyers remorse? Our current house!! Ugh!! We had to “keep up with the Joneses” and bought bigger (more than we could really afford), but in getting that we also had to move farther away. So, now we do a lot of driving to get to things, we can’t afford to even furnish the house or finish the yard the way we want to and now that the economy has tanked we can’t resell it!! But we have learned a lot, and I feel like we will never do something like that again! I don’t care what kind of houses our friends have – We need to think about what works best for our family – location and not being married to the house so that we can’t do anything else.

  60. Jen says:

    Yes Yes Yes! You summed it up oh so well! I couldn’t agree more! I still get impulsive every once in awhile, but I have learned that it is better to wait things out, think things over, save up, and appreciate the items more. I still cringe every time I see our oversized brown leather sectional… sigh. We also started young and raced to fill our home. I have been slowly purging and craigslisting most of it every since… live and learn!

    You have done so well with evolving your home into something that seems to be a true reflection of your family. It is so far from Big Box feeling and you should be so proud of how incredibly lovely it is!


  61. Aubrey says:

    My biggest buyer’s remorse is our living room coffee table – a “sale” item at furniture store that cost WAY more than we should have been spending on a cofee table at that point. I love the shape and the room for storage (remotes laying around make me a crazy person). But the chipping! And the scratching! And my husband dropping a knife on it 2 weeks post-purchase (there is a kitchen counter for you to slice your food on…)…now it has a mysterious water/heat mark that we don’t know where it came from. So I am going to refinish the top with some weathered barnwood and all those nicks and scratches will look GREAT! Haha!

  62. Tanja says:

    Great article and I agree with you 100%. My husband and I have been married for 10 years and it has taken us sometime to be okay with adding items to our home that reflect who we are are individuals, as a couple and most importantly our little family of 4. The pressure for us started with a well meaning large gift card to a local cookie cutter furniture store that was given to us as a wedding gift. In haste we made purchases to meet expectations and eventually got rid of those bad buys that did not reflect who we are. 2 years ago I was laid off and decided to go back to school to finish a degree in design. Currently we fill our home with art and homemade touches and finds from local artisans.

  63. tara says:

    Andy and I bought our first home and bought a living room “suit” and a master bedroom “suit.” I liked them for about 6 months and then I realized that I wasn’t a matchy-matchy kind of gal. We ended up selling it through the classifieds…these were the days before Craig’s list. :) We actually sold it for what we paid for it..COOL BEANS.

    I decided then, which was about 10 years ago, that I would forever more be okay with an empty space before I’d purchase anything else out of the “need” to have my house look “full and finished.”

    I’m looking around our home now, and I can honestly say that I love everything I have….it’s beautiful and useful. :))

  64. kirstyn says:

    This post is so helpful! My obsession with furniture and home decor has took over a spare bedroom in my parents home! I can’t stand the thought of moving into my own house with nothing! I have owned a beautiful blue couch and loveseat for over year now and they are still wrapped in plastic from the store! Lots of thrift store finds that i have ideas and dreams for making them beautiful and I honestly have so much stuff in boxes, i do not even remember what i have bought or if i am still going to like it. My excuse is that when i move out i will no longer have that extra spending money to spend on my house ( Normal 20 year old girl’s problems right? haha)

  65. Sarah says:

    This is the best post I’ve read in a very long time. We were that couple, built a new house which was finished the day before our wedding (whew, that was rough!). When we returned from our honeymoon we felt like everything had to be purchased right away. We rushed, and now I am living with a few big ticket items that we can’t afford to replace right now, though some of the smaller ticket items have found their way to Craigslist and replaced with things I truly love. I am a real estate agent and would love to give this article to all of my first time buyers, with your permission of course! Thank you again!

  66. Meredith says:

    This is soooooooo me/our house, Ashely. You hit it right. I’m sick about how much money has been wasted in quick attempts to decorate and fill space. This post is spot on. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  67. Nelly says:

    I found this really helpful and it came at just the right time. I turn twenty in a few weeks and I’ll be getting my very own – and first – apartment in the state where I’m going to school. In my head I have the largest budget to do everything, but in real life I only have so much money to spend. The apartment is beautiful and comes with all the necessary thimbles, but I want to stuff of dreams, you know. I have surmised that my bedroom, closet (CLOTHES/SHOES/GIRL STUFF!!), and kitchen (I’m a culinary student) are the most important places. The smart voice of reason in my head is telling me to take my time because I have no other choice and my tastes change almost every month, but my la-dee-da state of mind is all for that stupendously expensive $2,000 couch that I just can’t afford so I will settle for the almost as cute $800 couch that I just may be able to fit into my budget if $800 were fall from the sky. (Holy run-on sentence!) This article has given my stricter self ammunition against my childish self to press pause. I will read this article at least once a day to remind myself that I will be much more pleased with my apartment if I let it grow and develop with me!