buyer’s remorse : the big move

The home conundrum.

When dealing with new homes…the twelfth time, or the first…  there’s something about that process. It can feel like a blessing and a curse. And when it comes down to it, it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure.

I received a few questions recently and see it time and time again from new construction to a new-to-you home. So today in the grand ideal of buyer’s remorse annoy and in an effort to be intentionally savvy with what we do, there’s a process of making that ever so intimidating transition from house to home… sensibly.


It’s like we’re fighting against the ever present, invisible machine in our culture of instant gratification. Taking the steps from ownership to making it a real home for your family can be a challenge. It’s 2,225 tiny little decisions that are exactly the opposite of those involved in purging… they come together to make a home. It can feel a bit like carving into a stone tablet, and it’s daunting… like you’ll be living with them forever. Sometimes depending on the contractor or the builders or former owners, you’ll be making these decisions under pressure if you get to make them at all.

I know, because I’ve been there. I think most of us have. If I could go back in time and say a few things to myself, and to all of those overwhelmed friends moving into a home, here’s a few of the main struggles where I would take a deep breath, and simply sleep on.


1. The Paint. 

This traditionally comes first on the construction/move in list. It’s one of the final things they add in new construction, but it’s first when the home is officially yours, and the keys are in your hands. Last year when we were looking at some homes in the area, upon finding that we had two whopping choices for paint colors, I asked if we could just buy a brand new home from the builders without said paint colors on the wall and call it even. It felt like such a waste. This didn’t go over too well because there’s like, rules and stuff. But really, despite the underwhelming options process, who wants to pick their paint colors first? It’s counterintuitive in the process of designing a space.

a. When in doubt, go neutral.

There’s a reason most homes come with that not-so-fantastically-inspiring builder’s beige, but I’d go beyond that in tones that you love that can be considered neutral. Even whites. If you have to pick, if you’re in control and can only choose from a few, make it bearable and blendable for that ‘in the meantime’ phase. Even if you’re moving into an 80’s fabulous home and need to get rid of a garish color, stick with something livable for later.

b. You’ll change it anyway.

I had an art teacher in college who always said that paint was the most forgiving medium. While she was talking about oils, I apply this to everything. And unless it spills on your linen sofa (I just gave myself chills) it is forgiving. This is most definitely true for walls. In most cases, you will change those colors.

You have to wait for the dust to settle, before you know the true function of a space and beyond that, your design approach. Three months later whilst out shopping with your friends, you may spy a pillow that gives you heart palpitations. You’re inspired. Something sparks a flood of great ideas. It has coral accents and aqua piping. Will it match the firetruck red you initially chose for the dining room? Probably not.

So if you find yourself stressing, pick something light and easy to live with in the meantime. And remember, you’ll change most of it anyway in the process of living there and making it your own.


2. The ‘List’. 

There’s always been this daunting ever looming list of immediate, seemingly necessary purchases that come with the big move. And we’ve stressed over them. This list usually includes (in no particular order) a 1. fence, 2. a fridge, 3. blinds. and so on. It all depends on where you live, but these are usually in the immediate purchases category.

It’s the same with everyone. We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt a little stretched. But why are windows even on the list of immediate changes? We’ve all thrown some things on the windows and then regretted the look, wishing for something a little more ‘us’. But by then, (whether plantation shutters, blinds, or even curtains-we’ve all been there and it’s different for everyone) it feels too late. And the guilt settles in for the long haul. We’re stuck.

Why do we have it in our heads that say, paper is such a bad thing? Do we think that our neighbors will judge us by the amount of time said paper is on the window? It would address the issue of privacy while we figured it out. Are we in a rush to flank the windows with the latest and greatest thing we’ll probably resent in a month? Because quick doesn’t always mean good. And fast isn’t always efficient or attractive. I’ve never heard anyone say that they regretted taking their time in planning a space. I’m kind of confused as to why windows aren’t included in that.

There is no such thing as instant gratification in well-planned spaces. Instant and well-planned in themselves are contradictions, aren’t they? It all comes down to what you want to spend your time doing, but great design takes time. They don’t all have to match. And they certainly don’t all have to be immediate. Sleep on it. You’ll be glad you did. And consider it extra money in your pocket while you think through those options.

3. The pieces. 

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know where I’m going with this one. When we were younger, we were eager to buy furniture to fill a space. Almost as if to impress a bunch of people when they came over for some rando party I had dreamed up in my head. And chances are, those people didn’t even notice. It’s what grown-ups do, right? Poof! Here’s a house. Poof! Here’s our furniture.

Poof! Here’s our… debt.

Why do we do this? Question yourself when you feel pressured in this world of the grass is always green-ers. Let your rooms breathe for a while.



No, this doesn’t apply to everything. When I first spied this quote, I was all, ‘that’s a good story, but we have college educations to pay for, mouths to feed, and at this rate I’ll never make our house a home’. You guys know I truly believe the best spaces are collected over time, with handmade and on the cheap. What’s that phrase about an artist shining through with their limitations? Handmade certainly takes time. There’s something about creating something on your own that makes you think through the process. But there’s also something about those key, dependable pieces that just won’t fail you because you did take your time, think through the process, and save for them. (see: our never ending sofa conundrum. I should have cried once. Instead, I cried a total of three times, with small temper tantrums sprinkled in between.) That’s where I apply this phrase. Take your time. Breathe. Wait and save for what you truly love.

All things in moderation, and for the love of all things credit card debt don’t ruin your future over a dining room set you’ll resent in five years by the time you finally pay it off. Gross.

These are the things I would tell myself. These are the things I wouldn’t lose my head over. These are the things I’m happy to sleep on. It’s true what they say… good things come to those who wait. Figuring out this house to home stuff can be intimidating. But in embracing the process, is where you’ll discover your awesome style.


I found this little gem recently, and you’ll love what she has to say. Click through as well to the Perisian Apartment. It’s mesmerizing in all it’s glory. I am absolutely in love.

So where do you think the pressure comes from? If you could have a do over, what would you gladly pass on? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Have an inspired day, lovelies!

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Responses to buyer’s remorse : the big move

  1. Kaara says:

    Ahhhhh…. Breathe 😉 thank you for writing this! In April, we will be in our home for two years and we still don’t have a dining table, among many other things… I too love the collected-over-time look. I’m not going to go out to some store and buy a set that all matches. No, thank you. So yeah, plus that whole money thing, it takes time to save for the bigger pieces and well I don’t have a lot of more money to save right now :/ so hopefully people will just live with our hand-me-down couch and old chairs 😉 but I kind of am loving how things are slowly coming together, I’m finding my style that way. And I do notice when I do make a purchase I really wanted, I have no buyers remorse 😉

    Have a great day!
    Xoxo- Kaara

  2. Laura says:

    We lived in our house 19 years before we finally got to redoing the main bathroom. If we had done it when we moved in, we wouldn’t have known we’d need double sinks (for the 4 children we had through the years), there wouldn’t have existed smooth-sided toilets (a godsend when you have boys!), and we never would have removed that hall closet that jutted into the bathroom. I can say now that it was TOTALLY worth the wait because we have a gorgeous bathroom that exceeded our dreams and expectations!

  3. ellen says:

    Worst purchase was an expensive and beautiful bedroom set. It was big, heavy, and gorgeous. It was much more durable than the marriage, and too big to take with me when I inevitably left. If I had chosen a smaller scale in that same beautiful finish I would never have left it behind.

  4. christina says:

    I think my sofas I would have waited on when we moved in our house 6 yrs ago. My husband and I had dormitory style wooden framed sofas w/ diy slip covered cushions that we could have used for a few more yrs until I understood our living room space & what type of sofa might be strong enough to handle 2 little ones. Oh well! Now we are stuck w/ tan micro-fiber massive loooking love seat & sofa that doesn’t bring much style to the living space, but they work for now.

    • Chrissie says:

      Thanks for posting this! I was seriously considering replacing our lounge suite, which is ugly as sin but comfortable and functional, but recently started thinking that with a bub on the way (and the toddler years to follow) plus a cat who is still learning that the world is not her scratching post that we’d be better off keeping the ugly ones for a while longer. I will, however, invest in blankets or covers to put over them :-)

  5. Kelsey says:

    Sigh…you caught me!!! This post was perfect timing. We’re moving into our FIRST home that’s ours…I mean…we own it and not rent it. I’ve been scouring Pinterest….scouring Craigslist….and looking at paint swatches like crazy trying to come up with a “me” vibe. I’m also pregnant and nesting…that could definitely have something to do with it! Lol. I’m going to chill out….let my rooms evolve as I find things that truly make my soul tingle…and be ok with an undone home for a while. Thanks for the wakeup call!!

  6. tara says:

    great post…so informative.
    I’m with you…paint is the cheapest way to totally change a space…and neutral always wins!

    I’m also with you on not going into debt for furniture….I’m so much happier with an empty space so that I can wait and get exactly what i want.

  7. Love this post! We are in the process of building and, of course, I would love for every room to be finished upon moving in…but I’m making promises to myself that I will set up a timeline. Work on one room at a time and to not go into debt while doing so. Thanks for reassuring me that I’m making the right choices!

  8. Rachel says:

    Love this post. We don’t even own our house right now – we’re just renting. But I felt SO pressured – I had to fix it up, and buy pretty furniture, and get it decorated and make every right choice because everything needed to be fixed up But, through trial and error, I learned to stop, and breathe, and realize it’s not a big deal. We live in a beautiful (albeit pretty empty furniture-wise) house, and that’s all that matters. I don’t have the decor I want, but I realize my taste is going to change and the best thing I can do is simply save up and get things as we can buy them. Although sometimes the pressure starts to build up again, I have to remind myself to just breathe. It doesn’t matter int he grand scheme of things.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and insights!! It helps in learning how to remind yourself to take breathers and shake stuff off.

  9. Shauna Barnes says:

    Thank you for saying this! We have lived in our house exactly one year tomorrow, and *GASP* it’s not even close to finished. The main living area is “us”, but the rest of the house still needs a lot of work! Sometimes I just sit around staring at a room, trying to figure out what to do with it. Thank you for reminding me to be patient :) It’s easy to feel like everyone you know already has it all figured out, decorated and paid for… but I’m sure that’s not true.

  10. Rachel W says:

    Very timely post for me! Russ and I are expecting our first child in September and are looking for a house. I would say what you are saying even applies to selecting the home…right now, we can only afford something smaller, and I have been tempted at times to leap at something larger, but we won’t even know exactly what our needs or what our financial situation will be in five or eight years. It’s better to get something that is manageable now, then think again when we get there. I’ll be fixing up a place, and I’m discovering that it would be easy to buy a lot of stuff to fill the new house, but I’m glad to have another voice in my head saying, “patience, patience…”

  11. Stacy says:

    I think we do the best that we can with what we are willing to spend at the time. I am currently going through a “the whole house needs to be redecorated stage, but we don’t have the money to do what I want to do” stage. Not such a great feeling. I think that if we could live with it as is, we’d be fine to do so, but creative people know that they can make more for less, which, starts the itch of wanting to do more. I don’t feel like my current space represents me, but when I moved into my home four years ago, my priority was about giving my kids space. They don’t care how it is decorated. I was okay with that for awhile, but now I find myself sick of everything. It is us who puts the pressure on us. I know in my life, no one else is complaining.

  12. Jayne says:

    Great post! I grew up around antiques and rarely saw my family buy anything new. And all these pieces just get handed down and seem to get even more beautiful, they have soul…

  13. I think as long as you know yourself and try to remember that beyond the trends, you will be ok.

    When my husband and I built our first house, I painted it a creamy yellow. We did buy living room furniture quickly but made a list of what we wanted. Me: camel coloured not taupe (the rage then) and rolled arms. Him: solid back, not pillows and durable fabric. This list made it so easy to shop because we mostly said no. One day we found exactly what we were looking for in an offbeat store next to a restaurant we were about to dine at. And without another thought. We bought it.

    Ten years later and I still love my sofa. This is our third house and my walls are still creamy yellow.


  14. Nicole says:

    I love aqua blues and finding the right one for our front room is killing me!!! lol. I literally have 13 blues on my walls right now. The paint sample lady thinks I’m crazy for not just picking a color from the color wheel and calling it good. I believe her words were something like, “You coulda bought a gallon of paint instead of all these samples.”
    But here’s the deal: I can see it in my mind and have yet to be able to interpret it onto the wall. Seriously, what’s a girl to do?! I suppose I ought to just go neutral–but I don’t want to! (tantrum.) sigh.

  15. melissa gray says:

    I’m so glad that I have relieved myself of this pressure. We have lived in our home for a little over 7 months now and still have entire rooms to furnish. And thankfully, we do not feel any pressure to fill them. Other people who come over keep commenting on how empty some rooms are, or that “you need a coffee table and a rug” but we just haven’t found the right pieces at the right prices yet. And I’m ok with that. I mean, I still have boxes that aren’t unpacked yet! I couldn’t even find our Elmer’s glue yesterday! haha, ok maybe I should get on some of that stuff, but in general, we’re going at our own pace, being sure to enjoy our new home and enjoy our two beautiful children and spend time with them, instead of worrying about what other people think about us and our new home.

  16. Teresa says:

    I feel ya on this one, completely!

    Moved into our “new to us” home 8 mo ago and did a few renovations that we love love love. Unfortunately, our contractor needed us to choose new paint at the beginning of his job in order to fit us in.

    I am wishing that I had lived with the previous owners peach, sunset coral, electric purple, grass green & sky blue ceilings (complete w/Mickey Mouse shaped clouds!) instead of rushing to paint all things macadamia tan. Now I have color inspiration for certain rooms, but a clenched wallet, unable to bring myself to repaint most of our house less than a year later…

    All that to say, whenever I feel panicky and pressured to make a big decision, that is usually my red flag to take a breather. Think I’m finally beginning to learn to listen to that.

  17. Katy says:

    This came at the perfect moment for me! Thank you thank you thank you. We are moving into our second home in 2 weeks (!) and no joke, at this exact moment I have 11 different Internet windows pulled up to different fabric/furniture/home decor sites because I have been trying to make decisions before we move in. I’ve already made these mistakes with our first house so I don’t know why I’m doing it again ;). Oh, the insanity that a new home brings to the creative type! After reading this, I’m doing to do my best to stick with the basic updates that I have wanted for YEARS–hand scraped hickory wood floors (just found the perfect stain on sale!) and pretty white custom-looking (but DIY) cabinets. Ahhhhh, sigh of relief….

    • Julie says:

      Haha Katy said exactly what I was about to say! We are also moving home (in 12 days) and I have overloaded on pinterest and decor mags… Thank you all for reminding me that I don’t have to have everything just so the day after moving day!

  18. Chrissie says:

    We’ve been in our house more than four years now, and it’s nowhere near done. I used to feel bad about that – so many things give the appearance of fast makeovers and everything. But really, I’m glad we’re taking our time. What we would have done four years ago and what we are doing now are completely different. This is both mine and my husband’s first home away from our parents, so it’s been great taking our time and learning as we go.

  19. Polly says:

    I wish I could have back the YEARS I spent decorating to impress someone else, throwing money at things that would give me the look I was after, and impatiently wanting my home to be something more. It was time wasted. I’m still in the same home after 15 years, and even though it still has things I’d change, I love it for the sanctuary it’s been to us all these years. Thank you for the wonderful post!

  20. Ed Neuhaus says:

    I love the “buy the best and you will only cry once” image.