7 Home Decorating Regrets

7 Home Decorating Items & Decisions We Regret

by Marica Fick & Rose McClement

Earlier this week I read an article on Apartment Therapy that set the hamster wheel in my head spinning. The title grabbed me immediately: “3 Common Home Items I Wish I Never Bought”. In the post freelance writer, Sarah Lyon, shared that her past home decorating efforts has been accompanied by a fair dose of regret.

Sarah goes on to explain that while some treasured purchases have found a permanent place in her home, others left her with a bad taste in the mouth after a few short months. Her regrets include: cheesy, cliched wall art, cheap wine glasses, and pieces that are “too nice”.

While we did not entirely agree with all of her laments, it did spark an interesting office conversation. So here is Design Monarchy‘s list of home decorating items and decisions we regret…

Beautiful Vinyl Floor
We would opt for a beautiful good-quality vinyl floor above carpet in a heartbeat. | source: Godfrey Hirst via Instagram

Wall-to-Wall Carpet:

The first item on our home decorating regret list is one both Rose and I can’t wait to say “goodbye and good riddance” to. Wall-to-wall carpets. Until recently, opting for carpets throughout the home has been such an ingrain and default choice in home decorating.

We found that carpets take such an effort to clean and maintain in the long run. It just does not have the physical and aesthetic longevity that some other floor finishes have. No matter how regularly you vacuum and deep-clean your carpet, it still becomes a dirt and odour trap – especially if you have pets or little kiddos.

The carpets in my home are a real eye-sore. It was gorgeous when first installed but now it looks grubby no matter what we do. We have had it cleaned SO many times with no real improvement. And these were good quality, high traffic carpets!

Now, don’t get us wrong – we are not saying that you should immediately rip up the carpets in your home and get rid of them. We understand that there are some situations and areas where it remains the preferred application. Especially a bedroom – most people still prefer the added warmth and soft feel underfoot that carpets provide.

When it comes to general areas and living rooms we often recommend a good quality vinyl to our clients as an alternative floor covering. It is much easier to clean and maintain and adds a lovely visual warmth to any space. You can always opt for a loose rug that can be washed or changed as desired.

Collection of Coffee Tables
A collection or grouping of smaller tables is far less bulky than the standard coffee table. Added bonus, you can move and shift it around as the need arises. | source: Heidi Frampton via Etsy

Oversized Clunky Coffee Tables:

We have probably bemoaned this one too death. Far too often we encounter oversized, bulky coffee tables that do nothing for the interior aesthetic and leave very little or no space for traffic flow around them. If you, or your guests for that matter, have to do a 360-degree scoot to get around your coffee table, it is too big. Your coffee table should be proportional to the size of your space and seating arrangement.

The wrong coffee table can also be “visually” oversized. That is where, even though it is dimension-wise the right size for your area, the style of the table appears big and heavy. A coffee table that is too squat, solid, or has clunky legs can often have this effect. Your coffee table should really not be the focal point of your lounge (unless you have stunning, unusual, showpiece of a coffee table).

Sadly, the reverse can also be true. Don’t be overly-cautious and opt for an undersized coffee table that floats in a proverbial sea of space.

We often suggest a collection or grouping of smaller tables to our clients. The most appealing aspect of a cluster of tables at varying sizes and heights is that it presents a less bulky and fixed look than the standard coffee table. It also gives you the opportunity to be expressive and creative. Furthermore, these tables are more mobile – you can shift them around to where they are most suited and functional.

I think the “oversized rule” is true for more than just coffee tables. Owning clunky and oversized furniture, in general, is a big personal regret for both Rose and me. There are a few pieces in our respective homes that we wish we could exchange for something a bit more proportionate.

Eyelet Curtains
Eyelet curtains: looks beautiful and stylish but unfortunately it is on the impractical side. | source: Spotlight

Eyelet Curtains:  😭😭

We have to admit, this is a very bitter-sweet regret for us. We actually love the aesthetic of eyelet curtains. It looks elegant and chic and it has a distinct exclusive and luxury designer element to it. When eyelets first came out many years ago, it was a welcome and wonderful fresh approach to the curtain heading scenario. A design innovation if you will.

So, you might ask, if we love eyelet curtains so much, why is it found on this list of home decorating regrets? Two reasons. Firstly, as a curtain heading, it is not very practical. Not only are custom eyelet curtains costly and labour intensive to make, but it can also require a lot of fiddling, frustration, and tugging to open and close. If at you have to yank and jerk your curtain it is simply not going to last. An ideal curtain should “glide” open and close.

The second reason eyelet curtains are on our regret list is because it has become the go-to heading for ready-made curtains found in retail stores. Eyelet curtains are now everywhere – every other budget homeware/linen store sells it. The element of exclusivity eyelets had in years past has now completely flown out the window. They are now common… everyday… nothing special. Furthermore, we have found the quality of curtains in your average homeware store is, more often than not, inferior.

And don’t even get me started on curtains with a fabric tab heading…

Stunning Kitchen Appliance Storage
Beautiful storage with pocket-doors to hide all the kitchen appliances that would usually crowd the countertop. | source: Amy Sklar Design | 📷 : Amy Bartlam

Rarely Used Kitchen Appliances:

I have to admit – I’m a complete sucker for a new kitchen appliance or gadget that promises to make my life and cooking process easier. Slow cooker, airfryer, dehydrator, coffee machine, milk frother, blender, juicer, stand mixer – I want it all! Somehow, I think I will be a better, more efficient human with all of these things… I am wrong of course.

The truth is, while some of these appliances have made my life a little less laborious, most are gathering dust. I reckon many folk fall into that same trap. We use that shiny new appliance a dozen times after which it becomes a glorified, not to mention bulky, kitchen counter ornament. In my home, kitchen counter space is prime real estate – every inch is needed. Unless you have a massive kitchen with beautiful, fitted hidey-holes for all your unsightly appliances, you probably have the same regret I do.

Every so often, one has to assess which of these items you really can’t live without and which are only a sporadic convenience. While I know that it is tempting, one should really think twice before buying that latest sparkly kitchen contraption that promises the moon.

Lovely Mugs and Bowls
A trendy, purposefully curated selection of mismatched crockery. | source: Made In Persbo | 📷 : Carina Olander Photography

NOT Buying That Extra Set of Glasses or Crockery:

Unlike Ms Lyon, we have no issue with buying inexpensive glasses and crockery – if it looks stylish and suits your home interior and needs – go for it. What we do regret is not buying enough of that item or set.

Whether you buy budget or buy the highest quality – things break. Then you go out and buy some more, however, you never are able to find the same set, are you? We end up with a cupboard of mismatched glasses, mugs and crockery. And it is not the trendy, I-purposefully-curated-a-selection-of-mismatched-items-that-somehow-look-good-together. Nope, it is a kitschy, eyesore, mess.

Likewise, there is also that dinner party / Christmas gathering where your beautiful cutlery and crockery set falls short by one or two items.

So, next time you are buying glasses or crockery don’t be “foolishly frugal” – buy a few extras.

7 Home Decorating Regrets  |  www.designmonarchy.co.za

Holding On To Unnecessary Things:

The last two items on our list of home decorating regrets are more sentiments or attitudes than purchases or decisions. Or maybe both can be described as “lack of decision”.

The thing that frustrates me more than anything else in my home is this ingrained idea that I need to hold on to things. Some of it is sentiment, some laziness, and some the thought that I might “need” that item in the future (I never do, by the way).

Whatever it is, it seems my home is filled with hand-me-downs, back-up plans, and more bric-a-brac than a neighbourhood boot sale. Time for me to Marie Kondo that unnecessary mess.

Putting Up With…

This last sentiment or attitude is Rose’s biggest home decorating frustration and regret. It is this notion that you have to “put up with” your current situation. It is so much more than just compliancy.

It is “putting up with” furniture that you don’t really like or want any more, or to “putting up with” that inspired space. I don’t want it, but I put up with it… “because”. Those “becauses” are driven by personal beliefs and conditioned thinking. It is a common malaise rooted in a scarcity mentality. Being too afraid to stretch yourself, too afraid to step out of your comfort zone – not only personally but also financially.

It is so disheartening to “put up with”. Furthermore, it often goes hand-in-hand with a good dollop of shame. Being ashamed of that stained sofa that has been cleaned to death or that uninspired space or nook.

We need to change our perspectives. Commit to one small change at a time. Don’t be reckless or hasty with your purchases or decisions. Just be consistent and mindful with those tiny changes. You will soon be brave enough for a complete transformation. It gets a lot easier with each little change.

Oh, and that big-ticket item – its day will come. We not “putting up with” it, we are just waiting for the opportune moment when our budget and space allows us to do something about it.

Also remember, it is not just about your interior. Stop “putting up with” ANYTHING that makes you unhappy. Take a baby step – you just have to make one small change at a time.

What do you think of our list of home decorating regrets? We would love to know what is on your personal regret list?

7 Home Decorating Regrets


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