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gw_oakley

My Stupidest Decorating Mistake - or We Were Once All Newbies

15 years ago

I was doing a search for front porches and came across a topic from 1999, about gardening mistakes. I thought this would make a fun decorating topic. So I'll go first. :)

Back in my 20s we moved into this house, it was brand spanking new. I was so excited to decorate and the first thing I did was hang pictures.

One day my best friend came over for coffee, and she stood there and looked at the pics and turned around and said very sweetly, but funny...."Did you know pictures should be hung at eye level?" ALL of mine were hung about a foot higher than my head! I think back and they had to be hideous looking!

That was the first decorating "rule" I ever learned. :)

Comments (55)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Rule #1
    Never, but Never buy kitchen floor tiles that are on an end-cap at a big box store, marked with a drastic clearance sticker without buying at least two tiles, taking them home and testing them on your floor in all types of lighting, for several days before making this fantastic bargain purchase.

    What you thought was the perfect cream marbling on light beige background, won't be. Trust me.

    Rule #2
    Never, but never be so excited about the fantastic deal you got on said tile (at 6:00 p.m. in a big box store with terrible lighting, when you are hungry and over-tired) that you make not one but two pots of coffee and stay up the remainder of the night laying said "bargain" tile on a 23' x 11' galley kitchen floor with lots of cut-ins and odd nooks and crannies.

    IF
    you don't follow rules 1 & 2, don't be shocked when you wake up later that day on a bright, sunny butt-crack-of-noon Sunday morning and see your perfect budget tile is two shades of glaring PINK in color and even painting your kitchen 3 different times over the next 6 months (to try and tone down said tile) isn't changing the PINK shades in your tile one iota.

    AFTER you both realize what a drastic mistake you've made, Do Not add insult to injury by reminding partner that while crawling in bed exhausted, at 6:15 a.m. after laying tile all night, you high-fived each other on the fantastic 'steal' you got on tile and for a job well done.

    I'm just sayin'

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That business about eye level is nothing but Bull...how tall are you, if your 5' then the way you hung them would be eye level for me or many people,6' or more, hang them the way they look good not so you need to put your head way back to see it(because it is up at a high ceiling) nor so low you need to bend over or squat down to view it, my paintings (oil) are hung at all different heights for instance the one infront of me is above my PC desk which has the high back on it and it looks great!( it is still a foot from the ceiling, the room I'm in has 7 oils all at different heights as required by the sz. of them and location. Got a kick out of Vern Yip on HGTV when he said eye level, he's so tiny, made me laugh!!

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  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, geez - where to start? I don't remember the first one but this one lasted the longest - 1990 till last year.

    This wasn't a mistake, exactly but it wasn't the best choice I could have made. I picked the color of siding for our house based on NOT wanting to be like everyone else. I didn't want the typical staid, conservative center entrance colonial. And it wasn't just painting the siding, we re-sided in vinyl. And you know what they say..... vinyl is final. That's a BIG PUBLIC area to choose for a design statement - sheesh!!!

    So for 18 years we were Salmon Bisque although my boys and DH shamefully told everyone 'we live in the PINK house'.

    That was then

    {{gwi:1400429}}

    This is now. I've learned to embrace staid and conservative - it isn't all bad!

    {{gwi:1638838}}

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hanging pictures too high is something sure most of us have done and then realized the error of our ways. Eye level, means that you don't have to bend your neck to look at the print. You can't see details of a print that is hung improperly.

    My biggest learning experience was never to take the paint strip as the judge of how the walls will look with that color. I lived with baby pink walls for 2 years. Ugh. Pretty, but not suitable for my front living room and den. I deocrated around it and made the best of it. When I was able to repaint, I was so happy!!

    One other big one, living with taupe walls and oak paneling and wood cabinets. Thanks to CW I know better now!!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One of my biggest decorating "oopses" occurred when I was living in the Philippines (had an ex, stationed there in the Air Force) and had some chairs custom made. There were any number of reputable furniture makers near my home, most of which specialized in Asian style furnishings. I, however, fell in love with a pair of wing chairs that I saw in a Laura Ashley decorating book I'd picked up in Manila, and just had to have a pair exactly like the ones in the book. Problem was, the furniture maker and I never quite got around to discussing proportion and dimension, and what was finally delivered to my house were the most gawd-awful monstrosities imaginable ... two huge blue wing chairs that made me feel like Edith Ann when I sat in them.

    You do remember Edith Ann, don't you?

    I despised those chairs from the moment they crossed my threshold, and couldn't wait to get rid of them. As I recall, being a poor, young Airman's wife, we had very little money and this was a big expenditure for us. Pity we hadn't even thought that what the furniture maker might come up with would be ginormous! And sadly, we were stuck with 'em until we were able to give them to someone else.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mine was painting our first house and open areas, blue as in powder blue as in the color of the carpet blue. To make matters worse we hired a painter and I distinctly told him that I wanted everything uniform. So he did exactly as I asked and painted the living room, foyer, hallways (upstairs and down) and the doors, all of the doors powder blue. Did I mention it was blue. Yikes!!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Collecting and buying too many little things when low on decorating funds and there is no plan in site. In the end you just have a whole bunch of clutter, no direction and even less money then before had you come up w/ a plan, vision or direction. Now you don't have money left for the Grand Plan and you're too tired from dusting and arranging all the little tchokies to sell them at a yard sale to reclaim some money.

    Lots and lots of throw pillows in silk that say 'spot clean only'. Not very practical w/ kids and pets no matter how cheap they are.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a great Eastlake/Esthetic Movement ebonized, marble topped table. The marble is grey with rose chips. The base is kinda wobbly (as delicate marble topped tables often get)

    So in my first apartment instead of using the table base i put the top on four plaster columns (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and composite) and since they were all different I faux stone sprayed each on differently --with a gold one for good measure. I guess I was going for PostModernism (it WAS 1990). But looking back--it was pretty awful. The base and top have since been reunited.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Amity, the way you told your story made me laugh! lol

    Most of my endeavers are done in the middle of the night, also.

    I remember about 30 years ago when I was newly married and my hubby worked nights. I decided I was going to wallpaper our kitchen and surprise him when he got home. (I'd never wallpapered before) I was doing fine until around 2am when I came to the wall that our phone was on...I couldn't figure out how to remove it. Then, I got this bright idea to dial '0' and ask the operater how to remove the phone. Well, she hadn't a clue how to do it either. lol We both got a laugh out of it and I'm surprised she spent as much time as she did with me on the phone. I never got the phone off the wall, so I ended up piecing the wallpaper around it. OH..and the section over the stove..the seams for some reason wouldn't lay flat, so I used thumb tacks to hold them down.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When wallpapering, those little blobs of leftover paper and rough sheetrock from the previous layer really won't disappear behind the new paper... And new wallpaper really isn't a good cure for mildewed sheetrock in the bathroom.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Don't assume painting a room is like painting in nursery school (aka 'anyone can do it!')

    Many years ago DH and I redid closets with California Closets and were quoted some stupid price, like $800, to put two coats of white paint inside each of the three closets we were re-shelving. Ridiculous, sez I, I'll paint them myself. I trundle off to the hardware store, buy a couple random gallons of white latex paint (eggshell? high gloss? who knows/cares?), a couple random brushes and I'm good to go. Rollers, pans, a ladder, bah.

    In the painting of those three closets, I managed to get numerous handprints on the walls while balancing on a cheap step ladder; left lots of nylon bristles mixed in with the paint on the walls (who knew you needed good brushes?); ruined a pair of glasses that I slapped on when I realized that painting the closet ceiling means drips will fall into your eyes (glasses were ruined when I washed them with a rag that had dried paint grit on it); and, did I mention that I actually STEPPED IN AN OPEN CAN OF PAINT like one of the Three Stooges?

    At least no one saw my DIY disaster after the shelves went up.

    I hire painters now.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just couldn't stand the tile on the powder room floor so decided to cover it with a remnant piece of carpet. Since it's a very small room I was able to get a very nice piece of carpet rather inexpensively. Even though I planned it as a temporary fix, I grew to hate that carpet pretty quickly.

    Thinking that I'm being very clever, I use newspaper to make a template of the room. But, and you knew this was coming, I transferred my markings onto the back of the carpet so I can easily see the lines to cut it. Yes, that's right, the whole thing was cut out upside down. D'oh! Luckily, the remnant piece is large enough for me to do it right side up on the remaining carpet.

    I was able to use the wrong piece as a buffer between stuff stored in the garage.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I made the mistake of going to look at furniture while I had the flu. The store was HUGE and I found two pieces I loved and ordered them. When they arrived they looked like furniture on STEROIDS!!! They barely got them in the door when I was already moaning "Nooooo, these aren't going to work!" I had to keep them for two weeks till they got someone back to take them away. They applied the refund to another purchase of well measured and well thought out furniture.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    These are all priceless - literally! If we could only get the young and ambitious to read and learn from our mistakes we'd save them a fortune! But we all know..... they have to make their own and learn that way. Oh, well..... fodder for a new post ;-)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh amity, I've done EXACTLY what you described!

    We too were so tickled with our bargain tile that we *thought* was going to be beige and cream. It was always pink. We ended up having to rip all of that tile up. Ugh.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dlm2000, I love your chocolate brown shingles & red door. Your house is gorgeous. You changed the exterior dramatically...twice! Now you've got great "curb appeal." I just can't believe it's the same house!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first bathroom - it was pink and blue with fairies. angels and butterflies EVERYWHERE and it was the size of a broom closet. It was terrible but at the time wow I thought I was a Decorating Diva!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Let DH, who is (a) colorblind and (b) can't dress himself in the morning or find anything without me, choose paint colors.

    In other words, my MBR has been mint green, deep-rose pink, pukey peach: all colors he chose.

    I am now settling on a greige -- boring, but light and calm and works well with all the bedding -- and not letting him "help."

    He's great at a lot of other things: but not paint!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ok back to the eye level art..and i agree with susie.
    Being an interior designer i know that people are always TOLD to hang art at eye level but honestly that is the worst thing you can do..period.

    Your art should accent the items in the room and tie things to things..

    If you have a table with a lamp, it is nice to have the art a few inches above the table so the lamplight will illuminate it..and layer a few other pieces so they accent the art on the wall..a piece of art over a sofa or piano or chest or anything like that against the wall generally should be hung no more than 8 " above the back of the piece so that it ties the piece into the room..a MIRROR however when you come in the front door should be hung to where the center of the mirror is at about average height eye level so that someone can check their makeup and hair..but that is just about the ONLY thing that should be at eye level.

    our homes are NOT art galleries, they are places where we live..most people only walk into and through their homes but sit in their other rooms ..such as living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, offices..etc..and art should be where it will be comfortably (not crooked necked) enjoyed from where you are sitting.

    if you have super high ceilings..like 2 or 3 levels..occasionally a large tapestry or huge piece of art can be hung up super high..but it has to be large enough to make a statement and fill in the space..it is not meant to be viewed at a close proximity but to add color and texture to the large space..

    The real key to art is to try to tell a story with it if you can, try to draw something together with the art that will make a collection..say you have a nature scene and a lovely deer figurine, put the deer figurine in front of it to tell a story.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    RE: correct picture hanging height
    My SIL helped her stepson hang things in his new home. She's at least 5'11" and he & his wife are 5'4" at most. I don't think they could even see any of their pictures they were so high!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have SO made the same mistake with the color palette card! My particularly bad palette was primary colors, which matched the huge, primary color floral wallpaper I chose for my kitchen. I about had a heart when I first saw it up, and my mother has never let me forget it, either.

    My biggest mistake, however was converting my garage in our previous house to a two story, 5 room area for my kids. Just as soon as it was completed the For Sale sign was put out front and we moved. The lesson learned was that if you have to go to those extremes to make your house your dream home, maybe you should just move.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ok, I have no one to blame for my mistake but myself...after living with a very colonial wallpaper which I selected for our powder room in our last house I was ready for a change. We had gone to the "Pottery" in Williamsburg, VA and I found the perfect mirror and the price was so cheap so I bought it. As we were loading it into the car my husband said, "You're just changing the mirror right?!"... "Of course dear!" knowing full that wallpaper was history!

    We got home several hours later, he ran to the store to get some milk, bread, etc. and that's when I took my opportunity to remove the wallpaper. Now the wallpaper I had put up a few years earlier came off like a dream but the ugly floral wallpaper it was covering was NOT. When he got home he just shook his head and left me to my own devices!

    Days turned into weeks as I scraped and peeled tiny shreds of this stuff off the wall. I tried stripper, steaming, begging and pleading but it was going to come off in dime size pieces no matter what. Then you know how you get really excited when a larger pieces starts to come off and you really tug hopeful that at last it's going to come off? Then BAM off comes the wallboard too?!

    This was just in time for a major holiday dinner at my house too with 20 family and friends who all fondly referred to my ongoing project as the "war zone bathroom!"

    Finally we decided to give all the walls a lovely "European" plaster effect to hide the huge gouges I had put in the walls! With plenty of time on my hands to look at the room while removing the paper, I ended up ordering a console sink, new white toilet (the old one was tan and matched none of the console sinks), new fixtures, new lights, and new flooring! Cha Ching!!! The cost kept adding up!

    At the very end I was so proud of my new English/French inspired bath and told my husband to go get the new mirror so we could finally be done. He dutifully brought it in, saying "this does look much better" and don't you know it, the mirror DIDN'T fit!! Because the new console sink was so much higher than our old vanity it wouldn't fit and we had to go out and buy a new mirror!!

    He loved to tell people that the $25 bargain mirror ended up costing us $2,000 in the long run!!

    I did keep the mirror and it's in the master bathroom in my new house!!! ;)

    Kat

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first experience with painting a room was our bathroom. The "landlord" gave us white paint but said we could tint it a "pastel" color if we wanted. So we bot a small can of red. You probably know how this turned out. Yup, too much red so we had pepto-bismol bathroom walls. I was so "new" to decorating I actually liked it. It was a nice companion to the cherry red bedspread on our bed in the next room!

    When we moved out the landlord (AKA the Cdn. mil housing officer) did a double-take but said we didn't have to repaint. Fortunately. It would have taken a few coats.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first mistake, about 20 years ago, involved paint that was supposed to be a "nice warm neutral" and turned out to be the color of a bandaid.

    My second mistake was living with it for the next five years.

    Luckily, I've learned that if I am not completely happy, it's only paint. The first round in the last house looked a lot like Bertucci's. Six years and many gallons later, I am fairly proficient with color as well as the brushes and rollers. Whew!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One of my first decorating mistakes involved painting my foyer floor. It was ugly vinyl flooring - white with flowers. I decided to paint it - to save money and to try a new technique that I saw on the Christopher Lowell show. Alone I picked out the tan paint (I too, have a very color blind husband). It took forever to clean, rough up, prime, then paint, and it was in the highest traffic area of the home with a 6 year old and one year old that I had to keep off of it. Well after a few late nights and some stamped paint embellishments, it didn't look too bad. I decided to seal it with polyurethane, OIL BASED over water based paint. Well it turned the color to this Gad awful puke green. It looked like something I might have found in the back of my refrigerator, or something my baby might have thrown up. Either way it was awful. Exhausted, I had someone come out to give me an estimate on covering it with hardwood, laminate, anything. The guy said "What happened to the Floor?" I said "I don't know, we bought the house this way, isn't it awful?" I couldn't bear to be truthful. Anyway, his estimate was too high so we bought some of those wood squares, you know, parquet flooring from the H. I. store. We, (hubby pulled into the scene now) spent the next week learning to install this floor. We didn't even own a jig saw. He borrowed one from a neighbor. The edges around the door jams were not pretty, but we got the job done. We moved from that house 5 years ago. They are probably covered with something else by now.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OH AMITY! Your post just induced a much needed giggle-fest for DH and I both! Thank you! :)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, I forgot about my neon green hall wall. This was back in my Lynette Jennings days when she proclaimed, "paint your hall a different color then the rest of the house". I went off to BM, picked a green from a paint strip, put it on the walls in broad daylight. It was looking good. That night as I flicked on the light to go down the hallway, I had to put on my sun glasses. Next day it was back to linen white for the hall walls.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Never buy furniture for a house you haven't moved into yet. When we bought this house we went out shopping for new furniture. I ended up buying a nice set on clearance. The furniture store agreed to hold the furniture for a few months until we took possession of the new house. After we moved in and the furniture was delivered it turned out to be huge and I over-estimated the size of the new living room (I only toured the house twice before we bought it and it seemed soooo much bigger than our last house) We had to take the front door off to get the furniture in the house. The furniture won't go through a standard size door. The only room the furniture can be in is the living room because it won't fit through the door of our family room. We can't even fit it through the door to the basement. I have been living with this huge furniture in my living room for 7 years because I cannot use it anywhere else in the house and I cannot get rid of perfectly good furniture.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Rule of thumb if the paint color looks disgustingly horrid to you after a few brush strokes,stop right then. It won't look any better when the room is completely painted and second coated. Especially when it is a dark muddy pink color(brick) and the bathroom is teeny tiny. Not a good surprise for DH! what was I thinking, brick?? That was years ago.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My biggest mistake was when I was trying to paint an accent wall in my old dining room in WI, a bungalow built in 1926 with great wood floors, a built in china cabinet with leaded glass doors, and leaded glass windows. The other walls were a cream white called Coconut Grove from SW. I think I painted that wall 8 times with colors going from green, to a cloud faux finish, to a really awful copper metallic faux finish. Each one I hated. I finally did a very subtle taupe/beige faux finish. I later decided that the 2nd main wall would also be the taupe. The other walls were really small parts that surround the windows and the large arch between the rooms.
    The end product:


  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "My first mistake, about 20 years ago, involved paint that was supposed to be a "nice warm neutral" and turned out to be the color of a bandaid."

    I did that in my first house. I painted my master bedroom a great warm golden color that turned out to be burnt peach. UCK!

    Although I wish I could say that my bad mistakes are all behind me, I uhh... really goofed. I was TRYING to copy a stunning chandy I saw that an artist had wrapped in a tornado of grapevine with crystals dangling everywhere. My grand plan was to take an old chandy that was given to me and make it into something fabulous for my craft room, but mine turned out to be an unfabulous wad of vines. Earlier today I took the chandy outside and shot it, but I don't have the nerve to post pictures.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The one I am living with now is ordering replacement cushions from an online source for the Lloyd Flanders wicker sofa/chair/ottoman & rocker in the sunroom area adjacent to my kitchen.

    When the original cushion covers got tired looking after 5 yrs. and several washings, I went to the dealer where I purchased the set. I discovered you can't just buy new covers, you have to buy new cushions as well, and 2 yrs. ago that came to near $l,000 in just their lower grade fabric choices.

    I thought I'd get a better price online. I did. I paid $600 plus shipping from a "look alike" vendor, not a Lloyd Flanders product.

    They looked good for about 6 months, then the pattern began to fade and the fabric began to show more wear than was warranted by how often it was used.

    The worst part was that while the original cushions were very comfortable (the back cushions had gauze wrapping the foam core so it gave when you sat back) these new cushions are just covered blocks of hard foam. DH hated them from the get-go. Whenever he gets up from the rocker the back cushion still just bounces off and falls on the floor, which annoys him to no end.

    When we first got them I was convinced they would "break in" soon. I was also a little defensive about my purchase. Six Hundred Dollars isn't a fortune, but it's a lot more than I have ever gambled on a sight-unseen purchase.

    I am determined to eventually replace the cushions with the real deal, but it's not something that I can afford to do right now. So every day I am haunted by my Stupidest Decorating Mistake.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    #1. White, snowblind, pure, dazzling white carpet in the den. With kids and pets.

    #2. Painting the kitchen a light blue to surprise DH. But when he came home that night and we turned on the light, it looked battleship grey.

    #3. Painting 5 coats before understanding the value of primer. It's a must.

    #4. Agreeing to paint my daughter's bedroom "Cheetah" - do you know how long it takes to paint all those teensy spots?

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Spending Real Money on decorating a rented house, especially a rented house I didn't like in the first place... an early-80s Subdivision Special pseudocontemporary snout-house, complete with the entire front wall of the house (which was the two-story living room) all windows topped with the semi-ubiquitous enormous Palladian window. I thought it was ugly but it was our first SFH after a succession of progressively-slightly-less-nasty-rented-apartments-and-condos so we were a bit dizzy with enthusiasm, and DH convinced me we could throw a little money around instead of squeezing every nickel until the buffalo farts as usual. (We were renting it from a family member for next to nothing.) I think had I liked the house itself I would been completely content with my KMart curtains etc. I had drapes custom made for the ginormous living-room windows; I adored them even though I swear everyone else loathed them :-) and had them cut down to use again in the house we bought a year or so later, but there's something about the "Impressionistic floral" pattern that is utterly wrong for a 1900 Victorian Lite so they languish in my closet because I cannot bring myself to get rid of them even though they look dreadful here. They're like the Geico ad with the stack of money with the googly-eyes on top, they just represent way too much money to me. Same goes for the custom bedding and drapes for that house's master bedroom... I couldn't find what I wanted for a price I was willing to even consider paying so I had a duvet cover made (and learned I hate duvets, it became a bedspread), pillows, drapes, the whole shebang. It looked wonderful in the enormous, bright, airy MBR in the rental but was completely unusable in the two houses after.

    The real killer... I let DH talk me into spending almost a month's pay on an enormous leather couch/chair/ottoman set that fit the rental's open-plan two-story living room very well. However, less than a year later we moved to a small Cape Cod with defined rooms and low ceilings and 3 years after that we moved to an even smaller Victorian Lite. Said furniture had to be moved in with a shoehorn and was like living in an RV with a Great Dane. We KNEW it wasn't going to be a long-term residence, why we were so stupid as to spend that much money on ANY furniture is beyond me, much less on furniture that wouldn't have fit into any house we could have afforded to buy in the first place! (We can't even sell it to recover some of what we spent, because in the last few weeks of her life our beloved cat had some pretty awful accidents, some of which we did not discover immediately. Although we were able to get rid of the majority of the odor - mostly you only ever get a whiff on a rainy day when it's hot - something in the vomit and diarrhea bleached and discolored the leather, and all attempts to fix have just made it look worse. Sigh.)

    "Rule of thumb if the paint color looks disgustingly horrid to you after a few brush strokes,stop right then. It won't look any better when the room is completely painted and second coated."

    Must respectfully disagree! When we painted the MBR in our previous house an olive-gold color almost identical to Ben Moore Blair Gold (the color of those really giant green olives from California) DH insisted that it looked like we were painting the walls with what looked like the contents of a baby's diaper, and that wasn't too inaccurate a description given that we had a friend with a baby with some seriously terrifying diapers. Like make the dog run away diapers. :-) I KNEW it was going to work though, so I bullied him into persevering. The empty painted room was still pretty gruesome, so I bribed him into putting everything back into the room, hanging curtains and art and so on, and it was very funny watching him grind his teeth and admit that now that "baby crap green" was suddenly just perfect once the correct color combination/balance was there!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh my lord these are funny :) Really needed this today after the markets doing what they did.

    One of my first true decorating mistakes was spending $$$ and months of decision-making agony on a 'nursery' when I was pregnant. Of course we ended up with DD in with us until she was probably around 7, first in a crib, then in a bed next to my side. She's perfectly normal (as much as someone in this family can be :)) and now she sleeps in a room she helped design with a cat for company, but before she was born I was sure I'd be tucking her in down the hall from us and she needed it to be painted in exactly the right colors, and have the exact right window treatments and light fixtures. RIGHT. I should have known that in my arms, no matter what I was wearing, what time day or night, was her perfect nursery. Every time I see the decorating shows making a nursery for a first child I think "there they go again..." Not having anyone around to help me problematize/analyze the hype (my mom had already passed and DH was no help--he was as clueless as I was!), I fell for it utterly.

    It was wasted money and more, wasted time and energy. Silly first time mommy.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I let DH talk me into a wild carpet for our bland lake house living room. Then -- because it was a 50 year old house with a musty crawlspace -- I didn't throw myself on the floor when he decided to put tarpaper under it to help block any odor. For almost a year we heard little sucky noises with every footstep, and the carpet went from wild and interesting to just plain ugly to absolutely disgusting. FORTUNATELY, it started raveling and when we went back to complain, they offered to replace it. We bought a nice, thick, neutral carpet -- almost the exact color of our Golden Retriever, which cut down a lot on visual dog-hair debris! And pulled up the stupid tar paper.

    We got REAL lucky on that one, but there are some old family photos during that era that should be burned just because they show such poor taste!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Throw snowballs at me throw mud in my eyes. But I don't think I made any mistakes in decorating at all. I was a born decorator, born to be creative. (lol)

    I made plenty of mistakes but not in decorating, only in real life.

    ..........Jane

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    lorriekay - have you thought of relisting your sectional on CL? I recently met a woman who is trying to find "her style" She's trying out a lot of things for awhile, then reselling them on CL. She isn't out any real cash as she gets her money back out of the pieces.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    joanie38 - You completely cracked me up.

    "The guy said "What happened to the Floor?" I said "I don't know, we bought the house this way, isn't it awful?" I couldn't bear to be truthful."

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first house, a track home. The walls were ALL white, didn't look anything like the model home, sooooooooooo I hired my FIL's decorator. I told her I wanted Victorian, she thought that meant beige flowers. So I painted the walls a dark beige pink, hung flowered wall paper and spent $500 on flowered fabric to make the curtains out of ....doing it all myself. The first person to see it said it looked like"Grandma's house"! It did!!! YUCKY!!! I later sold it like that, the new owners kept the decor. :0)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "We bought the house this way..."

    Yup--that's gonna be my excuse when I need to repaint.
    Because, um, (she hides her head in partial shame) I REALLY DO have light blue walls from the combined LR/DR and on up the stairway and into the guest room and into the loft. (The MBR is slightly different, but, um, also a shade of blue.) I like blue. I can't help it! OK, I also have (sunglasses, pls!) LIME GREEN in the kitchen and powder room. and on my fireplace wall something that I call Ikea Purply-Blue (their signature logo color, just cuz I think it's a great shade. Mine didn't come out all that great.

    Concerning paint, I sometimes feel like I should be required to have someone like a "probation officer" before I'm allowed to pick colors!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mine is easy. I got pregnant late in life after trying for 12 years and 4 rounds of in vitro fertilation. When I got pregnant with twins, I did the nursery in primary colors and Mickey Mouse (in diapers) wallpaper. I had expensive primary red roman shades with envelope-looking toppers trimmed in primary yellow and green with a big yellow button. Not enough for you? I had built-in shoe racks made for infant size shoes!!!! You would have thought someone would have had the guts to tell me that in three years they would already be embarrassed to bring anyone to their room. I had no clue.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    beachgirlok, don't feel bad- they all do it. My DD had a soft pink floral wallpaper and had pink bookcase and green nightstand ivory headboard- colors pulled out of the paper. Think Laura Ashley style on a shoestring. I had planned to have the paper grow up with her with different furnishings, with the paper as the base.
    Nope. That paper got filled with posters ASAP- Snow White movie posters, muppet movie posters etc( she does have a brother 5 1/2 years older)
    In high school it all came down- she did all the work and she chose her own color scheme and furniture!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "For almost a year we heard little sucky noises with every footstep..."

    Priceless. :^D

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Priceless . . . only if you didn't have to hear it!!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    dlm2000 - What's the name of the paint color on your house now? I love it!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OMG, I've been ROFLMAO reading through all these posts . . . they're priceless!
    My worst decorating disaster was way back in my very first apartment down in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The landlords liked me and so they ok'd me painting one (huge) wall in my bedroom as long as I agreed to put it back to (stark) white before I moved. My boyfriend at the time was an artist, who also had no previous wall painting experience! I let him talk me into painting the wall a dark forest green and then he got the great(stupid!) idea of making a mosaic design with mirrors on it. I let him (stupidly) glue (with some heavy duty auto glue) twenty-plus 12"x12" mirrors to the wall in a huge flying bird design. I know, we must've lost our minds! Well, six months later, as I was ready to move to my new duplex, I tried getting those mirrors off the wall. OMG, what a nightmare!!! When I finished, it looked like some cannon company had used my dark green wall for target practice! I was in tears and petrified that I was never going to get that wall back to normal again. My grandfather and I worked for days patching Thank goodness my retired grandpa was brilliant when it came to that kind of stuff (heck, he was brilliant at everything!), but he was ready to toss me off my balcony when he first got a look at that wall! I was on Gramp's poop list for a couple of weeks after that, but I did learn several big lessons on what NOT to do to a wall! Did I mention that the boyfriend was not allowed back at Gram & Gramps house after that? I broke up with him a couple of weeks after that anyway. I needed a boyfriend that was smart, like my Gramp.
    Lynn

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I decided that with 3 young kids, having slipcovers I could throw in the wash was very important - went to Calico Corners, picked an expensive fabric, ordered 20 yards of it - when it came in, I realized I had no prayer of being able to pre-wash that huge of a length of cloth (it needed to be one unbroken length for the slipcover people to work with) - so I figured, what's the worst that can happen and sent it off without pre-washing. The slipcovers arrived and looked great until the first time I washed and dried them...they shrank to about a third of their original size!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Never decorate a new house, while pregnant, and on bedrest and still living in the old house!

    1. I was pregnant

    2. I hadn't lived in the new house and had misconceptions about the scale, style, and just about everything about the house.

    3. I did most of it online because I wasn't allowed out of bed, or sneaking into a store on my way back from an OB appt. (picked granite that way - in 10 minutes - hate my granite)

    4. Did I mention I was pregnant?

    Oh, and Sheesharee...I have those EXACT valances in my attic somewhere. You guessed it! Bought for the new house while pregnant and on bedrest! LOL!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first stupidest mistake was when I made an interior designer choke. Yeah there is more than one,I already told my second one.
    My friend and I took a class given by an interior designer from Ethan Allen.This was soon after my new DH and I bought his Dad's house. His Dad was a widower and the house needed a lot of work. As part of the class the decorator would come to each of our houses and help us with our living rooms. We were had plans to renovate and had no furniture, so we were talking for the future. I happened to mentioned that we had just done our kitchen and she asked to see it. Big mistake on her part.
    We were very proud of our bright blue kitchen. Glossy royal blue cabinets and two shades lighter on the paint card walls.My DH had refinished the fir floors that just gleamed, and looked very yellow in the florescent lights in the old dropped ceiling. The appliances were from the 60s and I had the original very very small lemon yellow laminate with silver sprinkles countertop with the chrome strip.
    She pretty much left in a very big hurry. I had no idea. That was my first kitchen.And it stayed that way for quite awhile!