11 Home Decisions You May Regret in 5 Years, Per Design Insiders

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WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on December 21, 2023

Whether you’re a professional interior designer, a devoted hobbyist, or someone who has to  Google “how to hang curtains” (we got you), you likely have a few interior design regrets under your belt. This is doubly true if you attempted to decorate any sort of interior during your college years (tie dye tapestries and futons, anyone?).

So, given that this is pretty much a universal design experience, we decided to poll our team for the home decor faux pas they still regret to this day. From forcing a trend to moving too quickly on a paint color, we all had more than our fair share of design blunders, to say the least.

Ahead, find our candid thoughts on the home decisions we 100% regret, and remember: we made these mistakes so you don’t have to! We hope that sharing our experiences will help you avoid a few design blunders of your own.

Interior design regrets: Impractical upholstery

Interior design regrets

“​​I regret buying a custom 12-foot suede chaise sectional. It was beautiful, but not pet-friendly whatsoever, and it was ruined in less than three months. I went into it knowing that suede was not pet-friendly, but overestimated my ability to keep the pups off! Now, I always go with a performance fabric or leather.” – Peter Salathe, Havenly Art Director

Interior design regrets: Low-quality tile

Interior design regrets

“I regret not investing more when renovating our powder room. We were doing so much at once reno-wise, that I cheaped out a bit on the tile, and made a decision too fast. It’s not terrible, but I wish I would have either waited to find something I really loved, or just bit the bullet on a higher-quality option since re-tiling is such a pain. Conversely, we went with a more expensive tile we absolutely loved in our entry, and have zero regrets.” – Shelby Girard, Havenly VP Creative & Design 

Interior design regrets: Not “priming the canvas” before moving in

Interior design regrets

“My husband and I didn’t paint or refinish the old hardwood floors before moving in, and the idea of doing it all now feels like the biggest headache. Our entire house is hard wood, and every conceivable surface needs a fresh coat of paint (walls, ceilings, trim, and doors), so we’d basically have to move everything out for a week-plus to get it all done now. Very much regret not taking the time to do it before moving in — especially the hardwood!” – Kelsey Menoian, Copywriter & Content Manager 

Interior design regrets: Impulse buying decor

Interior design regrets

“I definitely regret impulse-buying decor when moving into our new apartment. Instead of living in it for a few weeks and taking the time to find pieces that’ll be with me for years, I let impatience get the best of me. As a result, I feel like I’m buying all new decor  again that I’ll actually love for the long haul, and spending more money overall.” – Carlie Rice, Havenly Social Media Manager

Interior design regrets: Going too budget on a sofa

Interior design regrets

“I got sticker shock when purchasing my first ‘grown up’ sofa, and went really budget. It did not hold up, to say the least. It snagged, buttons fell off (it was a tufted mid-century style), and overall, it looked worn and saggy in a year’s time. For sofa number two, I decided to invest and ultimately save money in the long run, and it’s been so worth it.” – Heather Goerzen, Havenly Design Editor

Interior design regrets: Going all-in on one design style

Interior design regrets

“Unfortunately, I’ve gone all-in on a single design style more than once. I was obsessed with mid-century modern everything during its mid-2010s renaissance, and then proceeded to fall in love with ultra-modern, 80s-inspired decor a la CB2 shortly afterwards. Now that I have a little more design experience under my belt, I wish I considered longevity and borrowed elements from different design styles when buying furniture and decor. A mixed aesthetic feels so much more elevated, dynamic, and timeless.” – KM 

Interior design regrets: Forcing wallpaper

Interior design regrets

“I did a blue peel-and-stick wallpaper in my last apartment, and while it felt on-trend, immediately hated it. But instead of removing it, I tried to incorporate blue in other rooms and make it work before inevitably admitting that it ALL had to go. The truth is, I prefer a really soft, neutral palette, and shouldn’t have tried to force a design trend.” – CR

Interior design regrets: Trend-specific artwork

Interior design regrets

“I loved the overly-coordinated, matchy-matchy gallery wall look years ago, and now I want to re-do everything. It feels very 2010s, and I wish I had embraced a more timeless look instead of going with the artwork trend of the moment in so many spaces in my home.” – Kelsey Fischer, Lead Havenly Designer

Interior design regrets: Choosing paint colors too fast

Interior design regrets

“When my husband and I moved into our first home together, I chose paint colors really quickly. I went with a light gray for the main hallway and dining space, and immediately regretted it. It felt colder than I wanted the home to feel, and I wished I would have gone for a warm white. But due to budget, we couldn’t repaint, and I learned my lesson: always take your time when choosing paint! In our kitchen, for example, we lived with dusty blue swatches for weeks before making the call, and still love the color to this day.” – HG

Interior design regrets: Investing in trendy lighting

Interior design regrets: Open shelving everywhere

Interior design regrets

“I regret pretty much all of my open shelving, but especially on furniture. I’ve been choosing furniture with closed cabinets lately, and I can’t get over much cleaner and more organized my space looks! I’m never going back.” – CR 

Want expert advice on your own space, straight from an interior designer? Get started today with our style quiz.

Words by Kelsey Clark