Learning From Mistakes

Real Advice from Real People
The popular home improvement website Houzz recently asked its'readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. These are our favorites:

"Never paint a bedroom before buying the bedding."

"Never paint test swatches directly on your walls. The color and or change in finish will telegraph through the finished paint job unless you spend extra time and money to sand and prime. Paint big swatches on poster board so you can move them around to different areas and in different lighting."

"Never have a red, orange or harsh yellow bedroom. No matter how much you like it, those colors are too energizing/irritating to foster rest."

"Don't let yourself get talked into something if it's not right for you or the way you and your family live and function."

"Never buy furniture or appliances until you have measured all the doors the item will have to pass through."

"Never put the kitchen sink in a corner."

I recently learned the hard way to never, never buy furniture unless you can first take home a cushion or fabric sample. I ended up with a pink couch and side chair when I thought I was buying cream. Now if I can't get a sample to see how the color will really look in my own home, I go somewhere else."

"Never install very dark wood or laminate floors. They will only look good for about five minutes after you clean them. And you have to clean every square inch or the undone areas will be very noticeable. Trust me. I made this mistake. We kept the floors for about a year and then had them replaced."
"Never attempt to buy an area rug before you are sure you have the proper measurements."

"Never buy artwork or accessories just to fill a space. Buy what you love and find a space for it."

"Never have white floors. Trust me, I've done it more than once. I'm a slow learner."

"Never ever sign a contract/agreement without reading it. Read the whole agreement - each and every clause. Understand what you are reading/signing. If you don't, ask someone. Make sure everything you were promised verbally appears in writing."

"Never ever let someone start a job in your home or for you without a written contract. Smiles and handshakes are for the easily duped."

"Never hire relatives to help you renovate. When something doesn't go your way or if you don't like their ideas, it can be a disaster. Hire someone who can guarantee their work."

"Never take the lowest bid to save money. Go with your gut. It always knows what is right for you."

"Don't do cheap. If you can't afford it, wait. You will end up saving money because when you invest in high-quality goods, you won't have to replace it."

"When you buy a house, especially a resale, don't change every single thing you don't like before you live in it a little while. You find some things are a certain way for a good reason and you are glad you didn't 'fix' it."

"Never ever do something because it is a trend. Do it because you love it."

"Never don't do something you like because it is a trend."

"Never design by committee. Your friends, relatives, neighbors etc. aren't paying for it. You are. Get what you love. Also, a designer isn't a personal shopper. If you are looking for the cheapest/best price/bargain, hire a personal shopper or surf the web yourself."

"Never renovate aspirationally. If your family isn't crowded around the kitchen table now playing games, they won't suddenly do it (more than once) in a new game room. If you don't have company now in your 'humble home,' odds are you won't suddenly have friends who want to visit your fancier one. You will be just as much of a slob in a nice space as in your current one. Renovations change little that is wrong with us or our relationships."

"Never tell your teenager he or she can decorate his or her own room unless you are prepared to live with black paint, plastic skulls and a coffin-shaped bed."

"Never, ever, ever buy your wife brand-new kitchen appliances for Christmas. 'They are not gifts! They are machines for doing work.' So I am told."

"One poster's 'never' is another poster's 'always.' Never assume what's right for you, your taste, your budget, your situation, is right for everyone."