0 comments / Posted on by Erin Gates

When decorating a space you are bound to make mistakes. We all do. We buy things just to fill a space instead of waiting for something we really love or maybe it’s something super trendy that falls out of favor quickly.  Perhaps it’s even a paint color you no longer like seeing everyday that you once were just MAD for.  It’s so common, and designers arenot immune to making purchasing mistakes either!

But then there are things that we say “thank GOODNESS I bought that” about because you still love them years later.  I have a few purchases like that and thought I’d round them up and tell you a little about why I love them so much.  Listening to your gut seems to be a resounding tip when looking at all these decisions together! When I don’t follow my instincts, I tend to waste money on things I don’t love.

So here are my “no regrets” purchases and design decisions:

1.) My leopard stair runner.  This was a bold move and I was nervous that I would tire of it, but I haven’t! At all! Not only do I still love the look of it, the functionality is beyond awesome- it hides absolutely everything and still looks new two years later!

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2.) Every single thing about my master bathroom.  It’s hard to get it all right, but I have to say that there is not one regret I have about this space- from the layout in the long skinny space to the finishes.  I was scared the lighting was going to be too snug, but it’s awesome. And the floor was SO worth the splurge that it was. I still love the paint colors, the shower, the Silestone counter AND the gold fittings.  I have some clients ask me if I ever regret going gold in this room and I do not for ONE second. It feels so luxurious, special and different.

*OK, I have one regret- I don’t like the way the two piece toilet looks. I wish I had done a sleeker one piece. :)


3.) My dining room chandelier.  It was an atypical choice for my colonial house, but I LOOOOOOOOVE it. Every day when I walk in the kitchen I see it and think “yes”.  I’ve also used it in two or three projects since then- and not one regret from those clients either.

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4.) My Colette bed.  I got this bed about five years ago and was so in love with it.  And guess what? It’s still one of my favorite beds to use in my client’s homes to this day!  A true classic, there is nothing about this bed that will go out of style. (I also don’t regret taking these nightstands off a client’s hands and spray painting them!)

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5.)  This antique gold frame (and nude sketch by Gretchen Kelley).  I picked this frame up at an antique shop for $30, and the sketch for $50 from Etsy.  I had a local frame shop fit the frame with plexi, dry mount the sketch and add backing and wire. All in, that cost about $75.  And it’s still one of my favorite items in the house- especially against the black walls (another decision I don’t regret- I still love the black bathroom!) It adds a nice touch of vintage glam (I even love that it’s chipped!)

*A regret I have in this space- that I didn’t replace the old tub and tile.  It saved us a lot of money and instead just re-enameled everything bright white. But now it’s all cracking and to redo it now means probably having to redo the new floor. So we’re a little stuck. I wish I had just ponied up the money up front to do it all at once.

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6.) This vintage coat rack. Another antique shop find for $100! I love how unique it is and it fits my teeny tiny entryway perfectly!

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7.) My kitchen layout and most of my choices.  I love how my tiny kitchen functions so well (even better since this picture was taken, with my new pantry and mudroom where that glass door is).  I LOVE my quartzite counters, my appliances, my sink and cabinetry.

* My few kitchen regrets- I wish I had run my subway to the ceiling on all walls, that I had done a slightly darker grey on my lower cabinets (I got scared of going to dark last minute) and my chrome faucet- I wish I had been brave and just done a brass one like I really wanted.

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8.) My vintage buffet ($75!), blue and white vase and my vintage redone chair.  The buffet I’ve talked about before ad-nauseum, and I still adore it 8 years after purchase.  The blue and white vase I borrowed from a showroom for the book shoot and I could not bear to return it afterwards, even though it was expensive.  ZERO REGRETS.  I am obsessed with it.  And the chair- a labor of love, but of course, one that still makes me smile.

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9.) My IKEA outdoor chairs.  One of those things I’m so glad I bought because they stopped making them for some unknown reason! So stylish and affordable, I get more questions and comments about these than any other aspect of my outdoor space!

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10.)  My bust.  A silly, inexpensive purchase but something about it just makes me so happy. Someday I’d like a real marble one, but until I have a spare $2-3k I think I’ll stick with “Our Lady of the Bar”.  Also, my awesome skull I found on a walk one day. I like them together. :)


11.) My Mitchell Gold Major chair.  A big splurge, but one I recommend to SO many clients. It’s deceptively comfortable and adds just the right amount of modern edge to my room. I also don’t regret my H blanket at all, even though it’s a bit much. It reminds me of the day I finished my book manuscript, which was a very proud moment for me.

* One regret- not doing something to keep the leather on the seat from fading from the sun! Boooooooo!


What are the purchases you don’t regret? Or maybe what are some you DO regret?

 * All pictures except last two by Michael Partenio for Elements of Style: Designing A Home and a Life



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