Home Improvement

How do all of you accept poor home improvement decisions you’ve made?

By October 1, 2019 42 Comments

Closed on my first house in May of this year. Once we closed, I gutted the interior, removed popcorn, ripped out old flooring, repainted the inside, re-did all doors, molding, and trim, and much more. It was great, and we were able to move in at the beginning of July.

The entire summer was a flurry of big decisions, having my second child, and much more.
One of my biggest regrets from this summer of home purchasing and improving was the flooring. My wife loves carpet, and I, having never redone a house didn’t think too much of it. I said “yup, let’s do that.” I love my wife and she has great taste, so now we have 1000/1200 sq ft of our home covered in lovely carpet. — about 2 weeks after we moved in, it hit me that I really would have preferred more hardwood in our home.
Just as a note, I don’t blame my wife at all. I completely was onboard, but have had massive buyers remorse specifically in regard to the carpet.

How do you all live with big decisions like flooring that you can’t really justify changing for 5-10 years? Do you have any tips for more effectively making decisions about home changes in the future?

Apologies for this being a bit of a rant. I genuinely want to know how you all process things of this sort. I’m new to the homeownership thing, and could use some advice.


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42 Comments

  • Wife_Made_Me_Do_It says:

    It’s called live and learn. You have two kids, that carpet won’t make it 3 years and then you can sell her on hardwood as “it will hold up to the kids better”.

    We all go through it, enjoy what you have and look at it as a future project that will be nice when the day comes.

  • homestolove says:

    It’s your first house. You learn from these things. Could be worse – at least you still have hardwood floors under the carpet!
    Plus I would have thought that carpet would be better with babies/young kids – softer and they’re less likely to injure themselves.

  • yeonik says:

    My dude, I spent a whole fall building a tile shower. I had visions(delusions?) of grandeur, the type of shower that you see on the home shows. Glistening in the light, it washes you itself, etc.

    What I got instead was a leaky quasimoto looking excuse for a shower. Uneven tiles, caulk all over to seal it, the damn fixture wasn’t flush with the wall and the slope was all wrong on the floor so it wouldn’t drain. I promptly tore it out and remodeled the bathroom without a shower.

    Sometimes we just need to bite the bullet and understand that some things were a bad decision and need to be changed.

  • Piratesfan02 says:

    The carpet will be a great place for kids to learn to crawl walk fall down and play. The underlayment for the carpeting is much softer than a rug on the hardwood floor. This is a great time for them to be young play and you don’t have to worry about them falling down as much. Then as they get older, you can change it to exactly what you want.

  • snokyguy says:

    I mean with a kid just wait a few years and the carpet will be ruined anyways: then you go hardwood

  • surrix says:

    Sounds kind of perfect actually. You’re definitely going to want some kind of carpet for the baby’s first few years of crawling and falling down anyway. You can get rid of it when the kids older and doesn’t need it anymore.

  • lonelyinbama says:

    I’ve lived in my house for 7 years years now and it’s been one after another of these decisions. Mainly due to cost. Up until this year of our lives, we’ve had to do home improvements as money allowed and as skill allowed. Now, we both have new higher paying jobs and we’re doing an entire house remodel plus an addition of 700sq ft. I’ve hired a home builder and they are doing it, no longer relying on my below average skill

    All the projects, all the money I’ve spent, all of it, is basically going to waste because we’re redoing everything I had to do on the cheap. I regret doing anything at all. The worst is my grass. My pride and joy, the only thing that I actually did right and spend decent amount of money on. Installed an irrigation system and sodded everything. Well, when add 700sqft to your house, you loose a lot of yard. A lot of grass you spent years maintaining and an irrigation system you spent 3k on. All gone, all useless.

    But that’s the reality of home ownership. This is why people rent their entire life.

  • UEMcGill says:

    My wife and I have been together for close to 20 years. I’ve always been handy and have always done all the work on my house. Over the years trends have come and gone but one way we’ve stayed consistent is trying to manage to our lifestyle.

    When we embark on a home update, or more recently a new home the question was, “How does this fit us?”

    With carpet specifically, my wife is the driving factor. She hates it. She’s a very clean person and is the primary housekeeper. I handle outside, she takes the inside. While I like carpet, it’s her needs for easy cleanability with pets and active kids that drove us to only have hardwood in the house, and consequently was a driving decision for the house we bought. When I finish the basement I’ll put carpet in, as it is a pretty low use factor compared to other parts of the house.

    In the short term, 5 years or so isn’t a long time in a house. I remember thinking on the last house, “I’ll do some upgrades, and we’ll move onto the next in like 5 years.” 14 years later….

    Don’t sweat it. Look at it. Dream openly with your wife, “Oh next time we’ll do this and this and this.” and enjoy what you have.

  • Gunty1 says:

    New baby? You want soft warm carpet in some of the places for sure!

    ​

    It will also cut down on sound and to my mind is better for warmth?

    One way to accept anything is to rationally step back and look at the pros and cons of it.

    ​

    I went all laminate wood in my home earlier this year and while i like it it has draw backs, but i went that direction as i knew i would have 2 lodgers with me and they wouldnt care for the place they same way i would so cleaning wooden floor versus carpet was a no brainer for me.

  • scamper9194 says:

    While your children are small, carpet is probably the best choice. Fewer bruises and scrapes from falls as they learn to walk, easier to lie or sit on the floor while playing. It will inevitably become stained (my little ones only drank white grape juice and there were still drip marks. I grew up with hard wood floors and while I want to refinish the original floors in my 1860 farmhouse, I can still remember my mom protecting the finish on my childhood home at the expense of just living. Nail polish remover was akin to satan, shoes marks, etc. Hatdwood is pretty, but work to maintain.

  • whitepawn23 says:

    One thing to consider is the cleaning involved with hardwood, especially if you have an animal. Or one person in the house with long hair.

    Weekly, AT LEAST. Usually twice a week.

    Would you be doing this biweekly hardwood cleaning or would your wife be doing this biweekly hardwood cleaning? I love the look of hardwood but hate the maintenance. Being able to see all hair and dust makes you feel like you’re in a dirty house no matter how clean it actually is. Also, with no shoes in the house, anyone barefoot can leave footprints. I got tired of it after a couple years and slapped down carpet. Easier to let the carpet suck up the dust and vacuum every 1-2 weeks, and it feels nice underfoot.

    Maybe ask your wife WHY she wants carpet before the next place.

  • Pigmy says:

    Kids and animals take a toll on carpet. I moved into my house in 2009 and left the carpet here for far too long. 1 kid, several animals (2 huge dogs at the same time once) made the carpet disgusting. We werent great financially but finally did replace it just recently. Carpet was well past due and like 15 years old. We didn’t make it a priority, we extended the life by acquiring a good carpet cleaner and using it as needed. I’m sure the carpet purist will say that using such cleaners likely did my carpet no favors, but better than visible stains.

    To give you an idea of replacement hard flooring, we got LVP installed over about 2k square feet for around $9k.

    Some times its just a gotcha type scenario for choices like this. I bought a bagger attachment for my riding mower and after first mow with it (which did great btw) something on the deck broke that made me have to remove the bagger. So I paid hundreds of dollars for something that I got to use once and have to spend more money/time to repair before i can use it again. Also, its at the end of the season, so did I really make a good choice? In the end you try to do research, weigh options, and choose. Sometimes its making the wife happy. Sometimes its other factors that motivate the choice beyond logic.

    My only advice is if you are buying something expensive like a new tool buy a cheapo version at harbor freight. If you use it enough to break it and still need it then buy the nice one. Example, the $10 angle grinder I got at harbor freight vs the $100 dewalt one. I sharpen mower blades once a season and use it sparingly otherwise.

  • pokerbrowni says:

    Let’s be fair here. Even if you’d taken several weeks to consider it, “My wife loves carpet” is going to trump “I really would have prefferred more hardwood” any day. You need actual personal shared experience to lean on regarding the pros and cons of carpet and hardwood in order to override a “My wife loves…” when it comes to decor.

  • throwawaypoppies says:

    I have hardwood throughout the house. When I had my two children (2 years apart) it was hell!! The echoing noise of everything my 2 yr old son did woke my new born daughter. It was seriously so much stress. Trying to get him to be quiet whilst I fed and settled my baby was a nightmare… all because of the floor boards. Carpet would have avoided all this. It was 18 years ago and I still feel the pain I went through. Those kids really trashed the floor boards too. Carpet is PERFECT for where you are right now.

  • DsBrews says:

    Enjoy it for what it is. Everything has it’s positives and negatives. Carpet tends to make the space feel much more warm/relaxing, calm and comfortable (quieter). Quicker to vacuum rather than having to chase down every last speck of dust and debris (because you can easily see it).

    Still going through renovation ourselves. We initially wanted a decent laminate in the living room and upstairs room. But we snagged a deal on some double backed burber for basically $.65sq/ft (they just dropped the whole roll on my trailer). After our experience with the laminate I installed in our condo, I am ready for the benefits of carpet. Atleast I already own a carpet cleaner to freshen it up every once in a while. Also note you can cover high traffic areas and locations at higher risk for stains with runners and area rugs that can be cleaned outside if need be and/or replaced.

    Also the older you get you realize how temporary everything is. When you are twice the age you are now, that thing you are worrying about now will be long distant memory you chuckle to yourself about wasting so much concern on.

  • Saucy6 says:

    Our baby was rough on our recently refinished hardwood floors. Scratched them up dragging toys around, dropping stuff… carpet sounds like a good idea for those first few years.

  • Equivalent_Cat says:

    Wine. Lots of wine.

  • moody330 says:

    Usually with my head hung low and a 12 pack!

  • [deleted] says:

    [deleted]

  • skintigh says:

    LOL I wish that was my biggest regret, that’s not even my biggest flooring regret ha ha ha ha *cry*

    Anyway, if you have a few tools and are just a bit handy, ripping up the carpet and installing new oak flooring isn’t very difficult and will cost about $3/sqft in material [Edit: Well, depending on the wood of course. We bought oak at home Depot I think for $3, might have been 3 and change. And I enjoyed installing it, it’s like Legos or Tetris for your house. We also got the exact look we wanted: I left out the tiny pieces from rooms because I hate the scrap wood look, and my GF picked the pieces to meet her exact preference on colors and grain]

    We have hard wood, but I kinda miss how much more quiet [a big plus with screaming kids], comfortable and warm carpet was. Dust also stayed put instead of forming tumbleweeds under furniture where kids will find it.

  • Bumshart says:

    My wife deals with a lot of my poor home improvement decisions by reminding me of them constantly.

  • Valgaur says:

    My wife and I have just embarked on our first home and my dad gave me some advice as he has done all the work in my parents house from concrete to wiring etc. He pretty much told me that anything you feel comfortable doing, do it. When you pay someone you are paying to not learn how to do something, which is something he doesn’t believe in. As was mentioned in other posts its a learning experience. In my example I’m planning to build a garage in the next 1-3 years and am going through every nut and bolt for the design, but I always have another voice in my head telling me to be realistic with my goal. What do I need this for? What optimal equipment would I be using and how can I best use it? My wife and I view upgrades in a best case scenario for us view. Do we need new carpet in the house? Yeah, but could we see ourselves with hardwood, also yes. What would be ideal for our next ten years? Since we live in a very cold climate carpets help retain heat and make things softer for kids and pets down the road for us. If we don’t like that decision, then we simply bite the bullet and go the route we see necessary then. My dad told me that things change, and so will your tastes, more often than you think they will, so go with the flow, be budget and your useage conscious and go the route you want or need. Hope this helps.

  • optigon says:

    The same way I deal with intrusive thoughts about embarrassing moments I had years ago. I tell myself, “I was doing my best with the tools I had at the time! I can’t change the past; I can only change the future!”

    If you decide you’re unhappy with it, just throw it back on the docket to fight with again later. This isn’t adding a wing to the house and being unhappy with the placement, it’s carpet, something you have to eventually replace anyway.

    I mean, if you look at any older home, they’re full of the scars of those sorts of decisions, either during one ownership or between owners. My house is 160 years old and most of the walls above the doors have bulges and funny spots because there used to be transom windows everywhere to assist in venting. Styles change and people had different ideas. It’s just how houses are because styles, attitudes, and technologies change.

  • scarabic says:

    The main thought I have is: you’ve just had your first kid. You’ll have plenty to think about besides your carpet for a few years.

    I just redid one room in hardwood and trust me, there are enough regrets to go around. It has taken me a long time to complete and parts of it wracked my body. One section has already bowed up a little. And let’s not even talk about the glossy water based poly. I can’t seem to get a decent coat on without a ton of bubbles and dust motes. I’m about a dozen coats in now and I may resort to polishing. I think I fucked up along the way and waited too long between some of the coats. Once water poly cures, you can’t add more coats to it without sanding, or the layers will not adhere well to each other, leading to peeling or cracking down the road.

    Enjoy your carpet, dude, and your kid 🙂

  • temp4adhd says:

    We did carpet in the bedrooms, for a couple of reasons.

    1. Noise reduction
    2. Cozy and warm underfoot
    3. Bedrooms are lower traffic area and “shoes off” area
    4. Both bedrooms are huge and oddly shaped, so filling with area rugs would have been expensive and the solution may very well have been to have a custom carpet cut and bound.
    5. Carpet is less expensive, and that includes the fact you don’t need to also buy an area rug to cover up the hardwood. We went as high end as possible with the rug, and figured it was still ultimately cheaper.
    6. There was no hardwood in the bedrooms to begin with, they’d always been carpeted. It would have been difficult to match the rest of the house.
    7. Our fleet of Roomba’s work great on wall to wall carpet.

  • clevernames101 says:

    We have hard wood, carpet is nice for little kids learning to walk and constantly falling, rock it until the kids are done making messes

  • StayAWhile-AndListen says:

    When we bought our house it was half hardwood flooring, half carpet. We took out all of the carpet and my wife wanted to match the existing flooring if at all possible. We found the exact flooring and installed it ourselves before we were fully moved in, it was great.

    Turns out, laminate flooring is absolutely terrible, and bubbles up if almost any moisture gets between the boards. A friend spilled drink at party? Dog slobber from their water dish? Dog’s accident? Flooring bubbles up.

    If you were to come over you may not notice it, or you may notice only one or two spots, but I see it all. I hate it.

    We’ve accepted it was the wrong thing to do, and having been saving up to redo the floors. We figured, why wait to redo the floors for years, and not enjoy them? What if we redo them and move right after? So, we’ve accepted that we’re going to replace. On the flip side, since I know we’re replacing them at some point in the near future, they don’t bother me as much. I don’t have to be the adult that is so worried about something happening to their house that I’m doing the equivalent of putting plastic over all my furniture.

    It is what it is, living and learning.

  • ephemeron0 says:

    This strikes me less as “regret/remorse” and more of as a “grass is greener” sort of thing.

    No solution is perfect; pluses and minus’ either way. Carpet creates a comfortable environment (quieter, warmer, softer). It’s arguably easier to care for than hardwood (at least no harder). Kids will bounce off of the carpet a little easier.

    Most of my first floor is hardwood. My whole second floor is carpeted. We’ve had area rugs over the hardwood for more time than we haven’t. I would argue that hardwood is better in a dining room because it is so much easier to clean up kids dropped food and adults spilled drinks and such.

  • RiverChick11 says:

    I don’t consider carpet to be a “regrettable decision.” You know more know and want something else but that’s ok. Remember also that your house will rarely be 100% exactly what you want exactly when you want it. That’s what goals are for! Replace in a few years when it’s looking bad or when you want to invest in hardwoods (although I’d consider luxury vinyl since it’s water/scratch/kid proof). You can also do one room/area/story at a time-for example, I love hardwood and LVT but I also prefer carpet in bedrooms. If my bedroom was on another story, I’d keep it carpeted personally and have wood on the main floor.

    Also, it could be worse. You could be living with old carpet that’s holding someone else’s dirt and germs. Once you rip out old carpeting that you’ve lived with, you’ll be disgusted with what’s under it! I removed laminate that was only 5 years old when I bought my house and it was still disgusting! So I’m a fan of replacing carpeting any time you buy a new-to-you house. So at least you’ve got new carpet and it’s only got YOUR dirt so far! 😂

  • gedvondur says:

    For me this is about two things. First, sunk-cost fallacy. You can’t get rid of the carpet because it’s not worn out yet. Bullshit. You can get rid of it right now, you’ve already paid. now vs 10 years from now is just a matter of timing.

    Second, is about living in the now. My home improvement regrets, both on decisions I’ve made and home improvements I’ve NOT done caused me to live with things that made me unhappy.

    Fuck that. Don’t live with things that give you regret or make you unhappy if you can avoid it. Don’t take an Depression-era thinking that you “can’t” get rid of the carpeting because you didn’t use it up. Sell it, give it away, re purpose it, do what you need to do.

    But if you can afford to get new floors and you can get the wife on board (maybe only do one room first?) then DO IT! Life is too short and precious to live with regrets that you walk on and see every day.

  • thebemusedmuse says:

    I move on 🙂

    Life’s too short to worry about this.

  • ViceAdmiralWalrus says:

    This might belong more in r/gardening, but I attempted to start a wildflower patch this year. Covered a pretty big plot of my backyard with new soil (existing ground was clay heavy and very dry) and got several varieties of pollinator-friendly plants for it. Several months later only one of the plant varieties grew at all, the rest either didn’t flourish or were taken over by the grass that slowly crept back in. I spent about $800 total on everything so not a *huge* loss, but still a massive eye sore that I’ll have to deal with once frost hits and it’s easier to clear everything out.

    At first I was really upset with myself since I wanted to utilize an otherwise useless patch of grass for something pretty and eco-friendly, and I just wound up with another, slightly different, and just as useless patch of grass. But I’m getting over it by thinking about more raised beds for the same space, and maybe some bird feeders/etc.

    So TL;DR I’m dealing with it by thinking about more improvements :p

  • ManaCabana says:

    Write done the plus points and minus points of both. Look at both sides and it probably isn’t such a bad decision. Hardwood isn’t that great for young kids, (toddlers) they can scratch it with their “toys”. Also when they are learning to walk they can bump their head on the hard floor, ( yeah I know, people say don’t wrap your kids in cotton wool, which I agree. But head injuries even if they seem minor are a concern ( I won’t start that debate here) Yes you will have to deep clean the carpet from time to time, avoid toxic chemicals while the kids are young and “living on the floor” . My 10 cents worth.

  • Pollymath says:

    Biggest Home Improvement Decision I regret? My first house, that we’re leaving here shortly, because I loved so much about it, but all the things I hated I can’t do anything about (neighbors, living on hill, lots of stairs, extremely tall ceilings that waste energy and space, no closets).

    I would sooner live in an imperfect house with lots of potential in a great neighborhood than a perfect house that can’t be change in a shitty neighborhood.

  • Nykolaishen says:

    Is there anywhere in your house you could use the carpet if you rip it out? Basement? Can also potantially sell it to the right buyer if sizes work out. Or… you just lay in the bed you made… it sucks, but in the grand scheme of things it’s just flooring and it’s pretty small life potatoes to worry about.

  • darny161 says:

    Wabi-sabi: In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

    Crooked bathroom tile with uneven grout? Wabi-Sabi.

    Bumpy basement ceiling from ripping it out and re patching it 3 times because of plumbing? Wabi-Sabi.

    That door that is slightly not level and neeeeevvver quite closes as easily as you’d like it to? Wabi-Sabi.

  • cdougyfresh says:

    Carpet is great for little kids, those fuckers are falling over all the time. Trust me it’s better that they fall on carpet than hardwood. We have carpet and will replace with hardwood once the kids are like 10 and not falling on their faces 10 times a day.

  • bpvanhorn says:

    Have you tried being paralyzed by indecision instead?

  • sn0m0ns says:

    Unpopular opinion here. Just wanted to make you feel not so bad about your decision to use carpet which is 100% recyclable, just make sure whoever is removing it has a recycler to take it to. What’s going to happen in 10 years when everyone decides they don’t like their lvp floors anymore? That floor that lasts forever ends up somewhere else lasting forever and there is no recycling program in place for that product yet. The process of making lvp is highly toxic as well with little to no regulations coming from China. Every time I install lvp and I’ve installed 100’s of thousands of square feet of it I die a little more inside. No literally I mean I’m being subjected to highly toxic material every day even with a mask I end up having a terrible headache and my sinuses are all messed up. God knows what long term damage I’m doing. Sorry for the rant.

  • lingenfelter22 says:

    Carpeting, especially light color carpeting, is the first thing your kids are going to run the proverbial train on. I learned this by building a house and going with a light color palette and redoing most of the floors within 6 years.

    My suggestion is to enjoy the benefits (quieter, warmer, easier on the feet) until you tire of it, then have a catastrophic accident involving red wine or perhaps an unsupervised kid with a bottle of ketchup.

  • Barbicore says:

    I’m not saying this is the right choice for everyone but it’s my personal answer.
    I let every choice consume me and I dont make the decision until I have considered a ton of alternatives and found something I love.

    Even after that point I try my best to not commit to the change until I really need to. For example I also gutted popcorn and carpet this summer (it’s cool it only resulted in one surgery, two trips to urgent care and 10 gallons of tears). They all needed to go since there was heavy smoke damage. However I am not ready to redo flooring or cover the ceiling. So I live on sub floors with a classy exposed drywall ceiling. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do but first I have walls to remove, a kitchen to replace and a life to live. I threw down some killz and some used carpet in one room but until I am at the point where flooring is the next step I am not wasting a dime on it. And by then my plans may have changed.

    If I do make a choice I dont love I consider it as something set that I have to work around.
    Would it have been nice to have hardwood? Sure. But if the previous owners had installed the nice brand new carpet you would have just accepted it and moved on. Usually the guilt comes with the regret of spending money on something you dont love.

  • Kansas_Fan says:

    I did this at my last house but I ended up just selling the house rather than rip up 350 sq ft of tile.

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