The Paradox of Choice Part 3: What if I make the wrong decision?

So you’ve made your decisions on interiors and your contractor is humming along building your house. You lay awake in bed, thinking: should I have picked the Cherry? Maybe the Walnut? There were 47 cabinet hardware choices, what if the one I chose was too trendy? Or too dated? Should I have done a double oven? What about Thanksgiving? Should we have spend the extra money for the counter depth refrigerator?


STOP! With all of the choices out there, it’s impossible to have reassurance you have made the right one. Your contractor and your architect will have different experiences and opinions. You’ll read scathing online reviews of products that were endorsed by others.

You’ve made your choices, be at peace with them and move on.

  • Always remember that satisfied customers rarely write good online reviews. People take to the internet when they’re angry. Take negative reviews with a grain of salt.
  • Talk to a rep who sells a variety of brands and get their take on your biggest concern. For example, building in the San Juan Islands near salt water, warranties on windows are often a make or break factor in decision making. If you live on an island or in a rural area, availability of servicing on appliances may make the decision for you. It may sound counter intuitive with all of the choices out there, but you might have the most peace of mind when your choice is limited by something like this.
  • Dwell on the positive. Think about the choices that you’re sure of that you are really excited about.
  • Know that most things are not set in stone. In reality, you will probably not take the time and money to go back and change anything major. But knowing the option is there can help you to not lose sleep over thinking you made the wrong choice.
  • In reality, you can live with even the worst decision. There was a reason you chose what you chose. Before we moved into our condo, we chose to put in hardwood instead of carpet. I picked out a beautiful dark walnut which I had seen in some model homes and was very trendy back in 2007. It is still beautiful-for about five minutes after you clean it. Once the dog walks across it once, or you accidentally wear your shoes through the house, it’s as if the floor was made to feature every spec of dust. Even though at times I have major buyer’s remorse and wish I had just gone with standard oak or maple, I still enjoy its beauty, how well it reflects what little light comes in on a gray Seattle day, how nicely if offsets the white walls and trim.

Don’t let the modern pace of decision making wear you down with constant stress.  Ignore the noise and focus on what you love. All those choices are there because there is a market for them, not necessarily because what was there before was insufficient or bad. Even though the task can seem daunting, it is great fun and a great privilege to have any level of customization of a home, especially from scratch.