Tuesday, February 7

Splurge Vs. Save: Home Edition

When it comes to furniture and home decor, things can definitely add up quickly, and I've found that the home goods industry is one where price and value often don't go hand in hand.  Here are a few ways I've tried to get the most bang for my buck, without sacrificing style or functionality... 


Remember my discussion about the dreaded bedding?  My rule of thumb is to pick one or two elements of your bedding (pillowcases, sheets, duvet cover, decorative throw, bed skirt) and splurge.  There's no need to go all out on each piece. 

Laurent and I recently replaced our bedding and after searching through store after store, I was getting pretty tired of seeing the same overly feminine florals and dizzying geometric patterns.  One night, I found some great hand-blocked pillowcases from CB2 and West Elm and a cozy throw from CB2.  I spent a little more than I have on pillowcases in the past, but we saved on our sheets, bed skirt, and comforter. 

You can save on extras like nightstands and reading lamps.  I advise looking for creative nightstand options, rather than limiting yourself to traditional options.  We use our box speaker and our windowsill in place of a real nightstand.  However, this West Elm nightstand is enough to make me a convert...


If your home didn't come with one, invest in a nice showerhead that will last. A leaky showerhead with low pressure is no way to start the morning.  Save on a shower curtain.  It will inevitably become water stained and dingy after a while, so you'll likely have to replace it once every 1-2 years.  There's no sense in shelling out $50 every year. 

I suggest buying a complete set of towels that goes together.  We have four white, plush towels from Target and it makes our bathroom look clean and unified. 

Decorative bowls are a great way to organize your makeup or toiletries and give a little personality and color to your countertop.  I love the bowls at Anthropologie and World Market, but I also have found great options in Asian markets and Asian sections at places like Sur La Table.   

Living room

I know not everyone has access to a store like IKEA, but if you do, there are amazing deals to be had on bigger items like sofas and bookshelves.  Laurent and I got the Karlstad sofa and two Vallvik bookcases when we moved into our apartment.  I feel we ended up three pieces that match the quality and aesthetic of the furniture we liked at places like Crate and Barrel for less than half the price. 

You can also save on accents like pillows, throws, and rugs.  I've always found that really high-end accents can sometimes veer to the gaudy side.  We attempted  to purchase this Alvine Ruta rug from IKEA, but they were sold out the day we went in  (seriously attempted- we were in there for almost an hour looking for it!).  If you dig at IKEA, I'm convinced you'll find great quality, beautiful design, relatively low price points in every department.  I loooove the galvanized pots we picked up for less than $1 each.  We use them for plants, cords, pens and pencils.

When it comes to artwork, one or two nice pieces of original art are often enough to bring some color into the walls and tie together the whole home. 


I think the best desks are often relatively inexpensive DIY projects.  My aunt and uncle found a butcher block table on the side of the road which served as my desk throughout college and I always got compliments on it.  Try salvaging a well-worn desk by sanding it down and either refinishing or painting it.  

My dad recently made me a custom desk for my new apartment (we only had room for a 14 inch wide desk) and it's such an eye-catching piece.  We bought the hairpin legs online and my dad sanded and finished a slab of wood he's had for over a decade.  I know, I'm pretty lucky to have a woodworker in the family.

A quick tip: I've always found it's better to salvage a real solid wood table than to buy a new composite desk.  Real wood generally lasts longer and looks expensive even if there are a few imperfections.   


If you're looking for a 2-4 seat dining room table, I suggest going to thrift stores or flea markets.  You can find some unique shapes and sizes that will bring some character into your home.  I also suggest saving on the chairs.  Depending on your aesthetic, I suggest trying to find a complete set of chairs and sprucing them up, or collecting a variety of similar chairs and unifying them with the same coat of paint or the same upholstery. 

Save on dishware, glasses, placemats, and cloth napkins.  Check out Etsy, Fish's Eddy, Anthropologie, and World Market for cool mix and match dishes, placemats, and cloth napkins.  You can get great glass sets from IKEA, Target, or Crate and Barrel.  Or... my favorite option is to buy a pack of 16 ounce canning jars and use them as drinking glasses. 

Splurge on silverware.  I don't mean that you have to have real silver, but eating with a sturdy, complete set of silverware is such a different experience than eating with cheap bargain bin silverware. 

It can be tempting to overspend when decorating your home, but you'll feel so much more at ease if you really put time and effort into finding or making unique pieces for your home.  Spend only where it really matters and save wherever you can.

Photo Credit:  Unknown

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