Lately, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about how much time and money we’ve put into our house. I’d like to think we’ve put more time than money into making this place a home, but I can’t help but to think what we’ve spent over the years. Finances are a large factor for many of us when it comes to decorating. Knowing when to save and when to splurge can really make the decorating process easier. Today, I’m sharing 4 places to splurge & 4 places to save when decorating your home.
Over the years I have found that some things are worth spending the extra investment on, while others can be purchased for less. I’m by no means a expert, this is merely the approach we’ve taken when decorating. While the term “splurge” and “save” is relative to your personal budget, today I want to give you a small list of items that, in my opinion totally worth the extra buck and areas that you can really save by knowing where to look.
Places To Splurge
I’ll preface this by saying, I have spent more in areas where I could have saved and I’ve saved in areas I could have spent more. Sometimes there is no “perfect” way to do something, but instead do what is best at the time for your family. I’ve chosen not include furniture in my list. I believe in buying the best quality furniture pieces your budget will allow. Most of our home is second-hand and or antiques, but I can’t say I haven’t splurged on an antique a time or two, ha!
There are a million and one light fixtures and faucets out there and they come in a wide range of prices. Sure, while it might be simple to run to your closest big box store and pick up an off the shelf fixture, I don’t think you should. I think of fixtures as the jewelry in a space. The right lighting fixture or faucet can really elevate a room.
I have found with experience that a “cheap” fixture typically looks, well, cheap. A quality fixture will be around for years, possibly the life of your home. For that reason, I stand by spending a little more to get a more polished, quality fixture.
When purchasing a new fixture, check out yard sales and the FB marketplace. I have found several second-hand quality fixtures over the years for much less than purchasing new. Just a couple of weeks ago a fellow blogging friend of mine purchased a Williams Sonoma chandelier on the FB marketplace for a third of the cost that it is currently new.
My favorite lighting sources –
Fabric & Bed Linens
Oh fabric, how I love you! Fabric has the potential to completely change the entire feel of a space. Ever since I taught myself how to sew, I’ve been exploring better quality fabrics than what you’ll find in ready made items. It’s truly been a game changer. No more relying on store-bought linens and being limited to what they stock.
There are so many beautiful designer fabrics out there. They come in a wide range of prices, from a couple hundred dollars a yard to fifteen dollars a yard. Some you’ll need a designer in the trade to purchase, while others can be bought on Etsy or through retails like Ballard Designs and Fabric.com.
Let’s talk bedding! Who doesn’t love a great night’s sleep? That isn’t even a question! Bed linens are one of those areas that I have NEVER regretted spending the extra cash. Let’s face it, we spend almost half our lives in bed. Nice linens will last for years and you’ll enjoy of second of them.
When Josh and I first got married, I really tried to save and purchased cheap sheets and quilts. Enviably, I would toss them not much later. No one wants to sleep on thin, rough bedding. I eventually realized that I could get soft, quality bedding on sale for an affordable price. Once I started spending a little more on better linens, I never went back!
My favorite bedding brands –
Cabinet Hardware & Fixtures
This is a lesson that took me a number of years to figure out. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how many sets of cabinet hardware we’ve gone through over the years. Doesn’t everyone just go to their local big box store and pick something off the shelf too? (This is not an attack on big box shoppers! We’re at our local Lowes way too much.) I want to cry when I think about the money we wasted over the years on it. Quality hardware isn’t the cheapest or quickest option, but boy does it make a difference!
Unlike cheaply finished knobs and pulls, good hardware is solid. It doesn’t chip or fade over time. It also has a much more high-end look to it. Let’s face it, no one wants a brass pull that loses its finish only to reveal the real metal underneath. Purchasing good quality hardware the first time is the way to go.
This time around in our kitchen we chose brass hardware with a living finish. It’s has a lot of weight to it and over time will develop a beautiful patina. I’m so relieved to know that it should last for many many years to come.
My favorite hardware brands –
This one might seem like a no brainer to some of you but I think it’s worth mentioning. Friends, don’t buy cheap paint. Cheap paint doesn’t cover as well, it doesn’t clean as well and when converting a name brand color to a cheaper brand paint, it doesn’t usually turn out in the true color. I’ve learned this one the hard way.
I wont name any names but when we bought our first house, we bought paint brand from on of the big box stores. We had to apply 3-4 heavy coats of paint on the trim for it to cover completely. It was frustrating and I’m pretty sure I went through way more paint than I should have. I’ve learned it’s better to spend a little more and get a better quality paint the first time.
Some will say, it’s just paint. Just paint over it if you don’t like it, but the truth is painting takes time. It takes a lot of prepping and clean up. I want to get my paint and color right the first time. I’ve also learned that if you’re going to a big box store to have your Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams or Farrow & Ball colors mixed with a cheaper brand paint, the color will not necessarily be the same. The shades can really vary. Now, I go to my local Benjamin Moore store for their paints and colors and a Sherwin Williams store for theirs.
I recently repainted the chair rail and wainscoting in our dining room with Sherwin Williams Pro Classics acrylic paint. I couldn’t believe the coverage difference and how much harder the finish is. The extra cost was well worth it!
My favorite paint sources –
Places To Save
Décor for our home is one place my wallet can take a big sigh of relief! Very few décor pieces in our home were expensive or were even purchased new for that matter. Décor is one place that you don’t need a large budget in order to get a beautiful space. Due to my love for old things, I shop for décor mostly and antique stores, yard sales, Etsy and a few thrift stores.
Most décor items I purchase come in under $20. There are a couple of things that I splurged for in the past, but I usually keep things cheap in this department. I also like to use things that sure two purposes when I decorate. Small vintage bowls, books, live plants, etc. all make for a collected look.
That vintage sale boat was just $7 on the FB marketplace and the books are all design books that I gleam inspiration from. The ironstone plate serves as a nice place to drop our keys or other things as we’re walking in.
Keep in mind, décor can also serve as storage, as is the case with my antique baskets. I love to use these to store magazines, Chapstick, lotion and other things that I might need by my nightstand.
My favorite decor sources –
Antique Markets | Yard Sales | Homegoods | Homemade
I love The Container Store as much as the next neat freak, but to outfit your drawers and cabinets with their products is going to cost you! Over the years I’ve found that I can find similar items at Homegoods, TJ Maxx and Amazon. In fact, Homegoods is my number one go-to for baskets and trays. Most of their baskets only range from $5-$15. I’ve used their baskets in my pantry, cabinets bookshelves, and closets.
Simple glass jars work great in the kitchen and laundry room. Thrift stores are a great place to find glass jars for cheap. If new is more you speed, Wal-Mart and Amazon have them as well!
I have wicker trays from Pottery Barn that I’ve paid $25-$30 for where as this wicker tray from Homegoods only cost $8. Homegoods also have a great selection of organizers for drawers. This January I organized all of our kitchen drawers with their $5 organizing sets. As far as I can tell they’re not any different than what The Container Store carries.
My favorite organizing sources –
Wall art is one of those things that unless I’m purchasing a priceless antique or painting from someone I know, I just can’t being myself to spend ton, and I honestly don’t believe you have too. In the world of Pinterest there are so many free prints out. Etsy also has many beautiful vintage art pieces available at affordable prices.
If you’re like me and you really pay attention to details, like the frame and matting, shop the FB yard sale site or antique markets. You can find affordable vintage prints already in quality frames. Most of all the artwork in my home was purchased for less $40 at antique stores or was found at a yard sale. If you’re using a print from online, have it printed from a professional printer and pair it with a nice wooden frame and canvas mat.
Vintage plates and platters are another great option for your walls. You can find them at antique markets, thrift stores and yard sales for usually around $2-$15. They add a pop of color and pattern to your walls.
In our living room I combined the two! The oil painting was a $25 find at a local antique market and the ironstone platters were purchased from a yard sale and antique store for $10 and under.
My favorite wall art sources –
There are so many season décor choices out there that sometimes it can feel a bit much. I personally don’t decorate for every holiday and I really try to keep my seasonal décor at a minimal. Over the years I’ve gotten rid of so many seasonal items that I really struggle to buy more. Here are just a few things that were affordable and what items you can make on your own for for very little.
Fresh greenery is a great affordable décor option. Each year I get one strand of garland. I use some of it for my bannister in the foyer, some of it over my mantel in the living room and I use the left over pieces on my shelves in the breakfast nook. For around $30, I’ve added seasonal décor to three spaces. If you’re luckier than I, you may have cedar or pine greenery you can use in your own yard.
Here’s my tips for decorating with fresh greenery.
Homemade décor is always a great option at Christmas as well. With some inexpensive duck fabric from Hobby Lobby, I cut and made mini stockings to hang with our garland. Over the years I’ve used these little stockings on our Christmas trees, as an advent calendar and above our bed.
Here is my free template for the stockings – Mini DIY Stocking Tutorial
Homegoods also carries a wide variety of Christmas ornaments. You can find all kinds of glass ornaments for trees, including many from Martha Stewarts line.
Tree collars have become quite popular over the years. These can easily be DIYed. You can find the tutorial for our drum collar here – DIY Drum Tree Collar
For fall, the natural elements are my favorite. They don’t require any storage at the end of the season and the natural colors are always in style. Pumpkins can be found at affordable prices most grocery stores and to light up your porch, carve out apples and insert cheap tea candles for a warm glow. Here’s my floating apple candle tutorial – DIY Floating Apple Candles
Last year I made a corn husk wreath for fall and I was really surprised at how affordable it was compared to the cost of wreaths in stores. Here’s my how-to for the wreath – DIY Fall Corn Husk Wreath
If you’re stuck on ideas for décor this fall, don’t forget simple stems from your yard. Sometimes the best décor items we can use are in nature, right outside! I love that this option is free and incorporates the season in our homes naturally. You don’t have to have fake pumpkins and foliage to welcome in the season.
This sweet bunny made from leftover fabric adds a bit of sunshine to our décor this spring. It took just an hour to make and was made form things we already had on hand! Here’s my tutorial – DIY Stuffed Bunny
You can never go wrong with fresh blooms from your yard or grocery store. Seasonal flowers and greenery really make a room feel inviting.
My favorite seasonal décor sources-
That was a doozey of a post! This list could have been so much longer. It did pair it down considerably for the sake of time. I hope this serves as a great starting point for you in your home. I’ve always believed that you can tastefully decorate no matter how small or large your budget. It’s all about being creative and choosing things that are right for you and your home.
Friends, where do you splurge and where do you save? We wont all agree on my this list and that’s okay! Your home should always be a personal reflection of your self. Happy decorating!