It’s no secret that I love a bargain, so if I spy an inexpensive replica of something, I’ll gladly snatch it up.  And let’s be honest.  I have kids and my things just don’t always stay in pristine condition, so it’s much less upsetting if something happens to an inexpensive items, versus an expensive one.  But as much as I love my bargain finds, sometimes I feel that buying the real deal is necessary.  As a result, my home is truly a mix of price points and quality depending on what I feel is best for my style and my budget.



Before we get too far into this discussion, though, let’s clear something up.  There is a big difference between inexpensive and cheap.  Inexpensive is a price point.  Cheap is a look.  Inexpensive items can be quality, good-looking pieces, whereas cheap items often don’t look….well, cheap.

What one considers inexpensive or cheap will vary from person to person based on their individual taste and lifestyle, and our perceptions also often change based on the item considered for purchase.  But in general, here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to splurge or save on your home decor.


When to Splurge

1.  Quality/Longevity

Before purchasing an inexpensive item, look carefully at the quality.  Sometimes, you won’t be able to tell the difference, but other times, the item is less expensive because the materials and craftmanship are not great quality.  This is particularly important with regards to furniture, where quality construction will allow a piece to hold up better and longer.

Upholstered side chairs are a great example of this point.  You can find all sorts of beautiful parsons chairs at discount stores offering great prices, but speaking from experience, I can tell you that the padding and seat don’t hold up as well as the more expensive ones, which have better craftsmanship. I have an inexpensive chair in my bedroom for my desk and after just a few uses, the seat is starting to get a bit lumpy.  So when I was ordering chairs for my dining room, I decided that quality construction was a must-have!  If quality is important to you, you might have to splurge.

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 4 REV 2


2.  Authenticity/Brand Name

Brand name is important to some people and while sometimes, a brand name item is truly better quality than a replica, other times, it isn’t, in which case, you’re paying for the brand, not the quality.

{Source and source}
{Source and Source}


3.  Uniqueness

Sometimes you’ll come across those rare or unusual items and often times, those come with a price!  If something is truly unique, you might have to settle for paying more if you really want it.



4.  True Love

This is one of those times where your purchase decision may not make financial sense, but falling head over heels in love with something is often a decision of the heart, not the head!  I’ve come across an expensive item that I knew I could find a similar replica, but something about the replica just didn’t capture my heart the same way, in which case I was willing to pay more for something I loved versus something I liked.  Expensive items often have more detailing than those that are less expensive, so pay attention to the details and if they matter to you, you might opt for the more expensive version.

{This faux rose was more expensive than others I’ve seen, but given how realistic it looks, I feel in love with it the moment I saw it!}



When to Save


1.  Nonexistent or minimal difference in quality

The advantage to discount chain stores and online sites is that they sometimes carry items identical to their more expensive counterparts but at a fraction of the price!  In this case, it just requires a bit of patience and determination to find what you’re looking for at a price you’re willing to pay.  Other times, there is a difference in quality but you might not be able to justify the cost difference associated with it, in which case you might as well go with the less expensive option.

I fell in love with the Restoration Hardware’s crystal Palladian urn lamp for my bedroom, but just couldn’t justify the price tag.  I waited and waited hoping to find something similar and was thrilled the day I found the almost identical lamp at HomeGoods for 1/4 of the price!  Both lamps are crystal and both are French-wired, but the HomeGoods one is about half as thick, resulting in the lower price.  Since I never see the lamps from the side, though, this was a minimal difference to me and I was thrilled with the less expensive option.TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Master-Bedroom-Nightstand



2.  Temporary or rarely used items

If an item isn’t going to get much use or you don’t plan to keep it for long, quality isn’t often a factor.  In these cases, so long as you love the less expensive option, go for it!


3. Budget considerations

For most people, budget considerations factor into our purchase decisions.  When working within a budget, prioritize your wants/needs and allocate your funds accordingly.   You can read more about creating your design plan {here}.

Originally when I thought about including a plate display in my dinning room, I wanted to use vintage ironstone plates; however, for me at that time, I couldn’t quite justify the cost for obtaining the ironstone when I already owned basic white dishes from HomeGoods and Target.

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 15



Keeping in mind that our perceptions of quality and price vary from person to person, in general, you’re usually safe if you buy quality pieces (which are often more expensive) for your long-term foundation furnishings and look for inexpensive accent and filler items.  Next week I’ll share some additional tips for decorating on a budget!


Tidbits&Twine - Signature




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12 comments on “When to Splurge versus When to Save”

  1. Kim…I love that your posts are always right on target with the issues we all face in decorating. I absolutely agree with your example of your dining room chairs…with pieces that you plan to have a long time, including sofas and tables, it’s best to get quality and pay for it. With accessories, if it’s something I truly love and know I will prize…I will pay full price. But I love knock offs and Homegoods is a great place to get something you would most likely pay more for elsewhere.

    I’d like to tell you something interesting…maybe it’s happened to you before. My daughter has her degree in Interior Design and currently divides her time working in a high end furniture store here in Chicago and designing rooms for clients. We were in Marshall’s recently and I spotted a Louis XVI chair (like your dining chairs) for $99.00. I thought it couldn’t be true. My daughter looked it over, it was a great sturdy chair and the upholstered seat and back was done super professionally. I asked her how? Why? $99.00???? She said that when a certain style, like this chair, is in hot demand, the manufacturers start a price competition. Selling 6 chairs at $99.00 is better than selling 1 for $350.00. And the quality and craftsmanship is equal. That really amazed me. So lesson learned…check out the cheap furniture! Ha! Oh yes, I bought it as a desk chair!

    Thanks for a great post, as usual!


    • Hi Nicole – Thank you! I bought it at HomeGoods and unfortunately, there wasn’t a tag on it that mentioned a brand…. :( Too bad because I want another for sure!!

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