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When to Splurge vs. Save on Home Decor

Design Tips | Shopping Tips

Who doesn’t love a bargain?! We all like to feel like we’re getting a good deal on our purchases, so a bargain is always a thrill. And it’s okay for your home to be a mix of price points and quality, depending on what’s best for your style and budget. But as much as we all love to save money, sometimes splurging is necessary.  They key is know when you should splurge in order to get what you need, versus when you can save yourself a bit of money. So here are 7 tips for when to splurge versus save on your home decor and furnishing needs!

Splurge vs Save on Home Decor photo collage

Inexpensive Doesn’t Mean Cheap

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.

Example

Upholstered side chairs are a great example of the need to splurge. 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.

If quality is important to you, you might have to splurge.

Numbered French dining chair closeup in dining room with purple and white flowers
My dining room chairs get a lot of use, so I splurged when buying these to ensure the seats would hold up well.

2.  Authenticity/Brand Name

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

Example

Comparison of ghost chairs Philippe Starck and Casper
If you just want the look, the Casper chair will suffice. But for those who know brands, only a true Philippe Starck will do! {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 {or an antique}, you might have to settle for paying more if you really want it.

Pink roses in an antique ironstone sugar bowl on fireplace mantel
A traditional vase is inexpensive, but antique ironstone is unique and valuable and worth the splurge to me.

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!  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.

You might be willing to pay more for something you love versus something you like

Elegant french master bathroom with freestanding tub next to shower with pony wall and white trim
I fell head over heels for this tub in my master bathroom and for me, nothing else could compare!

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.

French nightstand with french-wired crystal lamp and silver vase of roses
This French-wired lamp from HomeGoods was a fraction of the price of the RH one and the quality difference was negligible.

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!

bedroom with twin beds decorated for Christmas with red plaid, black furniture
No need to splurge on a guest bedroom rug that was going to get minimal wear and tear!

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}.

French Farmhouse Family Room with EKTORP sectional
I saved on the IKEA EKTORP sectional given that I knew the kids would be hard on it!

Final Thoughts

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
  • Buy inexpensive accent and filler items

For more ideas on how to save when shopping, see the posts below!

You might also enjoy posts from the series The Look for Less!

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