There are some fundamental areas of the home where it makes sense to invest more on certain pieces — or to hold back in lieu of something more rewarding. To help you create a balanced decor budget, here are Houzz.com's tips on where to splurge and where to save along with shopping links to key pieces for any home.
Durable, upholstered seating. Your primary sofa, sectional or other plush upholstered seating should be comfortable, durable and beautiful, and that formula tends to require an investment. Quality fabrics with tight weaves made of natural fibers (or high-grade synthetics) will feel nicer against the skin and be able to resist soil, even in lighter shades.
Airy occasional tables. If your beautiful sofa is the star of the show, don’t hide it behind chunky tables. Leggy versions (like the barely-there side table shown here) give you a place to set a drink or book without taking up much visual real estate or a lot of your budget.
Hard-wearing kitchen cabinets. A good kitchen remodel can add value to your home, but not if it’s falling apart by the time you sell. If you skimp on your kitchen cabinets (especially the doors and drawer fronts), you may find things looking rough around the edges sooner than they should.
Elegantly simple backsplashes.A backsplash doesn’t have to be busy to be beautiful. Simple subway tile or other functional porcelain tile arranged in a geometric pattern with a thoughtfully chosen grout color is an affordable way to enliven any kitchen.
A well-crafted dining table. The dining table, like your sofa, is a key piece of furniture that sees a lot of use — and suffers a lot of spills. White laminate tables are trendy but, depending on how they’re treated, can start to show wear and tear quite quickly. An elegant wood or stone dining table can suit any decor and can last for decades.
Classic wood dining chairs. Wood chairs come in a range of prices, are timeless and suit any decor style. They also hold up better to dropped food than upholstered chairs because they’re so easy to wipe clean. This is definitely one area where you can look for low-cost options without a significant drop in quality.
Time-tested plumbing essentials. When it comes to your plumbing, cutting corners is risky. A poor-quality fixture can be responsible for a leak whose repair costs far outstrip any up-front savings, so it’s definitely best to invest in a quality piece.
Essential fixtures such as toilets don’t change quickly with trends like some other home goods, so there’s no reason not to choose a well-reviewed model from a reputable brand that has stood the test of time. Ask around for personal testimonials and recommendations rather than hunting for the lowest deal.
A cozy and comfortable bed. As it’s often said, we spend about a third of our lives in bed. So it makes sense to splurge on a bed that will properly support your mattress and a headboard that can help you read in comfort while anchoring a focal point for the room. It’s easy to fill out the rest of the decor with basic accents like paint or a single wall of wallpaper and let the bed be the star of the show, so go on and splurge a bit here.
Functional nightstands. You can find all kinds of fancy nightstands these days with built-in chargers or stunning decorative features, but an inexpensive nightstand in a simple shape does the trick perfectly well.
Find an option with an open shelf and you can easily style it with a few books to create a casually elegant look.
Dazzling suspended lights.Suspended lights, such as pendants and chandeliers, are natural focal points. They hang down close to eye level and radiate light, so they tend to command attention. Splurging a little here can elevate the look of the whole room, as you’ll naturally focus on them instead of other, less-exciting pieces.
Shaded table and floor lamps.What’s the first thing you notice in this room? It’s probably not the pair of table lamps flanking the sofa. You can find many artistic and striking table and floor lamps on the market, but if you already have other points of interest in the room, all you really need is a source of light that can blend in.
Simple table lamps with classic drum or cone shapes are timeless and mix into any decor seamlessly.
Tailored window treatments. Whether you opt for fully custom draperies or prefabricated panel curtains, there’s one thing you should splurge on: a bit of tailoring to make sure the length of the panels is just right.
Floor-to-ceiling draperies make a room look polished, but this effect goes away if the fabric is excessively pooled on the floor (possibly even sweeping up dust) or hanging several inches above it. Splurging on having your curtains professionally hemmed will ensure a correct fit for a priceless, sophisticated presentation.
Mix-and-match accessories. When it comes to pieces such as throw pillows and blankets, it may feel as though you can never have enough. Keep an eye out for deals on pillows and other trendy accents to update your look with minimal investment.
Don’t be afraid to choose pieces that don’t perfectly “match.” Instead, pick up on a family of hues or add a new design element altogether. If you want to change the look down the road, you can move these pieces to a different room or store them away for a season.
Decor for Any Home