There’s no way around it: decorating a home can be pricey. But, you don’t have to throw away big bucks on every item you buy. In fact, there are some home items you simply shouldn’t spend much on—even the experts think so.
Certain furnishings, including keep-them-forever pieces that put up with plenty of wear and tear, are worthy of a hefty price tag, while others simply aren’t. So what home items can you give your budget a break on?
David Quarles is a Memphis-based interior designer, jewelry designer, and content creator.
Bethany Adams is a certified interior designer with the Kentucky Board of Architecture. She has over 15 years of design experience.
Planters and Vases
Plant parents, rejoice—Quarles is giving you permission to stop spending serious money on planters and vases.
“I love plants and how they bring literal life to each space designed,” Quarles says. “However, there’s no need to spend a ton to get the look of a well-housed plant baby.”
Instead, he recommends shopping stores like HomeGoods, Walmart, and online sources like AllModern, which allow you to buy affordable planters, pots, and vases, giving your collection of monsteras and pothos a well-curated and loved look that won’t break your budget.
“Plus, these stores have their finger on the pulse for the latest styles of home decor, so you’re still able to get the desired, on-trend look for much less and without sacrificing quality,” Quarles says.
Think you need to hit the gallery scene for awe-worthy art for your home? Think again, says Adams.
“While I believe in spending money on art that you really love, I tend to purchase vintage pieces at auction for a much lower price than you would find at a gallery or print shop,” she says.
Another bonus? Those pieces are usually already framed, which is even more wallet-friendly, as framing can be quite costly. “My rule of thumb is that if I can find a vintage, original framed painting for less than I could buy just the frame new, I’m buying it,” Adams says.
Individually, a few drawer pulls or cabinet handles don’t seem like a big investment. That is, until, you do the math for a whole room (or house!) full of them.
“Hardware can be looked at as the jewelry of kitchens and bathrooms,” Quarles says. “Coming in a range of design styles and applications, they add so much layered personality to cabinets.”
Still, you don’t have to spend diamond-level money on hardware. Check out some of your favorite retailers, like Anthropologie, Amazon, and CB2, for reasonably priced and pretty options, or scour Etsy for one-of-a-kind vintage or handmade hardware.
When it comes to decorating a nursery or child’s room, not only can you save on single decor pieces, but you can take the budget-friendly route for the entire room, says Adams.
“Children’s rooms are bound to change every few years, and you and your little ones shouldn’t feel hemmed in by the choices you made when you were in very different stages of life,” she says.
“It’s no secret that window treatments can be one of the most expensive items for any design project,” Quarles says. While curtains and drapes are both practical and pretty, you can spare your budget by foregoing custom draperies and sourcing them from affordable retailers instead—especially for secondary spaces that you don’t spend much time in, like guest rooms, kids’ bedrooms, and playrooms.
Where should you shop? Quarles recommends affordable go-tos like IKEA and Amazon. “Both offer higher-end flax linen and velvet options,” Quarles says, “and if you have the luxury of time, you can even order custom curtains and shades from Amazon.”
Adams agrees. “There is no substitute for luxurious custom draperies, but there are times, like in a kid’s room or nursery, where it’s just not worth the expense,” she says. “Lots of retailers, like CB2, West Elm, or RH, carry ‘off-the-rack’ draperies that are beautiful, but much less pricey than custom.”
“The key to an expensive look is layering, but that doesn’t mean the layers have to be expensive,” says Adams. For instance, take rugs: a notoriously pricey but necessary and hard-worked home item. Adams saves on rugs by ordering them from affordable stores, like IKEA, and layering a more expensive rug on top.
“Since the sisal is under a nicer rug and all of your furniture, it really isn’t worth the extra expense to invest in a more luxurious version,” she says.
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