Whether I'm working with clients or decorating my own home, I tend to take on a save and splurge mentality when it comes to sourcing furniture and decor. For most of us, money is the limiting factor when we're decorating, so it's important to use it wisely and allocate it well. That means mixing budget-friendly pieces with more expensive ones - but how do you know what pieces should go in that "save" category?
Today I'm going to share my list of recommendations, but before I do, I want to put a disclaimer out there - I know that everyone values items differently and that you may be willing to spend more on a particular piece than another person would. may want to invest in original art because that's something you love, while others may be totally ok with buying prints. The purpose of today's post is not to be prescriptive or say you would be wrong to spend money on a particular piece. Rather, it's to give you some general guidelines on home decor that you can generally get away with spending less on, but will look just as good in your home as a more expensive item would.
With that in mind, here's my list!
1 | Lighting
These days, there are so many affordable and well-designed lamps and light fixtures out there, which is awesome, because many spaces need multiple table lamps, floor lamps, or ceiling lights. (Psst - see this post of why it's important to have multiple kinds of light sources in a room!) If you decide to spend $100 per table lamp instead of $200 or $300, you'll have more money in the budget to put toward important pieces like a sofa or dining table.
Generally, affordable table and floor lamps are pretty easy to come by, but you may have to dig deeper for a larger fixture like a dining room chandelier. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that typically, the more bulbs there are, the more expensive the fixture will be.
Also, a key to making an inexpensive lamp look pricier than it is is the shade - a good quality shade makes a huge difference. If you find a lamp you love, but the shade isn't great, all you have to do is purchase a new shade for $15-20 and voila! your budget-friendly lamp will be lookin' fine. :)
2 | Accent Tables
Side tables, coffee tables, consoles, and nightstands all fall under the accent table category. It's really any table that isn't a dining table! These guys typically don't need to stand up to as much use and abuse as other furniture in your home, so that's a good part of the reason why you can get away with something that costs less and may not be of super high quality construction.
One quick tip to save money on accent tables is look for ones without drawers. You may lose a little bit of storage, but that may be ok depending on your needs. You can often make up for it elsewhere with shelving, cabinets, or even bins and baskets.
3 | Rugs
This may be the most controversial one on the list, but hear me out! Rugs can be very pricey, especially in larger sizes. A lot of people make the mistake of going smaller to save money, but please don't do that! Choosing the right size rug for a room is one of the best ways to elevate its look. Instead of going smaller, consider choosing a larger rug in a less expensive material (like polypropylene or a natural fiber like jute) or a different weave (for example, a flat weave wool rug is often cheaper than a hand-tufted one).
Another trick with rugs is to use a good, thick rug pad (unless your rug is particularly thick or "high pile" already). This will feel great underfoot, and can give a thinner rug a higher end look.
Finally, one note of caution on rugs: finding a nice balance between price and quality can be hard, but it's possible! If you're shopping online, always look at several different images of it to make sure it looks good up close and from a distance. If I can't see a closeup of the rug, I'll usually pass it up.
4 | Pillows
via Emily Henderson
Great throw pillows can be the perfect finishing touch for a room, but they don't have to be expensive. It's rare that I will source one that's more than $50 unless it's really special or unique. There are so many great sources out there for pillows that won't break the bank. My favorites are Etsy, H&M, and Crate & Barrel.
One thing I always recommend no matter which ones you buy? Be sure they come with feather inserts, not polyester. They'll fluff right back up, which keeps them looking fresh and new. You can also purchase pillow covers and inserts separately (like these from H&M), and just swap the covers when you're ready for a change.
Want some hints on how to mix and match pillows? Be sure to check out this post!
5 | Tabletop & Bookshelf Decor
This section could also be categorized as "accessories." They're the small items that give a space personality like great bookends, trays, bowls, planters, candlesticks, brass animals...you name it! The cost of all of those little items can add up quickly, and if they're purely decorative, you can get away with budget-friendly items. Hitting up places like Target, HomeGoods, and CB2 are good spots for loading up on accessories.
Also, I find a lot of folks like to change these items out seasonally, which is an even better reason to keep the costs low!
So tell me, what do you think of this list? Are these the items YOU would save on when you're decorating your home? What pieces would add or take away from this group?
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