Think furnishing and decorating your home requires tons of cash? Not so fast.
While it’s true that certain home furnishings are worth a sizable investment—like beds and couches—design professionals insist that there’s another group of items that don’t require such deep pockets, and are fine to buy on the cheap.
“Homeowners can—and should—consider many more inexpensive goods than you think, since lots of people today like to change out decor as styles and colors change every several years,” says Amy Bly of Great Impressions Home Staging and Interiors.
And lest you think inexpensive furniture and accessories will look chintzy, experts argue that many well-priced options still offer function and beauty. In fact, big-box retailers and online stores sell quality pieces that look just as good as their higher-end cousins.
Curious about how you can save some cash furnishing your home? Here are some items that the pros say you shouldn’t splurge on—and where you can buy them for a budget-friendly price.
1. Coffee table
It gets banged up by your kids, the dog, and, of course, all those shoes, so spending a lot on your coffee table isn’t necessary, or perhaps even advisable.
You can also repurpose an old steamer trunk, blanket chest, or wooden pallet as a coffee table, all of which add character.
Lighting matters in every room, but this category is a definite “don’t splurge” one, say the experts. (Raftlova has seen prices as low as $10.) And if you find an inexpensive base you love, you can swap out the topper. Mixing and matching shades—and moving them from room to room—is also a good way to extend the life of your lamps since you’ll be creating a new look each time.
Lucky you if your mother-in-law passed down an oil painting by an old master, but if not, there’s no need to go the high-end route with artwork for the home.
“If you’re looking for unique and inexpensive art pieces, Amazon is a great place to start,” says Raftlova.
Framing prints is another easy way to enhance your room’s decor. (Think old playbills, magazine covers, arthouse posters, or street art.)
4. Throw pillows
“Don’t overspend on throw pillows. It’s better to invest in a classic sofa or chair, and then accent it with cheapish pillows that are trendy or illustrate cute fads,” advises Drew Henry of Design Dudes.
Plus, throw pillows take a beating (they get sat on, the cat kneads them) and it’s fun to change out this decor item frequently for fresh or seasonal looks, he adds.
5. Area rugs
Bly recommends Target and Wayfair for reasonably priced area rugs. Strive to lay these down in high-traffic areas like your entryway and in front of the kitchen sink, and save nicer carpets for the living room and bedroom.
Stretch your area rug’s life by getting one that reverses to a different shade or pattern, so when one side fades or won’t come clean you can just flip it over.
Simple white dishes from a big-box store are a basic tabletop item that doesn’t need to be fancy. (Yup, skip the bone china.) Sturdy plates and bowls will also last longer than delicate pottery, so you can use it regularly and not worry about it breaking. And to work in a little color, intersperse colored glassware, side plates, and bright napkins with a fun pattern so your table isn’t an all-white snooze fest.
7. Decorative accents
Who can tell if the vase you have on your mantel cost $30 or $300? Baskets with faux succulents, figurines, pottery bowls, and other pretty accent pieces can be picked up for very little money—and you won’t hold your head in pain if one topples to the floor.
Other tabletop items you shouldn’t splurge on include decorate trays, picture frames, candlesticks, and votives.
Save your money for nice, soft cotton sheets, and go downmarket with bed toppers and blankets. Bright spreads, coverlets, and pillow shams should be affordable since they’re often changed seasonally. And you can save more cash by sticking to single-piece comforters for your beds rather than investing in a more expensive combination of duvet covers and feather beds.
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