Dwelling decor: save or splurge? Inside designers weigh in

Decorating a house can be a lot of fun – until you see the price tags.

While some home decorations can be ridiculously expensive, there is one secret in interior design circles: Not every property is worth being skewered on.

In fact, some interior designers swear by Ikea for certain items. It's about knowing when to spend money and when to save.

When to save?

Accent seating

For furniture that you use every day – like your sofa – buy the best and most comfortable you can afford. Your butt and back will thank you.

"But the upholstered armchair in your guest room that only sits a few times a year?" asked Lesley Myrick, an Atlanta-based interior designer. "Here you can go with the cheap and happy option."

The world market offers many cheap and cheerful options in this category. You can also search for one of these 20 stores for affordable and stylish furnishings.


Save money by throwing pillows, as you can change color or pattern every year to give your home a fresh new look, said Amy Hillary, Wallsauce content creator. She says the same goes for coffee table accessories.

"If you save money on the very instagramable stack book look, you can mix and match as many times as you like," she said. "You can really find bargains in charities or on eBay."

Kitchen cabinets

This can easily be the most expensive part of a kitchen renovation, but there are some really great, inexpensive closet options, Thomas said. Ikea shines here.

Instead of spending the money on closets, Thomas suggested dealing with stone slabs, plumbing fixtures, and equipment.

"When the high end is, the entire kitchen is elevated, and no one would suspect that you chose cheaper cabinets," he said.


Painting a room can dramatically change a room for a relatively low cost. If your walls aren't in excellent shape, use a paint with a muted sheen, said New York-based interior designer Phillip Thomas. Painting with a subdued sheen hides some imperfections, while painting with a higher sheen is less forgiving.

Using a matte option also gives you better coverage, which means you use less paint. And if you don't want to spend the money to smooth your walls with a skim coating, this is a cheaper option that will look great, said Thomas.


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This may surprise you, as carpets can be an heirloom. But if you've ever bought an expensive rug just so that a child spilled grape juice or a dog had an accident, you may understand.

"We tend to buy cheaper carpets that can be easily replaced after a few years so families with children and dogs don't have to worry about spilling expensive carpets," said Shauna Glenn, chief designer and owner of Shauna Glenn Design in Fort Worth, Texas . Glenn recommends buying inexpensive carpets from RugsUSA.com.

Side tables

Here saves Maria Martin, interior designer at Interior DesignWorks in Austin, Texas. That's because she buys her side tables and wooden furniture in vintage and second-hand stores.

"You get better quality, and if you look well for used furniture, it will take forever," she said.

The following should be noted when buying furniture in second-hand or vintage stores.

Wall art

Most of us love art, but it can be incredibly expensive. However, if you don't curate a collection of valuable masterpieces and just want something substantial on your main wall, you don't have to spend a fortune, said Jennifer Lewicki of Judi Schwarz Interiors in Livingston, New Jersey.

"Many of our customers have invested in finished murals from suppliers like Magic Murals," said Lewicki. They have a large selection of motifs to choose from and cost less than $ 300 depending on the size of your wall.

"The result is something oversized and dramatic and looks like an individual wall design," she said.

If you go this route, Lewicki recommends working with an experienced wallpaper holder to hang evenly without air pockets.

An option that's even cheaper than Magic Murals can be found on Target's Peel & Stick removable wallpaper, available from $ 29.99.

Window decorations

Since window treatments always make up a large part of every budget, one way to save on window panels or fabric curtains is to use an inexpensive solid linen fabric for the bulk of the panels, which you can either make yourself or buy pre-made.

Then beautify them by attaching 8-inch ribbons made of chic fabric to the sides. This is a fairly simple DIY project for someone with basic sewing skills, and usually only requires two or three meters of fabric, said Terri Fiori of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

You could also buy some of this perfect but expensive fabric, but instead of using it for the curtains (which could be up to 36 meters long), you could use the expensive fabric as a window shade and use a less expensive fabric Karen Topjian, founder and managing partner of MCM Designs in Englewood, New Jersey.

Topjian said she did it once and it worked very well. "The shade fabric was framed by the curtains and stood out – using much less fabric, maybe nine meters of fabric," she said. "This approach can create a win-win situation."

When should you be pampered?

Bed linen

A woman decorates her master bedroom.

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You should always invest in tactile items like bedding, said Jaclyn Journey, co-owner of Journey & Jacobs Design in Louisville, Kentucky.

"We like to invest a lot of money in tactile things that you regularly touch and feel: bedding should feel luxurious, soft and warm – and that means you pay more for quality sheets," said Journey.

However, you can still save some money here. Cover your bed with smaller goose-down pillows that you can buy from TJ Maxx for a bargain. "They look more expensive, even if they aren't," she said.

Kitchen backsplash

If you see tiles that cost $ 100 per square foot, this can result in a sticker shock. However, if you only need them for the kitchen backsplash, according to Cozette Brown from Cozette Brown Interior Design in Ringwood, New Jersey, this can result in a budget-friendly wow.

Another budget-friendly option is to use the expensive tile just above the stove with a complementary tile that costs less.

Choose lighting

Invest in lights in areas that matter to you, said Colin Haentjens, designer at The Knobs Company in Omaha.

"If you're a tenant like me, you know that the built-in lighting is generally barebones and just enough to be considered functional at best," said Haentjens.

You'll likely buy a couple of floor and table lamps to make up the difference. Most lighting doesn't have to be expensive as long as it provides enough light for tasks or the right kind of light to relax.

However, you should invest in lights that are in areas that are important to you. While most of the lighting in Haentjen's apartment is very simple and functional, he built a Philips Hue Light into an Ikea Fado table lamp, for example, to create a relaxing, dramatic and dynamic environment in the living room.

When to save and pamper yourself

The dining room

A family spends time in their dining room.

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Keira Schultz, owner of KSDesigns in Arizona, said she mixed it in her dining room. She puts her budget in a timeless high-quality dining table and saves on the chairs.

"There are so many great, affordable new and used chair options in every price range," said Schultz. “A high-quality dining table can last for years and withstand changing design styles. If you save money on chairs at the same time, you can find out about new trends more easily without feeling guilty. ”

A popular trend for dining room chairs is currently to get all the different chairs from the flea market and the flea markets. The mix-matched look is very chic and saves you a small fortune.

Danielle Braff is an associate of The Penny Hoarder.

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