As you know (from this post on how to find home decor deals, for example), I am a bargain hunter. I love finding a great deal, especially on furniture or home decor, and I hate paying full retail price. I love shopping estate sales, thrift stores, and salvage yards to find second-hand, but good quality, treasures.
That said, there are some things I will only buy new, and sometimes that costs a pretty penny. And I’m ok with that, so long as the price is consistent with the quality of the piece.
It’s a hard decision – whether to splurge or save. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what I splurge on and what I save on for our home. For today’s Friday Five, I’m focusing on the splurging – five things that I would splurge (and have splurged) on, and why.
This advice is born from my experience. If you want a rug to last, spend the money on getting a good quality rug. Let me tell you a story about why I say this.
I ordered this rug from Target.
It’s a fleece rug – made of Olefin, which is a man-made fiber. It’s very soft, the color was what I wanted, and I liked the design. And the price was right: it ended up costing me about $150, between a sale, a coupon, and a discount for using my store card.
And, at first, it was great. Soft enough for us to hang out on it and play games or pat the dogs, and it looked great in the room. Good, right?
I’ve owned it for less than a year and it looks like I’ve owned it for 15 years. The threads are coming loose and pulling out. The color has faded significantly. The edge on one side is fraying.
I have this rug in our breakfast room:
I bought this rug at Marshalls in – wait for it – 1997. It was $300, which I know was a big bargain, given that it’s a Persian rug. It’s 6×9, reversible, and it’s in our breakfast room in our current home.
While the color has faded a bit and the fringe is loose in some places, otherwise, it looks amazing. It’s in great shape and I am guessing it will be for years to come. And it’s in an area of our home through which we walk many times daily.
Moral of the story: splurge on the rug. Buy a rug made from wool or natural fibers, because they are generally more durable than man-made fibers. (Also, I prefer natural fibers over man-made, plastic-derived stuff in my home, generally.) It will be more expensive, but you won’t have to replace it in the short term. As I said above, I bought the Target rug less than a year ago and I feel I need to replace it already. (Update: I did end up replacing it, with a wool rug from HomeGoods that has been much more durable.)
Possible exception: IKEA has reasonably priced natural fiber rugs that allow you to have quality rugs without paying a huge price.
2. Big Pieces of Furniture
For the big pieces of furniture in our home, I splurged. For example, the sectional sofa in our family room:
I bought this sectional at Pottery Barn – although at its outlet store, because that’s how I roll. But it wasn’t cheap even at the outlet store – it’s actually a custom Mitchell Gold-Bob Williams sectional. It ended up at the outlet because it was a returned special order. Their loss was my gain! It was still expensive, but about 1/3 of what it would have been in the regular retail store.
I was willing to splurge on the sectional because I wanted it to last forever, I wanted it to be durable, to stand up to two kids and everything else. And it is SO comfortable. Many a nap have been taken on this sofa and it is super-duper comfortable. Seriously good.
I have a sofa from IKEA, too. It’s in our living room.
It was much less expensive, although not really cheap. It has a washable slipcover, which works well with our kids and furry dogs. But it’s not as comfortable. The cushions are kind of hard. The seams of the cushions show through the slipcover after a while.
We bought the couch for the basement when we lived in our first house. It was only meant to be a rec room-type couch – one that the kids could jump on and play on. It worked for that (there’s a purple magic marker stain to prove it), and it works in our living room. But everyone would much rather choose to sit (or nap) on the sectional, rather than this couch.
Moral of the story: splurge on the big stuff that you want to last.
3. Heirloom-type Furniture
Splurge on the furniture you want to pass down to your kids. A dining room table, a beautiful chest of drawers – whatever it is. If you want it to last, buy the best and it will.
This is one of the main reasons I love shopping at estate sales and secondhand stores. You can find this kind of furniture at those sales for a fraction of the price.
I’m talking about wall paint here, and I debated about this one, actually, but only because of one particular paint. Lemme explain.
I have used pretty much every major brand of paint on the market. (I have not tried super-high-end paint.) And I have found, generally, that the more expensive the paint is, the better it is – in terms of coverage, being true to color, and durability.
THAT BEING SAID, HGTV by Sherwin Williams paint is less expensive than the expensive guys who are that good, and it is as good, if not better. I wrote all about that in my product review of HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams paint in my daughter’s bedroom. A gallon costs about half of what a gallon of Benjamin Moore costs, but it covers as well, if not better. Honest. But I have to say that this is the only exception I know. Otherwise, splurge on the good paint.
On a related point, splurge on good brushes and roller covers, too! It makes the job so much easier!
5. What you really, really want.
I know, you want to thank me for putting that Spice Girls song in your head now. You’re welcome!
Splurge on what you really, really want. Because, at the end of the day, you won’t be happy with the bargain version of it or something that’s kind of what you wanted, but not exactly.
Case in point: my Kitchen Aid mixer.
I resisted getting a Kitchen Aid mixer for the longest time. I was fresh out of law school, with plenty of debt to go with it, and I didn’t want to spend the money on it.
When I made Christmas cookies for my friends and co-workers that year, I was struggling. My little hand-held mixer just wasn’t cutting it. So, when I saw a Kitchen Aid on sale before Christmastime the following year, I caved and bought one. Baking has never been the same and I’ve never regretted splurging on it.
The bottom line is that, usually, you get what you pay for. Before making a splurge, I do plenty of research, to make sure it’s good quality and I’m getting the best deal possible. I never splurge lightly, so I know that, when I finally decide to buy, it’s exactly what I want.
What have you splurged on in your home? Next Friday, I’ll talk about what I save on!