When to Splurge Vs. Save: 13 Design Pros Weigh In

13 interior designers sound off about when to splurge and when to save when it comes to the living and dining rooms.
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We all struggle with the question of where to splurge and where to save when decorating our homes. Interior designers rarely work with unlimited budgets, making them experts at knowing when to embrace a "you only live once" ethos, and when to take some, albeit well-disguised, shortcuts. To figure out what design items are worth the splurge, and which aren’t, we asked 13 design pros to weigh-in. Here, they take us through how to go high-low in two key spaces: the living room and the dining room.

The Living Room

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Where to Splurge

Paloma Contreras: "I always advise clients to go with good-quality upholstery, as it really makes a difference in the level of comfort and the durability of the piece."

Pierce & Ward: "Expensive rugs. There’s nothing worse than a cheap rug."

Erin Gates: "I always suggest custom pillows in trade fabrics. They dress up any store bought sofa or chair in the best way."

Caitlin Murray: "I splurge the most on unique, statement pieces that will do some heavy lifting and elevate the design as a whole. To me, anything one-of-a-kind and impactful that you’ve really fallen for is worth the investment." 

Shop Living Room Splurges
The Citizenry Angami Pillow
Meticulously handwoven in the Nagaland region of India, this accent pillow features ancient tribal motifs in saturated shades of navy.
Knoll Womb Chair and Ottoman
When Florence Knoll challenged Eero Saarinen to create a chair that she could curl up in, she found the right candidate for the task. The Womb Chair and Ottoman (1946) feature enveloping forms that continue as one of the most iconic representations of midcentury organic modernism.

Where to Save

Sarah Bartholomew: "Using more expensive fabrics in smaller applications is the perfect way to save. I like to use high-end, special fabrics for small accent pieces."

Pierce & Ward: "Inexpensive vintage lighting."

Meg Braff: "I love to use inexpensive rattan furniture. It takes the edge off and make a room feel more comfortable and approachable, while retaining a certain elegance."

Tharon Anderson: "Side tables and ancillary furniture don’t get the same kind of daily use as sofas and chairs, so I try to save money there."

Shop Living Room Saves
West Elm Telescoping Table Lamp - Black
Modern metal. The Telescoping Table Lamp features a slim profile and flat metal base that fits even small spaces on desks and side tables. Its height is adjustable, so you can focus light where you need it.

The Dining Room

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Where to Splurge

CeCe Barfield: "Beautiful hand-embroidered table linens."

Barrie Benson: "I love the idea of splurging on a beautiful, vintage chandelier. If you have a fabulous chandelier, no one will notice what table you use!"

Madcap Cottage: "We love to splurge on custom wallpaper. We are constantly switching things up, but custom wallpaper paper is an eternal constant."

Shop Dining Room Splurges
Uashmama Round Placemats (Set of 4)
Set the table—with paper! These gorgeous two-toned round placemats add instant polish to any dinner table—so imagine our surprise when we found out they’re made from paper! Made in Italy, the waxed paper is both water and stain resistant, and suited for just about any table setting.
Marie Mees and Cathérine Biasino Grace Linen Napkins, Set of 4
After many years of working with leading textile and carpet brands, designers Marie Mees and Cathérine Biasino share a commitment to displaying their passion for textiles.  The duo places equal emphasis on subtle design and technical execution, eschewing mass production in favor of creating...
Brendan Ravenhill Cord Chandelier
The Cord Chandelier floats dramatically overhead, with a three-part axis of symmetry that provides welcome intrigue to rectilinear rooms. The lightweight fixture is suspended from a flexible power cord which allows the mobile like stucture to spin gently with the breeze.

Where to Save

Nick Olsen: "An exquisite French armchair in patent leather always looks wonderful next to a humble Parsons table, even one of the Formica variety."

Celerie Kimble: "An inexpensive bar cart in a dining room can provide both utility and practicality."

Young Huh: "To save, keep things in a similar color. For instance, I collect white pottery—everything from 16th century antique pieces to IKEA. Because they’re all white, they all look good together."

Paloma Contreras: "Natural fiber rugs are a great way to add texture to a room and make an otherwise glamorous or traditional space feel more grounded. They’re also really cost-effective and go with just about anything!"

Shop Dining Room Saves
Surya Jute Bleached Natural Fibers Area Rug
Features:  Constructed using hand woven techniques from natural fibers. Covered under a 1 year limited warranty Made in India. Specifications: Length: 48"  Width: 27"  Rug Shape: Rectangle Pile Height: 1" Photo Courtesy of Build.com
Table with a top layer of solid wood, a durable natural material that can be sanded and surface treated when required.
Holly & Martin Zephs Bar Cart
Go ahead; throw that soiree you've been dreaming about. You'll be the hostess with the mostess with this fashionable and functional bar cart. The gunmetal gray frame supports black tempered glass shelves where treats may be displayed for easy snacking.

Lead image: Residence in the Galilee by Golany Architects, photographed by Amit Geron 

This post was originally written by Marisa S. Martin for Chairish. 

Vintage home décor.


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