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Where to Splurge and Where to Save in the Living Room

By: Charlotte Beach

March 24, 2017

Image via Raoul Textiles


Think of all the things you do in your living room: playing board games with the fam, celebrating the holidays with your crew, drinking a much-needed bottle of wine (or three…) after a long day of work. Suffice it to say, your living room is where you, well, live! And as such, it’s crucial that it’s designed to suit both your busy life and killer style.

Alas, that’s a lot easier said than done, particularly when designing on a budget. So we decided to pool our network of interior designers for their tips on where to penny-pinch and where to indulge when tackling a living room. So read up, because with these insider tips, you’ll have slick digs with cash left over for a party!


Save: Decorative Objects + Pillows

Where to Splurge and Where to Save in the Living Room

A prime place to spare some dough is on decorative accents.“I like to save in the accessories department since those are things that are changed frequently,” says Amy Bennett. So don’t go all-in on a lavish vase that you’ll probably end up switching out for another one with the next bouquet anyway. Adriene M. Ged agrees: “Small accessories and throw pillows can easily be swapped out.” And since changing up these smaller elements in a living room is a handy way to reinvigorate the space, saving on accessories is a key area for cutting cash-corners.

Splurge: Seating

Where to Splurge and Where to Save in the Living Room

Just because you’re not the Mother of Dragons doesn’t mean you don’t deserve living room seating that is fit for a queen. “The biggest splurge-worthy item in a living room is the seating,” says Michelle Vosk. “What’s better than a super comfy, high quality sofa?” We think Tyrian Lannister would concur, and so does designer Rhiannon Gillis. She says that when it comes to a couch, “You want to spend money on something that you can have for years, that you love the look of, and the feel of.” Tammy Cody adds that the sofa is “where memories are made,” so it’s of paramount importance to invest in one that can support all of that emotional and bodily weight.


READ MORE: What Makes a Sofa Worth $10,000 | 10 Stylish Sofas to Fit Any Budget


Save: Curtains

 For glorified strips of fabric hanging from poles, curtains certainly don’t come cheap. But Taylor Anderson says it’s possible to find affordable alternatives to expensive draperies. “Often times you can have simple curtains made for a fraction of the price, or your designer can help you find cheap substitutes,” she says.

Splurge: Rugs

An area rug can make or break a room, so our designers recommend budgeting with that in mind. “There is no better piece to make a big statement than your rug,” says Rhiannon. “Get something big, beautiful, and worth every penny. Everything else is easy to skimp on and still make work.” A room’s rug is meant to tie everything together and set the tone for the space. And I think we can all agree you want that tone to be chic and luxe, not drab and cheap.

Save by Reupholstering

While we fully condone splurging on a quality couch and a lavish arm chair, our designers have also divulged a trusty trick for saving money when you want a change: reupholstery. Linnette Rolon says, “To save money for clients, I usually refinish or reupholster a good piece of furniture.” Amy Bennett suggests keeping your throw pillows but just buying new covers to freshen things up.

Splurge on What You Love

Living rooms are the ultimate in-home-gallery for conversation pieces, so be on the lookout for wall art that tickles your fancy or an extravagant light fixture that just makes you smile. These statement elements are worth shelling out a bit more for because they’re the pieces that will bring you the most joy. “An item is (almost) always splurge-worthy if you really, really love it!” says Michelle. “If you feel your feelings when you see it, splurge away.” Gwendolyn Gibbish looks to inject a personal style statement in the living room with the perfect credenza. She says, “I like to do a unique piece here, something vintage to stand out and stand the test of time.” If it meets this criteria, then it totally deserves the investment.

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