Saving money is great. But saving money can also prove problematic. While a piece of furniture that’s not used a lot or a knickknack that is not prominently displayed might be fine, you want to be careful when pinching pennies if it means compromising on quality.
This is a mixed bag. You can get away with an inexpensive coffee table, and you may be able to score a killer deal on a dining table that looks far more expensive than it is. But when it comes to upholstery, proceed with caution—especially with large pieces. Cheap textiles can pill, rip, wear out easily, and stain permanently. Plus, the material is often scratchy and uncomfortable.
“The sofa is one of the most significant items you’ll ever buy for your home. It takes up a lot of visual space, it’s important for comfort purposes, and it’s something you could have for two or even three decades,” said The Spruce. “Look for something made with high-quality materials such as kiln-dried hardwood and eight-way hand-tied spring construction, and purchase a classic style so that over the years it can be recovered if you want to update the fabric and give it a different look. Remember the rule that a high-quality sofa should last around 25 years while one of average quality should last about 10.”
Many designers will tell you that money is no object when it comes to art. “Unlike a rug that may get dirty in a couple years or a glass that could end up breaking at your next dinner party, the art you invest in is likely to stay with you for many years, or maybe even a lifetime,” said Real Simple. “The key is to take your time finding art you love, that you’ll want to spend years living with, and that fits your style.”
We agree with all of that, except for the “need to splurge” part. It’s gonna be awhile before we’re playing with Picasso money. In the meantime, we love finding great new resources to buy inexpensive art—especially those that allow us to support emerging artists instead of buying stuff that’s mass-produced. From Society6 to Minted to to Etsy, there are a number of places you can find great stuff without a great expense.
Skimp out on your flooring and you might find yourself having to redo it soon—or living with the consequences of a poor choice. Everything from a wood product that is made too thin, and therefore is damaged easily, to poor adhesive, to carpet that doesn’t have the quality to stand up to kids, pets, or everyday use can cause problems sooner than you may expect.
“One of the best items to buy cheap is an area rug, Gen Sohr, one half of the husband-and-wife team behind Pencil & Paper Co., a Nashville-based interior design firm, said to Real Simple. “I think there are so many wonderful area rug options that are a complete steal. And really who wants to break the bank on something that’s going to eventually get soiled and need to be replaced?” she says. For an option that’s both affordable and durable, she recommends a natural sisal rug, which also hides the appearance of dirt. A flatweave wool rug is another popular option, and Sohr recommends finding deals on Overstock.com or Rugs USA.”
It can be tempting to go cheap on a mattress simply because it so expensive. But, if you really spend a good third of your life in bed, it’s worth it to pay for quality. If you can’t pay outright, it’s usually possible to get a zero-interest payment plan from a mattress stores if you have decent credit.