Home sweet home doesn’t feel very sweet when it’s empty. Whether you’re furnishing a new place or just looking to upgrade your home, you probably don’t have a limitless budget.

The good news is that it’s very on trend to combine “keeper” pieces with temporary pieces, similar to the “high-low fashion” concept, as in pairing designer boots with mall jeans. Consider home furnishings as fashion for your house. Here’s when to splurge and when to go for the budget option, to stretch your home-furnishing dollar.


  • End tables, coffee tables, and night stands: You want them to be functional, but quality is less important for these pieces because they’re often hidden on the side of a couch and not the focus of the room anyway. Side tables of all shapes and sizes can be had for a great price at any big box store, so buy what you like for now. In fact, maybe they call them “occasional” tables because you’ll want to replace them occasionally?
  • Trendy accent pieces: Save on fun accent pieces that will brighten your room now, but probably not forever. So buy those less expensive wildly patterned floral pillows or glittery vases, and when the trend moves on, so can you, guilt-free.
  • Rugs: While it makes sense to splurge on beautiful wood flooring or quality carpet that can improve your home’s value, consider going cheap on area rugs. After all, they get walked on and spilled on. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you can replace them eventually rather than following your guests around with seltzer in case they slosh?
  • Pieces you won't use often: Sure, you love having guests visit (well, sometimes). But they don’t need a top-quality dresser to stow their shorts for a weekend – although it is hospitable to offer them a decent mattress. Ditto the dining room set that you will probably rarely use (unless, of course, you are a top-notch entertainer). Same goes for outdoor furniture and seasonal items.

It’s very on trend to combine “keeper” pieces with temporary pieces, similar to the “high-low fashion” concept.


  • Comfort items: Your mattress. Your sofa. Anything that affects your well-being and that you use regularly should command top dollar. If you work from home, invest in an ergonomically correct desk chair. If you’re a world-class TV watcher, that might include your recliner.
  • Pieces that will move with you: Not in your dream home? That doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things. Dare to dream about your next home by buying a sofa now that would look good in any room. You’ll know if a piece has staying power if it’s a timeless style and isn’t sized specifically for your room. Also remember that a high-quality piece can be refurbished and given a new life, while a bargain basement item won’t be worth reviving.
  • Stuff you really love: We don’t want to go all Marie Kondo on you, but if an item “sparks joy,” then buy it. Maybe it’s a special chair at an antique store that reminds you of your grandmother, or a piece of art you find on vacation that will always remind you of the fun you had. If it makes you smile every time you see it, it’s probably worth the price.

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