Home Decor, Splurge vs. Save

I’m currently getting ready to start my final semester of college. Pretty soon I’ll be walking across the commencement stage and receiving my BFA. I can’t wait. But mostly I can’t wait to move somewhere new and start adult life. I love my college town and will be returning frequently for football games every fall, but the city is calling me. Yes, adult life means a new job, being financially independent, and a whole lot of responsible stuff that is exciting but also terrifying. However, I’m most looking forward to getting a new apartment and turning it into a home.

What distinguishes a house/apartment/duplex from a home (aside from who lives there) is decor. For me there is nothing more depressing than a room with bare walls and ragged furniture. I’m currently starting to save money for decorating my next place, and I thought that I’d share some advice on what’s worth splurging for when it comes to making a house your home.

Focal Pieces

  • Save: Save on items like nightstands, shelves, dressers and tables. Most of these items can be found at thrift stores and consignment centers and quickly updated with a coat of paint or stain. You’ll still have beautiful good quality furniture, but you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg.
  • Splurge: It is important to own comfortable and durable highly used furniture. Invest in couches, beds, and linens (comfortable sheets and towels will have a dramatic impact on your overall wellbeing). These are items you will use every day and won’t want to change often, so it’s okay to spend more for higher quality items.


  • Save: Items such as shower curtains, window coverings, rugs, lamps and throw pillows can be found for low prices at places like Target, Tuesday Morning, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Most likely you’ll want to change these out frequently, so there’s no point in spending a fortune. Just make sure the item is durable enough to last a while and looks pretty. I always try to find items that are similar to one’s I’ve seen in expensive decorating magazines – that way they’ll look like quality items but will be more unique than that Pottery Barn rug everybody on the block has.
  • Splurge: Every home should have one or two luxurious blankets that can be used to curl up with on the couch. I also believe that if there is an accent item you absolutely fall in love with you should think about it for two weeks, then if you still want it go ahead and splurge. There are certain pieces in every home that bring joy to one’s life just by existing, these types of items are worth spending on – but you only need one or two of them.

Art & Wall Decor

  • Save: Save on seasonal items (holiday decorations, candles, etc.), paint, artwork and frames. I will find imagery and photographs online that speak to me and print them out on my large format printer (perks of being a designer) – some people may take issue with this practice, but I think it’s fine so long as you credit the artist and don’t try and sell the stuff. Once you can afford to buy their work you obviously should do so, but only if you really love it. Many seasonal items can be made inexpensively by following DIY tutorials, and that also allows you to change things up year to year. Save on frames, but do frame your decor – it will protect the art and make your home look “done”.
  • Splurge: Splurge on a items that speak to the depths of your soul, or have a personal value to you. If you’re on a vacation that you want to remember forever and stumble across a gorgeous etching of the location – get it. If you have always wanted a grandfather clock, buy one. Just be sure that the items you splurge on are ones you will use for the rest of your life – regardless of where you may move.

So there you have my guide to buying home decor. As always, before you buy anything make sure you love it. Your home is a reflection of your authentic self. Everything within it should bring you joy and speak to the depths of your soul.


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