*This* Is Exactly Where to Splurge & Save When Decorating Your Living Room

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on June 16, 2022

While we’d love to have unlimited funds when decorating a new home, creating a realistic budget for each room is a necessary evil. But thanks to the countless budget-conscious (and cute!) retailers now at our disposal, staying on-budget during a design refresh has never been easier.

To further simplify the design process, we tapped our Havenly design team for a quick game of save or splurge: living room edition. From sofas and rugs to drapes, decor, and pillows, we’re breaking down important cost considerations for each impactful piece in a standard living space.

Ahead, find our official guide on how to optimize your budget for maximum design impact in your living room:

1. Splurge: The Sofa

Desert modern living room | Warm color palette

If you’re only going to splurge on one piece for your living space, it should definitely be the sofa. It’s arguably the most-used piece of furniture in your entire home and should therefore deliver on aesthetics, quality, and functionality, bar none. In talking to our clients, we find that people actually use their living room as a home office, dining room, play area, gathering space, and beyond. Your sofa has to hold up from a style and performance perspective, so shell out for your number-one pick.

2. Save: The Rug

Earthy living room

We love a gorgeous vintage Persian rug as much as the next person, but let’s be real: your rug literally gets walked all over. Shelling out for a precious, one-of-a-kind gem that can’t stand up to wine spills, muddy dog paws, or life in general feels like a misuse of money in our book. Plus, there are so many stunning affordable rugs on the market these days —  ensure you have a properly sized rug for the space and find a budget-friendly option.

3. Splurge: Lighting

Coastal living room

Lighting could be considered jewelry for your living room — it adds style and personality in spades and ties the whole look together. To clarify, you don’t necessarily have to shell out on the most expensive crystal chandelier in the store, but we’d argue that it’s important to invest in lighting overall. A living room should have at least two to four sources of light beyond overhead, including floor and table lamps, sconces, pendants, chandeliers, and more. And if you’re contemplating a pricey statement fixture that will absolutely *make* your living room, it’s worth it in our book — splurge!

4. Save: Pillows & Throws

Throw pillow design | White living room

Is it just us, or are there so many expensive pillows and throws these days?! Considering they’re meant to be cuddled, pillows and throw blankets are an easy “save” for us. Plus, these decorative items quickly go in and out of style — it makes more financial sense to go the budget route and swap them out for a new palette or pattern when the mood strikes. Sure, having a couple of nicer pieces in the mix does tend to elevate the overall aesthetic, but there are so many lovely, affordable options available at well-known retailers, too!

5. Save OR Splurge: Artwork

Wall art ideas | Entryway decor

When it comes to selecting artwork, we swear by a high-low mix that feels eclectic, layered, and personal. Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out on museum-worthy pieces to create an elevated, stylish living room — hand-me-down prints and gems sourced at the flea market are often the most special. Rather, invest in a few high-end gems where you want to make a statement, and mix in vintage finds, budget prints, and family heirlooms throughout.

6. Save: Decor

Green accent chair

Like pillows and throws, decorative items like trays, baskets, boxes, candles, and the like fall into the “decor” camp and therefore wax and wane in popularity by the season. Stick to budget finds when assembling your collection of decorative knick-knacks, and you won’t feel guilty when you inevitably want to swap an item or two for a trendy new print, finish, or material. As always, consider mixing in vintage here to lower the budget impact and create a more storied aesthetic! 

7: Save OR Splurge: Curtains

minimalist living room

Investing in custom curtains definitely makes an impact and elevates the overall aesthetic. If you have the budget for it, you have our wholehearted support! But if the idea of spending close to $1,000 on a few fabric panels makes you physically ill, there are so many inexpensive and beautiful options available at Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and even IKEA (check out some of our faves). We’d argue that proper installation is more important anyways — always hang your curtains high and wide and let each panel kiss the floor! 

Looking for a way to overcome your unique home dilemmas? Work one-on-one with our expert interior designers for just $129 per room. Get started today with our style quiz.

Words by Kelsey Clark