Here’s Where to Splurge and Save In Every Room

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY The Havenly Team

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on May 17, 2018

You already know your living room is not complete without a sofa or sectional, and you can’t have a dining room without a dining table.  But have you thought about needing a luggage rack for your guest bedroom, or shoe storage in the entryway?  No worries – we’ve got you covered!  This checklist should help cover the essentials and any easily overlooked pieces for your home, room-by-room.  Plus, we’ve noted places for you to save, and places where we think it’s totally worth the splurge!

General Checklist

(a.k.a. items most rooms should have.  You probably already own these pieces, or at least have them on your radar…)

  • Rug — no matter what flooring you already have (wood or carpet), a rug really helps define a space and is a must-have for nearly any cohesive design
  • Lighting — don’t rely solely on overhead lighting!  Varying your lighting with table and floor lamps will add great dimensionality to your space and will give you plenty of control over how much or how little light you want in your space
  • Window treatments
  • Wall decor — whether you’re a maximalist who loves a good gallery wall, or more of a minimalist who opts for just one statement-worthy piece of art, no room should have completely bare walls!
  • Storage solutions — in the entryway, you’ll want a place for shoes, keys, and jackets; in the office, you’ll need file storage; in the bedroom, well, you get the picture.  Every room needs a little bit of storage!

Living Room

  • Sofa/sectional — no brainer that your living room needs this, but picking the right sofa can be a challenge!
  • Accent seating (so everyone isn’t just sitting in a line next to each other!)
  • Coffee table
  • Side or End tables — wherever you have a chair, you should also have a surface to place your drinks, books, etc.
  • Media console

Where to splurge: quality sofa/sectional.  This is clearly the most high-usage piece in a living room, so you’ll want something that is sure to last through countless movie nights, dinner parties, and bookclubs!

Where to save: casegoods like side tables, coffee tables, and media consoles.  If you’ll be placing a lot of weight on your media console or coffee table, this could be worth more of an investment, but if they have relatively light usage, look for a good bargain here!

One investment piece can elevate the feeling of an entire room, so no need to splurge on everything.  Instead, pick one piece that you truly love or know will stick with you for a long time to come, and work that into your overall budget for the space.  If you need to cut corners with your budget, accessories, pillows, and decorative accents are a great place to start.  These small details can really add up quickly and it can make a big impact on your budget if you can buy strategically.


  • Headboard and bed frame
  • Nightstands
  • Bedside lighting — use sconces if space is limited and you want to maximize your nightstand surface
  • Clothing storage — this could be in the form of a dresser, armoire, or even free standing clothing racks

Where to splurge: mattress.  A great mattress should come as a no brainer for a good night’s sleep, but many people have a hard time justifying the cost.  Just think about how much time you spend in bed, and how much happier you are after a great night’s sleep!

(Another) Where to splurge: quality bedding.  Similar to a quality mattress, high quality bedding can make or break your sleep cycles.  Not sure where to begin?  We’ve got you covered.

Where to save: lighting.  There are plenty of places these days to find lovely lighting at a low price, while still giving you plenty of light!

Dining Room

  • Dining table
  • Dining chairs
  • Rug (make sure you have space for a rug that’s big enough to accommodate your table + chairs!)
  • Buffet/credenza/storage
  • Overhead lighting/chandelier

Where to splurge: dining chairs.  This cost can quickly add up since you’ll be purchasing more than just 1 dining chair, but if you plan on spending long periods of time gathered around the dining table, it’s well worth the investment!

Where to save: rug.  If you have space for a large rug in the dining room, opt for an inexpensive indoor/outdoor rug.  These rugs are typically stain-resistant, and low pile so your chairs can easily slide in and out from the table.

Guest Room

  • Headboard/bed frame
  • Mattress
  • Bedside lighting
  • Clothing storage/luggage rack
  • Accent seating
  • Desk/vanity

Where to splurge: blackout draperies.  If you want your guests to have a hotel-like experience in your guest room, splurging on blackout curtains is the way to go!  Fair warning:  your guests may never want to leave…

Where to save: artwork.  There’s a good chance you won’t be spending much time in your guest bedroom, so the artwork you place here shouldn’t be your favorite piece nor does it need to be a big investment.  

Ready to fill in the gaps in your own checklist?  Book a designer now to get started!

Words by Lauren Cox