Designer Breakdown: Where to Splurge vs. Save

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

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WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on December 30, 2020

Sure, it would be nice to splurge for every single item in every single room in the house. But for most of us, that’s not real life. Fortunately, saving money doesn’t mean scrimping on style. Havenly designer Heather Goerzen shares her best spots to save—and where to spend a little extra—in the living room, the dining room, and the bedroom.

Living Room Splurge: The Sofa

“The sofa is the statement piece in your living room and often sets the tone for the entire space,” Heather says. “It’s harder to achieve the vision you’re hoping for if your sofa is dated, frumpy, worn or uncomfortable.” Sofas visually anchor the living room, but they also serve an important functional purpose: they’re the spot to relax and enjoy, whether you’re hosting friends for an evening at home or binging Netflix in your pajamas. Check out these tips to bring the right sofa home.

Living Room Save: The Rug

While Heather readily admits that she loves vintage Persian rugs and handcrafted pieces, she votes for saving your money when it comes to a living room area rug. “You’ll be walking all over it, and if you have kids or pets, it’s a whole other story,” she says. “Go for something that’s both attractive and budget-friendly. Luckily, there are a ton of options on the market that offer both!” Look no further than this guide to affordable and stylish area rugs. As an added benefit, when you save on a rug, it’s something you can change out every few years to keep your space looking fresh.

Dining Room Splurge: The Table

A table is to the dining room what a sofa is to the living room: a large, crucial piece that will likely anchor your whole design. The dining room table is also more likely to be a long-term investment, where you can choose natural, hardy materials like wood or marble. However, Heather also notes that you can easily choose a “good-enough-for-now piece” if you style it right. “It’s fairly easy to style a more inexpensive dining table to create an elevated appeal,” she says. Our designers share their styling secrets to transform a ho hum dining moment into a chic scene.

Dining Room Save: The Chairs

“These are pieces that are going to get a lot of use. You yourself might be the epitome of dining etiquette and never spill a drop, but there’s no guarantee your guests or kids will hold to the same standard,” Heather says. She suggests choosing something that’s easily wipeable, like wood, leather, or faux leather. Love the look of upholstery? Make sure to choose a durable, washable option. (Sunbrella and other performance fabrics might work well for this, but be prepared to pay extra.)

Bedroom Splurge: Linens

While the bedroom is a sanctuary, the bed itself is the piece de resistance. That means choosing linens that radiate a serene vibe to lull you to sleep. “We could all use a little more comfort in our lives these days, and crawling beneath gloriously soft bedding is certainly a good way to start,” Heather says. The best part? Even splurge-y linens won’t compare to the cost of major furniture items. “In a sense, this still feels like a more accessible luxury, and it’s also one of the best ways to dress up your bedroom,” Heather says.

dark curtains

Bedroom Save: Dressers and Nightstands

Be thrifty and eco-friendly when you shop for dressers and nightstands second-hand, either online or at a local vintage shop. “This allows you to find unique pieces that add a sense of character and history,” Heather says (they’re also super affordable). Prefer something new? There are still a ton of striking options that won’t break that bank, Heather says. Just be sure to find pieces with enough storage for your needs. 

Splurge where you wish, but save on interior design. Havenly is surprisingly affordable—take our design style quiz to see for yourself.

Words by Sara Watson