After compiling your dream list of home goods, scanning through it can lead to a lot of questions. One that’s almost always top of mind is what decor items should you invest in and which furniture items should you take a more budget-friendly approach. These decisions can be tricky and overwhelming, especially since there are no hard rules. Fortunately, some furniture, decor, and appliances boldly stand out as items that are deserving of a slightly more generous slice of your budget.
The thrill of a great bargain may feel good in the moment, but down the road it can lead to replacing items earlier and not getting the same kind of quality. For long-term savings and more sustainable home goods, don’t take the cheap route for products like mattresses, towels, rugs, and couches. Don’t fret though, not everything needs a hefty investment.
Here are the top 10 picks for where to splurge on home decor as well as five options that you can totally skimp out on with zero regrets.
Sure, there are plenty of mattresses out there around the $200 mark, but something that majorly impacts your quality of sleep shouldn’t be skimped on. Shopping for a mattress isn’t the most thrilling experience (or exciting thing to spend money on), but it’s worth finding one that works with your favored sleep position and nightly routine.
Budget: from $1,000
This organic cloud-like mattress (opens in new tab) is far more eco-friendly than others thanks to its combination of materials and lack of chemicals. It’ll also make catching Zs much easier thanks to its excellent support and pressure in all the right places.
MSRP: from $1,399
2. Couches and sofas
Similar to your mattress, your couch is one piece of furniture that’s going to be with you through a lot. And, if you buy wisely, you can get a timeless piece to see you through house moves, various living room layouts and requirements. That means a top-notch sofa or sectional is in order. It should be stylish enough to fit in with the rest of your decor but cozy enough to handle all those movie nights at home.
Budget: from $1,200
This L-shaped corner couch (opens in new tab) is ideal for homes embracing a mid-century modern-inspired look—an era that’s re-emerged and established itself as an undeniably timeless look.
Rugs and carpeting should last you for years and retain their shape and quality. The best way to guarantee this is through a bigger investment. Look for durable construction that won't go thread bare or flatten quickly, and also consider one of the washable rugs if you are worried about it getting dirty in high traffic areas.
Budget: from $200
Aside from the gorgeous pop of color this rug (opens in new tab) will add to your living room or front entryway, the best thing about it is its washability. That’s right – it can be folded up and placed in the washing machine, so you won’t have to lug it to the carpet cleaners or pretend that there aren’t any stains.
4. Vacuum cleaners
There’s a difference between clean and knock-your-socks-off tidy. This often comes down to the nature of the cleaning tools you have on-hand. One type of device where price often directly relates to the quality of clean is a vacuum. Don’t settle for weak suction and surface-level clean – save up for the best vacuum your budget can handle to ensure performance and endurance.
Budget: from $300
For a machine that devours pet dander, dust, and dirt and has no need for a tangle of cords to run efficiently and powerfully, Dyson’s Cyclone V10 (opens in new tab) is it.
5. Certain cookware items
Not everything in the kitchen needs to swallow your home design budget. That being said, there are two areas where it’s typically worth spending a little more: a multipurpose pan and a nice baking dish. You’ll never regret having a pan that handles numerous needs on the stovetop like the Always Pan (opens in new tab) that is deep and wide enough for various jobs. A reliable cookware piece that doubles as a stylish serving dish for nightly meals or dinner parties with friends is always a smart buy, too. Look to Le Creuset’s classic casserole pan (opens in new tab) for this.
Budget: from $100
The Always Pan from Our Place (opens in new tab), which wraps nine different kitchen essentials into one. It comes in 13 colors so is the perfect way to add some impact in a neutral kitchen.
Marinate, cook and serve with this multifunctional casserole from Le Creuset (opens in new tab). It is over 15 inches long and 8 inches wide, making it ample for everything from brisket to brownies. Choose from nine of their classic colors to complement your kitchen.
6. Outdoor furniture
Spending a little more on outdoor furniture is a smart move as these pieces need to hold up to much harsher conditions than the objects chilling inside your house or apartment. Choose high-quality materials that resist the elements with little maintenance.
Budget: from $200 or $600 upwards for a set
This two-chair set (opens in new tab) has a wooden frame and poofy cushions that can withstand rainy days and whatever outdoors elements are thrown at it. The large seat and armrests also make them a wonderful spot for spending hours comfortably.
Another key part of the sleeping equation is great bedding. Spending a good chunk on sheets and pillowcases for the first time is intimidating, but once you do you’ll never go back. How much of a difference can the fabric you snooze on really make? A huge one. From cooling qualities and great wearability to the sustainability factors we should all be looking for in our linens, the right bedding impacts your sleep and the environment.
Budget: from $50 for a sheet set or $100+ for a bundle
Hot sleepers (and all sleepers really) will adore these sheets from Cozy Earth (opens in new tab) that feel cool and buttery soft to the touch.
While on the subject of soft goods, it might be time to reconsider your towels. If your current bath sheets are looking a little ratty, splurge on a set in order to ensure maximum absorbency and a silky soft texture. Spending extra can also help prevent dreaded shedding and a shorter towel lifespan.
Budget: from $40 for a set
Pottery Barn’s plush cotton set (opens in new tab) will last you through many a shower and spa night and comes in multiple colors for setting the perfect mood in your bathroom.
Light fixtures are a make or break purchase. The right bulbs and the object they’re housed in make a remarkable difference in the ambience and atmosphere of a room. Cheaper lights that flicker nonstop or cast a not-so-inviting glow around a space are proof alone of how important good lights are. If you can't change the wall or ceiling lights (or are renting), spend your cash on really good lamps instead.
Budget: from $75
This highly-rated floor lamp (opens in new tab) comes with the bulb and adds a little splash of luxury to any corner thanks to its golden legs and sleek shape.
10. Coffee machines
A nice espresso machine or coffee maker will always be worth splurging on, especially if you’re the type who can’t go without their morning macchiato or double-shot. In the long run, you’ll be saving money on pit stops at cafes and machines of a lesser quality that may give out after a year or two. If tea or other hot beverages are more your style, spend a little extra on a hot water kettle. Paying for quality makes sense when it’s an appliance that gets used all the time. Look out for one that’s quiet, quick to boil, and looks chic on your countertop.
Budget: approx $200
Nespresso is a household name in quick and easy coffee. This Vertuo model (opens in new tab) comes with a milk frother if you want to make steamed, foamy milk to turn your espresso into a latte or cappuccino.
And 5 home items you can save on
As promised, you don’t need to blow your budget on anything and everything. Some budget-friendly home goods are just as comparable as their expensive doubles. Here are the money-saver home items that you really don’t need to splurge on.
A bookshelf, first and foremost, should be sturdy. Though a nice frame is a perk, the stars of the show are your favorite reads and their unique covers. Fortunately, sturdy bookshelves aren’t synonymous with spendy bookshelves. There’s no shortage of reliable choices for a decent price.
Budget: approx $100
This Wayfair option (opens in new tab) that has five shelves and takes less than 30 minutes to assemble, according to reviewers. It’s simple but timeless and allows your novels to shine.
2. Planters and pots
Planters and pots can stay simple, saving you a nice bit of cash. In choosing more minimal designs, you allow the spotlight to remain on the cool leafy and viny occupants you’ve planted in them. Spare your budget to invest in the best indoor plants instead.
Budget: from $15
This set of three (opens in new tab) ceramic pots have drainage holes (a must) and feature helpful built-in drip trays. They’re also available in several colors, from crisp white to deep blue.
3. Accent chairs
Unless a specific designer’s piece or an iconic design has been on your mind for some time, it’s completely fine to save your hard-earned cash when it comes to stylish seating. Although accent chairs should be comfortable enough to sit in, they’re more of a statement piece in comparison to the likes of your couch or loveseat. Nowadays, there are plenty of fun, colorful, and sleek options that won’t cost a fortune or lack in the style department.
Budget: approx $100
This retro look chair (opens in new tab) has a rubberwood frame and durable upholstery. Choose from five colours to suit your space including neutrals, pink and teal.
One thing that’ll make your home feel more elevated is having your organizational systems down pat. A tidy space doesn’t need to involve products that you have to pay through the nose for. Simple, streamlined storage bins are the perfect place to start.
Budget: approx $15 a set
This stackable set from Bed, Bath & Beyond (opens in new tab). Use them to keep the infamous junk drawer in decent shape or style them out in the open to store bathroom essentials.
Dishwasher safe? Check. Microwave safe? Check. Stylish? Check. This trifecta is really all that’s needed when it comes to picking out good dinnerware and this set ticks all the boxes. You can spend considerably more on dinnerware, but they will still be vulnerable to breakage if dropped, so we say simply choose a set that ticks all the boxes above.
Budget: from $30
With 16 pieces included (and notably hardy as expressed by happy buyers), a lump sum of cash coming from your wallet won’t be necessary for buying these. There are eight colors to choose from, whether you’re after a darker, atmospheric set or plates and mugs in a simple white hue.