Save or splurge? Getting the most for your decorating dollar
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Save or splurge? Getting the most for your decorating dollar

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BUDGET

Knowing where you can save money to get a great look is as essential as what you should invest in to decorate your home.

When redecorating it's tempting to blow your decorating budget on a pricey look. When money's no object, the decisions are easy; but when money's rooted in fiscal reality, hard choices must be made. This makes knowing where you can save money to get a great look as essential as what you should invest in to decorate your home.

The splurge

There are several important areas where it's a good idea to earmark your money. The first is on any upholstered furniture that you use frequently. A corner of the guest bedroom? An inexpensive slipper chair works just fine. But in the living room where your family spends most of the time, that's where you need to invest. A well-made sofa that has quality cushions delivers the dollar value every time.

The second item to splurge on is something that you love. When you pass over something you really, truly love, regret comes back to haunt you. Try to take savings where you can so that when you do see something you really want, you'll have room in the budget for the splurge. Another area to splurge on is quality lighting; in particular, chandeliers.

Lighting is one of those areas where you don't want to cheap out because it often sits smack in the middle of the room. A quality light fixture will bring the whole room up a level, while an inexpensive or cheap-looking chandelier will pull a great room to its level. Get the best quality you can afford and go up in size rather than down.

Sleep on savings

A great mattress can help you get a good night's sleep, but they don't come cheap. In the past few years, mattress pads have come a long way and can give even the most modest mattresses a big step up in sleep quality. So, if a new mattress is in your future, give some thought to adding a good quality mattress pad instead of buying a pricey mattress. This simple swap could save you thousands that could go toward a pretty new headboard.

Budget accents

You can fill up your house with a range of accents that are not only great looking for the entire house, but also affordable. With accent tables and chests, you can get a lot of style without a major financial commitment. Also dot your decor with trendy accent items and throw pillows from your favorite home store; when mixed in with higher-quality pieces, these budget-savers will fit right in.

Functional splurge

Give your decorating budget extra room for important items that are functional. Top picks on that list include kitchen cabinets and plumbing fixtures. With constant use, kitchen and bathroom cabinets need to keep up, and cheap cabinets wear out faster and look bad quickly. Investing in good-quality wood cabinets will give you longer and better wear.

The same is true for plumbing fixtures, the jewelry in the kitchen and bath. Put your money where you'll use it the most; quality plumbing fixtures are always a good investment.

(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)

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