When Should You Splurge On the Real Thing?

Last summer my (not in the least bit overweight) husband sat forcefully in his 6-month old Eames-style desk chair and broke one of the feet clean off. Not having a soldering kit handy (or the wherewithal to use it if I had), the chair and $300 went right in the garbage.

I had bought the chair convinced it was an excellent representation of the chair we really wanted: an Eames Aluminum Group chair in black mesh. It seemed sturdy and at $300, was pricey enough to convince us of being a quality piece of furniture. Ha! What fools we were! After our knock-off Arco lamp mysteriously broke a few weeks later, I began to eye my marble Saarinen-esque dining table with apprehension.

So far (knock on wood) the dining table is still standing, but the shared fate of the chair and lamp got me thinking: if what we really wanted was an Eames management chair or an Arco lamp, why didn’t we just buy one in the first place? Obviously, we were trying to save money, but now, we're already out $500 between the two, making the purchase of the real things that much more prohibitively expensive!

Now I wish we had just saved our pennies and invested in the real deal when we could truly afford it. What about you? When do you invest is true designer pieces and when do you save? Bonus points: without looking at the image credits can you tell which is which in the picture above?

Images: Design Within Reach, InMod

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