Furnishing a Home: When to Splurge and When to Save

Furnishing a Home: When to Splurge and When to Save

Eleanor Büsing
Jun 8, 2012

This month is all about furniture on Apartment Therapy, which I'm thinking may spark a few shopping sprees. Before that happens, I thought it might be prudent to re-visit that old question: to splurge or to save?

Furnishing an entire home, whether a studio or a four-bedroom house, can be quite a financial undertaking. As humans, we have pieces of furniture to sleep on, to sit on while we work and relax, to sit at while we eat, and to store our stuff. Whether we actually need all this is another question, but as most of us are going to accumulate it anyway, it's a good idea to decide what you can afford to spend, and where.

Splurge where your health is concerned.
This means mattresses, office chairs and work surfaces at the proper height for the job at hand. If you're lucky you may find these items at a bargain price, but generally I'd suggest budgeting more for items which directly affect your health and comfort.

Splurge on statement pieces.
These are the pieces that you love, that you'll take with you when you move, that make your home feel like yours. The Eames chair which detracts from the big-box store sofa, or the vintage armoire which makes putting away the laundry fun. It goes without saying that falling in love with pieces that are also functional is advisable, but it doesn't always work out that way.

Save on storage.
Storage is possibly the most property and lifestyle-specific area of furniture, meaning it changes as you move from home to home and interest to interest. There are no doubt beautiful bookcases, cabinets and wardrobes out there, but it can be frustrating to blow your budget on one, only to find that it doesn't fit in your new place, or doesn't hold for your newly-acquired collection of vintage globes. Remember that IKEA does great bookcases, so there's no need to spend too much in this area.

Save on occasional-use items.
This includes side tables, garden furniture, guest room pieces and extra dining chairs (hey, I'd even suggest saving on your regular dining chairs, unless you've got a large family or throw frequent dinner parties). Pieces that don't get much play can be upgraded as and when you have the money, so try to save your cash for the main events, like your sofa or reading chair.

Over to you — do you agree with these suggestions? When it comes to furniture, where do you splurge and where do you save?

(Image: Matt's Well Curated Collection, Small Cool 2012)

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