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When to Splurge, When to Save

Today I’m breaking down the question: Which items in your home are worth the splurge? When can you save?

A walnut platform bed with white bedding, black bedside sconce and dark green walls above white beadboard | via Yellow Brick Home
queen bed | linen bedding | sconces | artwork

I had a great question come through my DMs this past week. I’ve answered similar questions privately through email and message exchanges, but this time, I thought – let’s break it all down in a blog post!

Which items in your home are worth the splurge, and which ones can be saves? Which items are just as good at a lower price point?

— Kimber

The definitions of ‘splurge’ and ‘save’ are relative, so take into account your personal budget when deciding what it means to splurge vs. save. To me, a splurge is an investment in quality. It’s supporting a small(er) maker or finally pushing ‘buy now’ on The Perfect Rug on Ebay or finally purchasing the classic dinnerware I love the most from a big box store. It’s making the decision once and not needing to make it again for a long, long time. A save is more trendy, seasonal or perhaps convenience. But that doesn’t always mean it lacks in craftsmanship!

We have absolutely saved when we wanted to splurge, and we’ve splurged where we maybe-should-have saved (but no regrets!). Sometimes the timing doesn’t make sense to splurge, and sometimes we save all our pennies to make the splurge possible. All this to say, the lines can be crossed and blurred, and in the end, you do you! Below, I’m sharing my thoughts on splurge vs. save, as well as alternate options to consider.

When to Splurge

As a general rule of thumb, we tend to splurge on items that are tactile, since feel is so important in a home! Think: A sofa you can’t wait to curl up on, a coffee table that checks all the boxes, the door knobs you touch every day. We’ve also been burned by purchasing inexpensive curtain rods and poorly made dinnerware, so those made my splurge-worthy list, too!

Our neutral living room with white sectional, vintage rug and brass lighting | via Yellow Brick Home

sectional | sconce | coffee table | curtains | vintage rug (similar)

  • Large, regularly used furniture | sofas and lounge chairs
  • Coffee tables | You see and use this every day!
  • Cabinet hardware | Inexpensive hardware will wear poorly over time.
  • Door knobs
  • Heavy duty curtain rods
  • An heirloom piece | chairs, rugs, textiles
  • Dinnerware
Scott reaches into a kitchen cabinet to get Lucy a plate | via Yellow Brick Home
hardware | sconce | toaster | butter bell | soap pumps

When to Save

We are all about the save! As I already mentioned, sometimes this makes the most sense from a convenience perspective, such as – ohmigosh, I need this in a pinch, like yesterday. But when it comes to items that are interchangeable, we like to (mostly) save. Think: Throw pillows, printable artwork, seasonal decor.

A white bathroom with pink board and batten, glass shower and brass lighting | via Yellow Brick Home
sconce | recessed cabinet | vanity + faucet | tile
  • Artwork | Consider thrifted or vintage frames and digital download prints or pages from a beautiful book!
  • Knick knacks + Decor | books, candlesticks, vases and figurines
  • Throw pillows | Save the down-filled pillow forms and only purchase new covers
  • Plumbing fixtures | Your kitchen and bathroom fixtures can happily float in the grey area. I wouldn’t recommend the least expensive option, nor the highest! Consider brands that hover in the middle – Delta Faucet, Moen and Signature Hardware.
  • Organizational tools | baskets, bins, hooks and drawer dividers. (These cotton baskets are our favorite for storing toys!)
Hidden toy storage, tucked inside a media cabinet | via Yellow Brick Home
large rope basket | media cabinet

Either / Or

Some items tread the line of either / or. For example, not every room needs a 100% wool rug, rather, consider how your family uses the space. And while luxury bedding is ahh-mazing, we also love these vintage-washed Target sheets! Below, I’m sharing the household items that can go either way.

A moody bedroom with navy bedding and a large half-circle headboard | via Yellow Brick Home
coverlet + shamsnightstand | sconces
  • Rugs | The splurge-vs-save factor can be based on the room and how it’s used. For example, a high quality rug under a dining room table doesn’t make the most sense, but you’ll want something that makes your heart sing in the family room. And never, ever skimp on the rug pad! (These are our favorite.)
  • Bedding | Okay, if I had to choose, I’d save on the duvet cover, splurge on the sheets.
  • Tools |Always check the warranty, and invest in a good drill and miter saw. Save on one time use tools (such as speciality blades).
  • Lighting | Save on utilitarian spaces, splurge on statement lighting.

Note: This rug guide breaks down different materials, and here’s a list of 53 tools to build your DIY library!

An organized indoor workshop using the Gladiator system | via Yellow Brick Home
workshop wall system

Get the Splurge for a Save!

Shopping secondhand is like a secret weapon. While finding a vintage piece does not always equate to a ‘save’, more often than not, it does! During quarantine, I have been blown away by the number of creations I’m seeing online, and I’m feeling so inspired. Never underestimate the power of Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay or DIY!

Note: Here’s how we revived our vintage sconces, DIYed a coffee table and reupholstered a vintage Milo Baughman.

View from a neutral living room into a moody reading nook | via Yellow Brick Home
velvet chair | pouf | basket | sconce

What do you consider splurge-worthy? Where do you save?

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  • Rebecca7.27.20 - 7:22 AM

    Hi!!! Thank you so much. This is def something I struggle with while filling a home for the first time. Would you mind sending a link to the coffee table? We are on the hunt! The current link keeps sending me to lighting. ReplyCancel

  • Erin7.27.20 - 8:25 AM

    I am firmly in the vintage frame and save art category. While I would love to support artists by buying original art, it isn’t in my budget. There are so many great shops popping up where you can buy digital downloads to support artists, so I have been going that route lately. ReplyCancel

  • Jodi Chamberlain7.27.20 - 9:46 AM

    Do you have a favorite print shop for your digital downloads? ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.27.20 - 12:31 PM

      I’ve purchased from Juniper Print Shop, BFF Print Shop and The Printable Studio on Etsy!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy7.27.20 - 11:23 AM

    We have 4 kids 5 and under, so my splurge vs save is a little jaded right now!  but, if the kids can touch it, save and just count on replacing it when they follow rules a little better! ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.27.20 - 12:31 PM

      Exactly – each family unit will have different versions of save and splurge!ReplyCancel

  • at home with ashley7.27.20 - 12:05 PM

    Yes, I’m with you! Saving on art is something I’ve always done since there are so many great downloadable printables out there. The pieces that you’ll have a long time and will love are where I splurge.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl7.27.20 - 1:35 PM

    Wood flooring (laminate, engineered or solid hardwood) and tile (floor or wall) are also worth considering splurging on – they are generally not changed on a whim and installation is often expensive or complicated. Waiting for sales, buying discontinued lines and DIY installation can all help with the cost.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.27.20 - 1:57 PM

      YES. I didn’t even include flooring (outside of area rugs), but you are so right. I think it’s worth saving up to get the flooring that you LOVE from the start.ReplyCancel

      • Cheryl7.28.20 - 12:14 AM

        It’s probably on my mind since our home has poorly installed, cheap laminate throughout most of the house – we’ve been here almost two years and new flooring is way down on the priority list.ReplyCancel

  • Elle7.27.20 - 8:06 PM

    I’ve been burned by awful duvets so that is a spurge item now but my husband & I are empty nesters this year So its easier to put our needs first now. ReplyCancel

  • Rachel S7.29.20 - 12:06 PM

    Could you speak to your approach for curtain rods? Or do you have a post on that? I’ve been so frustrated.  I broke down and had custom curtain rods installed in my bedroom after years of fighting with the telescoping seam.  I think with installation it was just shy of $1k. I went with store bought (with the seam, ugh) in my daughter’s room and that cost $50 from CB2.  There must be something in between?ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.29.20 - 1:35 PM

      Is it just the telescoping part that frustrates you? And if so, what part is frustrating? We will sometimes add a little furniture bumper on the bracket (right under the rod), so both sides stay even. Also make sure to double check how much weight they can hold!ReplyCancel

      • Rachel S7.29.20 - 3:29 PM

        Hey Kim! It’s the seam that drives me crazy; pulling the curtains closed over the seam, half the time the rings stick on the seam, sometimes it pulls the rings off a drapery hook or two.  In my daughter’s room we have blackout curtains so they get pulled open and closed multiple times per day (she’s 11 months).  The rod in her room is in three sections so there are two seams.  I have ramp tape and it helps but still frustrating…ReplyCancel

        • Kim7.29.20 - 9:43 PM

          Okay, that makes sense! It does kind of drive me crazy, too. Rather than the rod though, have you considered the way the curtains hang from the rod? I.e, clips vs tab vs grommet? We have found that curtains with grommets open and close soooo much easier than curtains on clips! It’s exactly why had grommet curtains made for our living room. It’s so nice to pull them closed for a movie night, etc, bc they glide tide over those rod seams!

          See more about the curtains here:
          https://www.yellowbrickhome.com/why-choose-custom-drapery/ReplyCancel

          • Rachel S7.30.20 - 11:32 AM

            Thanks for the response.  I’m afraid I really rather dislike the look of grommets.  I made the blackout curtains for my girl’s room with much blood sweat and tears working during naps when she was a newborn, so I won’t be altering/replacing them any time soon.  I’m considering macgyvering something with lengths of copper pipe to eliminate the seam.  It just seems like there should be something in between the $50 option and the $1,000 option…

  • michelle7.29.20 - 1:58 PM

    I agree with this list.  I do buy high quality bedding though as well as pillows…I think a good (maybe pricey) pillow is so worth it.  
    Also I thought I’d add something I have come to figure out over the years.  When you first move somewhere you just want it filled and done and I’ve skimped in areas and bought stuff that ultimately turned out kinda junky or I didn’t realllllly love but bought it because it was cheaper.  I wish I had waited, really thought about what I wanted and if it was out of my price range…waited.  Some times patience is hard:)ReplyCancel

  • Julie7.29.20 - 3:21 PM

    I have a hard time not splurging–especially on throw pillows! But this helped! Haha thank you for sharing these home tips!ReplyCancel

  • Adela8.2.20 - 2:50 PM

    Great read! What if you have dogs? What items do you think are not worth splurging? ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.2.20 - 7:40 PM

      We had/have dogs and cats, and my list remains the same! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • love links | in backyards8.25.20 - 2:26 PM

    […] Mic More Often+It feels silly to think about fashion during the DNC, but here we are.+When to Splurge, When to Save on home goods/projects+Wine windows are so cute! Now where are my margarita windows at?+I doubt […]ReplyCancel

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