Whether you’re moving, renovating, or just looking to refresh your space, budgeting for home essentials can be tricky. In all categories, from seating to lighting, there are tons of options on offer. Because of this, it can be very easy to spiral into decision overload—and we completely understand.
Determining which home essentials to spend or save on can be overwhelming. So, how do you know when to spend less and when to splurge? We turned to the experts to get their insights—and as with everything house and home-related, sometimes, it really depends. But overall, their advice is to invest in what you'll use and cherish the most, from dining chairs to soft sheets.
Read on for more of their insight.
Invest in a Great Sofa
Designer Jen Dallas says that when it comes to deciding on where to allocate your budget, spend more on pieces that you’ll use regularly.
“A good sofa is definitely worth the money, as it will last and look good longer,” she says. “Sofas give back to you on a regular basis in regards to comfort, as it's the piece of furniture we use the most.”
While upcycling furniture or decor can be great, Benji Lewis of Benji Lewis Design warns that there’s a time and a place—and a vintage sofa may or may not be it. “Sadly, a lovely looking sofa in the second-hand shop is likely well priced for good reason—it’s had it,” Lewis says. “I always advise clients to buy the best upholstered goods they can, as they’re going to get comfortable use from them."
Cobble Hill Prescott Sofa
Spend the Most on What You Use the Most
If you’re looking to spend on something smaller-scale, Neman suggests looking at what you use the most. “Ask yourself what you interact with multiple times on a daily basis,” Neman says. “The answer for me is dinnerware. Having nice glasses and plates is something that will bring you joy several times a day when you physically interact with them.”
Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director of the vintage marketplace, 1stDibs, agrees. “For the table, consider investing in highly decorative and well-crafted serverware and cutlery. Regardless of the cost, your peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich will never look so delicious."
Fable Home Ceramic Dinnerware Set
Get Stunning Dining Chairs You Won't Regret
Jordan Neman, the creative director and co-founder of House of Leon, notes that dining chairs are something their team always suggests prioritizing. “We believe dining chairs should be treated as prized possessions in your home,” Neman says. “They've been overlooked for years and are only now being treated as the statement pieces they deserve to be.”
In fact, dining chairs make more of a statement than you think. "Dining chairs play an important part in setting the stage for a dining room where friends and family come together over food and drink,” Neman adds. “It's worth the splurge, as good dining chairs can always be refinished and reupholstered when you feel a change is needed or move into a home with a different aesthetic. When we designed our Teddy Dining Chairs, we had these principles in mind.”
Allmodern Jace Upholstered Side Chair
Don’t Cut Corners On Your Comfort
If you’re upgrading your bedroom, designers agree that both your bed and bedding should take priority. "A good mattress set is worth the bigger ticket price,” Dallas notes. “Test out many and make sure you love before you buy. Most of the higher-end mattress companies allow you time to try or your money back.”
If you’re planning a smaller bedroom refresh and want to invest in something high quality, Dallas says to spring for the luxury sheets. “Good sheets are worth the money—they feel better the older they get," she notes. "The sheets I pay a price for are usually ones I love most.”
Parachute Linen Venice Set
Splurge on Wallcoverings
While there are plenty of DIY hacks and budget-friendly options for transforming your walls, sometimes, investing in a truly stunning wallpaper is the best way forward. As DeAnna Hain, EVP of marketing for York Wallcoverings, tells us, it’s the simplest way to make a huge impact on a space. So, why not go all in?
"For homeowners looking for a simple investment to punch up their interiors without undergoing a renovation, look no further than wallcoverings,” Hain says. “Maximalism continues to be a force in the design world, and we're seeing more demand than ever for show-stopping wallcoverings.”
York Wallcoverings Twig Hygge Herringbone Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Consider Your Hardware
One small detail that you use daily but might not consider upgrading is your hardware—and Lewis says that might be a mistake. “Hardware is an often overlooked detail, and it’s something that can make a world of difference,” Lewis tells us. “Cheap door handles feel just that, whereas something more substantial will give a more sophisticated vibe to your room."
Gena Kirk, VP of corporate design for KB Home, agrees. “Design is often in the details. Simple swaps like gold or brass hardware instead of chrome can add a sense of warmth and make your space pop," she explains.
Ballard Designs Paulette Cabinet Hardware
Upgrade Your Window Treatments
Once you notice the impact great window treatments have on a room, you’ll never be able to un-see it. That’s why Davina Ogilvie, founder of Wovn Home, encourages her clients to go custom and never look back.
"Custom window treatments make a huge difference in a space,” she says. “If you plan to stay in your place for at least a few years, I always recommend investing in custom window treatments. You'll be able to get something that fits perfectly, designed to your tastes, and you can have them made with different linings depending on what you need."
Wovn Home Custom Euro Pleat Drapes
Spend on Great Lighting
Lewis says that you should be wary of cutting the budget on great lighting. “Don’t scrimp on good, zoned lighting,” he warns. “It’s something that you absolutely won’t regret. There’s a world of difference between your run-of-the-mill recessed spot and a well-placed downlight.”
Barzilay Freund also notes that great lighting is key because it’s so impactful. “Great lighting—whether a lamp for a bedside table or a pair of sconces in an entrance hall—can add a lot of impact,” he says. “Contemporary lighting can dress up a casual space or make a traditional room feel fresh and interesting."
Ogilvie agrees, too. “Lighting is so important, and having lighting at different heights in a home does wonders in adding depth to the space.”
Crystorama Riverdale High Aged Brass Wall Sconce
Pick Pieces to Highlight What You Love
Your home should reflect the things you care about, and Kirk says you should always invest in pieces that will help highlight your personal style.
“Consider your personal taste and what family heirlooms or mementos from travel that you might want to feature,” she says. “From there, you may want to search for a vintage rug, lamp, or frame that highlights those special pieces. Have fun and be yourself when making design decisions—if you love it, you can find a place for it. Don’t be afraid to take a risk."