We Asked Pros Where to Save vs. Splurge in Your First Home

Take it from them—there is plenty you can save on

Open floor plan living room with bright light and big windows.

Cathie Hong Interiors

Buying your first home is a big deal—so first of all, congratulations are in order. It’s a big undertaking, budget-wise. After you’ve properly celebrated, you’ll want to get acquainted with your budget. That way, you can know exactly how much you’re working with before filling up your online carts with expensive rugs, furniture, light fixtures, side tables, and more. 

Before your wallet starts whining, here is some good news: there are plenty of pieces to save on. Others, though, are worth the splurge. Prioritize anchor pieces you use often, says designer Kathy Kuo

“By spending more on larger items you're going to get daily use out of—like your sofa, bed, dining table, and media cabinet—you'll ultimately save money over time by ensuring that they're built to last,” she says. “A timeless look and premium craftsmanship are two qualities that are going to give you endless returns on your furniture investment." 

What else should you save and splurge on for your first home? We turned to a few pros to tell us.

Meet the Expert

  • Kathy Kuo is the CEO of Kathy Kuo Home, a recognized tv personality, and a celebrated interior
  • Pam Tiberia is the founder of Spruce Interiors, taking her passion for re-design into her clients' homes.
  • Jordan Neman is the co-founder and creative director of House of Leon.

Save On These Items

Light Fixtures

Goodbye, drab sconces, and so long, ugly overhead lights. Switching out your new home’s not-so-new lighting can make an instant impact—and can be done without causing chaos to your budget.

“Making smaller changes allows you to inject some personality without breaking the bank,” Pam Tiberia of Spruce Interiors says. “For example, swapping outdated light fixtures for high style but low budget options is a quick way to make a space feel more current." As not to overwhelm yourself, start small—fixture by fixture, or room by room.

Kitchen Cabinets

When you look at your new home’s kitchen—and all you see is everything you want to change—take some time before sledgehammering the cabinets (and your budget). “If it's your first home, you'll likely want to personalize the space and make it homey right away,” Tiberia says.

That transformation can add up quickly though, especially if a kitchen renovation is a part of those plans. Before committing to a full reno, refresh the cabinets with a new coat of paint and modern hardware. That’ll give you a whole new look without blowing your next mortgage payment.

what to save on in your new home

David Patterson for Rumor Designs


You may feel the pressure to upgrade your art in your new home, but before you throw down a paycheck on an avant-garde sculpture, take stock of what you already own. Chances are you have plenty of pieces you love—they may just need a new frame or configuration. 

"Art frames your furniture and sets the tone for the rest of the space,” Jordan Neman, co-founder and creative director of House of Leon, says. “If you become tired of a setup, changing the art can be a quick and easy way to change the mood."

Splurge on These Items

Dining Chairs

Whether your new home boasts a formal dining room or a petite breakfast nook, don’t overlook the importance of the space where you’ll enjoy meals with your loved ones. Start with where you sit.

"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.” 

If your dining chairs are, well, less than prized, consider splurging on a set you and all of your dinner guests will love for years to come. “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," Neman says. 

what to splurge on in your new home

House of Leon

A Sofa

Consider your sofa a supporting character in your life, acting as a landing spot for so many meaningful everyday moments. Just think: Netflix marathons, opening holiday gifts, wine nights with your bestie, cozying up with your puppy—and that’s just for starters. Since you spend so much of your life curled up on your couch, a quality one makes for money well spent.

“Make sure you purchase a sofa that has clean, classic lines, and that fits your body type and your lifestyle,” Tiberia says. “Investing in quality upholstered seating that can work in a variety of rooms—avoiding specific shapes or sectional configurations—not only gives you comfort, but longevity.”

what to splurge on in your new home

Dustin Halleck for JAM Interior Design


If you’ve been skimping on the quality of your bedding, consider this: the average person spends about 26 years sleeping. That alone should make you want to upgrade, but if not, the promise of more restful nights of sleep will likely convince you.

“Getting into a luxurious soft bed is the best thing you can do for yourself at the end of a long day,” Tiberia says. “It's too easy to find a plethora of poor quality textiles out there, but the investment in comfy, quality bedding is the gift that keeps giving.”