Where to Splurge When Decorating a Bedroom

Six things worth spending on, nine where you should save.

@vmphotoo / Twenty20

Furnishing a home tends to be an expensive endeavor. Many people focus on the living room -- spending big on a sofa, TV, artwork and coffee table -- but don’t give much thought to their bedroom, figuring “no one” sees it. But that’s a mistake, because your bedroom is seen every single day – by you. Why treat your most personal surroundings as less important than the rooms frequented by your guests?

But decorating your bedroom doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As with every area of your home, there are some bedroom furnishings worth a splurge and others where saving makes sense. And of course, “splurge” is a relative term; $50 might be a splurge if you are fresh out of college and starting your first job, while $5,000 might be manageable if you are older and established in your career. But either way, it’s never a good idea to spend yourself into unmanageable debt on any piece of décor. So keep your own budget and financial situation in mind when considering the following guidelines on when it’s worth spending more and when it’s a good idea to spend less for bedroom furniture and accessories.

Worth the Splurge:

Mattress: Out of all the pieces of furniture in your home, your mattress is probably the one most worthy of a splurge. After all, it plays a large role in your health, state of mind and physical comfort.

Go for the best mattress you can afford for both the master bedroom and any children’s rooms.

Bedsheets: Life is too short to sleep on scratchy, pilled or sweat-inducing bedding. Pamper yourself with good-quality sheets, preferably 100% Supima or Egyptian cotton. Those are the softest and smoothest against your skin.

Comforter or Duvet Cover: Your bed is the first thing you see when walking into your bedroom, and the bedding you choose to top it sets the pace for the entire room. Whether you prefer a quilt, comforter or duvet, it’s worth splurging on one that really suits your style.

Original artwork: If you are past the tacked-up poster stage, and have an interest in art – not everyone does, so this might not apply to you – and you find an artist or a piece of artwork that you truly love, it’s worth splurging to have that masterpiece in your bedroom, where you’ll see it first thing in the morning and last thing before drifting off to sleep at night. A guaranteed mood lifter.

Area rugs: If it’s a small rug, it’s okay to go easy on your wallet. But a large area rug that takes up considerable space in your bedroom needs to be good quality, and that usually means a bit of a splurge. Cheap rugs shed, don’t feel good on bare feet and tend to wear out quickly.

Paint: A gallon or two of paint is the easiest – and one of the least expensive – ways to give your bedroom an entirely new look. Paint is relatively inexpensive to begin with, so don’t cut corners on quality. Good paint, and good paintbrushes or rollers, makes the difference between a job that looks professional and one that looks like a mess.

Here’s where to save:

Bed pillows: Yes, you absolutely need a supportive, comfortable pillow. But no, you do not need to spend a fortune to find one. Whether you like memory foam, down, polyester or some other pillow fill, you’ll find great bargains on Amazon.com.

Blankets: if your blanket is covered by a comforter or other topper, there’s no need to spend extra for anything fancy. Just pick something warm and in a color that matches your topper.

Lamps and other lighting: A great looking lamp or ceiling fixture adds pow to a space, but is easily found at a discount price.

Nightstands and dressers: While you can spend a lot on bedroom furniture, you definitely don’t have to. As long as the furniture in question is in good condition, you can even find exceptional bargains at thrift stores. Just be sure that the drawers are well constructed and slide easily.

And for new furniture at rock-bottom prices, it’s hard to beat Ikea.

Headboard: There are gorgeous headboards available for $1,000 or more. There are also gorgeous headboards available for a fraction of that price, so why not save some money?

Window treatments: There’s no need to throw your hard-earned dollars out the window – not when it’s so easy to find window treatments at bank-account-friendly prices.

Artwork: Other than original artwork (see above), there’s no need to splurge on artwork for your bedroom. Check out Etsy, HomeGoods, even thrift stores for great-looking artwork that won’t break your budget.

Throw pillows: The well-made bed generally sports at least one or two throw pillows, but there’s no need to spend much money on them. Plus, when you don’t spend too much, it’s easier to switch them out periodically to give your bedroom a fresh look.

Anything trendy: Trends come and go, but a hit to your wallet can take a long time to heal. If you must have the latest trend in a bedroom accessory, buy it on sale. That way, you’ll have money to replace it when it’s time for the next big thing.