I have always believed that your space should tell your story through the experiences it creates. It needs to weave a narrative special and beautiful enough to manifest a fantasy and put a smile on your face every time you enter it.
But… that kind of experience doesn’t just happen because of what is displayed on the walls or laid across the floors (although those are important components as well…).
If you’ve seen any of my designs, you know that furniture is key to creating a relationship with the space that is ever-evolving, constantly-deepening, and truly one-of-a-kind.
Furnishings are a worthwhile investment that will transform your space from beautiful to bespoke…blending all aspects of you into a cohesive design that represents who you are, where you’ve been, and the dreams you have for the future.
If you’re sitting here thinking, “Wow…furniture can do all that?!” The answer is a resounding, YES!!! Carefully-curated, high-end, designer furniture does more than decorate a space…it brings a room to life, creating a narrative uniquely your own. (Bonus? Many of these pieces are destined to become beloved family heirlooms.)
But here’s some REAL TALK…you simply won’t be happy with your home furnishings, no matter how perfectly luxurious they are, if they break the bank and blow your budget.
So, today we are talking about smart home furnishing investments…where to save, where to splurge, and how to budget for your own magnificent home makeover.
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of home furnishings…together!
So, Where Should I Splurge?
Pieces that you know will see the most use are always worth investing in.
Wear and tear is somewhat inevitable in common living spaces, but choosing the highest-quality items can extend the life of your furnishings well beyond what you ever dreamed, if you’re willing to splurge for custom craftsmanship.
Rugs, dining tables, and mattresses definitely fall in this category. But when creating a luxe living room or breathtaking home bar, here are my top four categories to invest in…
#1) Sophisticated, Versatile Seating
Time and time again, I’ve encountered clients who, in an effort to minimize costs, purchased a large sectional or L-shape couch that seats 5-8 people (or more…yikes!). They thought they were getting more bang for their buck, but ended up overtaking what could have been a gorgeous space. It is such a shame!
What they don’t realize up front is that a few accent chairs would have been a much better alternative. Sure, they are a bit more expensive, but they add color, personality, and texture. They ground the space. They can be moved around as needed. And they are ALWAYS a smart long-term investment.
Just think…in a post-COVID world when we are allowed to entertain again, do you want your guests to be stuck on a single couch together, conversing at awkward angles? Or do you want them seated comfortably around the room on chairs that are not only a delight to sit in, but also the talk of the party because of their boldness and beauty?! That’s a no-brainer for me…
#2) Layers & Levels of Lighting
There is a time and place for recessed lighting…it is practical, but not always appropriate.
When your living room is being used to host an upscale cocktail party, wouldn’t you prefer dimmed mood lighting? And when you’re sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and a novel, isn’t task lighting necessary?
Lighting is definitely a spot to splurge…and not just on a single fixture either, but layers of lighting at every level…table and floor lamps, sconces, pendants, chandeliers, uplighting, etc.
And while you’re at it, make sure each fixture is equipped with dimmers and LED bulbs. These little lighting luxuries go a long way in creating an elevated home vibe.
#3) Ample Displays of Artwork
Whether you adore the intricacies of artwork or simply appreciate the ways it enhances a home, this is something you should never shy away from investing in.
Art is important to make a home feel complete and personalized…which is both a big statement and an incredible invitation to go a little crazy.
Choose pieces that perfectly reflect your personality as well as the life you plan to create.
If you love vintage portraits of iconic superheroes, go for it! If you are drawn to subway-style graffiti art, don’t hold back.
Whatever pieces you gravitate towards are the ones that should adorn your walls…splurge a little (or a lot) on the prints and the frames, and place intentional spotlights on each, just like the galleries do. This attention to detail, no matter your artwork style, will instantly add class and sophistication to your home.
#4) Wow-Worthy Window Coverings
Window treatments are a necessity, and high-quality drapes are a worthwhile luxury.
Not only do they provide the privacy that we all crave, but they also instantly warm up and elevate any space. Functional, fabulous, and full of personality, this is yet another area always worth investing in.
Oh, and make sure you have pulls, tie-backs, and other haute accessories that further enhance these stunning draperies you’ve just had installed. The little touches make all the difference.
And Where Should I Save?
While this list varies from project to project and budget to budget, my general rule of thumb is two-fold:
#1) Save on Lesser-Appreciated Furniture
If you are looking for areas to save, ottomans, coffee tables, dining chairs, bed frames, and night stands are my go-to suggestions.
Not only are these pieces often overlooked in a room, since they are more utilitarian in nature, but they are also the easiest to accessorize, taking them from mid-level aesthetics to insanely gorgeous with a couple simple touches.
For example, that less expensive nightstand will look incredibly high-end when topped with an elegant table lamp that you splurged on. Add a few curated accessories, and nobody will ever notice that nightstand was anything but top-of-the-line.
#2) Swap Out Seasonal Decor to Save
Throw pillows and accessories are often switched out from season to season anyway…so planning ahead for these swaps can reduce the up-front investment.
Plus, opting for seasonal or holiday-centered decor allows for an instant refresh to the room every time they are changed out.
For example, with spring arriving, clients love bringing out their lighter-colored accessories, brightening the home to celebrate a season of new life. And it doesn’t take a huge investment for subtle, but significant, changes like these!
How Can I Determine My Furnishing Investment?
At the beginning of each new project, I will always ask you what your budget is and how much you anticipate furnishing your home will cost. As we talk through real numbers, however, most of the time I find clients are surprised by the investment required to fully furnish a space. Which is exactly why we have these conversations…
Of course there are always ways to cut costs and work within any budget, but it helps to align your expectations and financial reality from the get-go.
Is There a Tool I Can Use to Help Budget for Furnishings?
So glad you asked! My brand new Furnishings Investment Guide may very well be exactly what you’ve been searching for.
In fact, I’d encourage you to spend some time with this very tool before even reaching out for your initial consultation. Not because I’m not eager to get to know you ASAP (I am!), but because reviewing the investment levels and having a healthy understanding of how much it can cost to furnish a room is beyond helpful when we start working together.
You’ll notice as you browse this resource that there are example budgets for low, medium, and high-level furnishings…but that doesn’t mean you need to fall neatly into one of those categories. In fact, most people will embrace a mix.
Simply review the numbers given, ask yourself what YOU feel comfortable spending on each item, and then add up your selections to get a rough estimate of your furnishing project budget. Easy as that! (Or, call me, and we’ll do it together!)
This is a powerful and beyond-helpful tool…all I ask is that you keep in mind the investment estimate does NOT include taxes, shipping, labor (like hiring a contractor to paint the walls or hang artwork), or designer fees. (I know, I know…it is crazy that my services cost money, right?!) At least now you know how I can help you make the absolute most of that investment!!
So, if you’ve browsed our Investment Guide and are ready to bring your home furnishing dreams to fruition, let’s chat.
It would be my pleasure to source furniture and accessorize your home in a way that tells your unique story, manifests a fantasy, and brings a smile to your face every single day. Let’s create something magical… together!