Save or Splurge : Living Room

Save or Splurge : Living Room -

I have a new series for you and it’s a fun one! I thought a ‘Save or Splurge’ series could be really helpful in the basic budgeting portion of the design process. These posts will be pretty short, to the point, and more of an opinion or my preference. Basically, I’ll make a list of items found in a room… the first post of the series obviously covers the living room, and then I’ll notate which items I prefer to save money on, and which ones I feel comfortable splurging on. Each post will also include one save / splurge “look alike” item. Click through to see!

S A V E    O R    S P L U R G E
  • sofa // SPLURGE  . . . A comfortable, quality sofa is worth splurging on… I made the mistake of saving in our previous living room, and let’s just say- I’ll never make that mistake on a sofa again.
  • coffee table // SPLURGE  . . . Finding the appropriate size coffee table for your space is important, as well as considering durability and material… I think this is a great place to make a statement.
  • side tables // SAVE  . . . I’d rather spend more on a larger, beautiful coffee table and save on accent or side tables. Just because you spend less, doesn’t mean they have to look cheap- keep them simple and sophisticated.
  • area rug // SPLURGE  . . . Find a rug that fits the size of the room and is made of natural materials- wool, cotton, jute, sisal, etc. Bonus points if you score a vintage beauty… large, beautiful, quality area rugs aren’t cheap and that’s one item that I will definitely splurge on.
  • occasional chair(s) // SAVE  . . . I’ll say this… if it’s in the budget to splurge on occasional chairs, do it. If not, I’d rather spend more money on a sofa instead. Much like accent tables, keep the shape classic, sophisticated, and the pattern & color timeless.
  • table lamp // SAVE  . . . If I have a tight lighting budget, I’d rather spend on permanent fixtures like sconces and ceiling lights… or even a larger floor lamp. You can definitely save on a smaller table lamp, just make sure it’s a nice scale- there are a bunch of puny, tiny lamps out there that look cheap, so avoid those.
  • floor lamp // SPLURGE  . . . See my above comment on table lamps… floor lamp > table lamp.
  • overhead lighting (flush mount, semi flush mount, or chandelier) // SPLURGE  . . . Again, I will definitely splurge on permanent fixtures. They can make or break a space, don’t neglect the lighting budget.
  • window treatments // SPLURGE  . . . I’m all about custom window treatments because every window is so different. Tailoring or customizing window treatments can make an entire space look higher end.
  • entertainment unit // SAVE  . . . I’d save on the entertainment unit or get creative with the TV placement or mounting. I prefer a disguised television, so I’d focus more on adding artwork around the TV or flanking it with beautiful sconces.
  • television // SPLURGE  . . . Yep, I want Samsung’s “the frame”, need I say more? I’m currently trying to convince Emmett to let me splurge on that.
  • coffee table tray // SAVE  . . . Spend more money on the coffee table and try to save on the accessories. I like checking HomeGoods or big box stores for coffee table trays, books, etc.
  • shelf styling accessories // SAVE  . . . I like to collect objects from travels over time, which usually saves me money in the long run.
  • console table // SAVE  . . . For some reason, I’d rather splurge on the main furniture- sofa, coffee table, etc. A console table can easily get lost behind the sofa or if you install large scale artwork above it, that will become the focal point. I think it’s less important to spend a bunch of money here.
  • pillows and throws // BOTH  . . . I truly like to mix both high and low here to add a layered look and disguise less expensive textiles.
  • plants // SAVE  . . . I’m all about adding greenery to a space, but I’ve splurged on expensive handmade planters and seen them replicated for SO much cheaper. That was definitely a regret. Definitely add plants, but save on the planters… a basket is another easy solution for plant storage. IKEA has great plants, or I’ll even find them at estate sales or ask neighbors for starts.

Save or Splurge : Living Room -

L O O K     A L I K E    S T E A L

I fell in love with this simple, brass floor lamp from Anthropologie, but was able to source it from Macy’s for much less. Both options are sleek, classic, and add a touch of glam. This slim shape never goes out of style.

Save or Splurge : Living Room -

sources : splurge // save

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new series! Is there anything I should add to the post? Would you prefer I go into greater depth about why I save or splurge on some items and not others? Happy Monday, friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Love this! Agree with splurging on the sofa. I’ve got a beautiful vintage sofa that is of the utmost quality. It will cost me at least 2k to have it upholstered. But it’s worth it because I haven’t found anything in that price range that is any where near that quality. I’m also very much looking forward to the textile art diy post that’s upcoming. I went from reading several blogs to only reading this one. It’s that amazing! Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

    1. Definitely worth it! A quality, comfortable sofa is priceless. I learned my lesson in our last living room. Ha! Thanks so much, Traci! xox

  2. Hi Sarah, I love the idea of the splurge/save idea. Gives one another ‘voice’ so to speak. Thanks

    1. So happy you liked the post, Tracie! xo

  3. Yes! Love this. Excited for more! Also, I completely agree with your assessment, especially when it comes to sofas. There was an interview with a designer that I read once (though, admittedly, I forget who it was) in which he/she said something to the effect of, “Never buy a cheap sofa. You’ll always be looking forward to the day that you’ll get to replace it.” So true!

    1. I couldn’t agree with that statement more!!

  4. Love this! Can you give some advice on trusted sofa sources? I’ve been looking for a sofa and having a hard time determining what brands are really worth their value. Reviews vary widely, and I don’t want to waste money on an expensive couch if t isn’t actually better quality. Thanks!

    1. So happy you liked it, Beth! My top 3 are: Crate & Barrel, Lee Industries, and Article. Hope this helps! xox

  5. Great post, and good way to look at it. It can be overwhelming when it comes to furniture, and so easy to find yourself deciding between a $200 item VS $2000 item! I have been grappling with coffee table selection for our family room – since I’m pretty sure we’ll need two, this purchase is quickly adding up. And that’s talking price tag only, shall we talk about the design – where to start, where to start? I submitted this for your Reader Design Dilemma post, my fingers are still crossed! :)

    1. Yes!! Coffee tables can be tricky… especially when dealing with a large space. It all adds up. I’m working on the first reader design dilemma right now :) xo

  6. This is a good series and starting point for pulling a living room together, especially over time. I like the brevity, though perhaps more info on soemthing like the main item (sofa) or the pictured one (floor lamp).

    1. Good idea! I’ll try to go into a bit more detail on the bigger items in the next one. Thank you, Mia!! xox

  7. What a great idea for a series! I’ve done cheap sofas and splurge sofas and definitely agree the investment is the way to go.

    1. So happy you like it, Rebecca! Same here… I learned my lesson and couldn’t wait to upgrade to a nicer sofa- living with the old, cheap one for 3 years was pretty miserable. Haha! xox

  8. Sarah, can you tell me where your accent chair is from? I’m in the market for a new one and I really love yours.

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! Unfortunately, it has been discontinued. I bought it a couple years ago from Wayfair and have not been able to source any more since then. xo