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Where To Splurge And Save When Decorating, According To An Interior Designer

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Feeling left out because everyone around you has been using their time self-isolating to completely redecorate their home while you're still surrounded by the same old stuff? If your budget has been holding you back from shopping for a few fresh new pieces, there's good news: Even top interior designers admit that there are a few places it's okay to cut corners. But, conversely, some items are worth a bigger investment. And, as for where to splurge and save when decorating, their suggestions might just surprise you.

Sticking to a budget when you're shopping for home decor doesn't have to mean exclusively buying inexpensive items: Sometimes saving is also about what you choose to put the bulk of your money toward. A key rule of thumb is to consider the use it's getting. For example, your bed and your sofa aren't just for looks — they should be highly functional, comfortable, and built to last, which is why these aren't pieces to skimp on. Alternatively, decorative accents which primarily exist for aesthetic value might be something you can leave up to the retailers that specialize in affordable and trend-driven pieces, so you can swap them out to suit your mood or the season without feeling like you overspent.

Got a certain piece you've been seeking to complete a space in your home, and aren't sure if it's one you should splurge or save on? Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions has a few suggestions that will make shopping just a little easier — especially if you're on a budget. Ahead, find the three items she recommends investing in, plus three she thinks might be a good place to spend a little less.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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Where To Splurge: Sofa

Think about how much time you spend on your sofa. That said, this should be an item that feels as good as it looks, which means you should consider the quality of the materials and perhaps even their eco-friendliness, according to Leferink. "Cheaper quality pieces often contain foams and plastics, which obviously don’t hold up over time and can also give off-gassing and VOCs," she explains. For a little more proof that a comfy, inviting sofa helps to anchor your living room, just check out the spaces of stylish stars like Tracee Ellis Ross and Chrissy Teigen, both of whom opted for neutral, super-cozy sectionals that are still statement pieces.

Where To Splurge: Kitchen Counter Stools

"These are also one of the most used and abused pieces in your home," says Leferink. "They should be built to withstand a lot of wear and tear." For example, if you want an upholstered style, she recommends looking for durable, stain-resistant fabrics like Crypton, which might cost a little more but will last a lot longer.

Where To Splurge: Mattress

"We all know how important sleep is and we spend roughly 1/3 of our life in bed," Leferink says. "Investing in a good quality mattress will give you better sleep, resulting in better health. What better investment can we make then that?" And sleep pros recommend brands like Avocado, which utilize non-toxic materials that also happen to be super comfortable.

Where To Save: Accent Furniture Pieces

"Accent furniture pieces, such as end tables, hallway chests, or chairs that are just there to fill a space and rarely get used," Leferink explains. "Pieces that aren’t required to perform or be durable can be lesser quality. This allows you to be a little more trendy and change things out every three to five years as styles change."

Where To Save: Throw Pillows

Throw pillows may be comparatively small, but they can actually make a big impact, and one trick that Leferink loves is using quality down inserts and switching them up with new covers. "You can change [them] seasonally without spending a fortune on all new pillows," she explains. "The covers can easily be stored in containers so you have a selection to choose from when you feel like changing things up. I like to shop on Etsy for pillow covers because you can get some great deals from sewing craftspeople."

Where To Save: Shelf & Table Accessories

When it comes to decorative accents, like vases, frames, and candleholders, Leferink says there's no need to blow your budget. "We love to invest in a few special unique pieces that our client loves, but then mix in deals from Homegoods, TJ Maxx, or Wayfair when we are decorating," she explains. "It’s all about the final look and no one can really tell the difference, especially when it looks amazing at the end! This, again, is a great place to buy whatever latest trend is appealing to you and you won’t feel bad about it when something you like better comes along in six months."