One of the toughest parts of selecting home furnishings is figuring out how much to spend on them. Should you prioritize quality, or price? Ideally, your goal should be to spend more money on the items you’ll be able to keep for years, and less on the items you’ll want to change out more frequently. If you’re truly uncomfortable making these decisions, then hiring interior designers or interior decorators to help you is one good route. But to get you started, here are some simple examples that can help you think about the longevity of various home furnishings and whether you should be putting quality or price first when you’re doing your shopping:
- Bed and Mattress: Quality
You spend about a third of your life in bed — perhaps more, if you relax or watch TV in bed in addition to sleeping — so this isn’t the place to scrimp. A cheap mattress may feel fine at first, but you’ll notice it deteriorate sharply in the first year or so. A well-made mattress, on the other hand, can give you more restful sleep for a full decade.
- Bedding: Price
Many people overspend on their linens, not thinking about the fact that even high-quality bedding won’t last much longer than its mid-quality counterparts. Get something that’s comfortable and attractive, but also something that you won’t feel guilty about replacing in a few years when you want to give your room a whole new look with minimal effort. (You can apply that same logic to other “soft” finishings around the house, such as curtains, throw pillows and towels.)
- Couch or Sofa: Quality
There are plenty of attractive and low-priced options for couches and sofas out there, but don’t be seduced by their price tags. These furniture pieces take more abuse than probably any other home furnishings, so it’s better to buy for the long haul and get a few crucial features: a solidly built frame that doesn’t rely on wood glue, padding that isn’t just compressible foam, a stain-resistant upholstery (or leather), and removable and washable cushion covers. If you’re spending a good amount of money on your couch, of course, you should choose a fairly neutral style; make a “statement” with more easily replaceable items such as table lamps.
- Coffee Table: Price
Some people may disagree with this recommendation, arguing that an entire living room can be built around a stunning coffee table. But the problem with that approach is that your needs for a coffee table are highly likely to change over time. An ultra-modern glass table may be a statement piece now, but it’ll just be a liability when you’re looking for more storage or you’re toddler-proofing.
- Dining Furniture: Quality
Quality matters in dining room furniture in a very specific way: You want a solid wood table top. There are plenty of other attractive options out there, but only solid wood can be sanded down and restained numerous times, making it highly versatile and the best material for something you want to last a lifetime.
Are you redecorating your home? Are you using interior design services, or going it alone? Share your plans in the comments.