Home Improvement 101: Where to Splurge and Where to Save

We don’t know about you, but spending all this time at home has us thinking a lot about what updates and refreshes we can make where we live. There has never been a better time to start cultivating your dream home.

Whether your home needs a few minor updates or a major facelift, we want to help you find the right balance between saving and spending so you don’t break the bank.

Follow our guide on where to splurge and where to save below.

Living Room

Splurge: Upholstered Furniture

Comfort and durability are key when it comes to upholstered furniture and heavily used seating such as couches, sofas, and armchairs. Opt for pieces made of high-quality, natural fabrics with tight weaves, which will survive the wear and tear of daily use. Plus, you can always reupholster well-made furniture in the future.

Save: Tables
Save your money on non-upholstered items such as end tables, nightstands, and coffee tables. Already smaller than the other furniture in your home, and therefore less expensive, these items are easy to find in different styles and/or personalize with decor.

Splurge: Area Rugs
Avoid ending up with a rug that rips, sheds, and fades by investing in a quality rug from the get-go. Rugs not only tie together a room and add interest to your space, but they protect your floors and can be a worthwhile investment in the long run.


Save: Window Treatments
If you’re not decorating your home with custom draperies or tailored curtains, you can easily save a few dollars on window treatments. Most curtains come in a variety of lengths, designs, colors, and thicknesses, so you have countless options to choose from.

Splurge: Mattress
We spend about a third of our lives in bed, so make sure you choose a mattress that supports you physically, and fulfills all your sleep needs. With firm support, soft support, and everything in between, take time testing out what mattress works best for you.

Save: Throw Pillows and Blankets
Look out for deals on common living room and bedroom accessories such as throw pillows and blankets. Rather than searching for that perfect color match, work within a family of hues and tones, or gravitate toward bold patterns or geometrical shapes. Textures are also on your side, especially when it comes to blankets. At the end of the day, just be sure to select items that are cozy and inviting.


Splurge: Light Fixtures
Lighting can make or break the atmosphere of a room. Standard lighting fixtures are easy to replace, but dramatic hanging light fixtures can elevate an entire room (and can be more expensive). Find the balance between functional and decorative by adding a dynamic and room-centering fixture in the dining room, foyer, or powder room.

Save: Mirrors
Mirrors make any room feel lighter and more spacious, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good one. Go for something simple that can work in several rooms when you want to change things up, and you’ll find that a $100 mirror can be just as convincing as a $500 one.

Splurge: Plumbing
Do not cut corners on plumbing. Poor-quality fixtures can cause problems that will out-cost any up-front savings. Toilets, sinks, and baths rarely change with trends, so be sure to buy from reputable brands, and remember that long-term function is your number one priority.


Splurge: Kitchen Sink
From washing your hands and dishes to meal prep and cleanup, your kitchen sink does a lot of hard work. Therefore, it only seems right that you choose the one that will last the longest. Sinks can be costly to replace down the line, so choose a material like stainless steel or granite composite, which are both great for durability and maintenance.

Save: Cabinets
You can save on cabinetry by choosing a less expensive cabinet material. Veneer cabinets are almost identical to solid wood, and can be made to look more expensive with appropriate hardware. Oak is also great for a renovation on a budget, and is the cheapest wood option.

Splurge: Countertops
Countertops are an important focal point of your home and should be chosen based on your lifestyle. Granite countertops are a less expensive alternative to marble, and are intended to take on years of daily use. Granite also requires less maintenance than its marble counterparts and is heat resistant.

Both granite and marble countertops come in a variety of colors and styles, and can be a timeless addition to any space, so we definitely think they’re worth the splurge!


Written by @properties
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate is Chicagoland’s #1 brokerage. Through our affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate, our network spans nearly 50 countries. No matter your real estate needs, we’ve got you covered.