3 Designers Reveal the Home Decor Items Worth Splurging On (and the Items You Should Buy for Less)

Any savvy shopper knows that your space doesn’t have to be filled with expensive items to look expensive. However, there are some home decor categories where the splurge is well worth it. A nice design piece can set the look, feel, and tone of a room, adding substance and detail that you can both see and feel and improving your overall mood. But how do you know when to spend vs when to save?

To answer that, we turned to some of the sharpest design eyes we know: alumni from New York School of Interior Design (NYSID). Offering everything from traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees to professional certifications, NYSID is home to some of the brightest minds in the industry. We asked three graduates what design items they think are pricey, but worth the splurge — and what design items you can buy more economically. Consider them your personal home decor shoppers.

Credit: Chinasa Cooper

WORTH IT: Nice Seating Options

“I believe that the larger furniture pieces in your home — mainly sofa and chairs — are worth the splurge. You spend extended periods of time sitting in them, so they need to be comfortable and well made. A quality sofa will last a lifetime. I often encourage clients to go with a more neutral sofa as it is much easier to change out pillows than the entire sofa if you grow tired of the fabric or want a small refresh of your space.” –Nina Mayfield, Principal Designer at Nina Mayfield Design. She received her Basic Interior Design certificate from NYSID in 2011.

Credit: Chinasa Cooper

SAVE IT: Smaller Everyday Items

“If you negotiate well or wait for your favorites to go on sale, your ‘splurge’ becomes economical. If it’s a house with children and animals, I would buy inexpensive decorative pillows, throw rugs, and vintage glassware for champagne or cocktails.” –Anne Dittmeier, Owner of Anne Dittmeier Design-Dealer. She received her Associate in Applied Science in Interior Design from NYSID in 2011.

Credit: Chinasa Cooper

WORTH IT: Unique Vintage Finds

“Always choose quality over quantity. Invest in vintage table lamps for instant character and personality, and vintage or antique club chairs that have detailed to the frame or a wonderful shape; I’d suggest something roughly 30″ wide. They can easily be incorporated from one home to another.” –Ross Alexander, Interior Design and Product Designer at Ross Alexander Designs. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from NYSID in 2009.

Recommended Vintage Moroccan Throw Pillows

Credit: Esteban Cortez

SAVE IT: Kitchen Basics and Seasonal Accessories

“Accessories are something that can be bought more economically and can be easily switched out throughout the year. I love to accessorize with books and candles, which are both inexpensive items. For the tabletop, I often find chic linen napkins at estate sales. If you don’t have the budget for fine china, purchase a few sets of plain white plates and you can transform your space with inexpensive table linens and garniture.” –Nina Mayfield, Principal Designer at Nina Mayfield Design. She received her Basic Interior Design certificate from NYSID in 2011.

Credit: Jacqueline Marque

WORTH IT: Art and Antiques

“Art is always worth the splurge. It is something that will go with you from house to house and you will have forever. If a piece of art speaks to you, then it’s definitely worth spending the money. Antiques also tend to be pricier but worth the investment. Like art, if you have an emotional reaction to something and it will bring joy to your daily life, it is worth the splurge!” –Nina Mayfield, Principal Designer at Nina Mayfield Design. She received her Basic Interior Design certificate from NYSID in 2011.

Credit: Esteban Cortez

SAVE IT: Things That Lack the “Wow” Factor

“Until you really find something that wows you, I think it’s best to find something subtle that can be incorporated into a variety of homes. Sisal carpeting is a great neutral that can be used in a contemporary or traditional interior.” –Ross Alexander, Interior Design and Product Designer at Ross Alexander Designs. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from NYSID in 2009.

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