Have you ever wondered should I spend this much on that one item? Or agonized over how to allocate your decorating budget? If you have, you are not alone. It can be a challenge to make the “right” choice about what to merely buy and what to really SPLURGE for. Here’s a handy framework that helps me make my choices. Splurges are likely to be determined by what stage you are at in your life. All homes should have some pieces that feel like splurges because you love them, they inspire you, and you picture them staying with you for a long time.
1: Intending to Stay
You are in your dream house or close to it, and feel fairly certain you are not moving for quite some time. You can dream about your kids growing up in the house. You have enough space for you and your family. This is your chance to really create a custom environment so get down to brass tacks. Splurge on the foundational elements: wall-coverings, floor surfaces and floor coverings, moldings and ceilings. My top picks for splurges would be custom floor treatments, like herringbone pattern and other decorative hardwood or tile flooring, textile-based wall covering (linens, silks, grass cloths), and truly special carpets. I would also see where rooms might benefit from fixing up, removing, or applying molding or paneling. I would also take a look at all the doors, door knobs, fixtures, and other hardware to see if it fits the character of what you are trying to create. Because you are in it for the long haul, there’s no rush to do everything at once. But do make a plan to finish out at least one room or space per year until the home feels unified and complete. Enlist the help of a designer for an initial plan or vision for your home. You want to make good choices that will last you 10 years or more.
2: Just needs some work
You are in a home that will be your dream home but first you need to do some major renovating or build additions. Similar to the above scenario, splurge to get designer help. Elements like flooring, tile, and finishes really make up the character of a house and a room. A designer can help you unify the old with the new and come up with amazing options, even on a budget.
3: Intending to Move
You are in a home that you plan to be in for 5 or so years; it is fairly decent in size for your family and you could stay longer if needed. When you know you want to move, but also know you may as well settle in fairly well, you have the toughest choices to make. Be sure to address any true eyesores as soon as you can after moving in. You can inexpensively fix up fireplace mantels, moldings, and of course, wall color. Focus on pieces that you can take with you. Five to ten years is a while, so a good place to splurge is in some high quality furniture that is classic in lines and fairly standard in sizing:
- Dining table that is 84 X 36; or 48” round that could make a breakfast or game table in a bigger home
- Sofa that is 80 X 38
- Good sitting chairs that can fit in most places, 28” X 28”
- Queen sized headboard
- Great bedside tables with drawer storage in a small size that could later work in a guest or kids room
- Reupholster or refinish good pieces to get a new look until you move If you have the budget to do more, go ahead and set up a well-designed space since it will benefit you to be in a beautiful home for all those years.
But if you need to conserve, most other things can wait, like truly signature pieces of furniture or high-end window treatments.
4: Planning to Move
You are planning to move in a few years or sooner. You know you will outgrow your current space. Depending on your personality it can be tempting to either do too much or too little. Address any eyesores and fixes that would add to resale value. Neutral walls are both fashionable and good for resale, so go ahead and use lots of paint. Get an agent in even if you are not ready to go on the market to help you identify areas that require attention. Use inexpensive window treatments and carpets if needed. Limit splurges to beautiful accent pieces and pieces of art that can be signature pieces in a new space too. If you are truly moving soon you will want to save so you can splurge on pieces of furniture that work very well in the new space. Custom frame any artwork you have that you really love. Invest in luxurious pillows and new bedding. Splurge to finish any half-finished projects or plans in the house so you can enjoy them for at least a year or two.5: Second Time Around (or More!)– You have already done some major decorating projects in your lifetime, but you have to admit that your space needs some sprucing up. Don’t give your space the short shrift now!
The options and styles are much different and better than they were 10 or 20 years ago, so really take some time to shop around. You probably need to paint your walls in some updated hues of your favorite colors, if not go in an entirely new direction. Be sure to also address all the wood tones in your house. Blonde, red and orange-toned browns are very dated and show no signs of recovery for the next decade. Splurge on new window treatment, furniture, and reupholstering the special, still-stylish pieces you have already invested in. You may also want to splurge on help for purging those things you have that just won’t do anymore. You probably have enough art and accessories to swap around to give you a fresh look. Regardless of what stage you are in, indulge in the things that make you happy.