7 Home Furnishings You Should Always Buy on the Cheap

Updated 11/21/19

Katie Hodges Design

If you have an unlimited budget, you can feel free to spend as much as you want on furniture and décor. Knock yourself out. But for those of us on a budget, know that spending top dollar on absolutely every single item really isn’t a must. These are the pieces of furniture and décor you can safely scrimp on.

1. Side Tables  

There’s no good reason to spend a lot of money on side tables. Unlike a dresser where you have to store things and open and close it every day, a side table just sits there. Of course, you’re going to style the table and put a few things on it, but they don’t really get much action. So choose style over quality here. If you’re really on a budget, you can also use side tables as nightstands, depending on the configuration of the space.

2. Desks

This might be a hot take, but if you’re on a budget, an expensive desk isn’t a must. It’s more important to find a desk that’s the right size, shape, and style for the room. You should also make sure your choice meets your storage needs.

While a sold wood desk will last longer than a wood or lacquer veneer desk, it’s not really going to make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. There are plenty of beautiful, stylish desks out there that won’t break the bank and will work as well as more expensive options.

A comfortable desk chair is really what you should spend your money on. It’s hard to be productive in a chair that isn’t the right height, is simply uncomfortable, or doesn’t quite fit the room.

3. Accent Chairs

Accent chairs are a great way to bring a current trend, pattern, or color into a room, but honestly, they’re something you’re probably going to swap out sooner than you would your sofa, for example. So, they’re not really worth spending a lot of cash on for the long term. Take the money you're thinking about spending on that accent chair and put it towards a higher quality sofa instead.

4. Rugs

There are tons of beautiful, expensive rugs out there, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy them. If you have kids, and especially if you have pets, a good just rug isn’t worth the investment. More likely than not, it’s just going to get ruined.

Here’s something else to keep in mind—there are so many great affordable rugs available, even washable rugs, so you never really have to sacrifice style. No one will judge you if your rug is made of a synthetic material or natural fiber. At least not anyone you want to be friends with anyway.

Furthermore, worrying about an expensive rug every time you eat or enjoy a glass of pinot noir can be unnecessarily stressful.

5. Dishes

Here’s the problem with most dishes—they break. And they’re something you need to use every day. Sure, you’re careful, but that doesn’t mean the person who has had one too many glasses of rosé at your dinner party will be, or your kids, or the movers (even when you packed everything in bubble wrap). So, fancy dishes just aren’t worth the investment. You can buy a set of dishes in a box that are just as stylish as those pricy individual place settings.

Dishes are also a fun way to incorporate trends into your home, such as bold prints or millennial pink. So, you may even want to have a few inexpensive sets on hand.

6. Holiday Décor

There’s no reason to spend a lot of money on something you use for only two months of the year. No one will notice if those little silver balls cost $4 or $40. Sure, if you feel drawn to a particular ornament for the sake of having an heirloom, or are giving someone a gift, that’s fine. But, there’s no reason to shell out for something that rarely gets used.

7. Picture Frames

When it comes to picture frames, they really have zero function, all they need to do is look nice. They don’t need to be durable and you aren’t moving them around a lot. So why spend a ton of money?

Choosing a picture frame is just about finding an accessory that reflects your personal taste. The only thing to watch out for is the glass. Lots of inexpensive picture frames have plastic instead of a glass enclosure, which doesn’t always look quite right. And if there’s a fancy frame you can’t stop thinking about, it’s best to keep your eyes open for a sale.

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