24 Items Revealed: Splurge, Save or Salvage

Moving into a new place can be so exciting! But picking out décor to complete your home can become overwhelming, especially when you’re working with a preset design budget. We think the key to successfully furnishing and decorating your home comes down to the three Ss of home décor — knowing when to splurge, save or salvage on each item.

While we’ve got our own splurge, save and salvage home décor lists to share with you, your personal lists may differ depending on your lifestyle and budget. To help you determine what items will fall into each of your S categories, we recommend keeping the following general ideas in mind:

  • Don’t Think Temporary — When it comes to purchasing big items for your home, temporary solutions often turn into permanent fixtures. Trust me! I’ve been eyeballing this expensive, beautiful bookshelf that would perfectly complete my home office. What’s keeping me from getting it? That reasonably-priced (aka, cheaply-made), “temporary” television stand that I purchased 19 years ago. That eyesore has made its way through two states, two apartments and two homes, and now serves as the “shelf space” right beside my desk. What happened to its old “temporary” spot? It was replaced eight years ago by a newer “temporary” TV stand. When will I learn?
  • Consider Longevity — Sometimes we fall in love with an expensive piece of furniture or home accessory that may be relevant and stylish this year. But consider 10 years from now. Will it hold its relevance? Or will it date your home?
  • Take it with You — I’m generally a very giving person. But when it comes to spending money on things for my home that I won’t be able to take with me if I move … well, I’m just not a fan of overindulging the next homeowner who may or may not appreciate a $500 gold swan bathtub faucet.
  • Mix … Not Match — Falling into the matchy-matchy trap can lead you straight down the road to an outdated and boring space. While furniture bundling deals can save you some dollars in the short term, you could end up starting from scratch again on redecorating sooner rather than later.

With the above considerations top of mind, you’re ready to start making some big decisions. Here’s our recommended list of home décor items that we consider worthy of a splurge, save or salvage:


When budgeting for home décor, we think you’ll be happiest spending more money on those key items that will get the most use, bring you the most comfort, have a long shelf-life and, in some cases, add resale value to your home. These essentials might include:

  1. Your Bed — Where you start and end your day affects your overall health and wellbeing, so don’t skimp on your sleeping quarters. Purchase a solid, well-crafted bed, a great mattress and nice bedding, including quality sheets and pillows.
  2. Living Room Couch — You, your family and guests will appreciate a quality couch that molds to their seat, yet keeps its firm shape when not in use. To get the most years out of your couch, we recommend staying neutral in color and fabric. You can add in style and pops of color with throw pillows, afghans and other accent pieces.
  3. Entertainment Center — As mentioned above, a temporary, cheaper TV stand/entertainment center doesn’t always work out well. Invest in a well-made, color-neutral entertainment center that will not only accommodate your television, movie, music and game consoles, but one that also has some growing room for newer electronics you can add in the future. Also, be sure to pick one with adequate cord management.
  4. Dining Room Table — Some people like to debate if the traditional dining room is necessary or a waste of space. What shouldn’t be up for debate is spending a little extra money on a durable, accommodating dining room table, where you can comfortably share a meal with your closest family and friends without worrying about wobbly table legs, destructive water rings left from drinking glasses and little hands scratching softer table surfaces with a fork.
  5. Artwork — Artwork is meant to reflect who you are as an individual and/or family. Splurge on pieces that show off your style and complement your home. The best thing about hanging art is that you can take it down and with you to any future home.
  6. Statement Pieces — Statement pieces, like a gorgeous chandelier, unique mirror, bold lamp or vintage clock, are also a great way to incorporate your personality into your home. And like the art, you can take it with you if you move.
  7. Desk — Purchasing a well-crafted desk may be more important to those that will use it often. If you work from home, this is a no-brainer splurge. If you don’t think you’ll use a desk much, you may choose to float this over to your “save” category; however, try to think ahead. Will children need the extra space for homework? Could your job status change to incorporate telecommuting from home? Do you have dreams of starting a side company, and could a desk help keep your business organized?
  8. Cabinetry Hardware — This is one of those “can’t-take-it-with-you” splurges, but it can pay off if you ever decide to sell your home. By the time you add up how many drawer pulls and cabinet handles you’ll need, you might as well get what you love, what really helps gives your home that “wow” factor and what in turn will appeal to future homebuyers.


With investment items out of the way, now you can have fun bargain shopping for items that help complete your living space, like:

  1. Other Bedroom Furniture (Including the Kids’) — While we say splurge on your bed, the rest of your bedroom furniture, like nightstands and dressers, can be pieced together at bargain prices. Same goes for the kids’ rooms! Find a great bed that will age with your child, and then replace it with a quality “big kid” bed when the time is right. Then, bargain shop for the rest. As each child’s style and needs change throughout the years, you will see those additional bedroom pieces come and go.
  2. Dining Room Chairs and Buffet — Dining room chairs are what typically break the budget for dining room décor. So change things up. Opt to mix in a few chairs that don’t exactly match the table, but complement your home and the dining area. Consider bench seating in place of three or four chairs. In addition, shop furniture closeouts for a buffet table and other dining room pieces.
  3. Throw Pillows and Blankets — Throw pillows and blankets can wear out as fast as the seasons change, so shop clearance aisles for these quick-add accessories. And, enjoy being able to easily, and inexpensively, change up your décor with new replacements.
  4. General Lighting — Aside from fancy chandeliers and statement-piece lighting, choose energy-efficient, cost-effective lighting options. Your biggest savings with lighting can come in the form of a lower energy bill.
  5. Desk Accessories — Like with bedroom furniture, you can also find complementing home office furniture and desk accessories to complete your work area.
  6. Window Treatments ­— There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing window treatments, with many high-end designers supplying specialty lines to big-box retailers. Shop deals and look for coupons that can help you get more bang for your buck in window treatments.
  7. Rugs — Rugs get walked on, spilled on, rolled on, etc. Save your money on a one-of-a-kind, and shop stores like Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Have an area that requires an extra-large rug? Try integrating two matching rugs to become one, as explained in our blog, “How to Choose the Perfect Rug for Your Home.”
  8. Extra Seating — Having extra seating, like bar stools, accent chairs, ottomans, etc., is great for entertaining, but you can bargain shop furniture closeouts for these as well. And remember, they don’t have to match. They just need to blend well with your overall home décor.
  9. Picture Frames — Save the professional framing with expensive frame options for your one-of-a-kind art pieces. For everything else frame-able, shop clearance and discount sales. You might be surprised at the variety of nice frames that are available at reasonable prices.
  10. Decorative Accessories — Decorative accessories, like catchall glass accents, coffee table décor, candles, etc., are different than your accent pieces. While decorative accessories also add to the style and texture of a living space, they can err on the more “trendy” or holiday-themed side of interior design and you may choose to change them out more frequently.


Moving into a new home doesn’t mean you must furnish it with new everything! Take inventory of what you already have that can be used, updated and/or repurposed. You can also shop area yard sales, and even scrap yards, to find some good salvageable treasures that will work perfect in your home. With salvaging and saving on the mind, consider your:

  1. Cabinets — Do your cabinets need a facelift? You don’t have to replace them. While you might splurge on the cabinetry hardware, consider simply re-staining or painting your doors to give them a fresh look.
  2. Flooring — Many hardwood floors can be stripped and re-stained. There are even salvage yards where you can find replacements for any missing boards. Additionally, the carpets may need a heavy shampoo, versus a complete overhaul.
  3. Mantel and Fireplace — Stains and paints can go a long way in refreshing the focal point of a room, such as the mantel and/or fireplace. If you find the mantel needs to be replaced, try building your own using salvaged wood.
  4. Door Knobs and Switch Plates — While doorknobs and switch plates should look uniform, you don’t have to break the bank replacing them. In fact, you may be able to use a spray finish to get them back to looking as good as new.
  5. Old Furniture — Old furniture can add a special touch to a home. For example, an old wooden chair (refinished or not), adorned with a colorful throw blanket, can cozy up a porch, an entryway or a reading nook or in a child’s bedroom.
  6. Antiques — If you’ve been blessed with antiques or come across some amazing antique finds, accessorize with them. They can easily add beauty, charm and conversation to your home.

So how will you splurge, save and salvage on your home décor? Let us know in the comments section below.

We wish you all the best with decorating your home. If you find yourself packing up your décor to move to a new house, call a PrimeLending loan expert to learn about your best mortgage options.


From the PrimeLending blog, by Mandy Jordan