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Where to Splurge and Where to Save When Furnishing Your First Home

It's finally happened: you're in your first home! Whether it's your first apartment and you're starting from scratch, or you're in your first  purchased home and you want to upgrade, there's definitely a way to furnish your home without breaking the bank.

Where to Splurge


With the average person in need of  7-9 hours of sleep each night, your mattress is actually the place in your home where you'll spend the most time. Since good, thorough sleep is important, splurge on the mattress above all else — even if you have to sit on the floor for a few months. Your body and productivity will thank you!

Glassware for Entertaining

Don't go over budget, but do splurge on a matching set of water glasses, wine glasses, and coffee mugs. This is a small touch that goes a long way toward elevating your home's aesthetic, especially when guests come over.


Because of their size, area rugs (think 8 X 10) at a minimum run at least $100-$200. Still, if there is one piece of decor that really warms up a space and makes it feel like "home", it's a nice rug. Plus, you'll have it forever.


The couch is another area where you're bound to spend a significant amount of time while at home. You'll use the couch for entertaining, relaxing, and even sleeping overnight guests, so it's best to splurge on seating.

Where to Save

Side tables

Save money on side tables/bedside tables by shopping donation stores or second-hand stores. There are always a variety to choose from, and you can buy a matching set or mix-and-match. Best of all, since these items are small, they're easy to paint if you want to refresh the look or change the color.

Dining Sets

Even though your bed and couch are the most used pieces, the table often sees the most "wear and tear." This is why it makes sense to save money here, especially if your home only has one dining area. You don't want something so expensive you're afraid to use it for dining, displaying food/beverages at a party, everyday food prep, or for paperwork.

Artwork/Wall Decor

No matter how long you're in a home, eventually you'll want to swap out your wall decor, and you don't want to feel guilty about what you spent when you do. Often, the best types of wall decor are sentimental items or photos. This provides an opportunity to save even more by using what you already have on hand.


Lamps can be purchased inexpensively, but make a large impact in the "mood" of a home. Fortunately, many stylish lamps can be acquired inexpensively via big box retailers like WalMart and Target. Lamps are also easy to switch out if you desire to change up the look and feel of your decor after a period of time.

The key to furnishing a stylish and comfortable home on a budget is to know where to splurge and where to save strategically, so you can spend your hard-earned money where it matters most.

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