Save or Splurge – A guide for decorating your home.

December 31, 2014

No matter who you are, when you are working on your home there is always a budget.  The design team at McElheran’s share their thoughts on where to save and when to splurge.



The formal living room that doesn’t get used a lot is a great place to save a few dollars.  The furniture that goes in here needs to look great but doesn’t necessarily need to be the most expensive.

The bedroom is a more private place in your home and while it is probably the most important room for you to be comfortable in there isn’t a need to put the highest quality furniture in here to start with.  You can always upgrade later.

Artwork doesn’t have to be expensive.  Choose a print rather than an original but make sure that it is something that you love.

Bernhardt Mayfair Living Room Sofa


The family room that gets used every day should have a great quality sofa that will stand up to constant use.

The front entrance needs to be carefully chosen to represent your home.  Make sure that you make a good first impression.

Lillian August Sectional


The old maxim applies “Buy the best you can afford.”  You will never regret it.


There are some faux silks out there when it comes to creating beautiful draperies for you home that will help to keep costs down.

Use your grandmothers silver tea pot as a vase or other unusual vessels around the house.

Silk Drapery


Buy fresh flowers that are in season for beautiful arrangements.



From first-hand experience of building my own home – here are some tips on where to save and when to splurge. There are certain items in every room worth splurging on, while you can be frivolous with others. Here is a breakdown room by room to find out what can be purchased for less and what you should be spending a little more on.

The foyer is the first impression people have of the house as they walk in. A good place to splurge is on the lighting and ambiance of the space. Pendant lighting or a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling should be the focal point. Always spend on a beautiful chair or bench where people can rest and put their shoes on. This impression is also welcoming. Save on the console, mirrors and accessories as these are items that can be replaced for little money.

Century Front Entry

For the living room, splurge on a qualify sofa, the fabric, foam and construction is important as this is used daily, opting for expensive will save you money down the road.  There is no point in purchasing something cheap, and then having to re-buy it in 5 years. A good quality sofa should last 10-12 years. Also splurge on great lighting, which can be an amazing way to make a space beautiful. Layer lighting for an optimum effect with interesting pieces, using overhead, ambient and floor lighting.  Expensive Art can help to pull the room together, along with a beautiful expensive rug. Save on accessories, that can be changed with the seasons or home parties, and that can be easily moved around.  Coffee and end tables are important but they don’t always need to be expensive.

For the dining room splurge on a good functional Dining table. Chairs can be designed and upholstered for little money and can be re-done after a few years of use for an affordable price if needed.

For the bedroom,start with sourcing a good quality mattress. A person spends an average of 1/3 of their life sleeping, buy quality, sleep is important and should be #1 on the list. Your bed is the focal point of the room and you should have a good quality duvet cover also. To save in this room, you can buy pillows already made and design your room around your duvet or coverlet. Also spend more on your dresser drawers, as they get more usage opening and closing. The nightstands you can save on along with the reading lamps. Rather than spending money on Artwork, spend more on a beautiful headboard and stylish bedding for the wow factor in your bedroom.

For the bathroom, a plain sink and vanity can be dressed up with saving on accessories to enhance the look. A simple inexpensive mirror will dress it up nicely.

It can be tempting to overspend when decorating your home, even on the little things. Spend where it matters the most and save where you can to take a balanced approach to both your home and your chequebook.


It has always been important to me for a space to be as beautiful as I can make it regardless of how much I have to spend.  So when I moved home from Vancouver with only a suitcase and a box of paints to say my budget seemed minimal to the task at hand would be an understatement.  So I started where I could.  There had been a few aspects of my old place that I loved and knew were inexpensively transferable.  I had had deep Caspian Blue walls in my kitchen and it had always brought me such delight, so I decided to paint my new walls blue.  I then bought a reasonable piece of artwork from a ‘Live’ Event and came across a few Chinese antiques.  I spent some good money framing them and splurged on designer lamps to make the space seem like I’d spend more money on it than I had.  I built this vignette around an inexpensive console I found. I dressed it with some accessories and it made for a beautiful beginning.  My budget, my bottom and my company were all telling me that my next task was a sofa.  My schedule is so busy that if I ever have time to sit I want to melt into a sofa with a book and a cup of tea and not move until I’m hungry.  So I decided to buy the most comfortable chic sofa I could find and spent a good chunk of the budget on getting this part of the dream perfect.  The accessories also turned out to be a good chunk of the budget but each piece has synchronized to create a home that feels like a retreat every time I open the door. As I finished the room I hunted down some bargains but at other times I found gems I jumped on regardless of price.  Whether it’s just me, or a gaggle of my girlfriends I have a place that I enjoy being in and showing off.

Stunning Lamp



You spend 1/3 of your life sleeping. Getting a good night’s sleep should be important in everyone’s life. A mattress might not be the focal point of a bedroom when you first walk in but it is something that you use every day and will continue to use every day for the rest of your life. Spending a little extra on a mattress definitely should not be seen as ludicrous, considering its importance.

Vispring Magnificence Undressed

You should look for a sofa with a classic style and good inside construction. As long as it’s a sofa that is well built you can always reupholster it 10-20 years from now and it will look brand new again.

Custom window coverings make a statement and can be used as a focal point in any room. They can look amazing and decorative but also be highly functional.

If you have a foyer this area should definitely contain some wow factor as it is the first and last thing people see when they visit your home.

Lighting is important and often sets the mood in any home. See it as a piece of art that can add a lot of personality to a room.


Painting can be an easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your space. It is also something that can be changed over and over again to suit your style.

It is easy to change up a room and follow the trends by switching out an occasional table. Switching a masculine rustic wood side table for a more feminine glass side table can change the feel of any room.

Art is very important for any room as it pulls the room together but you definitely do not have to spend a fortune. You can always enlarge and frame a picture that you took during your travels (thanks to Groupon) and or even frame a piece of wallpaper.

Accessories are another inexpensive solution for adding your own touch to a room. You can pick them up almost anywhere and they can be easily switched out with the seasons or every few years.

Accent chairs are great if you’re not planning on using the chair daily. You can add some fun to a room with different colors and or prints.