Is it worth it? Let me work it. Here’s a list 1 thru 5 or just reverse it.
First, let me apologize for that. It’s just that at my age I’m contractually obligated to paraphrase Missy Elliott when using the phrase “it is worth it”. I don’t make the rules, people!
And maybe I’m the only one, but it feels a little panicky when my check writing hand gets too much of a workout! Even though I’m good at staying on budget, it can seem out of control when you’re redesigning an entire room or especially your entire home. Because of this, I’ve been known to skip items or look for a cheaper option – and sometimes it works out great! But sometimes…it ends up costing me more in the long run by requiring more frequent replacements, buying more pieces to "make it look right" or even causing damage.
What I’ve learned is that VALUE matters even more than price. Here are a few things that I’ve changed my mind about when it comes to making do, doing without, or buying the cheapest option.
1. Rug Pads
Almost our entire house has hard surface flooring, and I used to skip the rug pads. However, I recently added a nice felt pad to the sisal rug in our master bedroom and O.M.G what a difference! Not only is it so much more comfortable, but rug pads can extend the life of your rug AND protect your flooring underneath from color transfer from your rug, and scratches and stains from ground-in dirt. Even better? High-quality large rug pads can usually be found at good prices. I'm currently in the process of adding rug pads under every rug! Totally worth it.
2. Paint & paint supplies
In the past I’ve tended to paint on a whim – I’d go to the nearest hardware store and buy a cheap gallon of paint, maybe a cheap roller pad and make do with whatever other supplies I have at home. DON’T DO THIS! First, painting a room should always be a well-thought-out decision. Colors should be chosen over at least a few days, using large swatches, and moving them around the room to see them in different types of lighting. Before painting walls should be cleaned and patched, and any trim that needs painted should be done first. Your floors should be protected, as well as any furniture that remains in the room. Depending on whether you have a steady hand you may need to tape off some surfaces.
If you plan on doing your own painting, I highly recommend investing in a couple of good quality brushes (my preference is a 1 ½” angle brush), a nice smooth roller with an extension pole and at least two canvas drop cloths. These three things with proper care will last for YEARS. These items are totally worth it, but I still prefer inexpensive roller pan liners that I can toss after a job.
Not only do your supplies matter, so does your paint! There are several quality brands to choose from but choosing an inferior paint will cost you time and money – something you’ll notice when you’re on your THIRD coat of paint! Depending on what color or sheen you’re covering you may also need to invest in a primer. The good news is that most quality paint brands will offer at least a couple of great sales throughout the year. When you plan to paint, you can also plan your purchase to ensure you get a great deal!
One last thing I’ll say about painting; if you are under a deadline, are painting a surface like brick or paneling, don’t enjoy painting or just aren’t very good at it, it may be a better VALUE for you to hire a professional to do the job. A professional painter will have all the proper tools and experience to finish your job correctly and quickly!
3. Throw pillows
Ugh, crappy throw pillows are the biggest trap! It’s sooooo tempting to purchase the cute pillow with the cute pattern at the great price. But we all know it doesn’t take long for that cute pillow to have pulled threads or a stain or to completely lose its shape. And before you know it – you’re back at the store to buy more cute pillows!
My best advice is to invest in good quality pillow inserts. Great covers are available at a variety of price points, or you can even have them made. I recently helped a client choose new fabric to cover quality inserts that were more than a decade old! Even though custom covers aren’t cheap, she got beautiful pillows that truly complimented her décor, and likely spent less money over those 10 years than if she had bought new throw pillows every 12 months.
4. Size & scale
Items like art, area rugs and furniture are expensive, and it can be tempting to save a little by buying a slightly smaller rug or dining table. This is always a mistake. Using pieces that aren’t scaled appropriately to your space aren’t going to be visually appealing and likely aren’t going to fit your needs. This mistake gets compounded lots of time when people try to “fix” the issue by adding MORE SMALL PIECES OF FURNITURE. And before you know it your room is feeling cluttered with items that aren’t even functional.
My recommendation to client’s it to use the fewest pieces of appropriately scaled furniture for any room. Here is a great guideline for determining rug sizes, and when it comes to art I always recommend erring on the larger size.
When it comes to size and scale in furniture, it's easy to make the opposite mistake as well, and lots of people end up with furniture that is just too darned big for their space! Furniture showrooms are HUGE and that can make it really hard to determine the true scale of items like sofas and armoires. Try using painter’s tape or cardboard templates to mark out a piece’s dimensions in your own space before making a purchase.
5. Design Consultation
It is probably no surprise that I, a design consultant, think a design consultation is a worthwhile use of funds. But a design consultant will offer you a concise plan, specific recommendations and experience to help you avoid costly mistakes.
In your home, what have you decided is "worth it" to you? Any favorites bargains or tips that you find "worth it"?