It’s never fun to tell a client when they have to spend a lot of money. Currently, I’m helping create a style concept for a client’s new home and source the best pieces for the least amount of money (the Mile High Style special, so to speak). I recently had to give the splurge speech, delivering the bad news that when it comes to certain items in your home, you really just can’t skimp. These items are the bed (headboard, footboard, frame) and the couch.
I remember when my friend Dina, who will forever be my style mentor, first delivered this bad news. We were boutique shopping in East Hampton and I needed to find a couch, already overwhelmed by the endless diversity available (which, per the awesome book ‘The Paradox of Choice’, makes shopping harder and the customer ultimately less satisfied with the final purchase). Then Dina delivered the bad news: I should expect to spend, at a minimum, $3000 on my couch.
No longer the student and now the teacher, I have to break the bad news of selective splurging, most recently to a client regarding her bedroom furniture. And much like Dina told me, I named the price (for a queen bed, at least $2,000) and explained the rationale.
The size factor: In both the bed and living rooms, you are splurging on the single largest piece of furniture, the one that anchors the room and commands the most attention.
The use factor: Simply put, the couch and the bed see more tush-time. Rather than some small corner piece that stays out of the action, these pieces are the action.
The alternative factor: Or lack there of. Used or consigned tables are plentiful , beat-up dressers can be made new (and in many cases better) with a paint job, and antique chairs are chic and can be sourced cheap. But try finding a used couch in great condition (that also happens to be in your preferred style). A pre-owned bed? Even harder.
In designing and styling your home, there are so many price corners to cut. Ebay and craigslist, flea markets and affordable modern chains like West Elm and CB2, and hand-me-downs from stylish friends and relatives, can all help preserve the integrity of your budget, allowing you to spend on the things that really do make a difference.