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Interior Remodeling Where Save and Splurge

Interior Remodeling: Where to Save and Splurge

living room couch and seating area by windows images and content courtesy of

Dimmers or drapes? Cabinets or counters? What should you splurge on to improve your home’s interior?

From top-of-the-line kitchen appliances to new drapes for the living room, there’s no shortage of splurge-worthy upgrades to improve every room in your house.

It may be tempting to go all in with every project, but design and remodeling experts say some updates are worth the extra investment, but others offer great opportunities for saving. Tap for pro tips on where to spend more and where to cut back.

Living room decor

• Sofa: It pays to spend more for a good couch that will last, unless you want to replace it every couple years, Krolick says. Spring for one with quality fabric and foam that holds its shape when you sit down.
• Window treatments: Go for a good set of custom window treatments — not the ready-made curtains or shades — to ensure the best fit for your space, she says.

• Dimmers: Opt for recessed lighting and dimmers rather than more costly accent fixtures for inexpensive mood lighting. “You’ll spend about $10 more than a standard light switch,” Gallese says.
• Decorative accessories: No need to pay for pricey pillows, rugs and artwork, especially if you’re an indecisive decorator, Krolick says.

gray painted kitchen cabinets

Homeowners can save money on their kitchen remodel by painting their existing cabinets instead of gutting and replacing them. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Harold L. of Portland, Ore.)

Kitchen remodeling

• Countertops: Go for quality material. “Some kind of granite or quartz is vital for upping resale value,” says Andrea Krolick, owner of Andrea Krolick Custom Interiors in Dallas.
• Appliances: If you can afford them, Bob Gallese, owner of Mentor, Ohio-based remodeling company One Man and a Hammer, recommends springing for higher quality models. “If you go cheap, oftentimes you get what you pay for,” he says.

• Cabinets: No need to buy new if you have cabinets in good shape, Gallese says. “You can have themrefaced with a true wood veneer for about 40 percent of the cost of new ones,” he says.
• Accessories: Krolick says skip greenery and plates that some homeowners use to decorate the tops of cabinets. “They just collect dust,” she says.

master bathroom with walk-in shower, garden tub

When remodeling a bathroom, it’s worth spending more on your tile and showerhead, but save money by updating your existing vanity and mirror. (Photo courtesy of Martha Staab)

Bathroom remodeling

• Floor and shower tile: Create a spa-like setting and potentially boost the resale value of your home. “Plus coordinating them makes the room look larger,” Krolick says. 
• Handheld showerhead: “Not only does it make it easier to wash yourself, it’s easier to wash the walls with it, too,” Gallese says.

• Vanity: “You don’t need to rip it out and buy new,” Krolick says. Instead, paint or refinish the bathroom vanity you already have.
• Mirror: Builder-grade frameless mirrors can be blah, but you don’t need to buy an expensive replacement to get a fresh look, Krolick says. “Just update your original mirror with decorative trim,” she says.

master bedroom with upholstered headboard and purple bedding

Designers suggest splurging on your mattress and bedding, but save money on seating areas and dressers. (Photo by Sara Cozolino)

Bedroom furniture

• Mattress: Sleep is important, so don’t forego a good night’s rest in the name of saving a few bucks, Krolick says.
• Bedding: If you have any other bed than a standard frame, she suggests hiring an interior designer to make custom bed coverings so the focal point of your bedroom looks its best.

• Sitting area: Unless you envision yourself relaxing in a corner of your bedroom often, save your money for something you’re more likely to use, like a writing nook or exercise area, Krolick says.
• Dressers: If you have a big closet, don’t invest too much in clothing storage, she says. But if you lack storage space, it might be worth spending more.

balcony black rail white stairs entry in foyer (Photo by Summer Galyan)

The extra cost for custom carpentry on the stairs in your foyer is worth the price for the wow factor when visitors arrive. (Photo By Summer Galyan)


• Stair railings: Hiring a carpenter to upgrade your stairwell can cost between $3,500 to $10,000, but it makes for a grand entrance that’s sure to wow visitors, Gallese says.
• Front door: Not only do you recover almost your entire investment in resale value, a sturdy front door can improve security and energy efficiency. “Opt for a fiberglass encased door as opposed to a steel-skinned one, which can dent and corrode,” he says.

• Accessories: Items like mirrors and side tables can add some interest, but don’t go overboard. “You don’t want to invest too much in furniture that will impede your walkway,” she says.

Have you recently remodeled? Tell us where you saved and splurged in the comments section below.