There’s more choice than ever when it comes to finding stylish home accessories on a budget - but there are still some areas of the house where it pays to invest, especially if you plan to stay in the property for years to come.
Splurge on: A quality kitchen
The kitchen takes more wear and tear than any other room in the house. Before you buy from a mainstream store, get a quote from a local carpenter/kitchen fitter. You might be surprised at the similarity in cost - and you’ll benefit from a truly bespoke solution.
If you do go with a mass-manufactured kitchen, don’t be tempted to fit it yourself unless you’re experienced and 100 per cent confident in your abilities.
“Even budget priced cabinets, if professionally installed, can last for many years but poor attention to detail can result in a shoddy kitchen requiring ongoing maintenance,” warns master craftsman and kitchen painter Andy Crichton of Traditional Painter.
Kitchen appliances, especially the cooker, are also worth investing in. Buy the cheapest option and you may have to replace it every few years or pay for expensive call-out charges.
If you would love a traditional Range but your budget won’t stretch, look for second-hand models on sites like eBay, Gumtree and Pre-Loved. DIY store showrooms have been known to advertise ex-display kitchens units and appliances for a fraction of the cost on sites like Gumtree – but you’ll need to be quick to snap them up.
Splurge on: Sofa bed and beds
Sometimes saving money can be a false economy – especially if the item you’ve bought isn’t fit for purpose. A classic example is a sofa bed. While you may not use it every day, it still needs to be easy to assemble and comfortable enough to sleep on.
The Rossini large sofa bed from John Lewis isn’t cheap at £1,100 but it comes with good customer reviews and you can try it out in store before buying.
The same advice goes for your actual bed and mattress, which according to The Sleep Council you can expect to last for seven years. As we spend over 20,000 hours in bed during that time, it’s worth paying extra for a mattress that’s comfortable.
The Sleep Council also advise buying the biggest bed possible, as many sleepless nights are caused by sharing a bed that isn’t big enough – so go for king or super king if space allows.
Save on: Designer and occasional chairs
Love a particular design of furniture? You don’t always need to pay designer prices to get the look. The Fifties classic Eames DSW chair from the Conran Shop may be your ideal at £256.80 but you can pick up a stylish copy from Lakeland Furniture for £43. Buy six and that’s a saving of more than £1,200.
Spend extra on your main sofa (buy quality and it will hold its shape and last much longer), and make a saving on occasional use side chairs. This gorgeously plump Leon chair in Belgian linen costs £670 from Sofa.com – or you could save and buy a similar style Lucia chair in mink, £249.99 from Argos. Alternatively, look for a second hand chair in good condition and pay to have it covered.
Save on: Home accessories
Whether you choose lamps, rugs, pictures, cushions or glassware, accessories are one of the quickest and easiest ways to update the look of a room – and with so many budget options available, you don’t need to spend a fortune to change your style with the season.
For instance, if you love the rustic trend you could splash out on this David Hunt stag antler lamp, £342 from The Lighting Company – or save some cash with the (faux) antler lamp, £40 from Next.
Cushions are a great way to instantly update a sofa and can be picked up for as little as £10. This luxurious stag cushion from Jules B costs £54.99 - or you could get the look from Matalan for just £8.
With a few wise buys you can save money on accessories - and save up for the bigger investment pieces that, with any luck, should last for many years to come.