Episode 16 – Spend vs Save: Your Room by Room Guide

budget decision-making Sep 21, 2023
Episode 16 – Spend vs Save: Your Room by Room Guide

When should you spend money and where can you save it when it comes to designing and renovating your home? No one wants to spend money unnecessarily. But you also want to know what’s worth the investment. 

In today’s episode, we break down when to spend and where to save when it comes to these five spaces within your home:

Living Room

  • SPEND: A good-quality rug will last you for years to come, and is often worth the investment. 
  • SAVEIf you are tight on your budget, you can opt for inexpensive sisal, jute or seagrass rugs. You also don’t need to spend a lot of money on cushions for your living room – many of the bigger brands sell 100% linen or cotton cushions.

Dining Room

  • SPEND: Artwork and/or contemporary light fixtures, such as a statement pendant
  • SAVE: You can find great-quality dining tables and vintage chairs second-hand 


  • SPEND: Countertops, as these tend to set the tone for your kitchen. It’s also worth investing in a good-quality oven or range.
  • SAVE: There are many ways to save in your kitchen, including installing floating shelves instead of cabinetry, using hardware-store grade cabinets and replacing the cupboard doors, selecting affordable yet stylish hardware, and choosing a more affordable refrigerator


  • SPEND: A good mattress is essential, and it's worth investing in a low-toxic option with natural materials. You might want to invest in nicer lighting options with dimmer switch and warm bulb. (The main thing is to avoid bright lights!) 
  • SAVE: Your bedframe doesn't need to be anything fancy, and you can even opt for Euro cushions over a bedhead (headboard). A simple stool can work as a side table, and flat linen sheets or painters' drop sheets can be easily repurposed as stylish curtains (here's how!).


  • SPEND: Invest in the items that you touch and use every day, multiple times a day, such as taps (faucets). The installation cost is the same regardless of style, and you don’t want to be calling out a plumber or tiler to replace taps that didn't hold up.
  • SAVE: Save on tile by prioritising the right colour and being creative with your tile lay (such as going floor to ceiling) to make them look more expensive. Classic subway tiles are timeless and generally more affordable. You can also save by using paint or tongue-and-groove panelling on the walls instead of tile. 

Note: If you’re renovating a bathroom and want more tips, make sure to listen to Episode 13 – How To Get Your Bathroom Design Right!

We hope this episode gives you a better idea of your options so you can choose what works best for you and your family.

PS – Looking for our Little Black Book of brands? This resource is available inside the Renovation Ready course, and covers all the details on our top brands for everything from furniture to hardware. Click here to join the waitlist for the Renovation Ready course and be notified when doors open!


Free Resource

Download the Reno Rulebook

In this guide, we've distilled the 10 most valuable lessons we wish we had known before starting our home renovation journeys.



We would like to acknowledge and pay our respects to the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nations, the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.