How to Save on 8 Decorating Splurges

Experts share their best budget decorating secrets.

Interview by Chandni Jhunjhunwala from

Problem: “My battered old couch was a gift from grandma but it’s time for a change. How to take the financial ouch out of buying a new couch?

Solution: Jean Nayar, author of Money-Wise Makeovers, says there's really no need to buy a couch when you can transform your old piece with a slipcover. She recommends slipcovers from SureFit that fit almost any couch. Try her cute do-it-yourself idea: Use upholstery tacks or pin the slipcover onto your couch, then cover the pins with ribbons to create a more tailored fit. Another option is to have your couch reupholstered. 'Find a second-hand or vintage sofa from a thrift store and then have it reupholstered in a fabric you love,' says Lauren Liess, an interior designer, and founder of the Pure Style Home blog, 'This is a great way to get a high-end custom piece while paying mid-range prices.'

If your couch is so ugly that even a new cover won't give it a facelift, Liess and Nayar recommend Designer Sofas Direct and Broyhill Furniture for affordable couches. "A newer company called LoveSac just came out with affordable modular furniture that you can reconfigure in dozens of ways and build into new shapes over time," says Nayar.

Problem: "I’m in the market for a new bed. How can I get a quality mattress for less?"

Problem: "My bare walls are depressing. How do I decorate with affordable art that doesn’t make my house look like a dorm?"

Problem: "Help! I can’t afford custom drapes and the ready-made ones are always either the wrong color or fabric."

Problem: “My bathroom could use a new coat of paint, but I’m short on cash. Where can I find bargain paint?”

Problem: “I’m remodeling my kitchen but I can’t afford pricey cabinets and countertops. How do I get that state-of-the-art look without breaking the bank?”

Problem: “I’m dying to splurge on a luxe chandelier for our dining room, but I don’t have a thousand dollars to spend. What’s a good alternative?”

Problem: "I spotted an expensive antique rug at the market and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Where do I find unique rugs?"