- Insider asked designers what items shouldn’t cost you more than $25.
- You shouldn’t spend too much on high-traffic rugs, candles, or pillow covers.
- Skip the expensive candles, vases, and coffee-table books.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Decorating your home can quickly drain your bank account, but there are actually plenty of items that designers don’t recommend spending more than a few dollars on.
Insider spoke to interior designers to find out which home-decor items should never cost you more than $25.
You might not want to spend too much on rugs for high-traffic areas
Interior designer Jillian Ziska, founder of To Be Decorated, told Insider that you shouldn’t spend more than $25 on a rug that will be placed somewhere with a lot of foot traffic.
“These types of rugs are stepped and trampled continuously,” said Ziska. “There’s only so many times you can wash them before they’ll need to be replaced.”
If you want to splurge on a designer rug, consider opting for one in a darker color, like navy or deep brown, to maximize the time between washes and replacements.
Appealing houseplants don’t have to be expensive
Gavin Brodin of Brodin Design Build told Insider that houseplants don’t have to cost more than $25 to make a big impact in your home.
“You can easily find affordable plants that will last a long time,” said Brodin. “Don’t waste your money on fake plants, which won’t give your home the same fresh feeling.”
Brodin added that he often uses orchids in his clients’ homes because they’re very easy to take care of and can usually be found at a discount.
Cloth napkins don’t last forever, so don’t get the most expensive set
Jessica Licalzi, interior designer at Mojo Summer, told Insider that a fancy set of dinner napkins shouldn’t cost too much.
“Lipstick can take down a cloth napkin permanently. So while dinner napkins are a must-have, keep it simple and buy the more affordable ones,” said Licalzi.
Another advantage of buying a set of cheaper cloth napkins is that you can purchase a few extra to replace any that have become permanently stained.
Use grocery-store flowers to create cheap and beautiful arrangements
Interior designer Maud Waterman, owner of Salt & Poppy, told Insider that a thrifty decorating technique is to use store-bought flowers in arrangements instead of buying expensive professional bouquets.
“Buy a bunch of grocery-store flowers, trim the stems to fit the vase, and arrange them with some fill plants,” said Waterman. “You’ll have a beautiful arrangement that will cost $10, maximum.”
Waterman also recommended taking the leaves off of store-bought flowers for a more chic look. This can also help keep the arrangement looking fresher for longer.
You can get quality candles for far less than $25
“There are so many brands that offer candles that can get your house smelling like whatever you want, but at a much lower price point,” Ziska told Insider.
If you want to buy a more expensive candle, Ziska said, note the candle’s listed burn time and avoid spending over $25 on one that will burn for less than 80 hours.
Coffee-table books can get expensive, but you can usually get them at a discount
Ziska said there’s no reason to spend $100 or more for large coffee-table books that may just end up collecting dust.
“The purpose of coffee-able books is the look and style they provide, but they’re hardly ever actually looked through,” said Ziska. “You don’t need to spend more than $25 to get a rad-looking book to display.”
A local used bookstore is a great place to hunt for beautifully-bound reads that to incorporate into your decor.
You don’t need to spend money on expensive glassware for parties
Licalzi told Insider that although there are occasions that call for expensive glassware, most people should have an assortment of cheaper wine glasses on hand.
“One fact of life is that guests break things at parties,” said Licalzi. “Buy a set of glasses for under $25 because no one wants to drink out of plastic or Lucite unless they’re poolside.”
Those who want to spend a few extra bucks on fancy glasses should keep an eye out for estate sales or bargain buys online, where high-quality glassware can often be had for much less than retail.
Floral vases shouldn’t cost you more than $25
Fresh flowers can add vibrancy and color to a room, but you don’t need to spend more than a few bucks on a vase to hold them.
“With beautiful blooms being the focal point, you shouldn’t focus too much on the vase,” said Ziska. “You can find plenty of great vases for under $25 at places like HomeGoods or Target.”
If you’re looking for a unique vase that won’t cost your whole paycheck, try browsing thrift shops.
Cheap baskets typically perform just as well as pricey ones
There usually isn’t much of a quality gap between expensive baskets and more affordable options.
“Even the cheaper baskets seem to last a long time, and they’ll be easier to part [with] if once they do get gross and need to be thrown out,” said Licalzi.
If you’re buying a basket to serve food from, be sure to line it with a cloth napkin or plastic container in order to minimize the chances that crumbs or liquid will get into the basket weave.
Costly doormats aren’t always worth their price tag
A good doormat should strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and function, but it shouldn’t cost more than $20 or so.
“Doormats get worn out easily. They’re also one of the first things that guests see, so you’ll want to keep them looking fresh and trendy,” said Ziska.
If you want to invest in a pricier doormat, consider buying one made of a non-porous material, like rubber or metal. These are easier to hose down and often last longer than woven or bristle mats.
Skip the fancy light-switch plates
Detail-oriented decorators know the impact of a nice light-switch plate, but you don’t have to drop more than a few dollars to spruce up your existing ones.
“You can buy fancy switch plates, but there’s no real need. Simply give your current plates a light sanding and paint them so that they blend seamlessly into your decor,” Waterman told Insider.
If you want to make a statement, consider painting your plates in a contrasting color.
Keep your home fresh by using affordable pillow covers
Throw pillows can tie your decor together and add visual interest to furnishings, but their costs can quickly add up.
“Buy a good-quality pillow in a standard measurement, but do not splurge on a pillow cover,” said Brodin. “You can easily find beautiful covers for under $25 that can bring life to your home.”
And with a low cost, you can potentially buy more than one cover and change your decor every season.
Soap in a guest bathroom can look pretty without being expensive
If you have a guest bathroom, you don’t need to splurge on fancy soap to impress visitors.
“Find some inexpensive glass bottles with dispenser lids and fill them with drugstore liquid soap,” said Waterman. “Your guests will have no idea.”