by Elizabeth Burton
In our article “Five Worthwhile Homeware Splurges for 2021,” we quoted designers and shoppers as they extolled the virtues of spending a little bit extra on pieces that will either last for years or bring lots of joy to your home. In the article “Where to Splurge and Where to Save When Decorating” for Houzz, Yanic Simard spoke of the importance of quality lighting -- for health, for productivity and for creating a beautiful space. Rachel Murphy of Business Insider -- in her article “Interior designers reveal the 10 things worth splurging on in a home” -- and Lilith Hardie Lupica of Vogue -- in her article “7 expensive homewares items worth the splurge” -- identified bedding as a worthwhile splurge. Bartie Scott touted the versatility of luxury pajamas in her article “We're living in the golden age of pajamas” for Markets Insider. Sara Pepitone explained the value of incorporating specialized scents across your home in her article “Aromas Are the New Frontier for Interior Design” for The Observer. Lastly, Kristin Granero of RealSimple and Lauren Smith McDonough of House Beautiful reinforced the joys -- and long-term financial benefits -- of investing in antique and vintage design elements. From hand knotted vintage rugs to antique furniture, pieces from the past often gain monetary value as they age, making them a sound investment for homeowners. This week, we bring you a carefully curated list of five homeware pieces to cut corners on in 2021, based on recommendations from interior decorators, homeware designers and finance experts.
5 Homeware Splurges that Just Don’t Make Sense in 2021
#1 Avoid Pouring Cash into Trendy Bathroom or Kitchen Tiles
If you plan to sell your home at a later date, be prepared to update your bathrooms, powder room, laundry room or kitchen if any -- or all -- have been outfitted with trendy tiling. Few design or decor elements date a home more effectively than of-the-moment tiles. As such -- if you choose tiles that pop in 2021 but disappoint ten years later -- you might find yourself shelling out quite a bit of cash to bring the home up to date before selling. Though overly ornate, kitschy or colorful tiling can quickly become dated, there are a few styles that garner extra attention every few decades but maintain a consistent baseline following. In her article “Tile trends 2021 – from Art Deco to terrazzo to outdoor tiles” for Better Homes & Gardens, Ruth Doherty outlines which semi-trendy styles have true staying power and are a safer alternative. For instance -- writes Doherty -- Morroccan tiles “have become one of the most significant trends of the year, as shown by the worldwide success of North African handicraft products.” However, the current buzz around Morroccan tiles is unlikely to truly fade given that the colorful fractal design is a “timeless style that won't date.” Subway tiles, terracotta tiles and terrazzo tiles are all semi-trendy yet timeless styles that will protect the value of your kitchen or bathroom remodel. Quoting Damla Turgut -- founder of Otto Tiles & Design -- Doherty writes that “‘terrazzo in all shapes and colors remains a dominant trend as we enter into 2021,’' but the style will be with us for decades to come. Turgut notes that “‘its decorative speckled design and soft textural pattern is understated, endlessly stylish and versatile.'”
#2 Save Money on Table Lamps
While quality pendant lighting and wall lighting are both essential to the functionality and beauty of any home, table lamps are less significant from a cost perspective. Families with children know that table lamps -- along with vases of flowers -- are the first things to be knocked over and broken when kids play indoors. Backpacks, toys and elbows catch large lampshades and -- suddenly -- table lamps have fallen to the floor and cracked or shattered. In her article “8 'Expensive' Home Furnishings You're Better Off Buying Cheap” for Realtor.com, Jennifer Kelly Geddes recommends against purchasing expensive lampshades, bases or entire table lamps. She writes that “lighting matters in every room, but this category is a definite ‘don't splurge’” because they are so delicate and prone to damage. However, homeowners should not confuse table lamps with light bulbs or with task lighting. Light bulbs are indeed worth the initial splurge as energy efficient varieties can save the homeowner money while protecting the planet. Task lighting is worth the extra expenditure because proper lighting is necessary for protecting delicate skin and eye health while working, reading or crafting.
#3 Skimp on Expensive Vanity Mirrors
Vanity mirrors are third on our list of unnecessary homeware splurges because they are so rarely noticed by guests -- or by the residents of a home. Sarah Lyon of Apartment Therapy and Caroline Biggs of Hunker.com agree, pointing out that extra cash is often wasted on mirrors. In her article “4 Decor Items You’re Paying too Much for—and One You Should Pay More For” for Apartment Therapy, Sarah Lyon writes that “mirrors can range from less than $20 to well into the hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars, depending on where you shop.” Though some will opt for pricier versions, Sarah Lyon writes that she and her team have “found that budget-friendly options can still make a major impact in a space,” especially when positioned properly. Quoting Lance Thomas of Room Service, Caroline Biggs expresses a similar sentiment in her article “10 Home Furnishings You Should Never Splurge On, According to Designers” for Hunker.com. Thomas tells Briggs that he loves to skip out on designer department store pieces and “‘find garage sale and flea market mirrors to finish off a bathroom’” instead. The main reason mirrors are a waste of money -- explains Thomas -- is that “‘you are too busy looking at yourself to really notice the mirror.’”
#4 Opt for Less Expensive Window Hardware
In her article “A Buyer's Guide to Saving and Splurging on Furniture -- You Don't Have to Spend a Fortune to Have a Stylish Space” for The Spruce, Lauren Flanagan writes that homeowners should absolutely save on window hardware. Flanagan explains that “curtain rods are something you can really save money on [because] most of them are hidden by the fabric anyway so it doesn't really matter what they look like.” Instead, opt for quality yet affordably priced curtain rods that will stand the test of time without draining your bank account. Lauren Flanagna suggests purchasing “stylish and simple [curtain rods that] don't draw attention away from the fabrics.” Homeowners should also leave behind the designer curtain tiebacks popping up all over Instagram this season. Glitzy curtain tiebacks are certainly trendy this year, but they will likely lose their shine in years to come. As such, purchasing expensive versions will probably prove to be a fairly foolish investment. She recommends allocating the money saved on expensive curtain rods to your window treatment budget. According to Flanagan, “windows are often focal points in rooms so it's worth spending…[on] good-quality fabrics for drapes or roman shades.” Window treatments are also worth the splurge because “while they can be found for cheap, the difference is quite noticeable.”
#5 Never Overspend on Plates and Glassware for Everyday Use
The reasoning behind the fifth “wasted splurge” on our list is the same as that behind saving money on table lamps. Plates can chip in the dishwasher if another item slips from the top rack into the bottom or break if stacked together too aggressively. Fancy glassware could care less that it set you back several hundred dollars, shattering into a million pieces when knocked off an end table or bar cart. As such, we recommend -- alongside Katie Holdefehr of RealSimple and Grace Beuley Hunt of Vogue -- to skimp on expensive everyday plates and glassware. In her article “5 Things Decorators Never Spend Money on (and 3 Things They Splurge on)” for RealSimple, Katie Holdefehr writes that if you entertain frequently or “have a family with young kids, glassware is one item you can afford to save money on.” She writes that “buying inexpensive glasses is a smart way of preparing for the inevitable, especially when you have little ones running around.” Instead of purchasing costly crystal glasses, Holdefehr suggests “getting a set of stemless wine glasses for large dinner parties or anytime guests stop by.” Grace Beuley Hunt shares Holdefehr’s opinion -- as outlined in her article “9 Home Decor Pieces You Should Never Splurge On” for Vogue. She writes that “everyday china” is certainly not an investment piece. That said, “routine isn’t always glamorous, but it can still be chic,” so opt for long-wearing, affordable pieces you love.