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  • Stephanie Donnelly

Dining Rooms: When to Splurge and Save

We all struggle with the question of where to splurge and where to save when decorating our dining rooms. Interior designers rarely work with unlimited budgets which makes us experts at knowing when to embrace a "you only live once" approach, and when to take some well-disguised shortcuts. To figure out what pieces of furniture are worth the splurge, and which you should opt for a lower cost option, we've put together a list of when to splurge and when to save.

Splurge on:

Dining Table

A piece of furniture you should splurge on is your dining table. With your dining table being the main focal point of the room and serving two to three meals a day, your dining room table goes through a lot of use, which means finding a table that can handle everything you put on it. Even if you don't have an ample dining space, a good table can make all the difference. Make sure to invest in a high quality, durable table made of solid wood or some other high-end material.

Dining Chairs

Another main focal point of the dining room are the dining chairs. Seating is a high use piece of furniture that needs to be comfortable spending long periods of time in. This cost can quickly add up since you’ll be purchasing more than just one dining chair, but if you plan on spending long periods of time gathered around the dining table, it’s well worth the investment!

Area Rug

Spills happen at some point when you're in an area that's mainly used for meals, so it’s worth the investment to have an area rug that’s high-quality and can stand up to spills in your dining room. The best advice we can give you is to follow our rug guide and find something within a price range that you feel comfortable spending. Rugs made of natural materials such as cotton, jute and sisal are among the most durable. While it's easy to go with a cheaper option, we highly recommend wool as it is able to be spot or professionally cleaned and look brand new again. There's also a large second hand market for vintage, wool rugs which is a good way to find quality area rugs. Don't forget a rug pad for longevity!

Window Shades and Draperies

One thing you can't overlook when it comes to splurging is your window treatments! These often round out your style and make your space pop, so finding the right ones will transform your dining room and add a little bit of luxury to the environment. Installing high-quality curtains that start at the ceiling and touch the floor will elevate your ceiling height and your room's design level. You should invest in good-quality fabrics for your drapes and shades that can muffle sound, provide privacy, keep out the light, block the heat and cold, and also create a luxurious, intimate setting. Learn more about choosing the perfect window treatments for you in our curtains blog.


Typically there isn't much art displayed in a dining room. Therefore, the art displayed is usually a focal point piece that captures viewers attention and elevates your space. While art prints are a fantastic way to decorate your home, there are times where you may be looking to add that special one-of-a-kind treasure to your collection. If you absolutely love something or have a focal piece that is artist made, it is definitely worth the splurge.


A great chandelier can completely transform a room, and a statement light fixture can make or break a space. Therefore, a dazzling chandelier trickling down from above, or a hanging pendant over the dining table has to be great. Design in the details, so if you want your lighting to be the star of the show in your space, go for the splurge.

Save On:

Buffet/Curio Cabinet

Add additional storage to your dining space with a quality crafted curio cabinet or buffet table for a fraction of the cost. You can find great quality and stylish pieces second hand versus buying new for the same quality. We recommend looking for high end brands when making second hand selections. If you are looking to organize your dinnerware, go for a buffet cabinet with drawers that give you more storage space. For displaying collectibles and decor, check out cabinets with drawers and shelves that allow you to organize decor, pantry must-haves and tableware, so you are always ready to entertain.

Jute Rug

Area rugs can be either a splurge or a save depending on your style and preference. Save on neutral natural fiber rugs like jute for the dining room, or use it as a base layer with a smaller rug on top. Jute rugs are a great option for a less formal dining room. These area rugs are fantastic for saving some money when you want a rug that you don't feel guilty for throwing out once it's gotten its use. Jute goes with a large variety of styles, but be warned that it doesn't have a soft underfoot feel. Click here to learn more about choosing the right area rug for you.


Not so surprisingly, not much decor goes into a dining room compared to some other rooms, and some decor is serveware or drinkware. The occasional self-indulgent splurge is good for the soul, but keeping to a budget is good, too. For your decor, the pieces you should save on are the things that don't get a lot of use or the ones you can easily find. Most of these pieces are easy to replace or make personal, so you don't have to stretch your wallet's capabilities when you want to refresh your style.

Creating your dream dining room requires time, effort, and expert budgeting. Splurging on the occasional piece of furniture is an investment that is worth making. Especially when it comes to quality pieces that you'll use every day that will last for years to come. Lavish your home with the styles you love and make your space feel like you. We're excited to hear your visions for your dining room! Do you feel like bouncing some ideas back and forth? Start a conversation with me here!

~This blog was brought to you by S. Donnelly Interiors. Learn more about the interior design project process by following Stephanie Donnelly and her interior design services in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and the surrounding areas!


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