Since I’m obsessed with bargain hunting (what is the point in paying full price if you don’t have to???), I decided to do my own little high / low project experiment.
Check it out below: the items on the top are from high-end design sources, totaling over $8,900. The bottom is a collection of items I found online to create a similar look, but for a LOT less – like $5,700 less! Unbelievable – almost 65% off.
HOW CAN THIS BE??
I bet I know what you’re thinking right now: How can there be such a difference in price? There’s many different reasons and it can get pretty complex. First of all, contrary to common belief, it isn’t usually because of an exorbitant designer markup. (Most designers or stores price items at or around the suggested retail price.) There’s less overhead selling online than there is with a physical retail storefront. Most of the online discount retailers are dealing so much merchandise they can afford to cut the price margin way lower than the retail price you’d see in stores. Also, although stylistically they may look similar, the manufacturing process and materials may not be as high of quality.
For example, the sofa on the high-end project is a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa, and the one in the budget friendly side is from Pottery Barn. Pottery Barn’s upholstery line is made by Mitchell Gold, but since PB sofas are mass-produced, the detailing is less refined and fewer seat and fabric options are available………. so the price point is lower than a custom produced sofa from Mitchell Gold.
MY RULE OF THUMB
So which items are best to buy discounted, and what should you splurge on? For me it’s simple: Anything small like lamps, pillows, accessories, or end tables are a great idea to get for less. These are things you can swap in and out easily. It won’t break the bank AND it gives you the freedom to update your look more often. Upholstery that you spend most of your time in (such as a sofa or your favorite chair) should be something you splurge on, because you want it last a long time and be comfy! Bedroom furniture, cabinets, and other large casegoods are also important pieces – look for a sturdy material that is contructed well. You may pay extra, but remember the old saying: you get what you pay for!