Spend vs. Save: Tips and Tricks from Tobi Fairley

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If I had my way, I would fill my home with only the best. However, ‘reality’ being what it is, trade-offs are the name of the game. But how to know where you should spend a little more, and where you can get away with shopping the bargain bins? I asked designer Tobi Fairley for her advice on the matter—and not only did she get back to me with some seriously helpful ideas, she also sent along some stunning interior shots that aren’t on her website. So enjoy this exclusive sneak peak!

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1. To save money, buy unfinished or vintage pieces of furniture in need of a face lift and paint them a bold accent color.

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2. Use expensive, signature fabrics in small doses…like on pillows or even just the front of them to save more money…so this is a savings and a splurge all wrapped into one.

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3. Select one or two splurge items that really give the room a unique look, like a large original painting for over the slip-covered hand-me-down sofa, or a Saarinen table for the breakfast area with four mismatched vintage chairs. A few key pieces really set the tone for a room and can be added to over time as your budget allows.

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4. Original art, original art, original art! And this does not have to be expensive. Just one of a kind and something that especially speaks to you as the buyer! But if you can afford great expensive art, go for it. Buy the best you can afford…you will have it for a lifetime!

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5. Upholstered headboards! They look fantastic and are inexpensive. A simple king headboard only requires four yards of fabric so even with an expensive print for the upholstery, they are still a fraction of the price of a fine wood bed that can be thousands.

tobi fairley bedroom purple.png

6. Splurge on drapery! Nothing makes a room feel complete like window treatments! And although I love them in simple styles, like basic side panels, don’t scrimp on them! To look expensive, drapery must have plenty of material and beautiful hardware…both of which add to the high price tag of a really great pair of drapes!

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Thanks to Tobi for these great suggestions—I totally hear her on the power of original art and much to my husband’s chagrin, I have the Etsy invoices to prove it! Plus can you believe the playful yet sophisticated nurseries and children’s rooms Tobi has designed? I wish she’d been around when I was twelve and painted my bedroom the barfiest shade of lavender you could possibly imagine. For more great decorating advice, be sure to check out the previous installments in our series with Tobi, and don’t forget to visit her amazing blog!

Now tell me: What are your save/splurge tips?

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12 Responses to “Spend vs. Save: Tips and Tricks from Tobi Fairley”

  1. kasey Says:

    wow, it all looks amazing!

  2. dwellings and decor Says:

    Great advice! I adore that purple bedroom. Quite lovely!

  3. Rachel Says:

    Great tips, and that teal room with the white accents is lovely!

  4. Jackie Says:

    These are wonderful tips! And I just love all the rooms she has designed. Thanks for bringing us such a great series.

  5. Grace@PoeticHome Says:

    What timely and helpful advice! The colorfully designed rooms are delicious eye candy as well.

  6. Rebecca @ Harmony & Home Says:

    What a great post on Tobi’s incredible work. I’m a big fan and Anne, you always know how to inject the most thoughtful and funny comments throughout!

  7. Rebecca @ Harmony & Home Says:

    What a great post on Tobi’s incredible work. I’m a big fan and Anne, you always know how to inject the most thoughtful and funny comments throughout!

  8. Rebecca @ Harmony & Home Says:

    What a great post on Tobi’s incredible work. I’m a big fan and Anne, you always know how to inject the most thoughtful and funny comments throughout!

  9. chantal Says:

    the color of those cabinets in the second image – fantaaaaastic, i love that!
    this is interesting info, merci!! x c

  10. Catherine Says:

    Even though Tobi’s style isn’t really my thing, her advice is universal. And you know, I think that often the best interiors don’t come from an unlimited budget, but from ingenuity and creativity borne by a restricted budget.

  11. Kotori Says:

    I love that very adult art piece sitting right next to the crib. I love adult pieces in kid rooms.

  12. kate Says:

    i liked it when your room was purple! especially because of all the jungle animals you painted all over it. give yourself credit anne, that was a very brave and innovative thing you did when you were that age. besides, how do you learn if you don’t make mistakes?

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Spend vs. Save: Tips and Tricks from Tobi Fairley

-1.bmp

If I had my way, I would fill my home with only the best. However, ‘reality’ being what it is, trade-offs are the name of the game. But how to know where you should spend a little more, and where you can get away with shopping the bargain bins? I asked designer Tobi Fairley for her advice on the matter—and not only did she get back to me with some seriously helpful ideas, she also sent along some stunning interior shots that aren’t on her website. So enjoy this exclusive sneak peak!

200902031219.jpg

1. To save money, buy unfinished or vintage pieces of furniture in need of a face lift and paint them a bold accent color.

200902031216.jpg

2. Use expensive, signature fabrics in small doses…like on pillows or even just the front of them to save more money…so this is a savings and a splurge all wrapped into one.

200902031217.jpg

3. Select one or two splurge items that really give the room a unique look, like a large original painting for over the slip-covered hand-me-down sofa, or a Saarinen table for the breakfast area with four mismatched vintage chairs. A few key pieces really set the tone for a room and can be added to over time as your budget allows.

tobi5.png

4. Original art, original art, original art! And this does not have to be expensive. Just one of a kind and something that especially speaks to you as the buyer! But if you can afford great expensive art, go for it. Buy the best you can afford…you will have it for a lifetime!

200902031225.jpg

5. Upholstered headboards! They look fantastic and are inexpensive. A simple king headboard only requires four yards of fabric so even with an expensive print for the upholstery, they are still a fraction of the price of a fine wood bed that can be thousands.

tobi fairley bedroom purple.png

6. Splurge on drapery! Nothing makes a room feel complete like window treatments! And although I love them in simple styles, like basic side panels, don’t scrimp on them! To look expensive, drapery must have plenty of material and beautiful hardware…both of which add to the high price tag of a really great pair of drapes!

200902031221.jpg

Thanks to Tobi for these great suggestions—I totally hear her on the power of original art and much to my husband’s chagrin, I have the Etsy invoices to prove it! Plus can you believe the playful yet sophisticated nurseries and children’s rooms Tobi has designed? I wish she’d been around when I was twelve and painted my bedroom the barfiest shade of lavender you could possibly imagine. For more great decorating advice, be sure to check out the previous installments in our series with Tobi, and don’t forget to visit her amazing blog!

Now tell me: What are your save/splurge tips?

12 Responses to “Spend vs. Save: Tips and Tricks from Tobi Fairley”

  1. dani @ weddingsfresh Says:

    wonderful advice! those kids rooms are amazing! she needs to come to my house…

  2. cupcakes and cashmere Says:

    such fabulous suggestions…and those pink rooms are seriously calling to me!

  3. Rachel Says:

    Great tips, and that teal room with the white accents is lovely!

  4. jess@thehomebound Says:

    Great tips! I totally agree with original art too. Can’t beat it.

  5. Grace@PoeticHome Says:

    What timely and helpful advice! The colorfully designed rooms are delicious eye candy as well.

  6. christina Says:

    Such wonderful advice, and so manageable too! I love all those rooms…especially the turquoise kitchen. It’s marvelous! I’m currently finishing a vintage piece I’m painting bright green, so check off number 1. And the upholstered headboard…I’ve been in love with the idea since I got hooked on Mad Men.

  7. Rebecca @ Harmony & Home Says:

    What a great post on Tobi’s incredible work. I’m a big fan and Anne, you always know how to inject the most thoughtful and funny comments throughout!

  8. The Deco Detective Says:

    Mini-makeovers using stuff I own! If your furniture is fairly neutral, you can change the look of the room a lot just by digging in your drawers and closets to find replacement accessories. I use my clothes, handbags and shoes as well if they match, and if I want something new I shop at the Salvation Army stores. The only thing I splurge on is matching napkins – lots of them – but I guess it doesn’t actually qualify as splurging…

  9. Rachel Says:

    I love those turquoise cabinets!!! And I love upholstered headboards.
    I totally agree with her on tip# 2 – adding a few smaller splurges as accents can really make a huge difference.

  10. Melissa Says:

    Such great ideas, I am in love with the aqua blue cabinets 🙂

  11. Heather Bailey Says:

    Yes, do get a pair of tap shoes and drive your husband crazy with the racket! I’ve had such a fun time dancing this month.

  12. marilisa Says:

    hi
    i am an italian architect.
    i love your blog.
    so i put it on my favourites.
    love
    mary

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