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When we started this project, the decision was made early on that we would have that one item that we would splurge on. It started out as the sink, then I found the great deal. Next was the dining room set, and then that was settled. Item after item we decided to splurge on has changed time after time.
There are a couple of places you honestly should not scrimp on, but you might find a good deal all the same. First and foremost please, please, please do not use cheap paint. This is not to say that you cannot find incredible deals on good paint, but do not use bargain paint. If you are using Wal-Mart paint, get Kilz. If you are using Home Depot, go with Behr. I prefer Glidden, but Duron, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are all excellent choices. First, check the mistint section of the store. Our Glidden dealer sells mistint paint for as little as $4 a gallon. This is an incredible deal, since you are getting $30/gallon paint for basically pennies on the dollar. Also check out the Habitat Restores for paint. Last time I was there, quarts were 25 cents, gallons were $1 and 5 gallon buckets were $5. I got 2 quarts of neutral colors that would basically match everything I have. I had no specific purpose for these, but knew they would come in handy eventually, so they went into my paint stash. Even if you cannot find the color you want, spend $10 more and get good paint. It will go on better, cover better, and the end results will be so much better. There is a reason professionals use good paint. It is definetly one of those areas where you will get your money's worth.
Our big splurge on the current project is going to be reproduction door knobs for our hallway. Since the hallway connects to the dining room and is very visible, it is the perfect touch that will tie in the vintage look we are trying to replicate. We choose to do these because, honestly, we were at the end of the list of things we need to find. We only need four sets, so even though we are not using simple $10 sets, we will not be buying tons of them. I guess this does make it a little easier to stomach paying $40 a set.
The beauty of knowing when and what to choose for budget blowers is a fine line. Some people might rather have gorgeous electrical faceplates for all of their switches/sockets. Since we needed 22 socket covers and 7 switch covers, I honestly could not see paying $5 each for them, when the basic model was only 27 cents each. $145 versus $7.29 was a no-brainer while I was standing in the aisle. I just knew that it was not an area I was particular about. I honestly did not think that the difference was worth the price. However, if it is what "makes the room" in your vision, GO FOR IT! You may not have that many to purchase, which would make it much more economical.
Other than paint, there is no right or wrong item to splurge on. I think every great project needs one splurge, no matter how small. Even if no one else notices it, every time you see that one thing you love, it will make your heart sing. Your home should make your heart sing! So find that one detail, and be your own conductor!