When Matt and I moved into this house, and we were about 95% sure that this would be our last house (Matt is 100% sure, I’m about 90%), I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t be super cheap all the time when it came to making decorating and design decisions. Yes, I want to be wise with how I spend my money. Yes, I love the challenge of getting the “look for less” by DIYing anything and everything that I can. But at the same time, since I do save thousands and thousands of dollars by DIYing just about everything myself, I wanted to give myself the freedom to splurge on things here and there if and when I thought that splurge would really make a difference in the room…or just make me happy.
But I’ll admit, splurging is difficult for me. When I want to splurge on something, I can always think of a thousand other things that I COULD be spending that money on. And of course, splurging has different meanings for all of us. For some, a splurge might be a $15,000 La Cornue range for your kitchen remodel. For others, a splurge might be a $200 cashmere throw for your bedroom. But regardless of where we are on that spectrum, we still have to decide what things are worthy of a splurge, and which things aren’t. So how do you decide?
I started thinking about this yesterday when I was looking for curtain rods for my dining room draperies. Yes…curtain rods. I know, it’s not really a thing that you’d think about when considering a splurge…or at least I generally wouldn’t. But the fact is that I’m having such a hard time finding something that I actually like at a reasonable price.
Generally when I want curtain rods, I head to Bed, Bath & Beyond and purchase their wood curtain rods, rings, and brackets. Those have been my favorites for YEARS. But they’re just not the right choice for the direction I’m going in my dining room. Stained wood curtain rods just aren’t really the look I want with my black draperies. I think they come in black, but black curtains on a black wood curtain rod…that’s just too much.
I’ve never really been a fan of metal curtain rods, but I’ve really come to love antique brass.
I think that antique brass curtain rods would look beautiful with black draperies! But finding reasonably priced antique brass curtain rods in the sizes that I need is not an easy task. I did find this Umbra brushed brass curtain rod from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
I think that the curtain rod itself is beautiful, and I really like the understated finials. But those brackets…ugh. I don’t like the way those look at all. I think they cheapen the look. And also the fact that the rings are clip ons and not made for drapery pins causes a problem, but I’m sure I can come up with a solution for that. And honestly, the brackets may not be a problem since I hang my draperies with a return that goes to the wall that will probably cover up most of the view of the bracket.
This option has two things going for it. First, the price. I can get everything I need for all three windows for about $220, including the rings! That’s a very reasonable (cheap, actually!) price for drapery hardware for three windows, especially when one window is 104 inches wide. And second, this is one of the only rods that I found that actually comes in a width larger than 120 inches. I like to hang my rods to allow for a stack back of about 12 inches in each side of the window (so that when open, the draperies don’t actually cover to much of the windows, but cover the wall so they don’t block out any light), which means that I need a curtain rod with a minimum width of 128 inches. Those are hard to find, but this one is available up to 180 inches.
But still…those brackets. No.
So I went in search of a higher quality antique brass curtain rod with nicer brackets, and I landed at Restoration Hardware. Of course, they have beautiful drapery hardware. And I think that the finish on their antique brass collection is gorgeous — much nicer than the Umbra hardware that looks a bit bright for my taste.
But talk about a splurge! For all of the hardware I would need for three windows, including the rods, brackets, and rings, the cost would be $866 with shipping. And that’s just for hardware! That doesn’t even include the actual cost of my draperies. I found linen for about $10/yard (at Gray Line Linen), and the lining will cost about $3.50/yard (I only buy when it’s 50% off at JoAnn), which puts my draperies at about $275. So my draperies with Restoration Hardware drapery hardware would come in at $1141. That seems really expensive to me.
Quite honestly, if this hardware was something that I really, really, REALLY loved, and I thought it would make or break my dining room design, I would pay that money. I’d grit my teeth while doing it, but I’d do it. But in reality, while I think it’s very pretty, I just don’t love it that much. Antique brass drapery hardware just isn’t something that gets me excited enough to want to splurge, even if the brackets are gorgeous.
So I went in search of another non-antique-brass and non-stained-wood option, and came across this amazingly beautiful option.
Yes, those are acrylic curtain rods with brass brackets. And they’re gorgeous. Now THAT is something I could get excited about! I called the company where Kristin got her acrylic rods, and the price has gone up since then. They’re now around $68 for an 8-foot 1.5-inch diameter cellcast acrylic rod (which they’ll cut and polish for you), plus shipping. That’s really a reasonable price per piece, but you have to buy the whole piece regardless of the actual length you need, and I would need four pieces for my windows. That’s $272, plus about $20 shipping. That doesn’t sound like a bad price at all, but of course, that doesn’t include the brackets. I love the brackets Kristin used, so those are the ones I would want. I need seven brackets at $17.20 each, so that adds another $120.40, not including shipping. So all of that, plus the cost of my draperies, would put my windows treatments for my dining room at just under $700.
Now I worked as an interior decorator for long enough to know that $700 for custom, fully lined, drapery workroom-quality draperies for an entire room (including two double-width panels for a 128-inch-wide window) is incredibly inexpensive. I had clients who spent thousands of dollars on window treatments for one room. But to my bargain-loving mind, $700 is a lot of money for window treatments, and that would certainly be a splurge.
So, I just don’t really know at this point what I want to do. Like I said, I generally have a hard time deciding when to splurge and when to go cheap. Sometimes splurges end up being a waste of money when they don’t have the impact you had hoped for. And sometimes going cheap comes back to haunt you when the item is poorly made and doesn’t hold up over time.
How do you decide when to splurge and when to keep it practical and inexpensive?