Your Dining Room: Where to Splurge and Where to Save

Although having an unlimited budget to dress up our  may sound appealing, the truth is, there are ways to get the look you love even when saving money. We spoke recently about the trend of comparison in our digital world and how we may wish for those beautiful architectural features we see in magazines or we may wish we had all the latest trendy products. But, most of us do live in the real world and we may have modest budgets to update our homes.

This, of course, doesn’t mean you can’t have a dining room that you feel proud to invite guests to – or simply enjoy using for family meals. It just means prioritising those things that are more important and saving on others. But what items should you be giving more of your budget to? Where should you save and where should you splurge when designing your dining room? Read on to find out…

Splurge: Dining Table

original rustic dining room

Source: Oak Furniture Land Original Rustic Range

As the star of the space and the piece that features most prominently in your room, consider spending a little more to get exactly what you want. A well-made table – whether it’s for 2 or for 8 – will set the mood for the entire room so it’s worth spending a little more to get the perfect piece.

Most people will keep their dining table for 10 years or more so it’s an investment piece and should be built to last. The highest qualities tables can become cherished heirlooms, passed down generations to be enjoyed for many decades. Check out our quality selection here.

Save: Glassware

wine glasses on coffee table cart

Source: Crate & Barrel

While heavy-bottomed or stemless wine glasses will likely mean fewer spills or accidents, you certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good quality glassware. A simple and classic shaped wine goblet or glass tumblers can be purchased inexpensively and will still look great on the table. Consider your local supermarket who will often sell glasses in packs of 4 for less than a few pounds each (and you won’t feel bad if something gets broken whilst doing the washing up!).

Splurge: Dining Chairs

original rustic dining set close up

Source: Oak Furniture Land Original Rustic Range

You’ll always know you’ve had a great night if you find yourself sitting around the table as a family or entertaining guests long after the last of the dishes have been cleared. But sitting for a couple of hours in a chair that makes your bum go numb will mean those conversations get cut short as people retire to another room.

Make sure you and your family or guests are comfortable in good quality dining chairs with padded seats and back support. Your bum will thank you for it.

Save: Table Linens

patterned tablecloth

Source: H&M

While the finest linens may grace Michelin-star restaurants world-wide, there’s no real reason you have to spend a lot of money on things like table cloths, placemats or napkins. Simple cotton fabrics will do the job just fine and you can even consider making them yourself from a few meters of a fabric you love. Consider layering a few complimenting pieces over each other for an eclectic casual elegance.

Splurge: Large Storage Pieces

original rustic dining set with cabinet

Source: Oak Furniture Land Original Rustic Range

Back to those things that create the most visual weight in a room, larger storage pieces are certainly worth spending a little more on, especially if they are used frequently or display your finest pieces. Cheaply made units made of MDF may bow or sag under the weight of heavy crockery and are usually a false economy in the long run if you find yourself replacing it after just a couple of years’ use.

Consider choosing those pieces which are made to last – like our sturdy Original Rustic Range which is made of solid hardwoods with dovetail joints. Again, these kinds of pieces will last decades if cared for and will be classic pieces that will rarely – if ever – need replacing.

Save: Mix and Match Plates

blue dinnerware on blue tablecloth

Source: H&M

While fine bone china may have been at the top of our mother’s wedding day present wish list, there’s less priority for ‘dishes for best’ these days. There are really good quality pieces on the market now which don’t have to cost the earth but look wonderful on the dinner table.

Consider building a collection using inexpensive plain white dishes as the base and then mix and match with smaller patterned or coloured side plates to give a more expensive finish without a lot of outlay.

Splurge: Overhead Light Fixture

overhead light fixture in dining room

Source: Adore Magazine / Photography: Hannah Blackmore  /  Styling: Claudia Stephenson  /  Interior: Kristine Jenkins 

There’s really nothing worse than a tiny, weedy light above a large dining table. If you are looking to invest, consider a slightly oversized fixture to really give your space a bit of the wow-factor.

If your table is especially large, you can also consider hanging two or more pendants to draw the eye upward and ensure your light is evenly distributed. Whatever you decide, be sure to put your light on a dimmer switch when enjoying a meal. No one likes to feel like they are under interrogation while trying to enjoy their after-dinner coffee!

Save: Table Lamps

original rustic dining set with lamp

Source: Oak Furniture Land Original Rustic Range

For every room, you should have multiple light sources so while your overhead light will be the one to give the most visual impact in the room, other lights can simply play a supporting role. If your budget is tight, then a few less expensive lamps dotted on a sideboard or console table will still cast a warm glow in your space.

Splurge: Wallpaper and Paint

graham and brown wallpaper

Source: Graham & Brown

While you can, of course, purchase very inexpensive low-range paint and wallpaper, these are normally a false economy. With cheap paints, as there is less pigment, you’ll need more paint to cover the same area that a higher quality paint will cover with ease. Cheaper wallpapers rarely contain the depth of colour and pattern you’ll find in the mid-range and thinner, cheaper papers are more likely to rip or swell when installing. So consider spending just a bit more to make both jobs a little easier.

For a dining room, you can get away with something a little more dramatic so why not consider the recent trend for dark florals and pair with a deeper paint colour as well?

Save: Accessories

home accessories on dining tables

Source: H&M Home

And finally, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money dressing up your dining room. A few simple vases filled with flowers from your own garden, books from your library or coffee table, a simple candle or two and a few picture frames can all be picked up inexpensively to accessorise the space.

Consider filling a bowl with fruit as a centrepiece and use some inexpensive votive candles for a little ambience and you’ll be all set.


So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to save money when creating your ideal dining room so that you can leave a little more in the budget for those things that are most important. What do you splurge on and what do you save on in your own dining room?