Splurge vs. Save: The Ultimate Guide to Furnishing a Home for New Parents

Whether you're prepping your home for kids or pets, choose pieces that can stand up against diapers and drool, galore.

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June 03, 2019
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Splurge: Durable Flooring

Flooring costs will floor you, folks. Even the most budget-friendly materials can come with a hefty price tag depending on the square footage of your home. Our top tip? Invest in floors that cater to your family and lifestyle. Engineered hardwoods are our go-to for pet and human parents alike because, unlike traditional hardwoods, engineered flooring is crafted specifically to be moisture blocking and scratch resistant. In other words, scratchy paws and sticky fingers don’t stand a chance against these dreamy and durable floors.

Save: Easy-to-Clean Rug

Not ready to splurge on new floors? Pet proof and child guard your current floor situation with a few easy-to-clean area rugs. Avoid unsightly rips and unsavory scents by sticking to a low-pile rug that you can easily vacuum and spot clean. Outdoor rugs are great picks because they are, quite literally, designed to withstand the elements. What more could you hope for in a rug that’s going toe-to-toe with your toddler and/or terrier mix?

Splurge: Leather Sofa

Leather sofas are your best bet for comfort and style during the stage of your life that’s heavily influenced by drooling dogs and/or dirty diapers. The durable material has long been associated with high-end furniture and for good reason. Leather is beloved by many because of its natural resistance to punctures and tears. Another biggie? Unlike your dream linen sofa, leather furniture is ultra-easy to wipe clean after accidents.

Save: Washable Slipcover

Save your beloved sofa from BC (before children) with a stylish slipcover. Choose your slipcover in a resilient fabric like canvas and pick a hue that minimizes the wear and tear of everyday life. Hot tip: Select a shade that matches your pets’ coats to better disguise the remnants of their seasonal shedding.

Splurge: Built-In Play Structures

Inspire fun in your kiddo’s room with custom, built-in play structures. This crisp white bedroom is fully loaded with a colorful climbing wall, an illuminated reading tunnel, a loft bed and a cozy craft nook. Investing in sturdy built-in structures lets you coordinate the look of the playroom with the rest of your home, and provides your kids with a safe and secure space to play with friends.

Save: Play Tent and Craft Table

Infuse fun into your kids’ space with individual accents like the whimsical reading tent and pint-sized activity table featured in this airy nursery. This budget-friendly alternative to built-in structures is great because it allows parents to adjust the room design as their child grows and evolves. Not to be overlooked: Lightweight play sets are easy to store out of sight or break down for routine deep cleans.

Splurge: Performance Fabric Upholstery

Designing your kiddo’s room? Two words, friends: Performance. Fabric. If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on custom cushions for your child’s room, be sure you invest in cushions that can withstand your child’s sticky and spill-prone hands. Use this adorable nook as your inspiration. The cozy corner features a sweet reading bench that’s upholstered in a pretty, coral-y pink performance fabric.

Save: Synthetic Rattan Furniture

For the parents of chronically accident-prone children, skip the soft surfaces altogether. Swap the traditional pretty pink glider for a statement-making synthetic rattan swing. The free-spirited and budget-friendly material is ideal for messy family members because it’s used most often outdoors in the form of weatherproof furniture.

Splurge: Fully Loaded Mudroom

It’s safe to say that a mudroom equipped with custom storage and a subway-tiled doggie shower is the ultimate pet parent dream, right? A luxe mudroom may not be at the top of your project list, but perhaps it should be. Creating a designated shower spot to wash off your messy, muddy pup will lead to a happier household. Think of it like this: Clean paws result in clean carpets, and clean carpets result in very happy pet parents.

Save: Creative Catch-All Station

Paying for new plumbing may be out of the question. Our solution? Create an organized catch-all station for all your pet necessities and set it up in your garage or by the back door. This rolling cubby storage is loaded with labeled treats, baskets of toys and grooming essentials to maintain a happy and handsome pup. Recreate a similar mobile setup at home and customize the compartments based on your family’s ever-evolving needs.

Get the How-To: Build Your Own Multifunctional Storage Cubby

Splurge: Out-of-Reach Light Fixtures

A great rule of thumb for parents is to only invest in expensive accents that are completely out of reach for your child or pet. If they can reach it, they can smash it, knock it over and slobber all over it. And trust us, they will. Sidestep all the sunken costs and splurge on a dazzling ceiling light instead. The classic, beaded chandelier in this romantic girl’s room is an example of money well spent because it will remain stylish and fresh as the rest of the design evolves over the years.

Save: Bleach-Friendly Bedding

Snag a pricey light fixture for your kids’ room and still come in under budget on your project by sticking to simple, white bedding. White may seem counterintuitive when it comes to a household full of kiddos and pets, but it may be your best bet for beating the inescapable stains that come with parenthood. Simply put, if the bedding you’re eyeing isn’t bleach-friendly, it isn’t for you, boo. You need bedding that you can toss in the wash multiple times a week that comes out looking fresh and new, every time.

Splurge: Built-In Playroom Storage

An investment in stylish storage is always money well spent in our books. Consult a professional to create customized cabinetry for storage in the kids’ playroom. Not only will the results provide a sense of order to the chaos that’s synonymous with playrooms, but the custom cabinetry can easily evolve from toy storage to a place to stash school supplies.

Save: DIY Bench and Floating Shelves

Pinch pennies and create ample storage yourself with a DIY bench and fresh, floating shelves. Take notes from this stunning space and store colorful paperback books along the shelves to bring a pop of color into the playroom. Add a comfy upholstered cushion to the bench to create additional seating for reading or taking a breather during playtime.

Watch the Video: Built-In for a Guest Room

Splurge: Built-In Pet Crates

Plan for your pups when remodeling your kitchen or designing your dream home. Invest in custom, built-in crates to keep your pets secure and cozy throughout the day and night. This stunning, sun-filled utility space accounts for the family Labradors with roomy crates that fit flush beneath the sleek, black countertop.

Save: Stylish DIY Dog Bed Cover

Create a wallet-friendly, washable pet bed cover over the weekend. Be sure to choose a fabric that stands up to the wash and select a print or pattern that mirrors the style of your home. This pretty pup appears snug as a bug in her custom, farmhouse-inspired bed, and we adore the way the blue-and-white fabric pairs seamlessly with the antique accents used in the space.

Get the How-to: Pet Projects: Make a DIY Dog Bed

Splurge: Smudge-Proof Paint

Parents, it is paramount to paint your walls with a plan. Pay the extra money upfront for smudge-resistant paint to avoid walls that are impossible to clean and look dirtier by the day. Our rule of thumb for paint shopping as parents is to avoid matte paints in high-traffic areas, and the glossier the paint finish, the better. Glossy finishes prove to be more resistant to unsightly scuffs and are easier to wipe clean.

Save: Peel-and-Stick Temporary Wallpaper

Make a bold statement on a budget with a flashy, temporary wallpaper wall in your kids’ room. This tropical motif is an amazing option because it’s sure to disguise the wear and tear. Once it becomes dirty or outdated, simply strip the wall and replace with an updated print, or coat the entire room with the pricey, smudge-proof paint.

From: Bri Moysa

Splurge: Plantation Shutters

Safety is a top priority for all parents, so cordless window treatments should be a top priority. Pinch your pennies and invest in timeless plantation shutters for your home. The durable, built-in design will provide your family with privacy and filter the sun to ensure long-lasting naptimes. Another pro? Plantation shutters are far less prone to pet damage than typical builder-grade blinds.

Save: DIY Roman Shades

Roman shades as the cost-effective option? Yes, you read that correctly. Save money while still achieving stylish and safe window treatments by creating our DIY Roman shades. Customize your shades to your color palette and keep them rolled up during the day to avoid any marks from your window-patrolling pets.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Roman Shade From a Bed Sheet