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SPLURGE: Fixtures and Appliances

"You don't want any maintenance issues with a faucet or a refrigerator," says Nate Berkus, a decorator and product designer (and Oprah fave, of course!). "Don't economize on something that's built into your house. Save on textiles and lighting—they're easy to swap, and you can find high quality at affordable prices."

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SPLURGE: A Good Sofa

"I've had one of my sofas for 12 years, and though it's been re-covered twice, I haven't had to do any work to the frame because it was so well made," says Berkus. He recommends pieces with eight-way hand-tied springs (which refers to the coils built into the frame—essential for proper support) and cushions stuffed with down mix, not polyfill. Interior designer and author Elaine Griffin adds, "Quality upholstery can last 20 or more years—longer than many marriages do."

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SPLURGE: Mattresses and Linens

"You spend a third of your life sleeping," says Griffin, "so it behooves you to buy the best mattress and box spring you can afford. You should splurge on sheets as well, though these days you can find high-quality European linens at discount stores like HomeGoods." Look for small stitching at the hems and a minimum 300 thread count.

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SPLURGE: Meaningful Objects

"Your home should tell the story of who you are, where you've been and what you love," says Berkus. "So if you see something you love or something that holds a wonderful memory for you, then price shouldn't be the primary concern."

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SAVE: Desks and Dining Tables

"Your desk chair supports you every day for hours, so invest in a good one," says Griffin. "Desks, on the other hand, don't take a big beating." Same goes for dining room tables: "When the table is set, it sort of disappears—you notice the chairs and the china so much more."

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SAVE: Headboards

Berkus suggests saving on an inexpensive upholstered headboard. "It doesn't help affect sleep comfort, but it adds polish to the room."

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SAVE: Window Treatments

"With a little homework, you can get the look of custom draperies without the price tag," says Berkus. "Keep it simple, measure correctly and remember that linen is linen, no matter where you get it." He recommends Target and Smith + Noble for affordable options.

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SAVE: Anything in Bold Colors

"If you get an orange sofa, I promise you'll be tired of it in five years," says Griffin. "That's why most sofas are neutral."

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SAVE: Throw Pillows

"You can spend $1,000 on a decorative pillow, or you can spend $30 and still make a statement," says Berkus. "It's so easy to switch them out and transform a room."

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SAVE: Children's Furniture

You don't want to sacrifice safety or comfort, but "don't spend too much on anything made for kids because they outgrow it, get bored with it or destroy it," says Griffin.

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SAVE: Flowers

"Fussy floral arrangements aren't necessary, especially when a dozen roses clipped short and arranged in a low vase can be very beautiful," says Berkus. "And they're $10 at the deli!"