December 8, 2011

cost versus quality: what’s worth it?

I have been on a real tear lately — and I don’t necessarily mean in a good way.   For some reason, I have had a spell of — shall we say — incidents … where I have been more than a little bit disappointed by the quality of a product received, especially considering the cost paid for said product.  While I would never name names — and I know that everyone can have a bad day — I’d like to know what you think.  I, for one, am tired of sending nasty-grams.

So let’s talk.  What products are worth the cost … and which ones aren’t?  You know, where there is a price “premium” — even though the product itself doesn’t have to be expensive — and the “premium” you pay is worth it … or not.  I’ll start.

Quality outdoor fabrics — especially if you want to use them indoors — are absolutely worth the cost.   This photo is a sneakety peek of a Lake Wylie breakfast room I recently installed … and that bolster is made from Pavimento, a gorgeous outdoor chenille from David Easton‘s collection for Lee Jofa.  Pavimento is so soft and beautiful that you would never, never, never guess that it is 100% acrylic and will wear like iron.  You just cannot get that feel in a less expensive version.

Soft, buttery leather upholstery — from companies such as Hancock & Moore — is worth every penny.  It will only look better as it wears.

Cheap, brittle leather — on the other hand — well, you’d be better off putting your money towards a quality upholstery fabric like Jumper.

Your turn.  Spill the beans!  What products are “worth it” in your book?


  • kristie@thedecorologist
    Dec. 08, 2011
    Good points here, Traci. I am also hoarding 100 watt light bulbs. I just don't get how anyone can stand the current energy-efficient options - light and color effect me sooo much.
  • Tawna Allred
    Dec. 08, 2011
    We've found that windows are one of the biggest culprits for being expensive and then letting us down on quality! We've found a great brand with a lifetime warranty that is 1/3 the cost of others, and it is the best window (we believe) out there! No names here as well.......
  • Sarah
    Dec. 08, 2011
    So funny that you mentioned the reveal bulbs. I actually don't like them as to me they give off a weird, unnatural purple tint. I have begun switching to the energy efficient ones and since I've been able to find a few that don't have a delay when turned on, I actually don't mind them. The thought that I'm helping save money and help the environment far outweighs the color. Plus, you can now get them with tinted glass around the actual bulb which helps a ton. Now, if only I could find one that dims I'd be set.
  • Nichole@40daysof
    Dec. 08, 2011
    I don't know have I have a list of products that are "worth it". Although, I will always pick up a Reveal bulb if it's a possibility. I'm just starting to understand the different qualities of fabrics. There's such a huge range! About nastygrams - My husband recently told me that he goes through our sent email box and reads mine! They are usually about rotten customer service. Apparently, he gets a kick out of them. Who knew my smack downs could be so entertaining? ;)
  • Holly
    Dec. 08, 2011
    We were just talking about the difference in light bulbs the other night in my class. This is such a great topic Tracy. And I'm sure I could come up with a few...I know in our near future is going to be a new sofa and this time I'm not skimping. We're going to go with quality, durability, and I know it's going to cost us a lot more than our current but it will be worth it (I hope). Another item (and not necessarily and item but a feature) is the soft closure on the kitchen cabinets we bought a few years ago. I was sort of hesitant about the extra expenditure for what I thought was a "fluff" type of feature, but it is WONDERFUL!!! I wish my cabinets with doors had it in addition to the drawers. I'm also still learning the difference in quality of fabrics, and understanding the craftsmanship that goes in to the product.
  • Naomi@Design Manifest
    Dec. 08, 2011
    I'm a light Nazi too! Though my big thing is dimmers. I constantly walking around my BF's house dimming things to just the right level. anywho... Loved this post! Keep 'em coming :)
  • Mike A
    Dec. 08, 2011
    Traci I fully agree on outdoor fabrics, a cheap one might be nice but you will be replacing it after a single season outside. On to lighting, I noticed that no one mentioned LED bulbs. Most are dim-able, they can be had in every color temperature, they are available for almost every application, and they use about 15W to produce 100W worth of light. The real drawback at the moment is the cost. OK so my list of things that are worth it: Cabinet hinges External Doorknobs Patio Furniture Kitchen sink fixtures I have more, but I don't want to rant.... :-)
  • Lisa Mende
    Dec. 08, 2011
    Great thought provoking post Traci! I feel the same as you and Emily's Dad about the light bulb situation. My husband and I are always arguing about them. He got the energy efficient box free from Duke Power last year. I hate them! ugh, not only are they dimmer, take forever to light up they are ugly to boot! As far as quality products, I find that a well made sofa is really important. I had a client a couple of years ago that didn't want to pay for the Lee Sofa that I chose for her so she opted for a Lazy Boy sofa. Needless to say, the next year she called and we ordered the sofa I had originally chosen. She found that the cheaper sofa began to show wear after only a couple of months and the cushions wouldn't hold their shape. I also feel that down inserts in pillows unless you have allergy are so much more comfortable than their foam counterparts. Another place I feel that money is well spent is in custom drapery. Drapery can make or break a room.
  • Tammy@InStitches
    Dec. 08, 2011
    I agree with Lisa on the pillow forms and custom drapery, they are more expensive but they are so worth it.
  • sherry hart
    Dec. 13, 2011 sofas in high use areas. a LR you can cut cost...go for the look. But in your den it is so important to get good cushions. Dimmers are also very important to me. With all of the overhead lights these days you could land a plane when they are full blast. Down pillow forms. A must. Period.

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