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Where to Save & Splurge in Your Home: Charlotte, NC Interior Designers Weigh In |

Where to Save & Splurge in Your Home: Charlotte, NC Interior Designers Weigh In

With the new year approaching faster than seems possible, it’s nice to think about starting fresh in a lot of ways. Sometimes that can mean just a simple refresh for some of your favorite spaces … it doesn’t have to be a complete design do-over. We chatted with some of Charlotte, North Carolina’s most popular interior designers about where to splurge and where you can save and still get a new look for your home in the new year.

Traci Zeller Interiors

Traci Zeller of the eponymous Traci Zeller Interiors has been working as an interior designer in Charlotte for more than 14 years and says her style is a balance of modernity with tradition, transcending time and trends. “I create chic and classic interiors for modern, well-lived lives,” she explains. “I adore both old homes and new homes that look like they could be old homes.”

Traci Zeller of Traci Zeller Interiors | Image: A Beautiful Mess


Rugs: “Beautifully patterned carpet, bound to the appropriate size, is often less expensive than an area rug of the same size.”

Bedding: “Everyday bedding gets significant wear and tear and must withstand frequent cleaning; save more delicate or expensive fabrics for Euro sham or decorative bolsters.”

Traci recommends thoughtfully selecting bedding based on use — use more expensive fabrics on the parts that don’t receive the most wear and tear. Image: Dustin Peck

Dinnerware: “I love many of today’s dinnerware and glassware patterns; you can find a great look at just about every price point. Don’t forget vintage finds; you can purchase even fine china and crystal patterns for a steal.”

Seasonal decorating/trends: “It’s so much more important to invest in quality pieces that you will love and enjoy every day than it is to layer trendy or seasonally themed accents. For the most ‘bang for the buck,’ focus on what you see and use the most — not something that will be displayed at most for one month out of the year or immediately look overdone because it’s available in every big box retailer.”


Lighting and original art: Traci says to buy the best possible of both that fits your budget. “These investment pieces are often what elevates a home to extraordinary.”

A splurge on artwork, for Traci, is always worthwhile! Image: Nathan Schroder

Lighting greatly impacts the overall feel of a room, so Traci recommends investing in these pieces. Image: Dustin Peck

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Jacqueline Wheeler Interiors

Jacqueline Wheeler of Jacqueline Wheeler Interiors does it all — working with homeowners from the construction phase straight through to design, often helping with major remodels. “My style is timeless modern with a little kick of funk,” she says, admitting that she loves a good pop of color. She also says hiring a designer can actually save you money. “I can’t tell you how many clients we have who have tried to do it on their own and have wasted money on things they don’t love or that don’t work in the space. There is a designer for almost every budget.”

Jacqueline Wheeler of Jacqueline Wheeler Interiors | Image: Cass Bradley


DIY: “Paint your old wood furniture to give it new life. Pick a fun accent color and go crazy!”

Reupholster: “Dining room chairs, headboards, etc., are very simple to do on your own. YouTube has excellent tutorials.”

Accessories: “You can shop at HomeGoods for things like lamps, rugs, pillows and other accessories.”

Look for accessories at places like HomeGoods to spruce up a space! 


Sofas: “A well-made sofa will stand the test of time. And with the wonderful performance fabrics that are on the market now, they can withstand kids and pets!”

She also believes you should splurge on original art and beautiful light fixtures.

A sofa is an investment piece that will last for years and years to come. 

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Heather Grey Interiors

Heather, owner of Heather Grey Interiors, has been working as a designer for more than 20 years, focusing on residential work and boutique spas. She also works with homeowners during the construction process to help select everything from cabinetry to flooring. Heather says while she tries to adapt to her client’s style, she definitely has an edge. “Eclectic is probably overused in this industry, but for a good reason. One of the keys to creating interesting rooms is mixing styles and layering pieces to add richness and warmth. I have helped my clients create spaces ranging from a shabby chic, cozy family room to a boutique spa with an ultra-luxe glam aesthetic.”

Heather Grey of Heather Grey Interiors


Chairs: “You can spend $800 or $80 on a dining room chair and see virtually no difference. Get sturdy, comfortable chairs at places like HomeGoods for around $100 and save your money for the table or rug.”

Window treatments: “With the current trend being simple, straight panels for window dressing, there is no need to spend thousands on intricate custom draperies. Ready-made drapery panels can literally be found everywhere and are easily installed. Make sure you buy them as long as your ceiling height will allow, and always install the rod right under the crown molding to make the most of your height.”

Artwork: “If you have plenty of disposable income and want to invest in original artwork, then do that. There’s nothing better than original artwork to give your home that unique, high-end look. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for that at this time, there is great wall decor to be found at places like HomeGoods, Wayfair, local art fairs, Etsy, etc. Try to buy pieces with frames. It will give them a more expensive look!”

Pillows: “I think of pillows as short-term investments. Change them out every season or two to completely change the vibe of a room. You shouldn’t be spending more than about $20 to $30 for accent pillows.”

Lamps: “Similar to artwork, you can find great deals on lamps at places like HomeGoods, Target or Wayfair. You should be able to find great lamps for under $100!

Heather recommends checking stores like HomeGoods to find durable, sturdy chairs at a “save” price.

RELATED: A Warm and Soothing Home with Bright Design Details


Furniture: “I always advise clients to invest in the best quality furniture they can afford for key areas such as the dining room table or the master bedroom. Buy only pieces that you love! It’s much better to splurge on a piece you will love and hold onto forever than to waste a few hundred dollars on a cheap piece from IKEA that will fall apart or get tossed in the dumpster the next time you move. I also love to see higher quality rugs in common areas such as family rooms.”

Art: “I know I also put art in the ‘save’ category, but this is also a great place to splurge. An original piece of art that you love will bring you happiness forever! Check our Art House Charlotte for wonderful original art that is surprisingly affordable!”

Art is an area where Heather says you can either save or splurge — if you have the budget, though, it will stick with you for many years and is worth the investment!

And there you have it! Update your home with confidence this season.


For more home inspiration, click here!

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