Buy This Not That: Chairs and Tiles


If you’ve been following the blog… or maybe I should say if you’ve read more than one post, you may have figured out that I’m a bit of an upholstered chair addict.  Don’t worry, there are support groups out there for people like me (it’s called Pinterest… it seems that only furthers the addiction though).  Anyway, I’m beginning to find out just how expensive of an addiction this is.  There are a few ways to obtain a good ole upholstered chair:

  1. Find a great deal on an old upholstered chair on Craigslist (usually sporting awesome 80s fabric).  Say you find a deal as good as we did (more on that here), with a small fee for the initial purchase of the chair plus upholstery, you’re looking at about $350-400.
  2. Reupholster an old, hand-me-down chair (look at our awesome hand-me-down chair transformation here) and upholstery will still run you in the neighborhood of $300.
  3. Give up the custom look for a retail option.  This doesn’t sound as glamorous but you can usually find a better deal…
… or so I thought until I really started perusing through my usual home decor sites for a nice, tufted, upholstered linen chair.  Much to my horror, a custom look was beginning to seem the cheap route… which seemed wrong to equate custom and cheap in the same sentence.  Something had to be done.
I love a good deal and was determined to find less expensive but still great-looking, quality alternatives that wouldn’t induce me to eating Ramen noodles for the remainder of the year and thus this blog topic idea was created.  We wanted to bring to light the fact that for every croon-worthy, wallet-stealing home decor/household item out there, there were other, more affordable options just waiting to be snatched up.  Without further ado, I bring you our newest segment, “Buy This Not That.”

Break-the-Bank Options:

Topping the list at just over a grand is…

Crate and Barrel, $1099

Pottery Barn, starting at $999

Pottery Barn, starting at $899

Ballard Designs, $867

Kathy Kuo Home, $698

We-Will-Still-Be-Able-to-Send-Our-Kids-to-College Options:

Overstock, $336.59

Wayfair, $269

Overstock, $250.19

Target, $125.91

And finally Modern Furniture, $180 for a set of 2 so $90 each!  That’s an insane price!  You could buy TWELVE of these chairs for the same price of the one Crate and Barrel chair at the top of the list.  Insanity.

Ah, don’t you feel better?  But wait!  There’s more!  Get ready to have your mind BLOWN.

So, I have been lusting after this Restoration Hardware chair for some time now.  After browsing through my list of expensive chairs, the price on this one, $495, probably doesn’t seem that bad, right?  Well, just you wait.

Restoration Hardware, $495

Ready for a shocker of all shockers?  See below for the less expensive alternative I found to the above chair.

Grandin Road, $239

Well, hello there Restoration Hardware chair’s long-lost twin.  Why, yes, I did notice you were over $250 less expensive and looked EXACTLY THE SAME.  Eep- I better not yell or someone will notice and change the price.  I dare you to beat me in throwing this chair in my virtual shopping cart!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, it seems that the awesome chair I found from Grandin Road, seen above, has now sold out and is no longer available.  *Cue disappointing sound effect.  If I find another one, I’ll be sure to post it!  If you’ve found any awesome deals on tufted rounded club chairs, please share as well!


I like to think I had a reasonable upbringing- my parents worked hard to make sure we had a comfortable lifestyle, but they also liked to pretend we were flat broke. I hated living in a house in Texas that had no A/C on the second floor (which, of course, they fixed after I moved out), but I have to say that a working knowledge of penny-pinching and “alternative engineering” has come in handy more than once, though I admit I’m probably lucky to have two five-fingered hands.

One money-saving skill I picked up from my parents is the ability to always find a cheaper version of whatever Julie wants, which really saved the bank when we remodeled our master bathroom (more on that later). Julie wanted travertine, which is of course one of the most expensive materials available. Prices for real travertine can easily exceed $5/sq. ft., and the thought of over $1000 covering the walls of the place I scrub dirt off myself really didn’t appeal to me. On top of that, it’s also very difficult to care for- it’s extremely fragile, extremely porous, and extremely difficult to keep clean. Needless to say, it’s not the ideal choice in materials for a shower.

As luck would have it, though, I stumbled upon the solution while perusing the aisles at Floor & Decor- travertine-look ceramic tiles. For less than $3/sq. ft., they were perfect. They had the look of the high-end natural stone Julie wanted as well as the convenience (and price tag) I wanted. Ceramics are some of the most durable materials on Earth, and since we’re prone to a lot of carelessness, it’s really a must-have for all relevant applications in our house. They even had mimicked pores and imperfections cast in to complete the look.

What Julie Wants:

Daltile Travertine Baja Cream, Home Depot, $6.71/sq ft

 What Julie Gets:
Antique White Porcelain Tile, Floor & Decor, $2.19/sq ft


Filed under Buy This Not That

2 responses to “Buy This Not That: Chairs and Tiles

  1. Cindy

    I was hoping you we’re going to mention somewhere in the Metroplex area where to buy tile at great prices. Prior to moving to Dallas we (I use that term loosely, since I did all the running around and pricing) updated our home in Colorado, it sold in 5 days. I wanted a high end look without breaking the bank. I found a place called a Natural Stone. Builders, tradesmen and flippers bought their tile from here, they were only open Monday – Friday…..products were higher end and their prices were better than Floor Decor, I was hoping to find such a place here, since I have bathrooms to redo as well as a kitchen to update. Appreciate any ideas or vendors you have used. Enjoy you Blog. Thanks

    • DO or DIY

      Hi Cindy,
      There are a few surplus builder supply stores around the area that offer home improvement products at a deep discount. Our favorite is Seconds and Surplus. If you find any others though, please share!


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