I need to warn you that the picture I am going to show you is not pretty, and may cause eye sore and shock. I don't even believe it myself when I dug this up from my hard drive. But no, it's very real - this was once my living room.
I am a bargain hunter and I am not shamed of being one. I've always been on the hunt for designer pieces at a thrift store price tag. But along the way of developing my home decor buying skills, I've made tons of mistakes, and added them up may actually cost more than a quality designer piece to start with.
All the pieces you see in the above picture: the print canvas over the mantel from HomeSense, the oval fabric ottoman from Home Depot, the cream drapery from Fabricland, the lousy DIY pillows on the couches, etc., they are all gone. Altogether, they might only add up to the cost of one Eames walnut stool, but the efforts behind hauling them into the house, the headaches associated with putting them on CList, and the time wasted and risks of having strangers in and out of my house buying them ended up costing me a lot more.
The lesson learnt is never to rush to fill up a room with cheap and disposal pieces like I did. Instead, you should take your time learning what you want from a room and envision what you want it to look like. Don't be afraid to rip out a page from a magazine and start to design a lookalike; leverage design boards like Pinterest to help you visualize what a room would end up like with all the elements you pick out. At the end you might still manage to score quality pieces at afford prices, but you are for sure going to enjoy them more and longer.
Three years later this is what my living room looks like, and I am still happy with all the choices I've later made.
So do you have any buying price over quality experience? Do share.