[ The Money Side of Lifeā„¢ ]

Interior Affair: Furnishing a pad with pricey non-essentials

By Jennie Bartlemay on October 31st, 2010 •

For us it's a big deal when we upgrade a hand-me-down chair or side-walk-sale couch for something new -- even ifit comes from a Swedish super mart and takes two hours to put together. For others, the problem isn't scrounging and saving for new furniture, but keeping themselves from spending obscene amounts of money on it; take for example a $21,975 sectional sofa from Unica Home. Then again, based on all the other furnishings these big spenders purchase, it doesn't look like they try very hard.

Midnight snacks

When the time comes, you might have to walk into a Sears store and drop several hundred dollars on a refrigerator. They're expensive, and it's to be expected. However, those with money to burn and friends to impress may choose to walk into a Northland store and put down $14,144 on a refrigerator/freezer. It seems a little overkill when that money would buy about five commercial refrigerators from KaTom Restaurant Supply, each with the same amount of space as the one from Northland. Perhaps they need a luxury refrigerator to keep all that luxury ketchup cold.

Fortress of solitude

In the master bedroom, those Northland refrigerator owners might consider a Once Upon A Dream Bed from Posh Living for $10,720. Add a $3,299 queen-size Select Foam Grandis HD mattress and they're laying on a bed more expensive than some new cars. If the momentum is already going, they might as well shop at luxury linen provider frette.com to pick up sheet sets for four figures and an Aurea Mink Throw for $28,000. It's perfectly reasonable to spend thousands of dollars on something to enjoy while unconscious.

Under the sea

If the place is going to be posh, it has to have an aquarium. There are several high-end aquarium design companies on the market and all of their products are beautiful -- so much so that most don't list price tags for their designs. That usually indicates a lot of zeros. For example, the outlet Fish Gallery had a "special" on a custom 1,400 gallon Acrylic Aquarium by Acrylic and Glass Exhibits. The reduced sale price was a mere $49,999 from the original $125,000 tag, and that probably doesn't include installation or the fish, and definitely not the monthly (or more frequent) service through the life of the tank.


Even without an aquarium, there are other ways to enjoy water in the house. Soak in a $53,210 Medicis copper bathtub by Herbeau. Or enjoy a quick scrub down in a Manhattan steam shower by Aquapeutics that only costs $3,299. Then there is the must-have, almost $3,000 Toto Neorest 600 toilet on which they can do their business. It's the first intelligent toilet, both hands free and self cleaning. For hands-on people, there is cashmere toilet paper available from British supermarket chain Waitrose for $3.54 for a four pack. If the standard white TP doesn't match the décor, there is colored, "fashionable" toilet paper from Renova for almost $3 per roll. Of course hand washing is a must. Thank goodness for the beautifully detailed, $2,800 poppy-inspired pedestal sink designed by Clark Sorensen. It's not like a plain old sink would get hands just as clean.

The Bottom Line

There are millions of designs and items available to outfit a home. It will mean more if you make it your own by spending time choosing items that suit your style, rather than spending money to show off someone else's.

Sources: unicahome.com; poshliving.com; selectfoam.com; thefishgallery.com; herbeau.com; totoneorest.com; renovaonline.net; clarkmade.com; katom.com; autotropolis.com; usnews.com; frette.com;; waitrose.com; aquapeutics.com; buyplumbing.net; luxist.com