Save or splurge: The kitchen

To get the most for your money, you need to know two things: when the good stuff is worth paying extra for and when the economy choice is plenty good enough.

Plain & Fancy custom cabinets<br>Kitchens start at $30,000
Cabinets
Plain & Fancy custom cabinets
Kitchens start at $30,000
Save or spend: Spend
Cabinets that cost less than $150 a linear foot may look fine when you install them, but it won't take long for them to seem tired.

"The doors will get out of whack and the drawers will fall apart," says kitchen designer Kathy Marshall of South Hamilton, Mass.

In order to offer low prices, manufacturers use pressed board instead of solid wood, plastic drawer glides instead of metal ones.

You'll pay a lot more for the hardwood and handcrafting of cabinets by the likes of Plain & Fancy. But if these start fading - in 20-some years - they'll be sturdy enough that they can easily be refreshed with a coat of paint.

Refrigerator

Microwave

Pepper Mill

Knives

Cabinets

Disposal

Processor

Pots and pans
The living room It doesn't take a Hollywood budget to feel like you've got front-row seats. (more)
The bedroom You spend a third of your life in bed. Why skimp on the mattress? (more)
Wardrobe How to look like a million bucks without breaking the bank. (more)
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.