Save or splurge: The living room

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.

Panasonic<br>TH-50PX600U 50-inch<br>720p plasma | $1,500
Television
Panasonic
TH-50PX600U 50-inch
720p plasma | $1,500
Save or spend: Save
These days, LCD and plasma flat-panel TVs offer similar picture quality for similar prices. The X-factor now is resolution, or pixels making up the screen.

On both you can get the highest available, 1080p, which has about 2 million pixels. But these TVs run up to $1,000 more than 720p sets (which have 1 million pixels) with the same screen size.

And 1080p content is still scarce, warns Ross Rubin, analyst at the NPD Group. Besides, from a normal viewing distance, "the difference is difficult to detect in a TV 50 inches or smaller." (Most rooms don't call for bigger sets.)

Save on pixels; 720p will give you a clear image. Enhance the sharpness with this Panasonic 720p plasma, which has been praised for its contrast.

Television

Theater

Cables

sofa

Blinds

Coffee table

Flowers
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)
The office If you're going to take your work home, shell out for a decent seat. (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.