Cushions… or clothes? Clothes… or cushions? If it was the law and you had to choose, which would you buy? I've got friends who insist they'd always pick cushions: "I'm so over fashion and following trends.” And then, equally, I have friends with wardrobes the size of London, who might as well be living in a Travelodge going by the attention they pay to their homes.
Obviously, I have many other friends who sit in the middle – and that includes me. Except, if it was the law and I was forced to make a choice, I would obviously have to do jail time and pick both.
Sadly, at the moment “both” isn't an option, as I'm trying to save the pennies, although this is proving to be doubly tricky because the summer sales are on. As we all know, a cheeky lunchtime zip around Zara is the only thing that gets anyone through a Monday, and when there are discounts to be had, it makes the day even better.
But this time of year is when I am also reminded of an old colleague, Ben, who once told me in no uncertain terms that I was wasting my money on summer clothes in the sale and who, one lunchtime, frogmarched me to House Of Fraser to make me look at bedlinen.
This time every July, Ben’s words pop into my head. And this time every July, I go out and find some brilliant interiors gems I never regret.
Don't take my word for it, though – have a look for yourself. If you are prepared to tear yourself away from the park and venture into a hot, stuffy showroom, you'll most likely be rewarded by a quiet shop and bored shop assistants who’ll tend to your every need. You'll also find bargains galore, especially on big-ticket items such as sofas and beds.
Habitat, House of Fraser, Dwell, Zara Home and Made are all worth a punt, with the first two offering some really good discounts right now. The DIY chains also have currently got some good offers on garden furniture – if you're a gambler though, wait until the end of the summer and chance your arm at stock clearance.
If you venture into a hot, stuffy showroom this time of year, you'll most likely be rewarded by a quiet shop and bored shop assistants who’ll tend to your every need
In fact – and I have no science and only experience to back this up – I think the summer sales are better than the January ones, as the discounts seem to be better. Also, unlike summer clothes, you’ll use your new homes purchases all year round, plus they won’t go out of fashion as quickly – stores might have you believe that you need to change your home with the seasons, but you don’t. Buy a sofa because a certain colour is "so hot right now" and not because you truly love it, and you are setting yourself up for an expensive fall.
I'm not saying you have to live a life of beige, but we’ve all been around the block enough to know it's savvier to be more conservative on bigger items and express yourself on the smaller stuff you can change. And by that I mean smaller stuff like cushions, and not clothes.
Which is another reason why you need to be giving the homes sales a spin this week and, who knows, you might even find so many bargains you can squeeze in a little Zara shop while you’re at it, too.
Don't tell anyone, but I might join you.