'Queer Eye' star Bobby Berk refuses to 'overspend' on this home decor essential

Bobby Berk and "hero" on "Queer Eye" season 5.
Courtesy Ryan Collerd/Netflix

In each episode of Netflix's hit reality show "Queer Eye," the experts help a new person transform their life in meaningful ways. Each "hero" gets new clothes, a flattering haircut, some food advice, and help as they make progress toward self-actualization and fulfillment. 

But the most emotional part of each episode is often when design expert Bobby Berk unveils the home makeover. Navy walls, cozy bedding, a modern chandelier: These changes can bring the hero and viewers to tears. 

The big reveal might also inspire viewers to shop for items to spruce up your own space, a process that can quickly become very expensive. But Berk says not everything you buy for your house has to be high-end. In fact, the one thing he says people shouldn't spend a ton of money on also tends to be one of the more expensive home decor purchases: rugs. 

"I think people often overspend on rugs, and you're literally walking all over it," he says. "You don't need to spend a ton of money on a rug." 

Why affordable rugs are a better bargain 

"It used to be that printed rugs were super-tacky and they didn't look good, but the technology has gotten so much better where you can get a printed rug that looks like a woven rug, and you can get an 8'x10' for $100," Berk says. 

Rugs used to only look good if they were handmade with expensive materials, he says, but now machines can make sophisticated looking rugs with less expensive materials. These are the rugs your probably see at places like Target or Ikea. 

A common reason shoppers spend more on rugs is also because cheaper rugs have the reputation of shedding more, Berk says. That is true, but it doesn't have to be a deal-breaker. 

"There is a huge difference in the quality between a $20,000 rug and a $100 rug, but unless you're a multimillionaire you don't need an expensive rug," he says. 

Unless you're a multimillionaire, you don't need an expensive rug.
Bobby Berk
Design Expert on 'Queer Eye'

Berk, personally, buys from Flor, a brand that lets shoppers build a rug tile-by-tile, using what patterns and sizes they want. 

Although "they're not on the cheap-cheap side," he says, you can keep costs down while also customizing your order. For example, one cobalt blue tile at Flor is $24, meaning that if you wanted to make a  5'x7' rug, the total cost would be $288. 

Cheaper rugs can be an easy way to freshen up a room 

Instead of buying one high-end rug, Berk says he likes to distribute that money over a few, more affordable options. Having multiple rugs on hand can be a good way to freshen up a room without buying anything new. 

"I like changing my rugs out by season and by mood," he says. "I like to spend less money on rugs, so that way I can maybe get a few of them and move them from room to room when I want to change the look of the room without having to go out and buy new stuff."

The best part is that they are easy to store, he says: "You just roll them up real tight and slide them under a bed, and when your mood changes in a few months, get one out and change up your room again." 

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