Dollar Store Style

Free Decorating Ideas and Tips by Marlene Alexander

Kitchen and Bath




Don't throw out those zippered plastic cases that your new sheet sets or blankets came in. They make great places to store other linens. A fleece sheet set came in the one pictured and I've been using it as a place to store my Christmas linens ever since. The whole package doesn't take up much space in my linen closet and tablecloths, napkins, fingertip towels, oven mitts and cushion covers for the Christmas season are all kept together in one place. 


Rather than buying specially designed tissue boxes for the season, make your own using Christmas tape (on the green box) or scrapbook borders. I lucked out and found a booklet of Christmas-themed scrapbook borders by Martha Stewart for only $1.50 at Dollarama. The plainer store brand tissue boxes work best for this purpose as the patterns are less busy.



You know all those paper wine bags you collected last year around this time? Re-purpose some of them into different sized gift bags. Cut them to the height you need, fold the tops down about an inch inside the bag and use a one-hole punch to accommodate a ribbon, rope or cord hanger.


I find that the Slide Seal storage bags are just as good as the more expensive brand and are terrific for storing everything from small craft pieces to Christmas decorations. Last season, I stored my snowman fridge magnets in a small Slide Seal bag to be sure that the pieces would stay together and be easily found this year. 


Often, cupcake liners from the dollar store come with decorations to stick in the top of the finished cupcakes. Instead, you can put them in a shot glass to use as appetizer picks. Besides being useful, they'll help to dress up your buffet table this holiday season.


Use cellophane treat bags as you would basket wrap for small gifts like this mug filled with candy treats. This would make a good party favour, too.  Instead of tying the ribbon, I used a mini clothespin decoration to hold it on. 

BONUS TIP - Dollar store ornaments often come in packages wrapped with ribbon. Save that ribbon to use for small projects like this. 


If you're using battery-powered lights in your decorating this year, you can make the battery box less conspicuous by wrapping it in a bit of Christmas paper, leaving the end with the switch open, of course. 


Use a small, flat-backed Christmas wreath (I got this one at Dollar Tree) as a candle ring or to accent another decoration, as here. Sit your decoration on a shelf or mantle and let the ribbon ends hang over the edge.



I bought a cafe curtain rod at the dollar store that came with two of the same pieces, meaning I couldn't insert one rod inside the other like you're supposed to be able to. It was useless, or so I thought. I needed a curtain rod for my kitchen window, which, at 51" wide would normally be too wide for one of these small rods. However, when I held the two mismatched pieces end to end, they were just the right length for the window. Inserting the appropriately-sized wood dowel to connect the two pieces makes a curtain rod the perfect width for this window. 

The dowel is from a package I found in the dollar store that contained different widths. They're 12-inches long so you could conceivably extend a curtain rod another ten inches, leaving one inch on either end for support.


Sometimes you can find really pretty decorative plates and plaques at the dollar store and they don't always have to be hung on the wall. Bring a favourite piece out of hiding and use a picture easel to display it on a shelf or mantel.


Fill a small glass vase with the faux fruit and floral bits pulled from three or four autumn picks to make an easy autumn accent for a table or mantle.



Use heavy-based square vases as a bookends and fill them with accents to suit the season. Here we've used a base of small faux leaves topped with a fall pick, to welcome the new season. For extra weight, use colored marbles or stones in your bookends.


Even if, in this digital age, you have no need for a wall calendar, for $1.25 each you could plunder these 12 by 11-inch calendars for some great wall art to frame. Dollar Tree  has a wide selection of calendars in stores now. 


These vinyl coated wire racks are good for more than just organizing in the kitchen. Use one in your home office to keep file folders handy. This versatile rack can be used to store large books and binders in a dorm room, too. Find them at Dollarama for three bucks.

What other uses can you think of for these kitchen racks? Let me know what you come up with!  



These colored labels come in a package of twelve for $1.25. Each tag is 4-inches long by about 2 1/2-inches wide. They're meant to be used as gift tags but would also be a great way to label storage baskets. I found them in the craft section at Dollarama.


Use decorative tape around the inside edges of a plain, wall-mounted mirror to create a "frame." We found this decorative tape on a 10-foot roll at Dollarama for $1.50. It comes in various patterns and colors.  



Try using wall stickers on interior doors to add a bit of interest to a plain and otherwise overlooked surface. Many types of wall stickers can be reused if preserved on the backing they came on.





Decorate a plain bedroom lampshade by draping a pretty dollar store necklace over it. Choose a color and design that matches your tastes and decor.


Okay, so I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive when it comes to keeping all my kitchen sets in their respective sets so, when the plastic ring that came with these measuring spoons broke, I knew I wanted a replacement. The round metal shower curtain rings I found at Dollarama open and close even easier than the original plastic closure did so, using one to keep my measuring spoons from wandering all over the drawer proved the perfect solution for calming my separation anxiety.  



Candles from the dollar store are an inexpensive way to help bring color into your home. For spring and summer, I favor the brighter hues of the season. 


If you're entertaining this spring try scrapbook embellishments as table confetti, instead of the usual. These fabric flowers come in a package with three different sizes and each one has a rhinestone in its center for added sparkle in candlelight. 


Re-purpose felt cut-out placemats to give glass cabinet doors a spring makeover. Position them on the inside of the door and secure with two-sided tape. If the glass is held in place with screw-in hangers, as mine are, just loosen the top two hangers, slip the edges of the placemats under them and re-tighten the screws.


I found these attractive spring placemats at Dollar Tree. They are made entirely of paper stiffened to keep its shape. I'd be reluctant to use them as placemats, for the simple reason that they couldn't be effectively cleaned. However, they make dandy modern art. Try a group of three to five to brighten your walls and cheer your winter-weary spirit.


Make a simple calendar with a dollar store clipboard and free printable calendar pages. If you wish, print the pages horizontally so you have room to add a picture, either a favorite from an old calendar or a personal photograph.

You can hang your clipboard calendar on the wall or keep it handy on your desk.

One website that lets you print pages without a special download is:  which gives you the current and the following month to print.


Make an easy springtime or Easter centerpiece by filling a metal container with basket filler and topping with three small candle rings.





Use a piece of rubberized shelf liner to keep food and water bowls from traveling across the floor when your dog or cat eats and drinks.


For a quick and easy Valentine's Day gift, print a favorite romantic poem from the internet then choose an appropriate frame from the dollar store to put it in. If the frame is plain, add a bit of bling, as here. You can hot glue the rhinestone hearts on for permanence or use small squares of two-sided tape.


Ever wonder what to do with all of those instruction manuals and/or warranties for kitchen appliances? I found a clear plastic pouch for use in a binder at the dollar store. I put the instruction manuals inside the pouch and put the pouch in the back of the binder I use for collected recipes. 

You could also use a separate binder and plastic protector sheets to corral them all in one place and keep the binder where you store your recipe books.  



Even something as simple as a small wooden bowl filled with seashells helps to bring a summery feel to your indoor spaces. Use this idea in a bathroom or sit it on your coffee table. I can attest to the fact that young and old, alike are drawn to the touchable quality of the shells.


Rotate the accessories you already own seasonally instead of buying new ones. It will keep your rooms looking fresh and save you money.


Use a wooden hanger to hold an extra towel in the bathroom. In this case, we extended a towel bar by twisting the hook so that the hanger would lay flat against the first towel. You could also simply hang it on a hook on the back of the door.


A large pencil case or something similar from the dollar store, is a good place to store small sets of mini lights. Tie a label to the zipper designating the contents. For example: "Mini lights for small tree."


I've seen a couple of good ideas for storing Christmas lights so they don't get tangled. I think this one is among the best and cheapest of them. 

Wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard, cut to fit within a storage box and notched at the top and bottom to ensure the cords don't slip off. This bin could probably house at least three sets of mini lights, depending on the length of each set. It was three bucks at Dollarama.


Cut out pictures or other designs from the wrapping paper scattered around the floor Christmas morning to use for scrapbooking Christmas memories. Use them as picture labels or backgrounds for your photos to add an extra layer of memories.


Traditional mistletoe seems to have been ousted by the "why-beat-around-the-bush" kissing ball. I've seen these made entirely of glued together pinecones. My version is easier. Just fill a large plastic ornament with mini pinecones, sprinkle in some Christmas confetti for a little sparkle and use a colorful ribbon for a hanger. 

If you wish, you can tie pieces of greenery into the ribbon before hanging.



A banana tree can be a used as an ornament stand to showcase a favorite ornament.

A single pretty Christmas pick takes on new beauty when highlighted under glass. See more ideas for using your vases like this:


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