Victorian Decorating on a budget

Get the Look For Less

The Dollar Store Victorian

Victorian Decorating on a Budget


Considering that, in 1895 one U.S. dollar was equal to $25.47 of today’s money, the Victorians would have thought it extravagant to spend a whole dollar on any one small item. Alas, in today’s economy anything that only costs a buck is considered cheap and Victorian-era antiques are often unattainable for the budget-restrained. Still, if you would like to decorate in the Victorian style, you can get something of the look with only a cursory understanding of the era and by focusing on look-alike accessories.


The Victorians liked doilies and crocheted tablecloths and used a lot of fresh and dried flowers throughout their homes. The dollar store answer is a pretty lace tablecloth and some fabric flowers in a painted vase.
A quick tip: to give your space a unified look, use the same color of doily and/or tablecloth throughout the room. Doilies come in packages of two to four (depending on the size) for a dollar.


Knick-knacks like candlesticks and porcelain figurines were a big part of the Victorian decorating scheme. We plunked one of our houseplants into an embossed glass bowl that’s reminiscent of the Victorian love of pattern. The resin bird ornament was spray-painted white to give it a porcelain-like appearance and the elephant oil diffuser reminded us of a time when India was a British colony. When it comes to ornaments, you can incorporate your favorite pieces into the mix. The Victorians used lots of bric-a-brac but, as we are among the many who are attempting to pare down our belongings, we have opted to display only a few preferred pieces. 

Ornate gold or wooden frames were Victorian favorites. These 8×10 frames
can, of course, hold smaller pictures with the use of mats, which come in packages of
one or two. We found these frames very accommodating to the ancestors and have already had positive comments from visitors about this wall grouping. 

Other things to incorporate into decorating for this era would include white lace curtains and bed linens, maps and globes, hardcover book collections displayed in cabinets and decorative plates. While dollar stores can’t supply all of your decorating needs, it can be a great place to start.


Next … Get some ideas for decorating an apartment or dorm room
on the cheap. Check out Dorm Room Re-Do.