18 Affordable Ways To Upgrade Your Home With Products From the Dollar Store

Flat with wooden furniture and stylish antiques.
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

With the cost of supplies still soaring due to the pandemic, and inflation continuing to blow up prices on everything from groceries to electricity, saving money is getting increasingly difficult. Once relatively easy expenditures like little home upgrades are no longer so easy when you’re paying around $5 per gallon for gasoline or forking over your entire paycheck just to get by.

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It won’t meet all your needs, but there is one key destination to consider when looking to make small but meaningful changes to your dwelling’s decor and overall vibe: the dollar store. GOBankingRates consulted a number of home experts to find out their favorite cheapo purchases that can be as low as $1.25. These items can go a long way in driving up your abode’s appeal, especially if you have a big imagination and a flair for arts and crafts.

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Painting Supplies

“For affordable yet quality painting supplies, you can check out the nearest dollar store,” said Tommy Mello, CEO of A1 Garage door Service. “You’ll be surprised on how much money you’ll save by doing this instead of buying from depots. Paint roller brushes, paint roller frames, paint brushes, foam brushes, paint buckets, paint roller trays are all available in the dollar store. You can use these for a variety of home painting projects.”   

Bathroom Organization 

“If your bathroom is due for an upgrade or a small space is cramping your style, your local dollar store will have plenty of options to help you organize your belongings in a small space,” said Brentnie Daggett, a writer for Rentec Direct property management software. “Look for makeup organizers, drawer dividers, baskets and more to keep your space tidier and more inviting.”

Storage Drawer Boxes 

“One item you can buy from the dollar store to upgrade your home is storage drawer boxes,” said Zephyr Chan, founder of Better Tools. “I perform this upgrade by putting the storage boxes in my pantry. Usually, my pantry is filled to the brim with all kinds of kitchen items, from cutlery to kettles and blenders. This leaves me with very little space for other things. But drawer boxes help me pack a lot of stuff in a very efficient manner.”

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Command Hooks  

“This damage-free decorating staple has extremely versatile decor uses and can help you avoid putting holes in the wall from nails, screws or thumbtacks,” Daggett said. “Pay attention to application and weight instructions to hang your favorite art or organize items like bags, keys, hats and scarves.”

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Washi Tape

“Similar to masking tape, Washi tape comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns for a quick and easy way to upgrade your furniture and walls,” Daggett said. “There are many, many creative ways people have used Washi tape for decorating — do a quick Google search!”

Individual Solar Lights 

“[These] are perfect for lighting the path from curbside to your home,” said Keron Howe, CEO and co-founder of Property Nation. “Position them evenly about 1.5m apart on either side. They generate just enough light to illuminate the pathway and can make your property more attractive to buyers.”

Solar pathway lights are around $3-4 each at the dollar store which is a steal compared to $6-10 at regular stores, Howe added. 

Wooden Clipboards 

“For a rustic look, opt for wooden clipboards rather than photo frames,” Howe said. “Ideally purchase nine boards and attach to the wall in rows of three. Clip photos to each for a unique and personal look.”

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Cake Stand Sink Organizer 

“A cake stand sink organizer from the dollar store is a simple item to upgrade your kitchen sink and give it a quaint look,” said Joshua Blackburn, the director of design and construction at Evolving Home. “The cake stand organizer is a good way to optimize kitchen sink space by keeping your dishwashing soaps and sponges tidy. This only costs $1.25 at a dollar store but can make a big difference to the overall look of your sink. You can take it further and decorate it with a mat or cloth of your choice.”

Faux Flowers, For Outside 

“Faux flowers are not just for indoor spaces,” Howe said. “Wrap around your porch trellis for year-round blooms and a cottage core style.”

Wire Waste Basket 

“Outdoor lighting can be expensive but with a wire waste basket, a pair of wire cutters, and a light kit you can achieve a high end look at a steal,” Howe said. “Use the wire cutters to fashion a hole. Through the hole insert the cable and fix the fitting. Great for a rustic styled porch.” 

Cushions 

“Cottage core is still on trend and can be easily achieved with floral cushions,” Howe said. 

Picture Frames 

“Dollar stores have a decent selection of picture frames that come in different sizes,” said Bill Gassett,  founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure. “They can be used for traditional family photos or jazzed up with your favorite pictures found elsewhere. Some people also like to make them into decorative trays to hold items on a coffee table such as a TV remote.”

Compact Mirrors

“At less than a dollar each, compact mirrors are a good choice to create a piece of outdoor artwork,” Howe said. “Using a glue gun, attach individual mirrors into unique pieces of art. Add shells or pebbles to finish off your masterpiece.”

Mason Jars

“For a rustic look, attach mason jars with wire to your fence or across your porch on a wire string,” Howe said. “A little sand in the bottom will keep a tealight in position. It’s a great addition to BBQ evenings.”

Rubber Floor Mat

“To jazz up an old porch, spray rubber floor matts with a metallic or white spray paint,” Howe said. “Attach a single mat with a glue gun in the center of each panel.” 

Plastic Planters 

“Plastic planters are a cost effective way to grow herbs and small shrubs,” Howe said. “Using a glue gun, attach natural rope in a spiral design to create your own unique rustic style. For a more boho chic look opt for multicolored ropes.”

Wooden Utensils 

“Wooden utensils are great for the kitchen and serving salads,” Howe said. “Use them outdoors to label your plants. Whether a wooden salad fork or large spoon their handle sticks easily into the soil. Write the plant name in paint or engrave.” 

Rag Rug 

“Rag Rugs are a cheap and easy way to show your creative flair,” Howe said. “Mix your favorite colors from old clothes and table cloths from the dollar store. Simple to make and a real piece of personalized art.”

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.

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