Decorating while (really) broke…

I’ve had a few people ask me how I manage to decorate on a limited budget. They want a nice looking home but just can’t afford the prices they see pretty much everywhere. They can’t be the only ones who are curious so I figured I’d post my tips here. And, if you have any tips, please feel free to comment below.

My first tip is to check the dollar stores. Seriously, you can find some amazing stuff there. You just have to go often and be selective. Don’t pick up a picture or other decoration just because it’s there and in your price range. My favourite shop is Dollarama. Sorry everyone else in the world, Dollarama’s only in Canada. I’ve found some fantastic finds. They get items in regularly that were from everyday stores. Maybe they were overstock, maybe they’re out of season, maybe the store went under. Either way Dollarama’s got it for $4 or less. You can buy pictures, wall art, pillows, lap throws, table cloths, dish towels, artificial plants… the list goes on and on. But you can’t just go once in a blue moon. Often the good stuff comes only in the amount of two or three and they go fast. If you see something good, get it then, it might not even be there tomorrow. Plus check different stores. They mostly have the same items but sometimes you’ll find something special that wasn’t in your usual store.

Dollar Tree is okay. I find where they stand out is with wall art. They get some amazing wall stickers there and those can really tie a room together. I found a cute glittery unicorn sloth on a rainbow once but otherwise I’m not impressed with their decor.

Second hand stores are great too. They’re obviously hit or miss but they can have some gorgeous things. I’ve found ficus trees there before (I only have one now) and a lovely ceramic hot chocolate container. Colin found a ceiling lamp that looked like it belonged in an old bar. I think they’re called tiffany lamps. Google says I’m right and, oh my goodness, they’ve got some pretty ones out there.

Don’t forget to check out the clearance section. I have found so many things at Icing, Marshalls, and Homesense. Icing has a buy three – get three free deal which includes their clearance rack too.

I also order online. I use Aliexpress but I know other people have used Wish. It is buyer beware but I’ve had good luck with their wall art stickers and small items. Just remember it’ll take up to two months to arrive.

And, of course, what you need are pictures of what you can find for inspiration. Remember, when you go to the dollar store or thrift shop, you might find nothing at all or you might find something you adore. It’s all part of the adventure.

Just breathe

This Just Breathe sign was bought at Dollarama. It wasn’t there for long. The vase in the back was also a Dollarama find as is the flowers (which I sadly cut off in the picture). The table’s a freebie I found in the laundry room. I’ll get around to refinishing it… someday.

fit happens with blurry m

Both “Fit Happens” and “every day – is a – fresh START” are from Dollarama. They certainly don’t look like they are though.

desk wall

The word art starting with “each day” is from Dollar Tree and is very sturdy while the gold glittery picture is from Dollarama. They still have glittery pictures but not this particular one.

bedroom wall

The two pictures on the left are from Dollarama, the circle is a glow in the dark moon from Aliexpress and it glows really well, while the last picture was on clearance at Icing. I love that store!

kitchen

The folding dish rack and mat are from Dollarama as are the miniature topiary, spice racks (under the spices), wire utensil containers, potted plants, and the lemon “live your life with zest” hanging. The lemon wall stickers, the towel saying “Love, laugh, & gather together”, and the word art on the cupboard reading “The secret ingredient is always love” are from Dollar Tree. And the tree “window” is from Aliexpress

Just breathe and sloth

This “Just Breathe” sign is also from Dollarama as is the metal bucket. The flowers are from Clair de Lune and were on clearance. And, as said above, the rainbow unicorn sloth is from Dollar Tree.

living room wall

The “home is where your story begins” sign is from Dollarama and was one of two. “This is my paradise” is also from Dollarama. It’s fabric and held to the frame with twine.

Dream big

This is one of my Icing finds. I absolutely adore it. I’m a sucker for glitter!

word art2

This is another Dollar Tree find. I love having family photos on the wall and this just ties them together.

kitchen finds

This is an old picture from 2016. It shows my hot chocolate jar and a plate (with apples on it) that I found at Value Village. The “Today’s Menu” chalkboard is from Dollarama. Oh, and the rice container/cookie jar is from Goodwill going back years ago.

Obviously if I went out and spent all that money today it would be a fortune, dollar store and thrift shop or not. But spread out over the course of a year or two(ish) it’s definitely manageable… anywhere from $4 to $12 a month and the results are very much worth it. Happy shopping!!!

 

It’s the little things…

As the saying goes, it’s the little things that make a house a home. And my apartment is no exception. I shared pictures of my apartment last week, stepping back so I could take in the whole room, but that meant the little things were minimalized or overlooked entirely. Now it’s time for them to shine.

rainbow unicorn on my monitor

This little guy sits on my monitor so I see him every time I look up. I love all the rainbows and glitter

glow in the dark moon

I got this moon via AliExpress and it really does glow

dare to be different wall sticker

When I’m feeling anxious it’s nice to have a small pep talk on being myself. It’s hanging on my closet door

Super Mario

Colin got this for me. Mario lives on my bedroom windowsill

rainbow unicorns in my shower

No, I don’t play with them, they’re just decor. I actually don’t even have a bathtub, I have a bathtub sized shower stall. Somehow, even though my apartment is not a handicapped unit, I ended up with lowered lightswitch plates, a lowered peep hole and an accessible shower stall.

salt and pepper shakers

These salt and pepper shakers are part of Walmart’s Pioneer Woman collection and I though they were too cute not to buy.

unicorn sloth on a rainbow

Another “had to buy” purchase. I bought my little sloth unicorn at Dollar Tree and he lives on my hutch. So sparkly… so rainbowy

Shrieky Poulet

Shrieky Poulet, my rubber chicken, lives in my ficus tree in the living room. If you look to the left you can see one of my colour changing lights. At night it’s like he’s in a disco, minus the crowds

sequin unicorn

I saw this unicorn at Superstore and just had to have her. She was the last one in their $5 Christmas bin. Ironically they had the identical unicorns in the Valentine’s Day bin for $25

And that’s it. Well it’s not exactly it. I didn’t share my squishy blue unicorn with a rainbow mane, or my red light up pound symbol with Toad sitting on it or… well you get the picture. I hope you have things in your home that make you smile just as much as mine make me smile!

Jeremy’s in love…

Zie fell in love at Target and it was infatuation at first sight. At least on Jeremy’s side, I’m pretty sure the toaster was indifferent.

It wasn’t just any toaster though, it was this…chevrons
… an expensive, chevron coated toaster. Jeremy stopped so suddenly, I almost walked into zir.

“Oh wow,” zie breathed. “Mom! Look at those!”

“Yes, that’s a lot of chevrons.” I blinked rapidly. The patterns were blinding.

“We have to get them! At the very least the toaster!”

I couldn’t manage to stifle my sigh. By this time we’d been through all of Dollarama and half of Target with Jeremy begging for “just this” every few steps. If I’d bought everything zie wanted, I’d need to rent a U-haul to take it home. Besides…

“I bought a toaster this summer,” I reminded zir. It was zir turn to sigh.

“Our toaster’s boring. You have no sense of style,” Jeremy retorted. Zie gave the toaster a longing glance. “This is fabulous. We need it. Look! It has a bagel button.”

“Our toaster already has one.” Which was pointless because we might have two or three bagels a year. “I’m not spending $40 on a toaster we don’t need.”

I snapped a quick picture than we left with Jeremy muttering under zir breath about my decorating skills. I ignored the comments. I also didn’t remind zir about how much zie liked our toaster when I bought it.

And if this is a taste of how Jeremy’s going to decorate when zie has a place of zir own, I’m going to need to stock up on sunglasses.