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Guide to the Best Deals at Discount Stores

Dollar Store Bargains

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Discount Store Tableware

Discount Store Tableware

Photo: Jeltovski

Your favorite discount or dollar store can be a great source for home decorating. I know all the clerks in my favorite by name. And they know me as the crazy lady in the sheets aisle. If you know what to look for, you can find fabulous bargains that will help you decorate your home on a budget.

Should you buy? Items purchased at a discount store can vary in their value and quality. Only buy an item if it's a real value and will still be usable after you arrive home. I have purchased items that have literally fallen apart in the bag sitting in the back seat. (And no comments on my driving, please!)

Best values. Usually the best values at a discount store are:

  • Linens
  • Tableware
  • Accessories
  • Small side tables
  • Lamps
But these items tend to sell out fast and will not be restocked. So if you find something you like, buy it. It may not be there next week.

Linens. Linens purchased at a discount store are usually a great value. You can use the lower quality linens that are more loosely woven for window curtains, shower curtains, and pillows. More tightly woven linens can be used for upholstery too. There are dozens of ideas for using sheets for decorating, so feel free to go wild. You, too, can be the crazy lady in the sheets aisle.

Tableware. Mismatched or last year's tableware can be great accents to your home decor. Most discount stores have a good variety at good prices - especially at the dollar store. I have purchased some great plates in bright colors to add liveliness to my table and walls. Just make sure they aren't chipped or cracked before you buy.

Accessories. Dollar stores are a gold mine for accessories like silk flowers, art, baskets, frames, pillows, and vases. But be judicious. It's easy to go overboard with your purchases and change your design from contemporary chic to contemporary tacky. So just step away from the gilded clowns!

Furniture. With a few exceptions, most furniture at discount stores is of the pressed wood and staples variety. So I wouldn't recommend buying furniture there that needs to stand up to children. You would be better off buying used solid wood furniture that can be refinished and reupholstered. But occasional tables and lamps that won't see heavy use can be purchased at a good price and will add accents to your room.

Dollar and discount stores are a blessing for your budget, but only if you purchase what you need and can tastefully use. If you come home with $100 worth of knickknacks that you have no room to display, you have defeated your purpose and added clutter to your design and more "stuff" to your local landfill. But if you do get carried away, dollar stores can be are a great source for storage boxes.

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