8 Items Home Stagers Say Will Upgrade Your Living Room for Less Than $5

published Dec 6, 2020
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With the holiday season on the horizon, you may be looking to tighten your budget to make room for gift shopping. But even if you’re spending less, that doesn’t mean you have to stop sprucing up your home.

Before you give up searching for new decor, check out these eight living room staples experts say you can find for under $5.

A coffee table basket

As a professional organizer, Beth Levin of Closet Queen says there are all kinds of bins to hide items like coasters and remote controls. “The dollar store is an awesome place for things that are inexpensive,” she says.

Picture frames

“People want pictures—it makes your home more homey,” Levin says. Luckily, retailers like Target and Walmart sell small, affordable picture frames that you can sprinkle around your living room.

Things from nature

New York-based home stager Anne Kenney says looking to nature is a fun way to inexpensively DIY decorative accents. Find a pine cone or unique-looking branch on your nature walk? Kenney says to buy spray paint, cover them with a neutral color, and place them in a vase or coffee table platter. If you live in a warmer area, she says beachy decor like a coffee table conch shell or a starfish from Michaels can bring you that breezy vibe.

Little prints

The next time you visit Home Goods, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx, peruse the items near the checkout line. “They have those impulse purchases that are under $5 that you can just grab and put in your cart,” Kenney says. Sometimes there are small prints on canvases that’d look great near a light switch or on a gallery wall.


“Plants are awesome,” Levin says, and it’s hard not to agree. Retailers like Target and Marshalls have fake plants under $5. Plus, depending on what’s in stock, you may be able to snag a small, real plant for cheap at Home Depot.

Small mirrors

Kenney says IKEA and Michaels have under-$5 options for small mirrors around six inches. “You could do some sort of a display with two or three mirrors… going along a wall or over the couch,” she says.


According to Levin, you always want your living room smelling pleasant. Luckily, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and just about any big retail store has little affordable candles and scent diffuser oils. Why splurge on bigger candles when smaller ones will still leave your room smelling like warm vanilla sugar?

Thrifted coffee table books

Since original coffee table books tend to be expensive, the ones at thrift stores can be the ultimate find. “Books are art,” Kenney says, so it’s a must to decorate your coffee table with one of your thrifted treasures. Kenney says to steer clear of war and politics, and try to find an artistic book in good condition.