We Gave a Professional Home Stager $40—Here’s What She Bought At Dollar General

published Oct 12, 2020
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Lead art for Dollar General challenge
Credit: Photo: Shutterstock, Graphic: Apartment Therapy

Whether you’re an artist, fashion designer, or interior designer, you find inspiration—and materials—anywhere and everywhere. The same holds true for professional home stagers. Whether they’re at a flea market, a high-end decor store, or something in between, they keep their eyes open to all the design possibilities around them. 

And that includes dollar stores. You’d be surprised how many affordable decor basics and home accents you can find at stores like Dollar General, which even offers online shopping.

To that our point, we turned to Claudia Desbiens, creative director of Modern Mecca, a staging, design, and styling company in Los Angeles. We gave her $40 and let her run wild on DollarGeneral.com to see how many home staging essentials she could buy within her budget—and then asked her to describe what exactly she picked and why.

Desbiens came in slightly over budget at $40.50, but we’ll let it slide. Here, she discusses her picks below and describes how Modern Mecca would use them while styling a home. 

The bottom line? Don’t discount a discount store when it comes to shopping for home styling.

Credit: Dollar General

Brown woven basket

“One of our go-to accessories that fills empty spaces and adds warmth and character to a room is a basket. We can never have enough of them. We often look for baskets that are made of natural materials to use in our staged homes because they help keep items organized and tame the clutter in the house. But besides getting the clutter in our homes under control, they are versatile and have so many uses. Placing a basket next to a sofa or chair helps to ground it to the room, and they can also become a planter and soften the angles and corners in your home.”

Credit: Dollar General

Canvas storage bin

“Storage is often tight in some of the homes we stage, and we are always looking for pieces that can do double duty and are well-designed and, at the same time, functional. This storage bin is made of canvas but has hard-surfaced sides to help secure items inside. I love that it is so flexible and versatile. They work in any room of the house and can be used from the bathroom to the laundry to the kid’s bedroom to store toys and books.”

Credit: Dollar General

Dish drying mat

“I love the look of this reversible drying mat; the colors are so pretty and fun. This is another item that is versatile and could be used as intended but also could be used as a slightly larger placemat or to protect the flooring under a cat’s or dog’s water bowl.”

Credit: Dollar General

White pillar candle

“We love to have white simple candles. They are a classic element that never gets old. At Dollar General, they have plenty to offer and really are so cheap. You can use them with moss for a simple summer tabletop; stack several on a tray over the fireplace mantel; or use pillar candles of different textures and heights on a bed of smooth, polished black stones over your coffee or side table. Style with a book and a glass of wine, and they can provide you with the warmth and glow of a fireplace even if you don’t have one.”

Credit: Dollar General

Extra-large storage bag

“These extra-large storage bags are perfect for storing and moving throw blankets and bedding. They are a stager’s favorite item and, for only $1, you can’t beat the price!”

Credit: Dollar General

White window panels

“Sometimes, the homes we work with need windows to be covered up, and floor-to-ceiling drapes are a super inexpensive way to make the ceiling height of any room look greater. Although, when designing to live, we would choose drapes with color, we like to stick with whites and neutral tones when staging a home to sell. That helps give the room a crisp, clean, light, and airy feel.”