5 Things You Should Never Buy at Dollar Tree, According to Designers

published May 8, 2024
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June 3, 2019: Dollar tree store in Toronto.  Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. is an American chain of discount variety stores.
Credit: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock

By now, Dollar Tree is no longer a well-kept secret when it comes to shopping for home decor. Even interior designers who have big budgets turn to the discount store for home decor essentials, because who doesn’t want to save whenever they can? But just because Dollar Tree has plenty of aesthetically pleasing and affordable finds doesn’t mean they’re all worthwhile. In fact, there are a handful of dollar-store items that you should avoid altogether, and expert designers tend to agree.

To find out which items you should never buy at Dollar Tree, I spoke to two designers who came up with a list of five things they’d definitely avoid at the discount store. 

Knives

Knives are often quite pricey, and they are also a kitchen essential that you simply can’t go without. “It can be tempting to buy more affordable knives, but this is one kitchen staple that is definitely worth the investment,” says Amy Peltier, interior designer and creative director at Peltier Interiors.

Dollar store knives are made from low-quality materials, and are likely to dull and break quickly. “Purchasing a high-quality knife or set of knives can be a once-in-a-lifetime investment if you approach it as a one-time investment and not as a quick pickup item.” 

Candles

Sometimes the dollar store can be a great place to bring home candles on a budget, but that’s not always the case. “The siren song of those flickering, fragrant candles at the dollar store can be hard to resist,” says interior design consultant Amanda Foster. “However, these budget-friendly beauties often conceal a dark secret — they’re crafted with inferior wax and wicks that can pose serious safety risks and provide a decidedly subpar burning experience.”

You could face uneven melting, excessive smoke, and even potential fire hazards, among other issues. Make sure you read the ingredients on the label before buying any candles, but especially those from the dollar store.

Typography Decor

It’s impossible to scroll through Pinterest or Instagram without seeing plenty of home decor featuring words or phrases, but you’ll want to steer clear of dollar store typography decor. “Many Dollar Tree items are emblazoned with words: A wooden hammer with ‘World’s great dad’ or a set of river stones that say things like ‘strength’ and ‘imagine,’” says Peltier. “While these may be a fun impulse purchase, these kinds of home accents rarely stand the test of time.”

Plastic Kitchen Utensils

Furnishing a kitchen is expensive, so it’s understandable to want to save wherever you can, but kitchen utensils, like spatulas, spoons, ladles, and whisks are worth the investment. “Some of these at Dollar Tree have been found to contain bromine, a fire retardant that has been linked to cancer and birth defects,” explains Peltier. When it comes to your health, you are definitely better off safe than sorry.

Tableware

Dollar store tableware may be great for special occasions, but you’ll want to shop elsewhere for your primary set. “Tempting as those gleaming glasses and plates may be, dollar store tableware is often made with thin, fragile materials that simply can’t withstand the rigors of everyday use,” says Foster. Chipping, cracking, and breaking are common woes with these budget buys, which can not only be a safety concern, but also lead to a frustrating and short-lived experience. Invest in a good quality set of tableware to save money in the long run, and save dollar store tableware for one-off parties or events.