Dollar store decorating: Eight home decor items for $2 or under

In these belt-tightening times, you may have to put your dreams of a kitchen renovation on the back burner for a while but you don't have to forgo adding the little touches that make a house homey. I scanned three different stores that sell home decor, from a high-end boutique to a bargain housewares store to my local Wal-Mart, looking for items could be duplicated with dollar store finds. Here's what I found:

Picture frames are about as basic as it comes in home decor. Dollar stores sell frames in sizes up to 8" x 10" for a buck a piece and they are pretty basic, as a rule but attractive, nevertheless. In the home decor boutique, I spied a shadowbox type frame for a 4" x 6" picture with lettering on the glass. It cost $14.99. On the other hand, you could buy the same kind of frame for $1, add a message like "Best Friends Forever" on the glass with stick-on letters for $1 a sheet and save about $12.

Glass vases are another staple of home decor that can be used to display potpourri, sea shells, candles and more, besides the usual flowers. An 8 3/4" cylinder vase from Wal-Mart costs $3.97. Compare that to the 7 1/2" cylinder vase I found at Dollar Tree Direct for only $1 or the sturdy 9" tall cylinder vase I bought at my local dollar store, Dollarama, for only $1.25. You can find a variety of attractive vases at dollar stores in varying sizes for only a buck or two, depending on where you shop.