Budget project · DIY · Home decor · Organization

Bohemian Home Decor from the Dollar Store


Sometimes, places like Pinterest and Instagram can be dangerous to your self esteem. Don’t get me wrong, I love those places. I’m on them almost daily. They are a great source for inspiration and entertainment. But it can also be difficult when you’re on such a tight budget. You see a beautiful dresser, bed, living room, house and think,”I could never afford that”. I’m calling it Insta- depression. But what is the alternative? Well I for one believe that just because you don’t spend a lot doesn’t mean that your home has to look cheap. Granted, you can find things at big box stores that are super cute, but just as often you can find something inexpensive but just looks… cheap. That $3 clearance picture frame looks like you dug it out of a $3 clearance bin. I mean, come on. Just because we have a itsy-bitsy budget doesn’t mean we we should sacrifice style, you know? I know some of you guys know the struggle is real, and feel my pain, right?


So, right now I have a couple big projects in the works. I’m in the process of making over my dining room, and I plan on showing you some ways to add some style and interest to a basic open plan kitchen/dining room area that can be fairly typical of lower income bracket apartment living. (Don’t hate me, but I don’t know what else to call it! The kitchen/dining/living room open L shape is fairly typical of the apartments I have lived in) That coming soon, as well as a couple other biggies, but I’ll let you be surprised. So I wanted to take a little time to show you a quick, inexpensive DIY you will love. I’m going to show you how I take a basic cheap tray (that looks cheap) and add some bohemian style. With a little ingenuity and spray paint you can tweak that nothing special item and give it some “wow”. Best of all, this project only cost me $1 for the tray! Everything else I had on hand.


  • Dollar store plastic tray
  • Spray paint in gold
    and white
  • Various acrylic paint
  • Protective clear coat
  • Stencil (this


We begin with this tray from the Dollar Tree. Ugh. Definitely not my style. I wouldn’t have usually stopped for this, but the pretty laser-cut details on the sides caught my eye. But the color? Come on. But with those lovely bones I knew I could work with it. So I paid $5 and took it home. I just knew those cutouts would be ahh-mazing in gold, so out came my spray paint. I actually started with white spray paint for the bottom inside piece of the tray, then I taped it up and busted out my favorite gold spray paint  Rust-Oleum American Accents Metallic Bright Gold. So much better already. Those detailed sides looked great all dressed up and metallic, without a trace of that headache- inducing neon green in sight. A word to the wise here. Make sure whatever paint you use the it spray paint or any paint applied with a brush make sure that it here’s to plastic. I didn’t even think about it when I grabbed my white spray paint out of the closet and while it dried is started bubbling up off the plastic. How to peel that off and headed to the store, scuffed up the plastic with 60 grit sandpaper, and tried again. This time, Perfection achieved. (Not quite, but close enough for me *wink**wink*).


So I could have left it that, white bottom and gold sides, and it would’ve looked pretty good. But anyone who knows me knows I have a love of color. I have an equally passionate love for all things Moroccan, East Indian, or Bohemian inspired. So I dug through my stash until I found this stencil by Folkart called Tangier.


I used part of the stencil on a lamp makeover a while ago and I love, love, love it. I also really like the kind of stencils that give you multiple design options. And usually the different motifs work together well. But you don’t have to use the only motifs from the same stencil. Go crazy and mix up those designs however makes your heart pitter-patter. There is no wrong way!


So I began with the biggest design and pounced on some gold paint and worked my way to the smallest,  just adding color wherever looked right. For the gradient designs, I pounced on some paint in the base color, and after that dried I added washes of color with a paintbrush to either the extremities or the center, depending on what I felt like at the time. (I’m quite a capricious painter, aren’t I?) After that, I let it dry and added a protective coat of polycrylic so I could use this trade daily without worrying about the paint chipping off.


I love it. I really can’t believe this tray started out as an ugly neon green heapiece of plastic from the dollar store. It’s glitzy, glamorous, and bohemian. All of my favorite things.





I hope you like this little project. Stay tuned for a couple big projects coming your way soon. As always, have fun! Go nuts! Make a mess! Amazing things can happen when you do!

Xo- Caroline


P.S. Here are the fun parties I link to!