Dollar Store Table Setting – Using Crap to Create a Sophisticated Look

It has been a longggg time since I did a Dollar Store post.  I’m not “off” the Dollar Store.  I’m still quite madly in love with the Dollar Store.  We were just on a break for a while.  We’re back together again.

And it’s all because of a plate.

A white, rectangular, sharp cornered plate that has the beauty of a thousand suns at the cost of a 200 Double Bubbles.  And with that one plate, I was hooked again.  Suddenly, without warning, I was on a mission in a store full of people wearing green crocs with  Halloween socks and sweatpants.

Wait.  No.  That was me.  (I don’t want to get into why or how I left the house like this but I’m not proud of it.  It involves a werewolf.  You wouldn’t understand)

After 2 go rounds, I had what I needed  for my Dollar Store place setting. And then some.



There are 2 things in this setting that are not from the Dollar Store.  The placemat, (which is from The Keeping Room) and the napkin which is from Rough Linen.)  I couldn’t bring myself to buy a polyester napkin and I knew these white rectangular place mats I already owned would be perfect.


Beautiful tumbler … $1.



I have no idea how these fantastic bowls ended up at a dollar store (2 for $2) but I suspect there may have been some sort of mixup and at this very moment a Bloomingdale’s employee is trying to sell someone a hideous plastic bowl with purple ducks on it.

It’s work great as a nut dish too.  The hole in it serves absolutely no purpose as far as I can tell, other than looking really cool.

Dip copy


Faux Bamboo stainless cutlery.  $1 a piece.



At this point I suspect you’re thinking to yourself … my Dollar Store doesn’t have this great stuff.  And you’re right, it might not.  Everything here is from Dollarama in Canada, but if you scour your Dollar Store with an open mind you *will* find things that no one would guess are from a Dollar Store.

These little dishes I use for mise en place when I’m cooking, but they make really cool salt and pepper dishes. $1 for 2.



Glass vase.  $2.  Perfect size for your hand to fit around for a water jug.  Shockingly, even though it doesn’t have a spout on it, it doesn’t drip water everywhere.  Remember … always think of what something could be, as opposed to what it actually is.  THAT’S where greatness comes from.



And finally we have the thing that started it all.  The lunch sized rectangular plate.  $2.

(Greatness also comes from having to cook up some food for a photoshoot and then getting to shove the food down your pie hole after the shoot is done.)


Total cost of the entire place setting (not including napkin and placemat) $10.

Whilst I was shoving small children and people on disability out of the way so I could accomplish my table setting mission I came across a few other things I loved, but they just didn’t suit the elegant look I was going for here.  So … I will have another Dollar Store table setting for you next week.  More of a rustic, country look.  I got to eat thick crusty rolls slathered with butter after that one.

I love you Dollar Store.  I’m really happy we’re back together.



  1. Jane Passant says:

    After raising four kids with chips in the plates, I ‘splurged’ at the Dollarama and bought a dozen of these plates when I moved to my own townhouse. They are the best buy I have made in a long time! The simplest food looks fabulous on them and I get sooo many compliments! I know this is an old post, but I’m still sooo excited about my plates after 9 mths I had to comment! lol

  2. Kari says:

    Oh gosh, that really is lovely. I now have a strong urge to go to the Dollar Store. This could be fun…

  3. Awesome! I love the little bowls for the salt and pepper. This motivates me to peruse my corner Dollar Store…actually the Dollar Tree. They have these fantastic metal platters that I must have!

  4. Amber says:

    I moved to Michigan from Ontario to live with my US husband a year ago and I realized the dollar stores here are a joke. So whatever weekend I visit my mother, I make sure to bring a Canadian $20 bill with me to my towns Dollarama. The-Best-Store In the world for me!

  5. amanda says:

    GOD BLESS THE DOLLARAMA. Favourite Dollar Store HANDS DOWN. Nothing to shake a stick at, that’s for damn sure. I am loving your place setting posts. Keep em’ coming!

  6. Trysha says:

    You have once again talked me into facing the dollar store. Until I read your blog, I had never been in one…which is funny because we have at least 5 in my small town. (two of them in the same shopping center)

  7. Erin Hall {i can craft that} says:

    Look out Dollar Store here i come!

  8. Sheri says:

    The place settings are pretty, but the photographs are gorgeous. You have terrific skill with a camera, and it really comes out with your food photos.

  9. pendy says:

    My mama taught me that once you take an object out of its native surroundings (like the dollar store!), it can be beautiful. You just proved her theory beautifully!

  10. Lori says:

    You have such a great sense of humor and how to decorate.

  11. Alex says:

    I love this! I was actually in the dollarama a couple days ago and totally stocked up on glasses and measuring cups/bowls/spoons. I saw the plates and bowls but just had no reason to buy new stuff as I already have brand new ugly place settings. I really wish I didn’t, though.

  12. Janelle says:

    Hilarious post, Karen…and white dinnerware, a girl after my own heart. Maybe the bowls are finger bowls and the hole is for a napkin to dry your hands off after you rinse in the water?

  13. pve says:

    I always admire a gal who knows how to stretch a dollar.
    What a chic table-

  14. Patti says:

    I googled ‘why would a bowl have a hole in it’ and it sent me to this link:

    which, incidentally, was webmarhsalled at work. Hope they don’t think I’m a burnout now.

  15. Nancy says:

    We need new plates and I so love those rectangular ones but can’t afford a trip to Canada to go the bamboo silverware also..great job Karen!

  16. Kathe says:

    Oh! Oh! Oh! It is a noodle bowlyou put your thumb in the hole so you can bring it to your face and shovel them in with the chopsticks!HA

  17. Diane says:

    I have found some very nice things at dollar stores. However, I remember when dollar stores had only $1 items. Now they are $1, $3.50, $15…mon dieu! Kinda reminds me of the day of 1 cent candies,all the good stuff goes away.

    • Karen says:

      Diane – In Canada we have Dollarama and up until last year everything remained $1. Now there are items for $1.25 and some for $2. Nothing over $2 though. ~ k!

  18. Marie says:

    I think I need to plan a trip to the dollar store with a creative, open mind. The bowl with the hole made me think of the Ikea wall organizers:

  19. Trissi V. says:

    The only time I go to the dollar store is for secret santa at work and then I think, why don’t I come here more often, when I look at all their glassware.

  20. Jeanne says:

    I love the dollar store too. I go once a month but beware of ceramics made in China. Do not use in the Microwave, ala coffee cups and bowls. Listen to Dr. Oz. Unfortunately, my “dollah” store is now mostly $1.50.
    Going to make a Sandwichspread Sandwich. LOL

  21. Barbara says:

    I love the way the “bowls with holes” look. Why do we think we have to DO something with the holes? Lovem!
    I still get up first thing in the morning and begin my day with Karen. Always a good start to my day. Thank you for sharing your humor and your amazing artistic abilities with us!

  22. Babie Knoop says:

    I haven’t been to the dollar store for a while! I’m going to have to go now. You have inspired me. What would we do w/out the dollar store!

  23. Christina says:

    This is great. I happen to need new dishes so I’ll start checking my dollar store periodically.
    A couple of months ago I scored a fabulous tote bag. Very sturdy and colorful for $1.49. Now I see lots of women in my neighborhood carrying the same bag. I love it, we can all give each other ‘the nod’.

  24. Mickey says:

    Just found out that Dollarama is selling gift cards. YES!!!!

  25. cred says:

    This looks beautiful!
    I just bought six of those bowls with the holes, having the same thought that they looked pretty upscale for the Dollarama. I am going back to check out those small squarish bowls. And those rectangular plates also look good for serving. I have similar ones that I got from Zehr’s- it looks fancy to lay out offerings from the bbq on long tray. Inexpensive enough to use everyday to make regular ole weekday dinners feel a little fancy.

    I love how you put things together…. such vision!

  26. Sally says:

    Love the Dollar store. Love it, love it! I had great fun/luck there before Thanksgiving and got clear plates that are my new favorite.
    I also love to read the Christmas chapters out of each of the Little House books at Christmas. Favorite? Either when Mr. Edwards saves Christmas on the prairie or Almanzo in Farmer Boy. Plum Creek was pretty good too.

  27. Sharm's Outlet says:

    This is very cool i love the idea getting utencils for the school lunch boxes… I 13 old will really like to have real stuff. I love the bowls… I have not neen to the dollar store for a while… I need to give it a try… Lovely setting again and the chinese looks yummy…

  28. Jeanne says:

    The hole in the bowl is for your THUMB so you can
    grasp and slurp.

  29. princesslala says:

    “Whilst I was shoving small children and people on disability out of the way….”

    I just lurve you.

  30. Karen Anderson says:

    maybe the hole in the bowl is for a little tiny spoon–could it be a salt cellar?
    Gotta run, I’m making icicle scultures in my yard!

  31. Angeline says:

    Lovely – Thanks for the giggles!

  32. Nicole2 says:

    I’m so jealous, Karen! You have the greatest knack for finding a diamond in the rough, plus you take darn good photos! We’re talking magazine quality here. Did you take lessons? It looks so professional. And that tablescape is just awesome.

    I found some gorgeous Christmas decorations at Dollarama, but the kicker is I had seen some of them at the fancy local nursery store. I’m sure they got them at Dollarama, removed the tags and displayed them in a pretty basket. And jacked up the price of course. The nerve!

  33. Bev says:

    the hole is for your thumb me thinks – appetizer bowl – I remember Williams Sonoma had some a couple of years back

    • Karen says:

      Bev – I figured the hole was for your thumb, but for what purpose? You don’t need it. It doesn’t actually make holding the bowl any easier … and if there’s any food in the bowl your thumb would end up touching it! I agree it’s for your thumb … it just seems … unnecessary. Looks good tho! ~ karen

  34. Amy Schmucker says:

    I have sat here and thought and thought what those holes are for and my first thought was sushi too. But since that didn’t work I was thinking they could now hang up with little hooks? but why would you want to do that unless to make a tree out of cups?

    What if you put the two cups back to back so the holes faced each other, then the chop sticks would work? Then you would have two bowls per person. Hmmm maybe?

    Definetly a conversation piece.

  35. SK Farm Girl says:

    Soooooo glad you two got back together again. Sometimes you need a little time apart to really appreciated one another! LOL! The table setting is fabulous, can’t wait for the rustic, country setting! Curious if it will involve farmyard tools like chicken feeders, freshly strewn straw, and gunny sacks that once held chicken feed! Ah, the simple life . . .

  36. Denise says:

    Beautiful! As for the really cool bowl with the hole, could the hole be for your thumb? If you were carrying it around it might give you a better grip.. and no, I don’t know why you’d need to be carrying it around lol

  37. Rachel says:

    Much impressed! I must return to the Dollar Store, once my kid stops breaking everything that isn’t nailed down. Sometime in the next decade I hope.

    Love the place setting… need me some of those bamboo silverware!

  38. Chelle (@Asheyna) says:

    I love my Dollarama, it’s like a gift from the decorating gods to me! I make it a habit to stop in every week or two and see what other new things they have.

  39. Marti says:

    Ahhhhhh, I love cheap. It’s my comfort zone. The very thing, along with snarky humor and off season Halloween socks, that keeps me coming back to your door. It’s like a favorite pair of old socks, freshly washed.

  40. Meg says:

    The hole is so that you can hold the bowl when you have soup you want to drink because it’s just so good!

  41. Design Love says:

    I love those bamboo utensil!! I buy the spoons up for my kids lunches. They are nice and heavy too, would hurt the knuckles if someone tried to steal off your plate! Dollarama rocks!

  42. Sandy says:

    Goreous finds! I love your pictures, too. You are very talented with a camera.

    I’m in Ontario and haunt Dollarama but I haven’t seen these beauties. Do they not all carry the same product? If not, I’m jealous.

    • Karen says:

      Sandy – They normally do carry the same stuff. It differs a bit, but for the most part I think it’s the same. Keep lookin’. These things are very recent. The last week or two. ~ k!

  43. karenagain says:

    I love/hate my small town dollar store. I never know if I’m looking at expensive crap or cheap treasures. I just buy it if it looks pretty.

    So, anyway, I was talking to my little sister the other night. I had no idea what to buy her seven year old girl for Christmas. Finally it dawned on me. Heather is getting the complete boxed set of Little House on the Prairie. You have mentioned your love of these books (kinda a little bit lots) and I share it (seriously, just as much as you).

    • Karen says:

      karen! – Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m reading a book I’m just not loving and I was thinking … I wanna read a book I love. I haven’t read The Little House books in so long! I’m going to order them from Chapters immediately. ~ karen

      • karenagain says:

        Yeah, I “schlepped” them around for years until they apparently found a better home that wasn’t with me. I think for just under forty dollars I need to order a new set for myself too.

  44. Robyn says:

    Wonder if Dollarama will ever come to Australia? Could you ask them now you’re back on speaking terms pls? Thanks! I did this table setting yesterday using Ikea Christmas wrapping as a table runner.

  45. SongBird says:

    That’s lovely.

    The hole in the dish is for your chopsticks! Like this!

    I’ll have to check out the dollar stores in my area.


    • Karen says:

      SongBird – I was sooo excited when I read your comment I ran for my bowls and chopsticks. :( Doesn’t work. The chopsticks fall right out. Wouldda been great! I just made Chinese food and ate w/ chop sticks tonight! ~ karen

  46. Tricia Rose says:

    “Remember … always think of what something could be, as opposed to what it actually is. THAT’S where greatness comes from.”

    I bow before you oh Wise One, and I’m going to immortalise this one in poker work. Gobsmacked.

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