Five Dollar Decor - Winterize

Every Friday, I'll be posting Five Dollar Decor--five ideas for interior decorating that can be achieved by spending only five dollars. For five dollars, you can add one new element to your in-home design. For twenty-five, you can revamp an entire room around a new theme. Hmm... a trip to Starbucks, or a weekend redecorating project? 

Christmas is in a week. If you haven't got your decorating done, well, I can't look too much askance at you, because we haven't even put ornaments on our tree yet (I know, I know.)

But I do feel like at this point, even if you haven't actually put them up, you know what your holiday decorations are going to be. So, I'm not going to write about Christmas decor.

Instead, I'm going to write about that awful time after the holidays. You know what I'm talking about. Christmas decorations come down, the New Year is over, and yet, for some inexplicable reason, it's still winter. And if you live in the North, like Mr. Scrimp and I do, it will still be winter for up to five more months. It's time to settle in for more cold, some breathtakingly beautiful weather, and a lot of dreariness.

So, once Christmas is over, why not get ready for January by freshening up your home with these touches? My favorite thing to do in January is to celebrate the new year by doing all I can to create a clean and fresh feeling at home. It's a good time to clean and organize things, and if you're going to be redecorating, I suggest using a lot of white, light blue, or yellow accents. Those colors just scream "clean and new" to me, and bring a little bit of winter inside without any of the grayness or chill.

1. Forced Paperwhites

These are a January-February staple for me. Delicate, sweet-smelling, and ridiculously easy to grow, you can find bulbs for cheap at most grocery, hardware, and Wal-Mart type stores, and plant them in any spare bowl, planter, or dish that you have lying around. This article at has step-by-step instructions for how to do it.

(Photo from Holland Acres)

2. Window Covers

Rather than keeping blinds and heavy curtains up that block out the scant sunlight, why not take them down and instead cover your window glass with clear contact paper or light fabric applied with starch? These will allow light to come through while still preserving your privacy.

Clear contact paper can be purchased at most drug stores, Wal-Mart, and places of that ilk. It is removable without much hassle, and you can decorate it at will. Design*Sponge suggests drawing on it with a white paint pen, as in this photo.

If you live near an Ikea, you can also get frosted paper specifically designed to be applied to windows without adhesive, for $4.99.

3. Candles

The dollar store sells bags of small votive candles. While they generally come in nondescript tin holders, they pop right out and can go in any assortment into whatever clear glass holders you have if you don't like the tin. Group as many as you can fit onto a thrifted or on-hand silver tray or gilt-framed mirror and light them all at once.

This is great on a dining table, kitchen table, coffee table, bureau, desk, mantel, or, well, pretty much anywhere with enough room to safely display candles. The clean white and silver are lovely during the short days, and the extra, soft light will make the long nights a little more pleasant.

(Photo from Better Homes and Gardens)

4. Reconsider Christmas

Look at your Christmas decorations. Have you got any that could be tweaked and de-Christmasized a bit to hang around and be plain winter decorations? A green garland, a string of white lights, or an arrangement of silver glass balls in a clear jar or bowl don't necessarily need to be strictly for Christmas. When you take down your Christmas things, reserve one or two of the least explicitly Christmassy ones and try putting them in a new spot or adding a new element or two to increase their longevity. Best part? It's free!

5. Outerwear as Decor

You're wearing scarves, gloves, boots, and hats anyway. Rather than tossing them in a closet, why not make them into a design element? Install a row of Command hooks (or nails, or pegs, or anything that you can hang something on) in a hallway. Hang an assortment of brightly colored scarves (or bags, or hats, or mittens on strings) on the hooks.

You can change the items on the hooks out once a week for a fresh look, rearrange the colors, hang a mix of knit and cotton scarves to play with texture--the possibilities are pretty much endless and make use of things that you already own to bring some colors into your hallway or entrance room.

(Photo from

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