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Décor Drama at Dollarama

Does high impact design have to cost a fortune? Can the modern home exude contemporary style when dollar spend is limited? Guess it depends who’s guiding your project.

While similarly content toiling at the pricier end of client instruction — when relevant projects arise — we’re equally challenged when purse strings constrict like a boa laying claim to terrified prey.

Perhaps surprisingly, all the wall hangings, floral artistry and accessories featured here (short of two candle sticks plucked from our condo) were bagged from the shelves at Dollarama ( for inclusion in a Cityline segment.

So what are today’s lessons?  Well, dashing round the aisles, for starters, is less about ‘snatch and grab’ and more about cherry picking key pieces for optimal reinvention.  Could that jauntily toned bowl be wall hung as an ‘art’ piece? Could that glossy melamine tray transmogrify into a mirror if filled with reflective glass? And how ‘bout those faux florals: could they be twisted into chic arrangements worthy of Elton John’s dressing room? In creative hands?  Yes.

Let’s start at the very beginning

When assembling a feature wall project, it’s fun to add extra framework.  To this end we used Frog Tape (this stuff is epic, great adhesion and built-in ‘bleed deterrent’ make for crisp edges) to map out lines.  Yellow, from a design perspective (especially when played with white), is fresh and spring-like, while black lends a dramatic note that anchors our project.  And take a tip: use a small foam roller for optimal results.


You’ll need 16 black frames ($1.25), one roll of self-adhesive butterflies ($2), four packs of 3D chrome butterflies ($2 each) and a $1 sheet of yellow card to build this affordable vision.

Turning tables

The white sofa bench (past stock from Ikea) ascended to new heights of monochromatic glamour courtesy of a simple C&J twist.  We masked off bands (using Frog Tape, as before) then applied two even coats of black paint and primer in one.  Maximal visual return for minimal effort?  Hey, you’re speaking our language.

Butterfly project

Pour a glass of wine – you’re gonna be busy.  You’ll need sixteen $1.25 black frames.  One $2 roll of self-adhesive butterflies.  Four $2 packs of 3D chrome butterflies and a $1 sheet of yellow card.  Oh, and you’ll require a little patience as you build the Dollarama goodies into our affordable vision.  First, disassemble the frames, remove half the white mats and replace with the yellow card cut carefully to size.  Next, peel off and stick two butterflies into each aperture and reassemble the frames.

Finally, using the sticky pad at the bottom of each 3D butterfly, affix to the glass as if floating in air.  For drama, we arranged our entomological swarm in a neat grid.  Doing so established strong graphic presence that made our project fly.  Almost literally.

Flower power

Using $3 faux crystal bowls stuffed with floristry foam, we set to work. Each formerly straight stem cost $1.25 but is much more individual when bent and twisted into a ‘weeping’ formation rather than left tall and skinny.  A finishing flourish is the addition of faux pussy willow; this immediately adds an architectural twist.

Flos inspired KT lamps

OK, so original Flos lights cost a fortune. Our interpretation of the iconic piece, however, just $3.50. To make, we glue-gunned small plastic beakers to the top of candlesticks and popped round LED spot lights ($1.50) inside.  Shades were formed by inverting plastic bowls and positioning on top to crown each base.  Could this be any easier?

Ice sculpture’ tables

Cute and surprisingly rigid – but have you guessed what they are yet?  Or rather what they were? Plastic faux crystal trays, no less.   Just $2 a pop!  To construct, glue-gun two trays, lip to lip, then repeat the process to form the middle sections. Adhere one set to the other and affix another two trays (double walled for extra rigidity) to form the top and bottom surfaces.  A 10-minute project utilizing eight trays per table at a total cost of $16 each.  Go figure!

Funky, huh? And perhaps the least expensive vignette we’ve ever mastered.  As we’ve counseled before, it’s not what you buy but how you use it that makes the biggest difference. And imagination, of course, is utterly free.  Now go find that glue gun.  And get crafty!

About the Author: Colin and Justin are interior designers, style commentators, Hollywood celebrity interviewers and lifestyle gurus.


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