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Home Office Makeover on a Budget

Before and After In this gorgeous budget-friendly home office makeover, we provide budget decor ideas showing how we transform a home office using 7 simple budget-friendly solutions and DIY projects.

Recently, I had a local reader reach out to me via Facebook asking for assistance with her home office. To my surprise, it was actually someone I knew. Vanessa and I worked together 10 years ago but had lost contact with one another. She and I immediately started to catch up. Since then she had gotten married and is now the mother of 3 beautiful children. Vanessa was struggling with decorating some areas of her home. Naturally, her focus had been on taking care of everyone else. When she bought her house she had always hoped she would have every room fully decorated by now. But reality set in and 4 years later, her office was still incomplete. In fact, her office was empty and quickly becoming a dumping ground for things and her kids’ toys.


Vanessa’s office was an empty unused room at the front of the house. She started storing papers and knickknacks in the room. She could see it turning into a junk room. For the longest time she couldn’t visualize what she could do with the space. When I visited we went around the room and measured the space. Using some painters tape we outlined the placement of things that she would like to see in the room. When designing a room, space planning is key.

What Vanessa, the homeowner, wanted to see in her home office

Vanesssa wanted a space she could love, a place for work as well as space that would be all hers. With a budget of $500 we set out to achieve her dream office.

  • A place that could be a haven away from the kids
  • Budget-friendly
  • Have a place to display family heirlooms
  • Have a elements of Caribbean flair

What we used


  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Paint roller and brush
  • Hammer
  • Sander

Optional tools:

The Transformation – What we did

To achieve an office that is both affordable and stylish takes a little time and the ability to get in there and get your hands dirty. This office consists of tons of simple DIY projects. However, when merged together it looks like a space that you’d see in magazines or on Pinterest that cost a fortune. Using these 7 simple steps we created Vanessa’s dream office.

  1. Add a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the space

    Paint can make the world of a difference. We painted 3 of the walls white (BEHR MARQUEE Ultra Pure White Matte Interior Paint and Primer in One)

  1. so that we could make the room feel bigger and airy. This allowed us to go big with an accent wall. For the accent wall, we opted for a rich deep blue (BEHR MARQUEE Starless Night Matte). Blue has a calming serene effect.
  2. Shop thrifts stores and Craigslist to find low-cost furniture.

    Finding low-cost furniture is always a challenge, especially good quality pieces. Don’t be afraid to check out your local thrift stores and Craigslist. You’d be surprised what people throw out. Sometimes it does require that you think outside of the box, but usually with a little paint and elbow grease its like brand new. We got these two bookcases on sale for $22.50 each. One was dropped and was damaged in the fall. As a result, the thrift store gave it to use for just $12.



  3. Bookshelves are a great way to create ‘built-in” storage

    Place bookcases along the wall. Anchor them in place with corner braces. You can even cover unsightly but necessary items line cable and phone outlets. Just be sure to remove the back of the bookcase so that you can get to the outlet and cords easily.


  4. Decorate with curtains.

    1. Curtains are a great way to add additional color and interest to a space. Place the curtains above the window about halfway between the ceiling and the window. This will give the illusion of high ceilings, further making the room look bigger and more spacious.
  5. Choose a desk that is both stylish and functional.

    1. Select a desk that is both form and function. I like desks that have drawers that allow you to hide the clutter. Place the desk facing the door in the center of the room. The desk should be the center of attention in an office. Don’t place yourself in a corner where you’re stuck looking at a wall all day. Give yourself a view. It makes for a more productive work environment.
  6. Select lighting that can be a focal point, but nothing too ornate.

    1. Vanessa’s office didn’t have any central ceiling lighting or an electrical box to install lighting. So using a $5 clearance drum shade we made this battery operated light fixture. The cost of hiring an electrician would have consumed the entire budget for the room. But this simple solution, hung from the ceiling using a swag hook provides adequate directional lighting and pure elegance that takes this space to that next level.

  7. Create wall art that inspires you.

    1. Finally, create wall art that speaks to you. Abstract art is a great eye-catching way of tying in all the colors of the space. We created this framed wall art using scrap wood and sample and discount oops paint from our local home center. Honestly, it looks like something that would have cost hundreds in the store. It’s absolutely stunning.

After: What Vanessa thinks of her new space.

The overhaul of Vanessa’s office blew my mind. She absolutely loves her new space. She learned that she could shop local thrift stores and decorate her home for a fraction of what she thought it would cost. Her office now offers serenity and inspiration.


Filled with easy low-cost DIY solutions, this gorgeous home office makeover empowered Vanessa to take on other design dilemmas withing her home.

Using these design tips when you’re decorating your office you are sure to create your dream home office.


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  1. Carol Lewis says:

    Wow this transformation was phenomenal. It gives me hope for my situation. I’m wondering if you could help me out. I have an office right off the front door it’s first room you see. I want a functional home office yet a cozy spot to work on my crafts and relax. My job involves quite a bit of paperwork so im trying to find a convenient way to file and keep out of site.
    I need help deciding how to set up:
    Which way to position desk
    Bookcase location
    Use of existing furniture or economical replacement
    Do you think I could do this 500-700
    Please help!

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much! Absolutely you can do wonders for $500-700. I would be honored to assist you in this process. Are you on Facebook? If so send me a message @Toolboxdivas with photos of your space and current furnishing. We can set up a time to chat.

  2. Excellent job and beautifully done!!!! Totally impressed…

  3. Rebecca N. says:

    I would like more information about the desk you used in this office makeover! Did you build it yourself? If so, could I get the instructions for making it? I’d love it’s design and function and would love to have one just like it in my office!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes I did build the desk. I will work on getting those plans out as soon as possible.

  4. I also am in love with the desk! Would love to make it for my office as well!!

  5. Vastina Fisher says:

    I would like more information on the battery operated light. I working on room makeovers and the last thing I want to do is have to add electrical lighting. This battery operated light just gave me life! Any instructions and supply lists is appreciated

  6. Lillian Joyce says:

    My office footprint looks just like this but I need 2 monitors on my desk as well as several other pieces of equipment (router, speakers, modem, desktop computer, etc.) that require cords and then are then hardwired into the wall so I’ve always faced a wall. This limits my options to have a desk face the door. Any suggestions? Would also love the directions to make the desk!

    1. Lillian you must be reading my mind. I am starting my office renovation this month and I have a solution for 2 monitors. I will be posting the plans soon as well as hiding my cords.

  7. Frank Durham says:

    You ladies did a fantastic job!!!
    Gave me some inspiration for doing my wife’s office, she has the same double white doors going into her office. but the office is ReD ?? very dark in there. like a cave.. so a bright blue for the walls, and an accent color on the other side. should do a great job. .
    thanks for the ideas!!!

    1. Thank you so much! and Kudos to you for doing this for your wife. Best of luck!

  8. I love the desk! Are you willing to share instructions on how to build it?

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