The Great Budget Home Office Makeover: The Dismal Before Pic + Inspiration

I have been talking about making over my "office" for such a long time. Office is in quotes because by office I really mean the 4 feet of space in my living room where my computer lives. And when I tell you this space needs a makeover, I really mean it. The irony (and possibly hypocracy) involved in writing about style and great design from a space whose style can best be described as "boy's dorm room junk" is becoming too much to take. You see I'm plagued by a serious disease (please hear the over-dramatic undertone in this post). It's basically whatever the opposite of hoarding is... which, btw, I just googled this second and it is apparently called Spartanism. Who knew? Anyway, when I moved in with my fiance I got rid of way too many things. I was just planning to get new pieces, and by planning, I mean being delusional about the budget required to refurnish your home.

So anyway, here I am, blogging from a peeled paint desk circa 1972 with a missing knob that was literally being thrown out when my fiance adopted it. Consider it among its supporting cast, his actual dorm room rug and chair from way too long ago, and we've got a much needed makeover on our hands!




Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just posted that online. Not exactly a glamorous picture, is it? The problem is, as much as I want to decorate the space, it's definitely not in the budget to get new furniture and large scale art. Cue the great $150 DIY plan (drumroll, pleeeeeease).....



I threw this little mock up together on Photoshop. And really, even if you don't use Photoshop at all, I would totally recommend this method (even cutting things out of a magazine) for deciding on a room design. I was having such a hard time picking a color scheme, an era, etc. I was feeling the pressure for it to be cohesive, but once I just threw all the things I liked together, with no intention of matching or being "designed," I found that I really liked the end product.

So here's the (tentative) plan:

+ RUG: I've been really obsessing over African mudcloth and I realized that with some paint and a lot of patience, I could update the existing dorm-era rug into something I will hopefully love! Estimated cost: paint ($7) and fabric protector ($7)= $14

+ CHAIR & THROW: I had my heart set on a ghost chair, but this little gem from Ikea is only $19.99, so as long as it's not completely uncomfortable, I'm sold! Topped with this gray faux sheepskin, only $12.99 also at Ikea and I'm a happy girl. Cost: $33

+ DESK: Okay, this one depends on a whole lot of good luck. Plan A is to find two thrift store filing cabinets for just $10 each, spray paint them, and top with a cabinet top or wood slab. Since that kind of depends on the thrift store stars aligning, Plan B is to paint the existing desk and add decorative drawer pulls. Estimated cost: filing cabinets ($20), spray paint ($7) and top ($24)= $51

+ ARTWORK: I will be painting my own artwork. I haven't fully committed to an idea yet, though I'm a little obsessed with eye and lip motifs, so those will likely be involved. I'm thinking of having two paintings (on some scrap wood instead of stretched canvas to save money) with a frame surrounding the pieces that I will make from strips of moulding. Estimated cost: wood (hopefully found scraps- $0), moulding ($15), paint (on hand- $0)= $15

+ CLIPBOARDS: This depends on what I can find, but I'm hoping to find very basic clipboards for $2.50 each. Estimated cost: 6 clipboards= $15

+ACCESSORIES: I hope to make gold vases (hopefully hexagon shaped) using copper contact paper and thrift store vases. I also need some sort of paper sorter or magazine holder, but I really don't have any ideas on that yet. Estimated cost: whatever else I can get with the remaining $22

Grand Total: $150


I'll be updating you with progress posts over the next several weeks, so stay tuned! And local friends, if you have any supplies/tools/skills you would like to donate to the cause, I will welcome it all with open arms.


Do you think I can do it?