8 Cheap DIY Home Office Ideas That Look Expensive

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Transform your workspace without breaking the bank with these cheap DIY home office ideas. Discover budget friendly ways to elevate your office, making it look expensive, without the hefty price tag.

Create your own dream office with these budget-friendly creative ideas.
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After a year of building our home office, I am happy to report that construction is completed and I’m officially moved in and working at my desk!

You might be wondering why it took a whole year to build such a small space in our home, and while I don’t necessarily have an answer, I’ll say this…everything happens at a snail’s pace in this house. 

When you’re a couple who basically does every DIY in your home yourself, projects take time (I’ll talk more about this in a bit). 

Between work, kids, commitments, and everyday life; finding the time (and energy) to build a pretty & functional home office can take a backseat. 

However, after working on this project over the past year with Mr. ERH, we discovered a few creative ideas on how to make your own space look expensive while working within a budget.

And I have to say, our home office was well worth the wait! It’s cozy, beautiful, functional, and practical…all the things that I wanted in our office. 

So in this blog post, I’m sharing my top secrets and budget-friendly strategies that anyone can use to achieve a high-end look in your home office too. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced DIY’er or not, these ideas are designed to inspire you to create a workspace that’s affordable but with a luxurious feel.

Small home office ideas that are cheap but make the room feel expensive.

Come Up With a Budget Before Creating Your Dream Home Office

Before we dive into DIY home office ideas, I think it’s a good idea to start with one of the most important aspects of any successful project, knowing your budget.

A budget is like a roadmap, guiding you through important decisions and understanding where you can spend your money. 

Begin by setting a realistic budget that aligns with your financial comfort zone whether that’s $500 or $5,000. 

DIY home office with French inspired wallpaper to create a cozy feeling.

I would have loved to rip up the carpet in this room and install brand new hardwood floors. However, that just wasn’t in the budget. 

Think about not only the big ticket items like furniture and decorations but also the often overlooked expenses like paint, tools, and any unexpected surprises (which always happen) that can pop up along the way.

Knowing your budget isn’t about restricting your creativity; it’s about embracing it with purpose. 

Save Money by Doing as Much of the Work Yourself

One of the most effective ways to keep your budget intact is by doing as much of the work yourself as you can. 

We didn’t hire any outside help for our home office to save money. Mr. ERH built the room from the ground up including framing the room, running electrical wiring, plastering, painting, installing wallpaper…you name it, he did it. 

While it may have taken us a year to complete the project doing it all ourselves, we ended up saving a lot of money in the long run.

Create a stylish home office with wallpaper and other DIY accents.

Now I know not everyone has the construction or DIY experience to build a room from the ground up, and that’s totally ok!

Know what you can do, and do it. 

Instead of splurging on professional painters, grab a paintbrush and paint your space.

Want to add wallpaper without the expense of hiring a professional wallpaper installer, consider tackling the job yourself. 

Modern wallpapers have revolutionized the DIY game, making it easy for homeowners to achieve beautiful results on their own.

Here’s the bottom line…by taking matters into your own hands, you not only save money but also develop a deeper connection with your home. 

Each hammer of a nail, stroke of a paintbrush, or carefully placed section of wallpaper becomes a personal investment in the creation of an office that resonates your unique style.

A functional home office with a comfortable desk chair and throw pillow.

Maximize the Home Office Space You do Have

As much as I’d love to have a huge home office, that will never be a reality in our current house. Our home just isn’t that big, and that includes the new office. 

But here’s the thing, the size of your office matters less than how you use it. 

Maximizing the space in your home office setup involves planning, storage solutions, and a little creativity to ensure that every corner is used to its fullest potential. 

A pocket door is a great solution for a small home office space.

Ask yourself these helpful questions to make the most of your big or small office space…

What are my storage needs?

Assess the items that need a spot in your home office. 

Do you have an abundance of paperwork, books, or office supplies? 

By understanding your storage space and needs, you can make the best decisions on furniture that serves both functional & aesthetic purposes.

Small home office ideas that are cheap but make the room feel expensive.

I love that the secretary desk we added to our office has slots right behind my computer where I can place bills that need to be paid and drawers for storing important papers that we might need in the future.

How can I utilize vertical space?

Don’t forget to look up! 

Vertical space often goes underutilized but can be a game changer in a small home office. 

Ask yourself how you can make the most of your walls. Are there opportunities for open shelves, wall mounted cabinets, or cork boards? 

While we didn’t necessarily utilize much vertical space in the office itself, we did in the closet located in the office. 

Large closet in home office for storage and use of vertical space.

Mr. ERH built shelves all the way up to store (some) of my decor hoard. This closet has been a game changer lately in helping me know what I have for decor, and most importantly, keeping it organized. 

Is flexibility a priority? 

Consider the flexibility of your furniture. 

Do you need a desk that can be folded away when not in use so you can also have a guest room? 

Portable furniture provides the flexibility to transform the space to accommodate other things. 

8 Awesome Home Office Ideas That are Cheap but Look Expensive

Now, let’s explore some budget home office ideas that will make your room look like a million bucks without the need for an interior designer!

Create a functional home office with the right furniture and accessories.

The Secret Weapon to a Beautiful Home Office…Wallpaper

When it comes to making your home office feel luxurious and expensive, wallpaper is the secret weapon.

Wallpaper has the magical ability to infuse personality, texture, and style into a space without breaking the bank.

You might be thinking…isn’t wallpaper expensive?

The answer is actually no! 

Modern advancements in traditional and peel & stick wallpaper have transformed home decor. You can achieve the look of high end wallpaper without the big price tag or the need for a professional installer.

Homemade fabric memo board in country cottage home office.

We installed the wallpaper in our office ourselves and it was so much easier than traditional or peel & stick wallpaper (we’ve installed both of those in the past). 

The Luxe Traditional wallpaper from Wall Blush does require glue, however what makes it different from traditional wallpaper is that you roll the glue onto the wall and then stick the wallpaper to that. 

You have the flexibility to move the paper on the wall to easily keep the wallpaper straight and match up patterns. 

Much easier than dipping the entire sheet of wallpaper into a glue bath and then trying to cleanly install on the wall. 

Awesome home office ideas with the addition of a dog bed.

Peel & stick wallpaper is another cheap and easy wallpaper option. However, you need lots of patience for the application. We know, installing peel and stick paper almost lead to a divorce in our house!

With peel and stick wallpaper you simply remove the backing and then stick on the walls. 

The downside is that once you stick, you typically cannot move the section making it hard to line up prints and patterns. 

Peel and stick is advertised as removable, however we have removed peel & stick wallpaper and it did remove the paint from the walls. 

Make your wallpaper look high end by wallpapering light switch and outlet covers.

Pro Tip: Don’t overlook little details! Remember to wallpaper your light switch and outlet covers to match the wallpaper pattern on the wall. This small step will elevate the overall aesthetic of your office, creating a seamless and polished look.

Ultimately, the choice is yours when it comes to the type and style of wallpaper you use. 

This blog post dives more into the types of wallpaper you can buy, how much it might cost, and how to choose the right wallpaper for your home. 

Shop Your Home to Furnish Your Stylish Office Space

Before you head to the store to furnish your finished office, first take a look around your home for objects that you can reuse and repurpose. 

By shopping your own home for decorations, you save money and create a space that tells your story. 

Create a beautiful office with an old desk and items you've shopped from around your home.

The landscape print hanging above the desk was actually in our laundry room.

I’ve had it placed on a shelf collecting dust in there for years (I actually debated getting rid of it), and I actually like it so much better with the aesthetic of this room. 

I snatched the vintage style pedestal clock on top of the desk from our fireplace mantle.

Vintage style pedestal clock on an old desk with books and a faux plant.

Don’t forget to check out storage closets, attics, or basements too.

You might be surprised at the forgotten treasures you have there just waiting for you to discover them. 

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Good Lighting can Make a Big Difference in the Ambiance of Your Office

The impact of good lighting cannot be overstated when it comes to creating an office space that feels both inviting and productive. 

The right lighting has the potential to transform a home office into a space of warmth and sophistication. 

Create a functional home office with the right furniture and accessories.

We opted to not install any overhead lighting in our office.

We don’t use it any other room besides the kitchen, so we felt there was no need to spend money on something we were not going to use. 

Instead I have a single lamp on the top of the desk that adds the perfect amount of ambient light on a dark day or when the sun begins to set. 

You can hang a DIY memo board with command strips or sawtooth picture hangers.

Natural sunlight is my favorite form of light, so if your office has access to natural light, make the most of it. 

Natural light creates a refreshing and open atmosphere and it’s scientifically proven to positively impact your mood and productivity too. 

  • Nothing disrupts focus and comfort like harsh lighting, especially when you’re glued to a computer screen. Swap out traditional bulbs for LED or warmer toned bulbs to create a cozy & inviting atmosphere.
  • Desk lamps, floor lamps, or even wall sconces can be strategically placed to light up certain areas, reducing eye strain and creating a cozy environment.
  • Use a light fixture that has a dimmer option to provide you the flexibility to tailor the brightness to your specific needs. 

Your Office is the Perfect Place to Add a Little Greenery

By greenery, I mean real or faux. 

I’d love to have live plants in our office, but knowing me, they would be dead within a few weeks. 

So, faux is how we roll in this house. 

An old desk is the perfect place to add a little greenery to add coziness to your home office.

Natural elements (real or faux) have the ability to soften the edges of a space, providing a sense of freshness that can brighten your work environment.

I placed this faux potted pothos plant on our desk. I was shocked at how realistic it appears and this brown-thumbed girl gets to enjoy a little greenery without having to take care of it. 

Faux plants might cost you a little more up front, however the investment pays off over time. Unlike live plants that require ongoing care, faux plants incur no additional expenses.

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Shop Thrift Stores & Facebook Marketplace for Cheap Office Decor

Beyond the fact that you’ll save money shopping second-hand stores or Facebook Marketplace, these shopping platforms offer an easy way to add character and personality to your home that you won’t find in the big box stores. 

Thrift Stores

You’ll find endless possibilities in a thrift store from office furniture to decor, and other accessories patiently waiting for a second chance. 

Create your own dream office with these budget-friendly creative ideas.

Explore the aisles with an open mind and you might stumble upon a an old book, a unique bookshelf, or an English advertising pot (for $5.99!!!) you can use as a pencil holder. 

The beauty of thrift store finds lies in their individuality and the stories they bring with them.

Facebook Marketplace

Whether it’s a stylish file cabinets, a vintage lamp, or a wooden desk; Marketplace opens a world of possibilities, often at a fraction of the cost of new items.

After weeks of hunting, I ended up finding our vintage secretary desk on Facebook.

Our old desk cost $200 which was a steal to me considering its classic style, condition, and the cost of desks I’d been looking at in consignment shops. 

Create a beautiful office with an old desk and items you've shopped from around your home.

As excited as I was to find our desk on FB Marketplace, it wasn’t easy. I can’t tell you how many people I messaged about a desk they had for sale that never got back to me.

So, I put together a list of tips & tricks to help you navigate FB Marketplace a little easier:


Tips

  • Refine Your Search: Use specific keywords and filters to narrow down your search. This will help you find exactly what you’re looking for and save time scrolling through unrelated or sold listings.
  • Check Frequently: Make it a habit to check the platform frequently to catch the best deals and opportunities before others do.
  • Communicate Clearly: When reaching out to sellers, be clear in your communication. Ask relevant questions about the item’s condition, dimensions, and any other details you need to know. 
  • Negotiate Politely: It’s expected that buyers will negotiate prices on FB Marketplace. Be polite and respectful in your negotiations, and you might secure a better deal. Remember to be realistic about the value of the item.
  • Inspect Thoroughly: Before finalizing a purchase, thoroughly inspect the item. Check for any damage that may not have been visible in the photos. 
  • Verify Seller Ratings: FB Marketplace allows users to leave ratings and reviews for sellers. Check these ratings to find the reliability and trustworthiness of the person you’re dealing with. 
  • Be Patient: Finding the perfect item at the right price may take some time. Be patient in your search, and don’t settle for something that doesn’t meet exactly what you’re looking for.

Look for Character & Personality in Second-hand Pieces

What sets thrift store and Facebook Marketplace finds apart from mainstream store purchases is the unique character and personality they will bring to your space. 

These pieces often boast craftsmanship and details that are harder to come by in mass produced products. 

Desk found on Facebook Marketplace with a desk lamp, candle, books, and greenery.

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Thrifted Finds Offer DIY Potential

Thrifted pieces offer potential for DIY projects. 

A worn-out dining table can become a desk with a fresh coat of paint, and an old bookshelf can turn into a storage unit with a little creativity. 

Welcome the opportunity to put your own stamp on thrifted finds, turning them into unique elements that will elevate your home office design without much cost.

Think Outside the Box When Decorating Your Home Office

One of my favorite ways to decorate is to think outside the box. How can I use an item in another way other than it was intended?

When it came time to pick an office chair for the desk, I had to get creative. 

A functional home office with a comfortable desk chair and throw pillow.

I could not find a desk chair I loved that did not have the ugly base at the bottom. Instead of googling, desk chair, I started searching for “slipcovered swivel chair“. 

I wanted a chair with wheels, without it looking like a traditional office chair.

Lo and behold I found the perfect desk chair that wasn’t an office chair. In fact, it was listed as a dining or accent chair, ha! 

This chair was relatively inexpensive too compared to some of the chairs that appeared in my search. $500-$1,000 for a desk chair…I don’t think so!

Office chair in a small home office with a decorative plaid throw pillow.

I placed this green plaid throw pillow on the chair for a little more texture and comfort. I think the green adds the perfect pop of color and the plaid print contrasts nicely with the French inspired wallpaper.

When you think outside the box, you may end up saving a few dollars and you’ll transform your home into a place where creativity knows no bounds. 

Office chair with old desk for cozy and comfortable office decor.

DIY a Ribbon Memo Board for Your Stylish Home Office

If you want to add a little cozy charm to your office, I cannot recommend this DIY project more!

This customizable bulletin board not only adds a personal touch to your home office but also serves as a functional & stylish organization tool.

Examples of what you can display on a memo board include pictures, cards, and inspiration.

Find all the craft supplies you need and the full step by step tutorial on the blog.

It’s easy to make and budget-friendly too!

Step by step guide on how to make a DIY ribbon memo board at home.

Don’t Forget Your Nose Where You Work

We often focus on sight and sound when creating a productive work space, but don’t forget your sense of smell.

The power of scent is profound, it influences the feel of a home office and your mood & overall well-being. 

I like to have a seasonal candle in one of my favorite scents burning nearby. It creates a calming and relaxing atmosphere while I work. 

A simple way to make your office feel cozy is by burning a scented candle.

Here are a few candle scents perfect for an office environment: 

*Use code HEIDI20 for 20% off your Antique Candle Co. purchase.

Final Thoughts on Cheap DIY Home Office Ideas

In conclusion, cheap DIY home office ideas are a great way to show off your creativity and personalize your office space.

From DIY projects to budget friendly decor, each component contributes to a productive & inspiring work environment.

Create a functional home office with the right furniture and accessories.

Here’s a quick recap…

Know Your Budget: With a clear budget in mind, you can make informed decisions, prioritize essentials, and allocate resources where they matter most.

Save Money by Doing DIYs on Your Own: DIY projects aren’t just a means of saving money; they are a way for you to express your unique style. 

Maximize the Space You Have: Maximizing every square foot ensures that your home office feels both spacious and purposeful.

Shop Your Home for Decorations: Your home can be a treasure trove of potential decor pieces. You’ll uncover forgotten items that can be repurposed for your home office. 

Lighting Can Make a Big Difference: Never underestimate the impact of lighting on the ambiance of your home office. 

Shop Thrift Stores & Facebook Marketplace: Beyond the cost savings, these platforms offer a unique opportunity to infuse your home office with character through one-of-a-kind finds.

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I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.

xoxo, heidi

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Create your own dream office with these budget-friendly creative ideas.
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14 Comments

  1. Hi Heidi – Loved this post and the tips you offer. Especially regarding the peel and stick wallpaper. I am sharing a link to this post in my monthly unboxing post for April. Have a great weekend.

  2. Hi Verna, I honestly love our desk chair! The material is soft, it’s extremely comfortable, and you can’t beat the price. I highly recommend!!!

  3. Wondering if you can give me an honest review of your desk chair? I’m looking for a small chair to add to the corner of my bedroom. Thank you!

  4. Hi Michele! Thank you for your comment. The office is so small these shots are about as good as I can get to show you the whole room. It’s only a 7’x7′ room…tiny!!!

  5. The wallpaper in this room is gorgeous!! Such a fresh looking office space Heidi! Sharing this post with my readers this weekend! Pinned!

  6. Love your newly done home office! What a great choice in wallpaper, too. Everything looks so good! What I’d also love to see is a long shot pic or many of the entire space – not just close ups. It would help us get a true feel of the layout you chose and how we may incorporate your wonderful ideas in our own nests. Hope you don’t mind the feedback. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Hi Pamela! Thank you for your comment. Have you thought about adding a secretary desk (like mine) to the space? The nice thing about my desk is that I can fold the part I have my computer on, up so that if I’ve got a little bit of a mess going on, I can then hide it. You can find secretary desks with a hutch on the top too, unfortunately mine didn’t have that and that’s one thing I wish it did have. Anyways, I hope that helps and thank you for the blog post idea. I love when you guys give me ideas on things you want to see from me!

  8. Thank you Cindy! I hope you get your office back soon!!! I’m so glad I’ve got closet space now to corral some of my decor, it was getting out of control!

  9. This is a great post. So pretty. I am looking to turn our dining room into a craft room/office but it is part of our living room, so I don’t want it to look like an office. (at least I think I don’t) Any advice on this would be appreciated. Also, a post on your favourite decor books would be a great help if you are looking for ideas.

  10. Girl, that wallpaper is stunning! Hoping to get my office back soon. It turned into a kids bedroom for a while – long story. You’ve given my great inspiration and direction! Love the tips. And adore the closet and all that’s inside. 😉 Enjoy!

  11. Lovely!! I have to say your home has a soothing ambiance to it in all the rooms your show. Love the wallpaper and how it all came together!!

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