How to Create a Home Office for Under $500

This week’s theme has been all about home offices. Something many of us need right now is a healthy, happy space to work from home in. In this post I’ll show you how to create a home office space for under $500!

Spare bedroom before the home office makeover

We’re lucky to already have a home office, but since the Coronavirus lockdown both me and my husband have been working from home. Usually one of us will work on the kitchen island, which is fine for a day or two, but for a long period of time it just doesn’t work. I created a makeshift temporary home office in our downstairs bedroom / TV room for a while. But eventually we bit the bullet and decided to convert a spare bedroom into a multi-purpose bedroom / home office space, and here’s the result.

Multi-purpose bedroom / home office

Given that we weren’t sure how long we’d need a second home office, we didn’t want to spend a fortune doing it. So I’ll share my 3 top tips on how to create a home office for less than $500.

Tip 1: Recycle What You Already Have

We already had a spare desk stored in our basement from IKEA. It was pretty old and battered up, and the black didn’t really work with the light and airy look I was going for, so I sprayed the legs white. I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Semi Gloss Spray Paint in White. I used about 2 cans on these legs to get a nice solid finish over the black. It cost me about $8 to complete this makeover.

Desk legs being sprayed white

Tip 2: Shop on Facebook Marketplace

We decided that a daybed would be the ideal solution to a multi-purpose bedroom / home office, as it takes up less room when folded away, but can open up to a full sized bed when needed. I loved the IKEA Hemnes daybed, but at $599 it was beyond our budget for this particular makeover. So I scoured Facebook Marketplace (you can also use other reseller websites like eBay or Craigslist) for a second-hand one. Second-hand they tend to sell for anywhere from $150-$300 depending on the condition. I managed to find one in great condition with one mattress for just $150! Remember no contact pick-up and wipe down with disinfectant afterwards.

We also managed to get a cane chair for $40. I’ve loved cane chairs for ages, and when I saw this one I couldn’t resist! I have zero upholstery skills, and right now I don’t even have a sewing machine. So this one with off-white cushion appealed to me as I could re-use the seat cushion without added expense of getting it reupholstered.

However after washing the cushion, and painting the chair, the cushion color just didn’t work. So I decided to find someone that could make me a new seat cushion cover. All in, the chair cost $110 – $40 for the chair, $20 for the fabric and $50 to get the chair cushion made. A little more than I wanted to pay, but it turned out so well I think it’s worth it. Stay tuned for a full step by step post on how to makeover your own cane chair in the coming weeks.

Tip 3: Get Your Paint Roller Out

Originally I wanted to do a whitewashed wood feature wall, similar to our master bedroom. But when I priced it up, it was going to cost around $400. So I searched for ideas for cheap feature walls and found ideas that cost nothing more than a bit a tape, paint and time.

You don’t need any artistic skills to do this easy DIY feature wall, you just use the painters tape to map out the trunks and branches. I’d recommend stepping back and looking at it from further away before you commit to painting, so you’re 100% happy with how it’ll look. I’d also recommend doing a few trunks at a time and peeling the tape off, as the tape makes the trunks look like they’ll be a lot thicker than they actually are, so evaluate them before doing more. I’ll be posting a full step by step guide on how to achieve this look in the coming weeks.

If you don’t want a birch tree mural, you could just paint a wall a different color to add some interest. Or try painting bold stripes using a level and painters tape, like this stunning design by LollyJane.com

Grey and white painted feature wall by LollyJane.com

I also decided to change the wood windows and trim for white to give it a more modern and fresh feel. I’ll be talking more about paint transformations in week 3 of the 10 week quarantine DIY home projects.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these three tips for creating a home office for under $500. You really don’t need a huge budget to create a nice room. You need to be savvy and roll your sleeves up! Happy decorating!

Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

Quarantine DIY Home Projects – 10 Part Series

As many of us find ourselves quarantined during the Coronavirus pandemic, we’re all spending way more time staring at the same four walls we call our home. Whether you’re working from home, furloughed or laid off, this situation probably has you thinking “What cheap DIY home projects can I do while I’m quarantined?”

Man doing DIY during quarantine
Photo by Bidvine on Pexels.com

If money isn’t tight yet, you’re probably worried about it becoming tight in the future with record numbers of unemployment in many countries. Now probably isn’t the time to splurge $30,000 on that brand new kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.

There’s also the aspect of safety. Having multiple contractors in to your home means potentially more germs exposed to you and your family. So now is a good time to start learning some DIY skills yourself.

With all these challenges, you’re probably wondering what you can do for just a few $100 and basic DIY skills to make your house feel more like ‘home’. Luckily there are plenty of projects that you can tackle yourself with just basic DIY skills and some small change.

If this sounds like you, subscribe to my blog to receive 10 weeks of easy and affordable home projects, with a different theme each week. There should be plenty of ideas to keep you busy during quarantine, and as a bonus you’ll come out of it with better DIY skills and a refreshed home!

Here’s what you’ll get:

Happy DIY-ing!

Jo @britflipper

IKEA bathroom hack

I love the clean and simple lines of the IKEA Godmorgon sink and wall cabinets for the bathroom. However, they can sometimes look a little standard or low grade. In this IKEA bathroom hack, we upgraded the look with a live-edge white oak countertop, chrome handles, Kohler top-mount sinks and wall-mounted Grohe faucets for a more luxurious look.

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

Materials and tools needed:

  • Live edge wood (we used white oak)
  • Heavy duty saw
  • Sandpaper (heavy to fine grade)
  • Electrical sander
  • Polyurethane (oil based)
  • Paint brush or roller
  • Drill
  • Small L brackets and small screws
  • Large L brackets and large screws or other heavy duty fixings
  • Top mount sinks
  • Wall-mounted faucets (can use top-mounted faucets, just need to cut an extra hole)
  • Handles
  • Screwdriver

Instructions:

STEP 1: Buy all the necessary materials needed. Including finding a piece of live edge timber that you like and that will fit your IKEA Godmorgon cabinet. Many sawmills will cut the timber to size for you, and also kiln dry them. I’d recommend this, as we didn’t have ours kiln dried and we let it dry naturally in our garage for a number of weeks before we installed it, but it did warp and crack and we had to re-cut it to get it straight again.

TIP: Get your live edge timber kiln dried and cut to size at the sawmill

STEP 2: We chose a double vanity, but Godmorgon also comes in single vanity options. It’s available in black brown, white stained oak effect, brown stained ash effect, high gloss grey, high gloss white (which we used) in modern flat front cabinets. They also sell traditional style fronts Kasjon Godmorgon is dark grey, light grey and white options. They also have a very interesting dimensional high gloss white front – Resjon white.

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet
IKEA Godmorgon cabinet in high gloss white. (Image courtesy of IKEA.)

For these instructions we’ll refer to the double vanity high gloss white option that we chose. Cut out the holes for your sinks. For this you will need a heavy duty saw to go through the wood. We chose a thick piece of wood (about 3”) and it was very difficult to cut through it. We hired a heavy duty saw from The Home Depot as our jigsaw wasn’t strong enough to cut through it.

TIP: Make sure you use the templates that come with your sinks to mark the cutouts for the holes. And make sure the sink is positioned where the water will fall from wherever you are placing the faucets. If you chose a counter mounted faucet, don’t forget to leave enough space at the back of the sink for it.

STEP 3: Now you have the live edge slab cut, it’s time to sand and seal it. It’s probably easier to use an electrical sander with a rough grade to start with (around 80), then work your way up to a fine grade sandpaper (around 180). Keep sanding along the grain to remove all rough edges and make it as smooth as silk. Once you’re happy with the smoothness, make sure you remove all dust from the slab. I’d recommend vacuuming it, then finishing with a lint free cloth. Now you’re ready to seal it.

I’d recommend using an oil-based polyurethane, as it tends to sink into the grain better than a water-based polyurethane. It does however color the wood more than a water-based polyurethane would. Test a small area underneath first before you commit to the whole thing. Once you’re happy with the look, apply three coats according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

TIP: If you wanted to stain your timber, do that before applying the polyurethane, and test it underneath or on a scrap piece first.

STEP 4: Congratulations! You’re now ready to install your sink cabinet! Word of caution, the live edge timber countertop can be extremely heavy, so I would highly recommend extra support for it in addition to the cabinet. I would also recommend you find the studs to fix it to, if you have a wood-built house. Or using heavy duty fixings for other wall constructions types. (Please consult a professional contractor.)

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

We installed ours on the studs and used extra L-shaped brackets underneath to support it further. We also used small L-shaped brackets to attach the countertop to the cabinet.

TIP: Make sure your screws aren’t longer than the cabinet is thick, otherwise your screws will poke out of the side of the cabinet.

To install the faucets and sinks we hired a professional plumber for this, as this was beyond our skillset. So I’ll skip over this part.

STEP 5: The last part is installing the handles (if you chose to). Godmorgon cabinets don’t come with any handles, which looks very minimalist, and you could certainly stick with this. We chose to apply long chrome handles in a minimalist design to add a bit of extra detail in this IKEA bathroom hack. I think you’ll agree they make them look high-end!

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

For this, just mark the center on the back of the cabinet and mark the drill holes by using either the template that your handles came with, or the handle itself. Double and triple check these measurements are accurate before drilling to make sure you don’t mess up your cabinet fronts. Once you’re satisfied they’re in the right place, drill slowly from the back then screw the handles in place.

TIP: Place some painters tape over where the holes will be drilled on the front of the cabinet, this helps to stop the cabinet material splintering off. Also starting with a small drill bit, then working up to the correct size also helps keep the splintering down to a minimum.

Finished! You now have a unique and high-end look with this IKEA bathroom hack!

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

Related posts:

IKEA bathroom hack Pinterest pin

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Jo @Britflipper