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

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

Thanks for reading! If you liked this, please Pin it and consider following my blog.

Jo @Britflipper

Buffalo Check Bedroom Make-Over – Using Mostly IKEA

As you’ve probably come to realize by now, I love all things cozy and country for the home, and Buffalo check is no exception. I also love it when you don’t have to spend a fortune creating the look. In this blog I’ll show you how you can create a warm and cozy country look for your bedroom on a shoe-string budget.

Buffalo check originates from Woolrich a clothing company in the USA in 1850. Legend has it that the designer of the fabric used to own a herd of buffalo and that’s how the popular fabric got its name. Although tartans are more commonly used in British country style interior design, I’ve embraced my new surroundings and created an American version using the popular American Buffalo check.

Buffalo check is also pretty synonymous with Minnesota, where we now live. Often lovingly referred to as a lumber jack shirt, one of the state’s national monuments Paul Bunyan rocks this plaid variety in his various statues throughout the state. And you can find Minnesota inspired Buffalo check home goods everywhere. So what better way to honor the place which we now call home.

Buffalo_bedroom_3

I started by seeing a post by An Inspired Nest on how on how Shannon beautifully redecorated her master bedroom with mostly IKEA items to create a fresh and relaxing space. I absolutely adore this room, it’s so cozy and inviting. And I couldn’t believe that most of the items came from IKEA!

rugsusa-master-bedroom-rug-neutral-makeover
Photo courtesy of An Inspired Nest

I love the whites and greys together and the use of natural fabrics to create warmth and texture. I love that she’s also mixed in warm woods and wickers to give the room some contrast and added warmth. If everything had been all white I think the room would’ve looked too cold.

I love the bright and fresh look that she created with her design. However I couldn’t really afford to replace all the furniture in our room, so I’ve created a darker, cozier version for our spare bedroom – the winter version!

I kept the original dark brown leather sleigh bed and dark brown bedside tables (also from IKEA) and worked them into the design. I already had some plain-dye grey bedding, so I used this instead of buying more new white bedding as it worked well with the buffalo check bedding from IKEA.

Buffalo_bedroom_1

One tip I picked up from Shannon’s design was to use more than just a lamp on the bedside tables. This isn’t something I’d tried before, and I think it turned out really well. It adds more interest to the design and adds to the rustic country look I was trying to achieve. I got all the items from either Hobby Lobby or IKEA.

Bedroom_back_after_closeup

The room before (when we bought the house) was bland, out-dated and very blue. We had replaced all the doors throughout the house with six-panel oak doors painted grey to update all the rooms. This made a huge difference, especially in these bedrooms where there is a whole wall of closet doors.

There were no ceiling lights in the whole of the upstairs either. Apparently this is quite common in the age of house we have in Minnesota. So we also installed dimmable ceiling spotlights to every room upstairs.

We painted the walls a light taupe color, and luckily the carpet was already new and neutral in color. The rest was just furniture. So all in all this room make-over was a pretty affordable one. The only big cost in the room being new ceiling spotlights and new doors.

photo-038
Before

_DSC4563
After

I hope you feel inspired to head down to your local IKEA and see what amazing bargains they have to give your room an instant update for low cost. It shows that you don’t need to spend a fortune to create a great look.

Shopping List:

 

If you like this post, remember to click ‘follow’ below. 🙂

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

Jo