$250 Budget Home Office Makeover with DIY Filing Cabinet Desk

When it comes to decorating your home, there are a lot of compromises to be made (and it’s more important to compromise and keep family relationships than to have a magazine-perfect home!) But… it’s also really fun to have a space that can fully reflect just one personal style, like a craft room or office that’s all YOURS! Our guest today did a fun week-long $250 budget home office makeover for her husband’s office while he was out of town, turning a blank nook off the master bedroom into this comfortable functional space —Lovely small home office makeover, done from scratch with a $257 budget, in ONE week while her husband was out of town. Bravo!

Read below to get the details of this budget-friendly room from Kristin, and get inspired with these other beautiful offices we’ve featured (click on each image to see more):

rustic home office with DIY shiplap wall and beautiful hickory wood flooring, Jillify It on @RemodelaholicHomepolish designer Stefani Stein - Michele Marie PR OfficeMonogram wall shelf and gorgeous home office by The Happy Homebodies featured on @RemodelaholicCloset turned home office and craft space - The Crazy Craft Lady featured on @Remodelaholic

Now here’s Kristin to show you her awesome budget-friendly home office makeover!
Budget home office makeover using Craigslist finds and a DIY file cabinet desk

$250 Budget Home Office Makeover
by Kristin from Postbox Designs

Hello Friends! This is Kristin from Postbox Designs, an interior designer/stay-at-home mama, who is always trying to find the right balance to both. My blog is meant to inspire you with real life projects, free design ideas, and let’s be honest, giving me the excuse to do some projects around my ever-changing home. This means I spend a LOT of time working after bedtime (possibly while eating dark chocolate and binge watching The Good Wife at the same time). Yep, hands down it’s the best job in the world!Small home office makeover with file cabinet desk. This office was decorated from scratch on a $250 budget!

I am also a firm believer that you can achieve beautiful design for ANY budget. Need to see it to believe it? Check out my Postbox Design Challenge using only items from Wal-Mart to design an entire living room. Not only would I totally put this in my house, it costs a mere $1265.02!

Walmart living room mood board Postbox Designs

Or, what about a kitchen make-over with a budget? This is a high-low project: mostly budget items so you can splurge on a few choice goodies. Check out this beauty of a kitchen and breakfast nook (I’m totally going to steal some ideas for my own kitchen from it!). It features a navy and blinged-out gold DIY custom island tutorial.


Or do you just want to have some fun with math? What?! Why are we talking about MATH on a design blog? No, I’m not talking about helping your kiddo with their algebra homework. I am talking about the most fun kind of math there is: check out my weekly post, where I feature “Designer Math Mondays”. I show you how to add together a few objects to create a mini project in your home every week. Check out how to make a Mini Command Center here.

command center Postbox Designs

But today I’m going to feature a project from my own home. It is a home office make-over I created for $257. Yup, that will fit into most people’s budgets!

So it was mostly a present for my hubby. But a little bit of a present for me too.

When we moved into our house, The Husband immediately claimed the nook off our master bedroom as his home office. Which was fine by me. My only rule? Since I can see it from my bed, it had to look good. No mismatched, leftover office furniture. No golf trophies. We kissed on it, and the office was His.

Small home office makeover with file cabinet desk (6)

But it took  one of his week-long business trips out of town to kick me into gear. I thought I could do a mini-makeover and surprise the guy when he got home. So for weeks before his departure I scanned Craigslist, stashed items in the back of our garage,  and mapped out my plan. Once he left on that jet plane I jumped into painting and staining. I’m an interior designer, so I always start with the infamous Mood Board.


DIY Project #1: The File Storage

The back storage area was inspired by the (very beautiful) Pottery Barn Bedford office collection, but that would have put me back several thousand dollars. Instead, I used four file cabinets and had a plywood top cut for it. (Do you know at Lowes and Home Depot they will cut down your wood for you? FOR FREE. This has saved my marriage. No more pleading for the hubby to  pull out his equipment Sunday evening when I have a project in mind).  Then to finish off the rough plywood edge, I added a small 1/2″ molding to the front. To turn it into a rich dark shade, I spent $5 in stain and about 20 minutes of my time. I used the Miniwax oil stain in “Ebony” from Home Depot.

Small home office makeover with file cabinet desk (2)

The file cabinets I scored from the sketchiest Craigslist location I’ve been to in my life. The seller ended up being a nice guy, but I had to dig through a small landfill in his backyard and grab these four cabinets. I peeled outta there pretty quickly after loading them up. Three were tan and one was black. But it was a pretty straightforward paint job. I used some leftover white paint from another project, and it took about three coats. I primed first, then used a small roller brush for a smooth finish.  My original intent was to remove the hardware and add new. But that was easier said than done. So I moved on to “Plan B”. After really looking at it, I was thinking I could jazz up what was already there. I used some Dollar Store black craft paint and a tiny brush to cover up the industrial looking hardware. To give it a pop of color, I added turquoise craft paint right inside of the hardware. I loved the end product and soooo much easier!

Small home office makeover with file cabinet desk (3)

DIY Project #2: The Maps

The maps are my favorite part of the room! The rustic wood frames are from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off frame sale. If you are patient…the sale will come. I knew I wanted to use maps to decorate, so I used a map for every town where my hubby has lived. One is from his hometown, one from his college town, one from where we live now, and one from the beloved family cottage. It took a bit of searching, but I found the free maps online and simply printed them out on my home printer. It added the personal touch to his space.

Small home office makeover with file cabinet desk (4)

DIY Project #3: The Desk

The “desk” was actually a small dining room table that I used as his desk. Searching for “desks” online wasn’t coming up with the look I wanted. But if you try to think outside the box, you can find a wider selection on sites like Craigslist. I found this dining table listed for $50. I used a quart of charcoal gray trim paint (trim paint is easier to wipe up) for an easy update. I used Benjamin Moore “Steel Wool” (I’ve used this color so many times, including my little girl’s nursery!)

Small home office makeover with file cabinet desk (5)

DIY Project #4: The sign

Like many home offices, we have a mass of tangled cords, routers, etc. that I wanted NOT to be the focal point of the space. I literally found a scrap piece of wood in our  garage (but you could also use a scrap left-over from cutting down the countertop!). I painted it using the same paint I used for the file cabinets. Then I hand painted a “B” for his monogram. I distressed it by wiping it down with the leftover stain from the file cabinet top. I sanded it down a bit…and done! It added a bit of personality to his space with $0 spent.

The rug is a Target find. It is the tan Threshold “Fretwork” rug in the 5’x7’ size. I have gotten more rugs from that store over the years, and it is hard to beat the price. There is carpet in the room, but I wanted to use a rug to ground the space and make it feel separate from the rest of the bedroom. I found it on sale for $79 on a “detour” down the home decor aisle at Target.

Going down those aisles gets me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

I added some office accessories that we already owned and moved in a lamp from another room. Sometimes a room can be rounded out by simply repurposing or taking a trip down to rummage through the basement. I popped in some family photos and the space was finished.

Here’s the Cost Breakdown:

  • Desk: $50 off Craigslist
  • Paint for the desk (quart): $15
  • Maps: $0
  • File cabinets: $40
  • Paint for the file cabinets: $0**
  • Frames: $46
  • Craft Paint: $2
  • Rug: $79
  • Countertop: $20
  • Stain for the top: $5
  • “B” sign: $0
  • Lamp: $0, moved from another room

TOTAL: $257

**I am the queeen of re-using existing paint I already have. Before going out and buying new, see what you already have. Or mix some existing colors to create a new color-that is how I painted my kiddo’s bathroom. Just label that new color so you can find it for touch-ups!

I hope you used some of these ideas to inspire your DIY-wired brains too!

Come visit me on my blog to check out more freebie design ideas!



Kristin, thank you so much for sharing with us! You did a great job working with your budget to create a wonderful workspace!

Remodelaholics — hustle over to Postbox Designs to see more from Kristin and you will NOT want to miss her gorgeous mudroom! Floor to ceiling storage and a hand-painted floor, oh my!

Amazing DIY mudroom entry with lockers and floor to ceiling storage and a beautiful painted floor

Want to be featured? Link up here and submit your best project here.

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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

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  1. Thank-you so much for featuring my little old office on Remodelaholic, I’m so thrilled to share the pages with so many great DIY projects! It has been a great space for us and I often snag it to use as MY home office too! (shh, don’t tel the hubby)

  2. Hi Shawndra, I wish I had a website for you…honestly I just searched the town I was looking for and typed in words like “vintage” or “topographical” with it. I had to do some digging and searching but eventually found what I was looking for. Best of luck!