Sophisticated Office Makeover on a Budget

Energize your office space with an easy wall treatment and budget-friendly projects that add industrial edge.

Office Party

Enjoy working overtime -- and juxtapose industrial and glam touches -- when you furnish your space with these easy projects: a wired memory board with clipped-on ephemera, an easy-does-it desk on top of sawhorses, a flirty chair, and a rustic bookcase built from crates. A festive wall oversees it all.

Confetti Chic

Make work fun with a festive accent wall. First, roll on deep blue latex paint; let dry. Next, trim the end of a foam brush into an oval; dab a metallic paint mixture (we used 2 parts Modern Masters Antique Bronze and 1 part Black Pearl) onto the wall. Rotate the brush tip, clustering strokes at the top and spacing them apart toward the bottom.

Take a Seat

Give a shapely chair a new attitude with fabric. Remove the legs and put the chair on a protected table. Place fabric over the chair, smoothing it flat. Cut fabric roughly the shape of the chair. Apply a thick layer of decoupage medium to the fabric; it will cling to the chair and stiffen as it dries. Trim the fabric again, leaving about an inch of excess. Brush on a second coat of decoupage medium; let dry. Using a pen, trace the chair’s edge on the wrong side of the fabric. (Hold a piece of light cardboard against the right side of the fabric to steady the pen.) Carefully cut along the line. Seal the seat and edges with a final coat of decoupage medium. Spray-paint the legs gold; reattach when dry.

Dotted Curtains

Upgrade curtains in seconds without sewing a stitch. Press or steam curtain panels sized to fit your windows, then lay them flat on a table. Apply a dot pattern using a dimensional paint (such as Tulip Beads in a Bottle) that creates hard, self-rounding beaded accents. Let the paint beads dry before hanging the curtains.

Wired Up

Keep mementos in view by clipping them to a wire grid. Using heavy-duty wire snippers, cut a steel remesh sheet (found at home improvement stores) to your desired size. (If rusty, sand and prime before painting.) Spray on high-gloss white enamel paint; let dry. Repeat to cover all angles. Attach memorabilia with mini bulldog clips.

Horsing Around

For an unfussy work surface, combine a white melamine panel with sawhorses. Cut the board to the desired size using a table saw or circular saw. Disguise the cut edges with iron-on mahogany veneer edge banding. Measure and cut the edge banding to fit around the desktop, then center the veneer and apply it according to manufacturer's directions. Stain and seal the veneer if desired (we left ours unfinished). Prime, then spray each sawhorse (hitting all sides) with three thin layers of glossy white paint for hard-to-adhere-to surfaces. (We used RustOleum Professional High Performance Enamel.) Let dry between coats.

A Bolder Holder

Organize pencils, pens, and other supplies in a pretty pencil holder that sparkles with energy. Cut your chosen stencil to fit the vessel. (We used a ceramic toothbrush holder.) Adhere the stencil with painters tape, and mask the rest of the holder to protect it. Spray lightly with metallic gold paint. Let dry; remove stencil and tape.

Stack the Deck

Give plain-Jane pine crates an authentic industrial-chic patina by distressing them with your favorite shop tools. Sand sharp corners to create rounded ones. Scrape crate edges with a hammer. Hit the sides of the crates with a bag of screws. Hammer random holes with an awl. Once you've done enough damage to simulate decades of wear, use a natural-bristle brush to coat the wood with a penetrating oil-base stain. (The stain helps highlight the distressed areas.) Wipe off extra stain with a rag. Once the crates are dry, stack them in your desired configuration and screw them together.

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