9 Thrifty Home Office Ideas

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Transform a spare room into a super-functional work space -- without busting your budget.

Retro-Fitted Office

Basement castoffs -- including a vintage chair, metal kitchen table, and basic wood dresser -- serve as the cornerstones for a new home office. Paint and slipcovers refresh the retro relics, while reproduction and vintage accessories, such as the salvage wall cabinet above the desk, keep the space functional and fun.

Color Clues

If the lines of these mid-century furnishings don't reveal their age, their retro hues sure do. Cover worn-out chair upholstery with a basic slipcover in fresh blue. Together, red and blue sing a nostalgic tune and bring energy to the room where you do the most thinking.

Up-the-Wall Storage

In this cozy 8-x-8-foot room, space-saving slatwall steps up to the storage challenge. More commonly used as retail store display, the 4-x-8-foot panels -- along with a mix of brackets, shelves, bins, and other accessories -- work wonders for stylish organization.

To the Letter

Sign letters offer vintage character; when secured to a shelf top, this one becomes an unexpected bookend. Corral tiny office supplies in twist-top jars for easy retrieval.

Dresser Redo

Stuck in the '70s as a dated dresser, this hutch gets some modern attitude with a chopped-off top and a fresh coat of paint. Wrapping paper and red fabric cover canvases for artwork on the cheap.

Savvy Paper Rescue

Save scraps of art paper from the trash can to decoupage onto the trash can (and recycle bin). Use the same technique to label "in" and "out" trays or office supply holders.

Smart Splurging

A capiz-shell chandelier may cost a pretty penny, but the style statement is priceless. Since you've saved money on furnishings and storage, you can afford a few splurges to pull together a great-looking room on modest means.

Tray Conversion

Coat an old metal tray with bright paint to make a magnetic board, handy for posting photos and notes. Fabric stapled over square canvases inexpensively brightens up the blank wall space.

Favorite Things

Fill shelves with reference works and inspiring knickknacks. When you're burning the midnight oil at the computer, a quick glance at your favorite things will brighten your spirits.

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