DIY Home Office Makeover: Coastal Office Reveal

Office Makeovers: For the longest time, I’ve felt like a hypocrite.

I blog about how to create a beautiful home and preach that yet any room can be reworked–no matter the budget. I talk about how much paint colors and decor can affect your mood, and all the time I worked in the darkest and ugliest room in our house…my home office!


diy built-in desks with bookshelves over it and diy faux grasscloth wallpaper in diy home office makeover

Well, once COVID hit, and we were home nonstop (and my husband was working from home too) we decided it was high time to turn our office into a room we actually wanted to spend time in!

ugly before photo of home office with built-in shelves and two desks
Here’s the before

And here’s the after!

diy home office makeover with bookshelves and built-in desk featuring faux grasscloth wallpaper and brass wall sconces over bookshelves and navy blue desk chair
And here’s the after! So much better!
before and after home office makeover
Our view from the hallway before and after

Would you believe it if I told you we DIYed everything and it only cost us $2,700 to do the entire room! While $2,700 isn’t anything to sneeze at (it is a sizeable amount of money;) it is a pretty good budget for a complete room makeover that includes 1K worth of lumber and $400 in wallpaper,) and all new lighting! We added a few accessories; but mostly, we used things that we already owned or bought inexpensive accent pieces! This DIY home office makeover is a fantastic example of how you can stretch a budget with a little creativity!

*affiliate links have been used at no cost to you see my disclosure policy here

blue and white wallpapered home office with built-in desk and bookshelves

What we did (more detailed tutorials will follow):

  • DIY built-in cabinets and bookshelves
  • DIY faux grasscloth wallpaper
  • Installed blue and white wallpaper on three walls
  • Added light fixtures x 4
  • Painted windows, doors, and trim
  • DIYed a Frame TV background
  • Made DIY nautical artwork for a bargain
  • Added bamboo blinds
bue and white wallpaper wall with nautical accents

Things we skipped:

We consciously skipped replacing the couch with an expensive sectional that we would have loved and replacing the wall-to-wall carpeting. By skipping these two improvements, we saved roughly $4,500. The sectional we were looking at was $3,495 (it was a queen bed pull-out) and the quote for ripping out our existing carpet and replacing it was anywhere from $852-1,022. Hardwood would have cost even more.

I mention these things because I know that not everyone has an unlimited budget. I had also received some questions about it on Instagram and wanted to share our reasoning. When we set out to make this DIY home office, we knew we wanted to stick to a budget.

Many DIY influencers kind of gloss over how much projects really cost. So when someone asks, I like to give them a reasonable idea of ​​what that might cost and why we opted to forego it.

built-in desk with grasscloth bookshelves and blue and white wallpaper on the walls

Down the line, we might replace our couch and install new the carpet (the cabinets are removable and are just built on top of the carpet), so we have the flexibility to do that if we choose. But for right now, it works great!

nautical coastal office reveal with bamboo blinds, rattan side table, wicker sconces, and blue and white wallpaper


You all know I love a good deal (heck, I even started an Instagram account (@preppysavings) just on finding good dupes! And this room is no exception. It’s a great example of how you can save money and make a gorgeous room on a budget!

Below, I’ve outlined all the pieces I would have loved to include in the room, and shared our “budget friendly” picks. Just for grins, I added it all up and WOW! You won’t believe the difference!


(I used the steal version in every case and noted “owned” where we previously owned the piece)

Coffee table ($125)-owned- no longer available

Craigslist couch ($250)-owned

DIY orchid with clam shell ($89.99) using these orchids, this moss, and HomeGoods clam

Custom built-ins (est. $3,500)

DIY designer pillows x2 ($192)- bought 1 yard of fabric

Office chairs x2 ($74.99) -owned on sale

Splurge Total: $19,262 wow!

Total Steals: $3,962 ($2,711 actual spend)

grasscloth wallpapered bookshelves with DIY built-in bookshelves
white diy built-in bookshelves and desk with grasscloth wallpaper and brass sconces with two work stations and TV in the middle

What We Use the Room For:

While we set out to make our home office function better as a home office, we also wanted to add some usability to the room. Previously, the other half of the room was just used to store my Peloton and UPS boxes. It ended up being the “just throw the box in there” junk room of our house.

scalloped coffee table styled with bamboo and cane tray and wavy bowl

While we have a beautiful living room already, and a family room, we have never had a cozy space to watch TV as a family (other than the theater in the basement which isn’t great when you have a one year old who won’ t sit still.) We wanted to create another cozy living space someone could either curl up and watch a movie or read a book (and not be in the middle of the house.)

With six of us at home all day, we needed another room where someone could work quietly and close the door. So we decided to make it a combo office/den. We use it all the time now!

bamboo shades with bamboo table and wicker lamp shade in blue and white wallpapered office/ den

Overall Design Scheme for DIY Home Office:

The office is directly off our mudroom, our first-floor bathroom, and our garage entry. It was on a darker side of the house, so we wanted something light and bright on the walls; but, we also wanted something that would feel cozy, so we settled on the beautiful blue and white wallpaper.

blue and white wallpaper by Serena and Lily- Priano

It ties in beautifully with the white built-in shelves and the faux grasscloth gives the white built-in depth and warmth by adding the texture.

styled bookshelves with faux grasscloth wallpaper
bue and white wallpaper wall with nautical accents

Sailing is a huge part of our family life, so we were excited to have a room that had a slight nautical nod to it. I included a picture of my grandfather’s boat which I spent many hours on growing up, and a nautical chart (map) of where my parents’ beach cottage is.

how to style built-in bookshelves with faux grasscloth

I grew up spending my summers sailing on that lake in small boats, and then racing big boats with my grandfather on Lake Michigan. Sailing is also how my husband and I met! So it’s nice to reference that in the decor of our house without being overtly nautical.

beautiful white built-in cabinets and desk with bookshelves in office and grasscloth wallpaper bookshelves

The built-ins in between the two work stations house the DVD player, the printer, and the kids iPads and kindles (and their charging station.) We added these great looks for less acrylic pulls to add a little touch of glamor to them and I’m in love!

lucite pulls on built-in cabinets in office
styled built-in bookshelves with faux grasscloth wallpaper backs

Overall, we couldn’t be happier with how our DIY home office turned out! We use it every day now and actually want to be in the room (what do you think 😉

And as far as all the books–most of them are just wrapped in parchment paper or Sweet Caroline Designs’ buffalo check wrapping paper! I couldn’t let go of these old books we had (most of them are cookbooks;) but, they didn’t fit with my colors. This way they look pretty, and we can always grab them if we need them (newsflash: we don’t!)

gorgeous framed nautical chart or nautical "folder" framed on wallpapered wall

Oh, and as far as the wicker lights shown above, we would have loved to hardwire them into the wall but it was an exterior wall and we didn’t want to tear the wall apart. So, my husband retrofitted it with some plug adapters he ordered off Amazon. Now they each have their own switch and we can turn them on and off as we like (which is really nice when watching a movie late at night!)

diy office makeover with built-in desk and grasscloth wallpaper
grasscloth wallpapered bookshelves o DIY built-in bookshelves
stunning blue and white office reveal with built-in cabinets
DIY home office makeover before and after