DIY Budget Studio Makeover

PLEASE NOTE:  The article below refers to an OLD studio makeover; however, since this page gets a lot of hits and comments, I decided to keep the content on the site. LOTS of people seem to be searching on Google for “BUDGET STUDIO IDEAS” and they often land here! 

I decided to show you how I’m updating my basement art studio with “next-to-no” money. With a little resourcefulness; some DIY “elbow grease” and some imagination, you can make a modest studio or craft room all your own …even with a small budget!  I’ll post my progress and share DIY ideas as I go along, so stop back again!

Once upon a time, I made art all over my house and I mean ALL OVER MY HOUSE!   I’ve  spent many years making art in my living room, dining room, bedroom, etc. and basically leaving a trail of “art mess” and projects in various states of completion everywhere! MY POOR FAMILY!

Finally, I carved out a corner of my small, unfinished basement and dubbed it MY STUDIO. I used the term “studio” very loosely as it was a real hodge-podge of plastic rolling drawers, and old desk, shelving, a an old kitchen table, etc.  “UNINSPIRING” is the word that kept coming up for me when I thought about my studio. My basement has a few tiny windows and poor lighting. I found myself carrying my art “stuff” back upstairs again just to help my Muse feel more pleased with the surroundings. The basement studio definitely wasn’t working! TIME FOR A CHANGE!


I poured through several editions of “Where Women Create” and “Studios” magazines to get ideas; however, I had one big problem – a very, very tiny budget. The other problem I faced was not having the patience to wait until I saved up enough money for my dream studio, I really wanted something NOW!  PRONTO!  So, I decided to turn the process of updating my studio with a small budget into a CHALLENGE…and I’m definitely a gal who likes a challenge!

I wrote down some initial ideas about furniture, storage, colors, etc., I decided that no matter what, my studio had to be bright, functional, provide lots of storage.  I also wanted my workspace to be casual enough that if I spilled paint or glue or matte medium (which I once spilled on my new living room carpet) that I wasn’t going to be too upset.  I also considered the different types of art activities that I wanted to do in the space – mixed media, paper crafts, painting, jewelry-making, polymer clay work, sewing and crazy quilting topped the list.


So…I gathered together a “mish mosh” of old furniture – an unfinished bookcase, a sagging antique white desk that I got from a neighbor, an old walnut brown mirror, some old white fiberboard bathroom cabinets from my apartment days, and stuff from my existing studio (butcher block kitchen table, plastic rolling bins, etc.).  Do you have items in your garage (or your relative’s garage) that look like this or do you have a thrift store nearby?  Picture what these mismatched pieces could look like with a little TLC.

Mismatched Furniture Before Refinishing

Mismatched Studio Furniture Before Refinishing

The first thing wanted to do was provide a uniform look to all the wood pieces. I decided to match everything with the antique white desk. So I went to Lowe’s and purchased primer, satin latex paint in antique white, some additional accent colors (greens and purples) and a good paint brush. I already had sand paper, rollers, paint trays, etc.  Sanding and priming the furniture was time-consuming, but taking the time to prep the furniture before painting it was worth the effort. I must admit, I felt quite overwhelmed as this was more work than I thought it would be. It was very hard waiting for the primer and paint layers to dry.

Studio Furniture Priming

Studio Furniture Priming

Once everything was painted the studio looked brighter and better immediately.

Mistys Art Studio Revamp In Process

Made a Little Progress in the Mixed Media Workspace


I took a trip to two discount chain stores: TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less. Both stores sell overstock and last season items, including household goods. I was able to find several really pretty floral decorative cardboard boxes for $2.99 – $8.99 each. I found a nice curtain rod for $3.99. I went to Michaels and Joann Fabrics and found some 12×12 scrapbook paper (sale 5 for 99 cents) which matched the paint colors I chose.I found a cute birdhouse and a square framed print – both about $7 on the clearance tables.   I also gathered baskets, containers, and other decorative items that I had on hand at home.

Budget Studio Ideas

Repurposed bathroom cabinets and plastic rolling drawers improved with insertion of pretty scrapbook paper in each drawer

Craft Paint Storage Idea

Store craft paints within easy reach in inexpensive plastic crates turned on their sides

In order to make my white plastic rolling drawers and plastic bins look a little more appealing, I cut and inserted some of the scrapbook paper into the very front of the drawers. This gave them a more stylized look and made them fit into the decor a little better. I wrapped some of the paper around pencil cans too.    I spent less than $100 fixing up my little cement corner and I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.

Copyright © 2012-2016 - Content & images by Misty Frederick-Ritz. Dandelion by Pexeto