Whether you’re doing a full-scale kitchen remodel or a simple home office spiff-up, you’ll undoubtedly see some incredible ideas when browsing Pinterest or flipping through Architectural Digest. Despite the many brilliant designs for every room, the inspo phase can feel overwhelming and fruitless if you’re working within a tight budget. However, that doesn’t have to be the case! Creativity goes a really long way when you’re trying to recreate the look of a high-end design on an entry-level budget.

Here are a few awesome ideas that can help you take your off-the-rack budget and create a custom-designed aesthetic in the living room, kitchen, home office or bedroom.

  • Create Custom Wall Décor—Wall décor is one of those amazing things that’s cheap yet impactful in any space, so make sure to leverage it in any way you can. One of the simplest ways to create a bespoke wall design is to order custom wall decals that are specific to your vision, personality and the space at hand. You can use wall decals and even peel and stick wallpaper to give your room that professionally designed aesthetic and custom touch.
  • Take OTR and Make it OOAK—If you’re a little bit creative, there are many ways you can take off-the-rack (OTR) pieces and make them feel totally one-of-a-kind (OOAK). Start with an affordable item from your favorite budget-friendly store and add some personalized finishes for a super-custom feel. Here are some of the easiest and most approachable ways to do that:
    • Get friendly with a seamstress. A professional seamstress can take cheap, off-the-rack textiles and make them custom to your space for a great price. This works well with window treatments, but it can also be a great solution for things like slip-covers and bedding. (Slightly unrelated side note: The same goes for cheap dresses and suits!)
    • Have rugs resized. Have an old, oversized rug or see something on Facebook Marketplace that would be just-right if it were a tad smaller? Depending on the design, you may be able to have it professionally resized by a local rug cleaner so it fits your space like a glove.
    • Order unfinished furniture, cabinetry and flooring. If you’re redoing the kitchen, pantry, closets or home office, know that you can order high-end cabinetry and furniture unfinished for slightly cheaper. The best part is, you can finish or paint pieces yourself to get the exact color and texture you want, all for a lower price than buying the items pre-finished. If you’re comfortable with doing things yourself, you can even do this with hardwood flooring.
    • Google “IKEA hacks.” Whether it be repainting cheap IKEA furniture or retrofitting pieces so they’re the right height, brilliant bloggers have figured out how to take cheap IKEA pieces and transform them into custom-looking creations. Googling “IKEA hacks” is a great way to get inspo, and many of the hacks can be used on non-IKEA pieces, too.

Source: Leszek Glasner/

  • Don’t Discount Vintage—We’re all familiar with the shabby-chic trend that has now pervaded for so many years, and the clever DIYers who perpetuated that movement definitely had the right idea! The idea is to take furniture with “good bones” and update it so it looks fresh and new. This can be done easily with simple things like swapping out hardware, sanding and refinishing, painting or reupholstering old pieces. Going antique with small things like doorknobs and light switch plates can make a big difference, too.
  • Use Modular and Adaptable Furniture—Modular furniture has become extremely popular in the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why. These are items that come in pieces (or “modules”) which can be altered, moved and adjusted according to your space limitations and preferences. The ultra-adaptable feel of these pieces ensures that they look right at home in every space, even extremely challenging living rooms and offices. Going modular makes sofas and sectionals appear custom-made to any space.
  • Have Your Artwork and Photos Professionally Framed—Going to a local framing shop sounds expensive, and it definitely can be. But having a few pieces professionally framed can make a massive difference, creating a super high-end feel in your space. What’s more, your local framer will be able to provide some clever solutions that work within your budget. You can also bone up on framing techniques online to create a breathtaking, custom look without the high cost of taking it into a gallery. Even something as simple as adding matting to a store-bought frame can create a high-end finish.


If you’ve got your own special sense of style, you know that grabbing pieces from the local furniture or home décor store simply will not do. You want to create an environment that feels like it was made just for you and your home. With these tips, your space will feel totally custom and you’ll even have some cash left over when you’re done!