Office Built Ins – How You Can Get A Designer Look On A DIY Budget

Have you ever scrolled Pinterest and saw an image that stopped you in your tracks and made you think, I wish I could do that! That’s where the inspiration for my office built ins started, Pinterest. I called around and got a few quotes, they were all in the upwards of 15-20k, which was NOT in my budget. We had done enough DIY projects ourselves that it felt overwhelming yet doable to tackle this ourselves. We made mistakes so you don’t have to.. there will be several blog posts in this series dedicated to how you can get a designer look on a DIY budget with our home office makeover and office built ins at the center!! Shop our most used DIY tools here.

First Step: Inventory your space and tools. Do you have what you need to complete a project like this? I can guarantee you’ll spend less buying tools than hiring this out to a skilled tradesman, but with any DIY project, especially when you are new, keep in mind it won’t be easy, and there will be flaws!! Professionals are paid well for a reason, with that in mind, I was okay with the time it would take, and the imperfections that might come with it.

Second Step: Research and create an inspiration board, save photos, measure your space, sketch! I usually grab paper and pen and create a rough idea. Our project was unique because of the window placement, the floating shelves were a solution to that problem.

A few mistakes (this is subjective): We chose to use MDF for the face frame of the office built in cabinets, in hindsight we wished we had used solid wood like pine. It is subjective because some will say solid mdf is just fine, we just hated working with it, and used pine on a future project and it turned out much nicer!! The other mistake we made was not adding a few inches where the cabinets met the wall – it isn’t a problem in terms of function, it just isn’t as appealing to the eye to me.

List of Projects We Completed In This Space:

  • Office Built In Cabinets – We completed these first.
  • Box Molding On Walls – We added matching box molding trim to the walls above the chair rail – this really took the space up a notch. Trim is magic like that! Someone will walk into a room with trim and love it, without realizing the trim is what makes it feel more complete or designer.
  • Wired A Sconce – Adding wiring and light switch/plug in to the office built ins.
  • Paint – We painted the walls and built ins with Benjamin Moore Smoke – Aura paint on the walls, and Advance paint on the cabinets (for a more enamel like finish).
  • Floating Shelves – One of the last projects we completed in the space, but it really finished off the office built in cabinets to make them look complete.
  • White Oak DIY Desk – I fell in love with a designer desk that wasn’t available for sale, we built this DIY desk for 1/3 of the price, and the perfect size for our space!
  • Remove Doors, Replace with Barn Doors – By removing the doors that swung into the office, we opened up more usable space, and replaced with sliding barn doors.

This is an office reveal post, stay tuned if you’re interested in the “how” of this project!

The “HOW” blog post is live here!

Home Office Before:

Box Molding On Walls

Home Office After:

Office Built Ins

Office Built Ins Before:

Office Built Ins DIY

Office Built Ins DIY Before

Office Built Ins After:

Benjamin Moore Smoke

Window Trim

Office Built In Cabinet And Desk

Floating Shelves Box Molding On Walls

Office Built Ins Project Sources:

If I missed anything you want linked, leave a comment!

Follow along on Instagram for more projects and to see highlights of this project!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Hi! Love you post – did you end up doing the series of how to build this? I would love to learn for my own office!


  • Did you do a series of how to build the built in? I would love to learn for my own office too! It’s absolutely stunning!

    Thank you!

  • Did you finish the serious on how you came about making the drawers and shelving?

    Love your style!

  • Looks amazing, saving this for inspiration on my office! Can you share plans for the desk and the finish on it?

  • Love this, Brianna! Do you have a link to the floating shelves? I’m thinking I’m going to need two sets on either side of our built-ins because we have two vents in the way that we can’t block. Thank you in advance.

  • Hi! I’d love to know the paint color you chose for the office built ins. I’m doing some similar cabinets for my office and love this color!

    • So glad you love it! We built the desk and cabinets ourselves from scratch (sourced the materials from Home Depot!)

    • We made the cabinets and shelves ourselves from scratch. I will share a more in depth post with photos of that process.

  • In love this. In my master bedroom I’d like to have a built in closet (with room for a tv), however there is a floor vent that I’d rather not build over and move. This would be a great option. What’s the length of the back wall?