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Zero Budget DIY Projects

DIY Project Zero Budget GoGingham.com

When I start a DIY project, I like to try to spend zero or spend very little to do it. Here’s how it works. Rather than setting a number and spending that amount, making my goal “O” forces me to get super creative. Think it’s impossible to do? Check out this office re-do.

DIY Project Zero Budget GoGingham.com
I couldn’t be happier with my spacious desk and the cost? $10!
  • Desk: My plan was to buy a piece of plywood (without chemicals so it was an upgrade to standard plywood) from the Eco Depot store. Total cost? $55. After rooting around the ReBuilding Center (an architectural salvage store) for an hour, we found a desk. Total cost? $10. Score! It was meant to be, too, because the desk measures 72″ which is the exact measurement of the wall. Now, we didn’t have to buy file cabinets to set the plywood on either. Saved again!
  • Paint: After deciding to paint the walls in the office, we stopped at Miller Paint to pick out a color and buy the paint. Total cost of 2-gallons of paint? $100. Then, we spotted Metro Recycled paint in a standard color (“Misty”) close to our custom color. Total cost? $22. Score!
  • Rug: In my shopping cart on Pottery Barn, I had a 9′ x 9′ square sisal rug all picked out and was ready to press “complete order” at a total cost of $500+shipping. We were reluctant to spend that much for something that covers the floor so I looked again and found a small, sale rug in a different color that would work in the office. Total cost? $75+shipping. Saved again!
  • Artwork: Using the same frames and rearranging pictures what we already owned, the office walls are now adorned with second-hand frames and maps that were hanging elsewhere in the house. One of the maps needed fixing and the new office motivated us to get it done! Total cost? $O. Score!
  • Chair: The cool industrial chair had been given to us and was sitting in our basement tool room for years. After getting the desk, Brad said, “Hey, that chair would look great in the office.” And just like that – we had a *new* chair. Total cost? $O. Score again!
  • Decor: Office supplies jammed into a desk drawer – that barely opened – got a new home in glass jars and a wooden box that I had picked up at an estate sale or garage sale over the years. Pulling them all together in a metal basket that I already owned made a statement on my *new* desk and the office supply drawer finally opens. Total cost? $O. Another score and it looks super cute!

DIY Project Zero Budget GoGingham.com
These office supplies look pretty darn cute as decorating items! Crystal tray is my “coaster.”

With a goal of spending zero rather than having a budget, we’ve got an office that looks great and cost less than $150. Yes, we had to be creative but I think that makes a DIY project more unique, don’t you?

Do you like to start at zero or begin with a budget? What project are you working on now?

Go Gingham related links:

Green living: once a month garbage collection
A free chair – that was rejected!
Wrapping presents with free maps makes for pretty gifts
Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet

6 thoughts on “Zero Budget DIY Projects

  1. Love the retro rotary phone. And yes, I do remember using those … great job with the updated/upcycled office area! I scrubbed my kitchen floor/baseboards on my hand and knees this morning and now I’d better face completing my desk clean-up that I started a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for keeping me motivated … but I’d rather be knitting … or baking …


  2. Love that chair! And the wire basket, and the desk. I appreciate that you get creative and spend very little cash on your projects. You’re inspiring, Sara!


  3. Love the coaster idea! And I really would like one of those roller shade maps.

    I think one of the key things about the $0 DIY project is allowing yourself a little time to find all the elements and catch a sale. Or, conversely, allow yourself a short amount of time to pull it all together without over-thinking/over-analyzing/over-shopping – just make a decision and get it done. Both of these work for me!


  4. I love this look! I usually start with a budget when I’m doing a big project, but I’m always thrilled when I find something free or cheap instead, or discover that I can repurpose something I already own. I think the $0 budget is a great way to encourage resourcefulness.


  5. This is how we’ve been re-doing our whole house. Although, I’ve gone a bit off-track lately, spending more to DIY some chairs than I would have if we’d bought some used ones that didn’t need work. 😦

    Love your map! And I have to check out your paint source.


  6. Looks absolutely gorgeous, Sara! Have to agree with Brad, that chair is a perfect mate to the desk.


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