Something happens when kids move from “children” to “teenagers” – styles, tastes, activities all change drastically.  In order to create an age-appropriate space for my teen, I attempted a $0 makeover to create a home office suitable for a teenager.

My house is in such a disarray.

For every project I finish, there are two more that are needed – mainly because I shift the mess from one room to the next.

My girls switched bedrooms last year sometime and Chloë claimed our spare bedroom as her “home office”.

I was fine with that because we rarely have overnight guests and because 2020/2021 was all about online schooling.  

I should tell you that I have two VERY different daughters.

When Maddie got a new room, she painted and decorated and made it brand new and to her tastes.  I chipped in the money for extras, but she had to do the work.

Chloë on the other hand was happy to leave the old paint job (pink trim with white walls), holes in the walls and a mishmash of furniture.

Made me crazy looking at it – like visual chaos.

I didn’t take before photos (sorry), but you get the idea from this.

There were more shelves and a large folding table for her sewing machine, so it was even more chaotic than this.

Problem isn’t the mess really – I can close the door and ignore it – but I want to build built-ins for my office and I promised to give Chloë my bookcases for her space.  In order to makeover my office, I needed to finish hers to get some furniture moved around.

While the girls were away with their Dad, I decided to attempt a $0 makeover and make a home office for a teenager.

This makeover won’t be a $0 for everyone, but being a DIYer, I have a TON of paint leftover from other projects – and projects left over from other projects – so I was able to use up some supplies I’d paid for in the past that were just being wasted in the garage.

The paint is Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak – the same colour I used on our dining room and my garage.  I accidentally bought 5 gallons thinking the garage would be a much bigger project and I still had about 2 gallons left. 🤦🏻‍♀️

The trim is Benjamin Moore’s Simply White – leftover from my mudroom built-ins.  Very neutral, very soft, but a clean slate after patching all of the holes.

These are the same bookcases from my home office makeover a few years ago.  Along with the desk I refinished years ago, the three units fit perfectly on the wall with the funny jut-out.

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

See those Christmas boxes and red Christmas basket on the floor of the before photo?


A bit of spray primer and then black enamel spray paint and this is them now:

dollar store boxes painted black

I didn’t paint the bottom of the boxes just in case they stuck to the bookshelf, but if you tip them upside down you’ll see the Christmas patterns.  

They turned out great eh?  Clean, sophisticated, perfect for stashing “stuff” and they were only $2 at the dollar store (that were gifted to her last Christmas.)

Still at a $0 teenager office!

Below you’ll see the red (now black) basket.

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

I moved her glass desk from one corner to the other; so she can still look out the window, but also make room for the new bookcases in her craft room.

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

I made this floor mirror years ago – complete with storage inside each of the side panels.  It was in her bedroom, but it was a tight fit, so I moved it into her teenager office and now she has much more room to preen and prep.

standing mirror with storage

A bit of rearranging of artwork and some craft jars to help style the shelves:

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

Then I got into trouble…

To this point I SWEAR I hadn’t spent a penny on making an office for a teenager.  I didn’t even buy rollers or paintbrushes…  to this point.

But I searched my arsenal of home staging stuff – and I couldn’t find things that said “teenager” to me.

So I did spend a bit of money on the staging part…  I almost made it a $0 makeover?  And, if she hates the staging items I used, I can take them back (you might notice price tags still hanging on a few items in the photos. 😂)

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

I picked up a few candle holders in black and gold, and some picture frames to fill the shelves with.

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

Chloë has a few pen pals from all over the world so I just had to get her a little stationary holder.

HAD to.  Like a physical need. 😂

penpal station

I also needed to fill a bit of wall space and Chloë had mentioned once that she liked macrame.  True, this isn’t macrame, but it is a wall hanging in a similar “boho” kind of style right?

Every office for a teenager needs something boho right?

This is actually the back of it – the front is a puffy black shag circle, but I preferred the striping on the back.  Again, price tag is still attached in case she hates both sides. 

wall hanging over a desk

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

I think it fills the space nicely?

This basket was a find at HomeSense, and since this is her home office / craft room, I don’t imagine it will stay like this for long.  There is a slight tendency to leave fabric everywhere when she’s doing a sewing project.  This will make a good dropping spot.

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

What teenager office, any office really,  is complete without a felt letter board?

Especially if you need to remind someone of how awesome they are?

So the foundation of the room – paint, furniture, trim work etc came in at $0.

The styling had a bit of a price tag for candles, a basket, wallhanging, letter board, and a few faux greens.  That’s not too bad really?

Oh… and blinds (not pictured because they are still on order)

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room

home office, office for a teenager, teenager office, craft room