Itty Bitty Baby Budgets

Itty Bitty Baby Budgets

I apologize in advance if you absolutely adore the HGTV show Donna Decorates Dallas, but I just watched it for the first time and can’t say I’m a huge fan.  Judging by the one episode I saw, it’s basically wealthy people buying expensive things. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not particularly inspiring, relateable, or exciting.

You know what excites me?  How about a  $33 bathroom makeover?  Better After reader Carly spent $15 on a quart of paint for her stripes, $18 for some peel and stick tiles, and added accessories and white paint she already had on hand.  What would Donna have done to this bathroom with a $33 budget?  Bought a new bar of soap? 

And Kate may not have had the resources to go out and buy a brand new desk, but she was resourceful enough to craft one herself out of things laying around the house.  Yep, this “desk” is actually storage cubes and cardboard stacked on top of wire shelving and wrapped in some wood-patterned contact paper. Check out more on her blog Magic City Thistle.

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  1. Anonymous
    January 30, 2013 / 2:41 PM

    I love everything about this bathroom especially the stripes and the map shelf! Way to go Carly!

  2. January 30, 2013 / 2:41 PM

    LOVE!!! Thank you for the comment about the big-budget renos! I’m not nearly as impressed with the $$$$ make-overs… they always make me think, “Duh! I hope you could make a room look good with that much money!” I’d much rather see these! Great job ladies!!!!

  3. January 30, 2013 / 3:03 PM

    The bathroom makeover is fabulous! Shows what a little ingenuity can accomplish. I myself would add a fitted skirt to the sink to get additional storage, but that’s only because I hate running out of TP. The sink itself is pretty cool!

  4. Anonymous
    January 30, 2013 / 3:12 PM

    That bathroom is amazing with what she had to work with. And I hear you about the DDD show – I don’t get it either. It’s all very gaudy and outdated.

  5. January 30, 2013 / 3:14 PM

    Oh that Donna Decorates Dallas show … don’t get me started. I guess I can appreciate expensive decorating when it is well done (Million Dollar Decorators or Million Dollar Contractor, for instance), but I find pretty much everything Donna does to be, well, disgusting. I’m sure it’s some people’s taste and good for them but oh my god, does everything have to be covered in goddamn crystals and leopard print? Ick.

    But let me comment about these two makeovers … they are great. I love seeing dramatic turnovers done on serious budgets. It’s easy to find something nice for lots of money, but it take creativity to create something beautiful on a dime.

  6. January 30, 2013 / 3:17 PM

    WOW! Fabulous job!!

  7. January 30, 2013 / 4:05 PM

    Wow, I thought Donna Decorates Dallas was about a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader with questionable morals. Now you tell me its only some lady throwing money around?

  8. Carla
    January 30, 2013 / 4:09 PM

    Watched DDD for first time this week, and probably the ONLY time.
    I think YOU need to do a show of your own, finding people who do makeovers and showing off their style. (Okay, I get a cut of the profits for coming up with this, ha!)

    I spent way too much money in my lifetime on new things that don’t look near as good as the makeovers I and others have done.

    It’s time people realized the old adage “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Would save us all a lot of time, hard earned money, and make a nest that is so happy for our families to come home too.

    Thanks for showing us all the wonderful folks in the world who love to create and inspire. Although I hate to even share you blog with anyone else, cause I want to keep all the good stuff to myself.

    Have a great day and keep on lifting up those unsung heroes who do a lot with a little.

  9. January 30, 2013 / 4:57 PM

    Whoohoo! for Carly’s vision! Great job!

  10. January 30, 2013 / 5:31 PM

    Haven’t seen the show you’re all talking about (sounds like I’m not missing anything), but I have to agree with everyone else; anyone can get a decorated house with enough money. It’s the projects like these that make those houses into homes – and homes we can be proud of.

    I love maps, so the map shelf in the bathroom makeover has me thinking, and the desk is just inspired! I love using stuff for other than it’s intended purpose so it’s great to see a project that will have me looking around and saying, “Humm… I wonder what I can do with that?”

    Thanks for making someplace for everyone to show off their hard work, and thanks to everyone who sends in the photos.

  11. January 30, 2013 / 6:15 PM

    Kate! How in the world did you ever look at all those pieces and get to desk. Usually I can see the start and the finish and get the process but you knocked me out. I totally want to go to goodwill with you to see if you can turn $20 into the porch I want but don’t deserve.

  12. Anonymous
    January 30, 2013 / 6:23 PM

    I love both of these projects!

    I glad there are such creative contributors to this blog as I haven’t got an ounce of creativity in me. I get the majority of my ideas from Better After or by following links from here to other blogs.

    Any chance Carly could share the names/brands of her paint colors? She doesn’t have a blog so I’ll just have to hope that she stops by and sees my question. I love the darker color especially!


  13. January 30, 2013 / 6:34 PM

    Thanks everyone for the nice comments! We are really proud of our tiny little bathroom makeover.

    Nancy- I will check for you when I get home!

    These are the tiles:

  14. January 30, 2013 / 8:20 PM

    I agree with you about DDD. It reminded of when a friend gave me a subscription to Architectural Digest one year. Totally unobtainable rooms to me! I ended up throwing them in the trash. Pretty, perfect rooms are nice to look at once in a while, but, I like my pretty, imperfect cozy home. Blessings

  15. January 30, 2013 / 9:17 PM

    Love the bathroom!!!! Since I don’t have big budgets I also like to be able to see the rooms done on a small budget. That gives me inspiration.

  16. January 30, 2013 / 9:20 PM

    Great job, Carly! I am impressed with your resourcefulness and appreciate your meager budget. My kind of makeover!

  17. January 30, 2013 / 9:53 PM

    That bathroom rocks! ( and so does the budget!!) the map shelf and towels. Also love the storage cubes for that desk, very clever. i think I check your blog just as much for your rants as for the afters 🙂 keep it up!

  18. January 30, 2013 / 10:44 PM

    Can you say ostentatious? Or should I say Austin-tatious. Yes, DDD is not for me but I know folks who like to show off that Daddy or Big Daddy has money. Frankly I’d rather watch The High Low Project or (from the old days) Decorating Cents. Use to love how they redid rooms for nothing. HGTV has just become a realestate channel. Sad, cause I use to love it.

  19. January 30, 2013 / 11:17 PM

    I’ve never seen the show you mentioned but I agree, I can’t see the reason to put a lot of money into any home improvement. Saying that $33 is an amazingly low amount for the transformation pictured here. Well done on both rooms. I love repurposed items and work with that in my own make overs.

  20. January 31, 2013 / 1:52 AM

    Love the bathroom!!! So glad I visited today 🙂

  21. January 31, 2013 / 2:36 AM

    mmm i am not a fan of donna decorates dallas either. it’s not especially my taste and for sure not my budget haha. both these makeovers here are great though! amazing what a little paint will do in a bathroom. and can’t believe how that desk was made up! amazing!

  22. January 31, 2013 / 3:09 AM

    Amazing what people come up with on a tight budget. Results are usually pretty cool.

  23. Anonymous
    January 31, 2013 / 3:56 AM

    I have to say I love your blog!! But now I really love you because that Dallas makeover show is disgusting!!

  24. January 31, 2013 / 4:07 AM

    Love your blog and all the great inspirations you show. I have to watch every penny and I enjoy learning/ knowing I can take a boring room and make it beautiful without breaking the bank. The bathroom shows perfect and I will be using ideas from it.

  25. January 31, 2013 / 4:24 PM

    If a TV show has the name “Dallas” in it, you can bet I won’t be watching it! If it has the word “budget” you can bet I will be! I LOVE your blog.

  26. Anonymous
    January 31, 2013 / 8:46 PM

    I find the use of the 3 “K’s” on the shelf above the desk a little unfortunate.
    Initials or not, I don’t think I’d want KKK on display in my house.

  27. Anonymous
    February 1, 2013 / 2:40 AM

    The bathroom looks awesome. I was going to paint my powder room a solid grey but after seeing this want stripes. Carly, please share the paint color when you get a moment. It really looks great.

  28. February 1, 2013 / 2:54 PM

    I would like to thank you for the efforts youve got produced in writing this article.

  29. Anonymous
    February 24, 2013 / 5:00 PM

    I found you from Pinterest. I couldn’t agree more about those shows!! We all know you can decorate something with thousands of dollars!! Show me a budget re-do or a small room/small house make over! Love the bathroom and very creative way to make a desk!

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