Blog Archives

Million Dollar Decorator Black and White Home Office

million dollar decorator, black and white office, Mary McDonald

Office by Mary McDonald

The latest episode of BravoTV‘s Million Dollar Decorator featured Mary McDonald creating a black and white home office out of a client’s empty room. The client did not specify a budget, and McDonald was pretty quiet about what she was spending, so I can only imagine what the entire project cost. The only figure we have for sure was the cost of  the painted floor, which was $8000. I suspect we will re-create the entire room for less than half that. The custom-painted floor is the foundation for the room design, and as long as you have some time,  three gallons of paint, and some painter’s tape it can be created for under $100. You can repeat the zigzag pattern, or design the unique pattern of your choice.

desk, office desk, white desk

Coaster Office Desk

The most important part of a home office is the desk. The one I found doesn’t have the black leather top, but it does have interesting legs, more drawer space, and is a bargain for only $359. To give the weight of the black leather top, use a black desk pad, which is only $30. The second most important part of the office is a comfortable chair. I found a great reproduction, pictured below, for only $207! At home, carefully paint the exposed wood gold.

black armchair, office chair, chair, armchair

Black Armchair

A big switch was made for the two guest chairs, but before you complain about not holding true to true to the original design, please remember that if you make your guest chairs too comfortable they’ll never leave and you’ll never get any work done. We are instead  substituting simple black chairs with elegant nailhead trim. Do paint the exposed wood white before placing them in the room. Both chairs cost only $178, a fraction of what just one of the original guest chairs would cost.

bookends, gold bookends, fleur de lis

Fleur De Lis Bookends

On top of the desk is a pair of gold buffet lamps for $100, but replace the small red shades with larger black shades for an additional $60. The bookends are gold Fleur De Lis and a bargain at $15. The black vase for $50 is a different shape, but it has gold accents, which refers back to the desk chair,  lamps, and bookends. To finish off the desk area is an elegant black planter, also with gold accents, for $97. Instead of filling it with cut flowers, use a living plant, $5, to save money and serve as your own personal air purifier.

Drapes, draperies, curtains

Black and Tan Damask Drapes

The wall of french doors features gorgeous black and white striped drapes that I’m sure cost a King’s Ransom. I found draperies with a tan background (pulls in one of the floor colors) and a black damask pattern. It is not a stripe, but it does add drama and elegance to the room and cost only $184 for two pairs. The black rods and rings are available at Lowe’s for $80 for two sets.

Next we’ll address the wall of pictures. This is where you can really save big! Search garage sales, flea markets, or charity shops such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity ReStore for an assortment of frames. This room had 11 frames, but you should select the quantity based on your own room’s dimensions. Unify them by spray painting them all black and fill with your own photos which can be sized or converted to black and white by your local printer. Alternatively, you can frame pages from an art or photography book, a piece of fabric, or sheet of wallpaper.

pillows, decorator pillows, decorative pillows

Pillow for Pop of Color

Lastly, a pop of color is created from  brightly colored pillows, which can be found for under $40 for the pair at your local Marhsalls, TJMaxx, or  Homegoods store. Do not use a neckroll as pictured because it will fall through the back of the chair. Look for a large square pillow instead.

Now we get to my favorite part of the blog, adding up the items and comparing it to the original cost. The mathematicians out there probably have the total in their head, but for the rest of you, the grand total came to only $1505. That is less than one quarter of what was paid just for the painted floor. It does not include the cost of the wall of art, because you can spend as little as $50 or as much as $200, it just depends on your scavenger skills. It’s exciting to see how low we can go, and this one even surprised me!

If you have a high-end room you would like re-created for less, please submit it in the comments section, or email a picture to

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on twitter @thedesigndiva.