How To Get The Magnolia Style On A Budget

Magnolia style shiplap painted furniture baskets

Magnolia style is adored by many for its fresh mix of modern Farmhouse with rustic chic. Its popularity was kickstarted by the HGTV show Fixer Upper, where once dilapidated homes are made fresh again. The renovation process often includes whimsical touches like barn doors, metal wall features, wood beams, farmhouse rugs or a well-placed farmhouse sink.

While the looks on the show certainly are not cheap, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to express this style in your home. If you already have the structural look of a farmhouse—rich wood floors, white kitchen cabinets and an open floor plan—then you can certainly infuse farmhouse décor, even adding your own shiplap feature wall, the hallmark of any Magnolia home. With a little elbow grease, there are a lot of ways to get the budget look like a boss.

DIY Shiplap

Shiplap wooden wall with light

Shiplap was originally used in the construction of sheds and barns. Later, the boards were brought inside but weren’t featured in the decor. Instead, they were installed as a surface for wallpaper. In older houses, authentic shiplap is often found under other materials. The boards have a rabbet or groove, which allows for the overlapping, hence the name shiplap. Shiplap walls are ideal for kitchens, mudrooms, and offices.

Now, shiplap is used to create feature walls, taking nods from its past with a modern application. To create it on a budget, you can use low-cost plywood, depending on the look you want, you can choose from 1/4”, 1/2” or 3/4”. Nail the boards on the wall as far as you want to go up making sure to cut out room for any windows or outlets. When you’re done, you’ll prep for painting, spackling holes, caulking and sanding before adding white paint. As you paint, remove any excess paint that begins to clog up the seams to keep your shiplap’s distinct look. Once you’re done, complement the white wall with some color on the floor.

Open Shelving for Less

Farmhouse shelving vintage bicycle

Magnolia style is all about showcasing books, rare finds and creative accents, and there’s no better way to do this than with open shelving. Open shelving had its beginning in European farmhouses and works in nearly every room. Originally, this type of shelving offered easy access and was often near windows which were needed for reading light.

Magnolia style often features reclaimed wood or driftwood. Frequenting flea markets and thrift stores is a low-cost way to find some imperfect wood for your walls, but finding the perfect look can be tough. It’s possible to create shelving that looks authentic using new material. If you want the real wood look, take new wooden 2x4s and hand sand them to get an aged look. This process isn’t expensive but it is time-consuming. If you don’t have the time or space to build a new piece yourself, it’s always easier to buy a piece online.

Make Your Own Interior Dutch Doors

Dutch door stable door farmhouse door

Dutch doors, also known as stable doors, have been around for centuries. With two independent moving parts, their original use was to allow for ventilation on the farmhouses of Europe. These doors solved a problem in an era where windows were rare and expensive. This style has been passed down through the years but has shed its utilitarian roots.

Today, Dutch doors aren’t just used in a building’s exterior. They can be added to any other room you don’t want to close off all the way and can be made for very little. Just purchase a solid core door and cut it at home. It can be perfectly halved, but most Dutch doors have a longer bottom piece. Then you just need to add some hardware, including four hinges and a latch that allows the two pieces to rejoin. Add a bit of interest to the room with a textured runner.

Subway Tile: Economical Yet Elegant

Wood counter white subway tile sink plant

Another trademark of Magnolia style is subway tile which looks great in kitchens and bathrooms. Subway tile is often found in white with various grout colors. Its very simple to create and adds a clean minimal look which is why it fits perfectly with farmhouse décor. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive. The per piece price you’ll pay at your local home improvement store is much less than fancier tile. You should be able to add it as a kitchen backsplash or tile your shower for only a few hundred dollars.

If you’ve never installed tile before, Subway tile is a good one to start with. It’s easy to cut, and, because the tile itself is small, you won’t have to do many harder cuts. To add your own flair to this clean design, choose an accent grout color. Gray pairs well and matches the farmhouse look. It also stands out even more with gray walls. If you decide to use gray grout in your kitchen, consider adding a matching grey rug.

Painted Furniture: Create it for Less

White painted furniture

If you look at a more upscale furniture brand, you’ll find a lot of options for painted furniture. While an amazing sideboard or armoire is perfect for many people, it’s not affordable for everyone. If you have the time and space for a little DIY, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and up-cycle.

Start by finding furniture in need of love. Try visiting your local second-hand store or looking online to start. Find something that will fit in your space and has the overall shape you’re looking for and paint it yourself. The piece has to be well-sanded and primed before any color goes on it. This can be done by hand or with power tools. There are a variety of specialty paints that are formulated specifically for furniture. It’s often more expensive than normal paint but doesn’t require a finish and typically lasts longer.

Once you’ve finished painting, you can give the furniture a worn look by strategically scuffing a few areas to bring out the color beneath. Add new farmhouse inspired decor, and you’ve just completed your project. One way to complement your new weathered piece of furniture is with a tassel rug in an accent color.

Magnolia Style on a Budget


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