Bobby Berk’s Design Tips For Updating Your Home On A Budget

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

If there’s one thing Bobby Berk is good at, it’s jaw-dropping home makeovers that are completed within record time in front of an audience of millions. (Does he ever sleep?) In short, he’s a whiz at decorating under pressure; that’s why — when we went on the hunt for budget-friendly home decor tips — we turned to the Emmy-nominated host of Netflix’s Queer Eye. (Spoiler alert: He delivered.)

“Designing on a budget definitely requires some creative thinking,” Berk says, but by embracing “a bit of DIY attitude, you can totally create a stylish space for a lot less.” One of his top do-it-yourself tips? Adding a fresh coat of paint to revamp everything from chairs to light fixtures to small accessories. For those of us without a strong DIY game, however, Berk has recommended some of his favorite design finds, all of which ring up at a price that won’t put a big dent in your wallet (and for extra convenience, they’re all on Amazon, too). Among other gems, you’ll find a simple (and cheap) polished brass hook that’s perfect for hanging your robe in the bathroom, a herringbone throw blanket that feels just like cashmere (for a fraction of the price), and a handmade leather vase that levels up any bouquet of flowers.

Bobby Berk’s interior design tips just might be the next best thing to getting a full makeover from the Queer Eye team. “And one thing to always remember, designing your home is a marathon, not a sprint,” Berk says. “Even when operating on a tight budget, I always advise you not to rush to fill your space with furnishings just so it feels finished. Take the time to discover what you really love — and you’ll end up with a home that is a true reflection of you.” So pull up a chair, queue up season 6 of Queer Eye, and check out some of Berk’s favorite home design recommendations for upgrades on a budget.


A 6-Pack Of Ribbed Taper Candles In A Terra Cotta Shade

Berk says, “I love the terra-cotta color and cool ribbed texture of these taper candles. They’re a perfect accent to really elevate any dinner table.” The set includes six 10-inch tapers — they’re unscented and offer a burn time of up to 12 hours each (enough to get you through more than a few lingering dinners packed with good conversation lit by candlelight).


A Handmade Vase Made From Full-Grain Leather

Forget about spending hard-earned cash on expensive arrangements; Berk says, “This leather vase is going to make even a grocery store bouquet look a lot more appealing.” The handmade glass vase is wrapped in a peachy tan full-grain leather, with an oversized hand-stitched seam along the side. Measuring 4 inches across and 8 inches high, each vase is totally unique and features natural color variation.


These Minimalist Cotton Towels For The Kitchen Or Bathroom

“I’m always thinking about the tiniest details in a space, down to the towels. This set is an easy and attractive option — that also works really well in a bathroom or kitchen setting.” Each set comes with two tea towels in a soft brown shade, and they wipe glasses dry without leaving lint behind.


The Tiny Planter That’s Also Perfect For Keys & Coins

“Totally organic and totally fun, this planter would make a cute accent on any tabletop or could be used as an accessory on a bookshelf or on an entry table to house your coins and keys when you walk in the door.” The tiny planter boasts a compact footprint — just 3.5 inches across and 2.75 inches wide — so you can add some style to even the smallest of spaces.


A 20-Piece Set Of Matte Black Silverware That’ll Elevate Any Table

Ready to upgrade your table setting? This 20-piece set is Berk’s recommendation: “Sleek black flatware brings a modern touch to any meal and can elevate simple white dinner plates.” The set comes with utensils for four place settings, including a salad fork, dinner fork, knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon. Made from stainless steel, the flatware is durable, dishwasher-safe, and available in other design-forward styles like matte gold and silver with wooden handles.

  • Available styles: 6


Get Creative With Paint (Cabinetry, Chairs & Accessories — Oh My!)

“One of the easiest (and most cost-effective) places to start is with a fresh coat of paint. And it’s not just for walls! I’m all for painting cabinetry, fireplaces, tables, chairs, light fixtures, even accessories to give them a whole new look.”


The Home Decor Paint That Comes In 50 Shades

Want to put Berk’s painting advice to work? The Bustle Commerce team recommends this chalk-style decor paint that comes in 50 shades, like licorice, persimmon and sage. Formulated specifically for furniture and home decor, it dries to a matte finish and contains a built-in primer and top coat (i.e., aside from pre-cleaning, there’s no prep work required on your part).

  • Available colors: 50


This Salt & Pepper Shaker Set With Oak Stoppers

Dinnertime just got a lot more design-savvy, thanks to this “sculptural set of salt and pepper shakers that will make seasoning super chic.” From Swedish company Sagaform, the Scandinavian-modern jars are made from mouth-blown glass with spherical oak stoppers — remove the stoppers to reveal the holes at the top of the jars.


A Polished Brass Hook To Hold Your Robe Outside The Shower

Talk about a cheap and easy upgrade for the bathroom: “I think a robe hook is essential for outside a shower, and this one has an expensive look for a lot less. (I mean, who wants to drip all over the floor while reaching for a towel?)” The double-prong hook has a polished brass finish and can hold up to 35 pounds. It comes with hardware for mounting, making installation a breeze.


This 4-Pack Of Smart Light Bulbs That Change Color & So Much More

When it comes to adding smart technology to your space, Berk says, “Wi-Fi-enabled light bulbs were a game-changer for my home! You can turn them on, dim them or adjust the color all with a few taps on your phone.” You can also set schedules and scenes with this four-pack of soft white smart LED light bulbs, and they’re Alexa- and Google Home-compatible, so you can utilize voice commands.


This Dried Foxtail Bundle That’s An Easy Alternative To Fresh Flowers

Berk says “A bundle of dried grass is an easy decorative option — that lasts a lot longer that fresh flowers.” (Low maintenance? Sign us up.) The natural foxtail stems are 14 to 16 inches in length, with flower heads of various sizes. The bundle includes 100 stems — plenty for various vases, arrangements, and even wreaths around your home.


An Oversized Paper Lantern That Creates Soft Lighting

Adding mood lighting doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Berk says, “An oversized paper lantern is a simple and chic lighting option that can make a big impact for a very low cost.” Available in white and ivory shades, this 24-inch lantern makes a statement, but you can also opt for smaller sizes — just add a light bulb.

  • Available sizes: 8


Create A Gallery Wall With Matching Wood Frames & Family Photos

Berk says, “For the design makeovers on Queer Eye, I always like to repurpose some existing items to help a space feel more personal. One of my favorite quick tricks is to take family photos, reprint them in black and white, and frame them in matching simple wood frames. You instantly have a custom gallery wall that looks cohesive and custom, but is much more affordable than going to a framer.”


A Set Of 7 Frames In Various Sizes

To create a gallery wall at home, the Bustle Commerce team recommends this set of seven matching frames with a classic dark wood finish. Boasting a 4.7-star overall rating after 3,000 reviews, this set includes frames in multiple sizes, but you can also buy sets in one uniform size.

  • Available sizes: Multi-Size, 4 x 6 inches, 5 x 7 inches, 8 x 10 inches, 8.5 x 11 inches


A Set Of 3 Candle Holders In Graceful Gold

Add some elegance to your next dinner party (or just weeknight dinner) with this set of three candle holders in your choice of silver or gold. “Streamlined and timeless, this trio would add some serious sparkle to a dining room table or mantel. I have a few sets of these that I use as a centerpiece on my dining table for when we have sit-down dinners.” The set includes holders in three different heights, and the base of each one is lined in velvet to prevent scratches to your table.


The Wood Chain That Adds Thoughtful Style Anywhere

Does your desk, coffee table, or bookshelf need a little something-something? Berk says, “This chain feels a little bit farmhouse and a little bit organic-modern, making it a versatile stylish accessory you can use on just about any surface.” Measuring 17 inches in length, it features five interlocking loops that can be placed in any configuration.


The Budget-Friendly Herringbone Throw That Feels Like Cashmere

Tie your living room together with “this neutral-colored throw [that] would make a warm and welcoming addition to any sofa.” Lightweight but warm, the herringbone blanket has a cashmere-like texture that feels great against the skin. Also available in three other colors, it’s machine-washable, which makes upkeep a cinch.

  • Available colors: 4


The Cutting Board That Combines Functionality With Good Looks

“A cutting board that’s functional and fashionable is always a good idea, and I love how the black finish on this also makes it really stand out.” Made from acacia wood, the cutting board comes in three sizes and features a hold on the handle, so you can hang it on the wall and show it off.


An Elevated Dustpan Set Made With Metal, Leather & Beech Wood

Put high-end aesthetics to work — literally — with this cool dustpan and dust brush set. Berk says, “Yes, even your cleaning products can be stylish! The wood handles and leather straps really elevate this humble cleaning set.” The dustpan is made from industrial-chic metal, while the handles are made from beech wood. The set looks good enough to show off, and with the hanging loops, you can do just that.


This Linen-Style Cover For Lumbar Pillows

To put the finishing touch on your bedroom, Berk advises: “Toss a long lumbar pillow on your bed to create a cozy vibe that looks totally pulled together.” Measuring 40 by 12 inches, this linen-style cover features tassels at the corners and a hidden zipper. It’s available in more than a dozen styles, including a faux leather version. Just pop in a pillow insert and you’re all set.

  • Available styles: 15


An Abstract Print That’ll Add Life To Any Wall

Do your walls need a little love? Berk recommends something like this wall print: “I’m always drawn to abstract art, and I love that this is a really simple piece that still has so much energy and vibrance.” A study in simple beige and black, the 11-by-14-inch print would look perfect in any room you hang it. Pick up a black frame to complete the look.


An Architectural Desk Lamp In Minimalist White & Gold

For sprucing up your workspace, Berk says, “I’ve had a similar lamp on my desk for years and really love the clean lines and simple shape.” Also ideal for nightstands, the modern lamp capitalizes on a unique combination of minimalist white with elegant gold accents — but you can also opt for styles like matte black, pure white, and brass.

  • Available styles: 5