Studio McGee style on a budget

One of the many interior design styles out there that’s super popular right now is Studio McGee.
Thanks to Netflix’s Dream Home Makeover Shea’s interior style has gained millions of Instagram followers, scored her a home furnishing line at Target and has thousands of people worldwide trying to “McGee” their homes.

But the classic, modern meets traditional style comes with a hefty price tag.
If you don’t want to spend that kind of money on creating a home you love, here are my best ideas and tips for how to create the Studio McGee style on a budget.

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Studio McGee style on a budget

Hi, I’m Nadine

Interior design expert, globetrotter and the creative mind behind this blog and NH.DESIGN.

I’m originally from Germany but have been living abroad for over 10 years, from Canada and the UK to Sweden.

So I ask myself the question what “home” means every day.
I have made it my mission to help as many people as possible to find their own answer to this.

Join my creative world on Instagram @nhdotdesign or find out more about me

Start with a neutral base

Paint is an easy way to start to create the McGee style on a budget.

The Studio McGee style is a mix of classic, modern pieces mixed with traditional or vintage elements to add character, personality and warmth.
No matter the room, the colour palette is quite neutral with lots of whites, off-whites and muted colours, layered with warm light and medium wood tones.
Some great neutral paint colours to use for walls are BM Chantilly Lace (crisp), BM Simply White (soft), BM Swiss Coffee and BM White Dove (creamy).
For a more moody Studio McGee look use darker colours like charcoal greys, inky blues or muted greens.

Keeping a neutral base also makes it easier to change the colour scheme or seasonal decorations later.

Also read my post about how to choose the perfect white paint colours for any room.

The White Guide by NH.DESIGN is a helpful resource to choose the right white paint colour.

The White Guide

Not every white is the same, and choosing the right one isn’t easy.

Learn everything about undertones and how to pick the perfect white paint colour for any room in your home with my White Guide.

Architectural features

Features like arches, fireplaces, built-ins, board and batten walls, beams or brick, which is often painted white, elevate any space.
Incorporating these things on a budget is easier than you think.

Fireplaces like this one from Amazon are inexpensive and instantly transform a room.

Custom built-ins can cost a pretty penny, but they don’t have to.
With a little DIY you can transform IKEA’s METOD cabinets into a beautiful feature without spending a fortune.

Building a board and batten wall to add a luxurious look without the price tag is another great way to get the Studio McGee style on a budget.
You can easily get all the materials at the hardware store and depending on the size of the wall and pattern you choose, you can have a beautiful board and batten wall in a weekend.

Nadine, founder of Malmö-based interior design studio NH.DESIGN.

Design Consultation

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From finding the best layout, choosing the right colours to solving storage problems and styling tips – ask me anything!

Mix styles & shapes

Creating the signature Studio McGee style, on a budget or not, is all about mixing styles.
Adding traditional or vintage elements to a modern base creates interest and makes a space look more personal.
So don’t be afraid to look in your local thrift store, grandma’s basement or a flea market to find unique pieces to add character.

Make a statement with lighting

Shea McGee herself said once that if you should splurge on anything for your home, it should be light fixtures.
So even if you’re trying to create the Studio McGee style on a budget, try to spend a little more on lighting because it makes a huge difference. But again, if that’s not possible, you’d be surprised how many great, statement lighting pieces you can find second-hand.

The key to choosing the right lighting is to make sure you get the scale right. Most times less is more, and one or two larger light fixtures have a bigger impact than many smaller ones. Think of the lighting as your statement piece in every room and try to create a wow moment.

Natural materials, texture and greenery

The neutral colour palette that’s the base for the Studio McGee style is also reflected in the natural materials used.
A white- or bleached oak floor sets the tone for furniture, textiles and decorations in wool, jute, rattan, warm coloured leather and velvet.

The natural materials I mentioned above go hand in hand with lots of texture. Since the colour palette is neutral and even colours are muted, like dark greys, inky blues, and greens, it’s a good idea to work with texture to create depth. It also adds character and personality to work with natural materials that have small imperfections.

Greenery is a big part of Studio McGees style and it’s luckily something you can easily re-create on a budget.
Amazon or IKEA have great artificial plants in all shapes and sizes. To make it as “McGee” as possible, go big with plants and pots (if you can).

Styling Secrets guide by NH.DESIGN

Styling Secrets

Learn how to style any room in your home like a pro with my Styling Secrets guide.

Studio McGee style kitchen

Kitchens are the main rooms people love in the popular Studio McGee style.

Getting the look and feel on a budget is surprisingly easy. Luckily there’s a great solution, and it’s called IKEA!
Together with fronts, harware and counters from other brands like semihandmade, METOD/SEKTION kitchen cabinets make for the perfect base for a Studio McGee style kitchen on a budget.

I even wrote a whole other blog post about how to customize your IKEA kitchen.
AND I have a free guide with all my favourite brands to customize your IKEA furniture, too.

To get the Studio McGee look on a budget for your kitchen, use these elements you’ll find in (almost) every Studio McGee kitchen:

  • brass hardware
  • wooden accents, like vintage chopping boards or floating shelves
  • artwork on the countertops
  • large, almost oversized light fixtures
  • look-a-like hand-made tiles for the backsplash
  • marble countertops (for a budget-friendly option choose laminate or quartzite with a marble effect)

Need help designing your home and pulling it all together?
Not sure where to start?
Can’t visualise what it’s going to look like in the end?

With my virtual and in-person interior design services you get everything you need
to transform your home into a space you love.

Book a free Discovery Call with me and let’s chat!

Studio McGee style living room

Beside kitchens, living rooms are the heart of the home.
Creating that cosy Studio McGee style on a budget in your living spaces start with furniture in lighter colours, like sofas in cream or oatmeal fabric.

For example, the FARLÖV sofa from IKEA is a great alternative to the more expensive Everleigh sofa by McGee & Co.
You’ll also often see a mix and match of sofas and armchairs in Studio McGee’s living spaces, giving them a more casual and personal look.

To get the Studio McGee look on a budget for your living room, use these elements you’ll find in (almost) every Studio McGee living space:

  • warm, light woods like bleached oak
  • black metals
  • natural shapes and materials like jute rugs, rattan baskets and wool blankets
  • statement light fixtures
  • lots of pillows on the sofa, mix them in different colours, textures, shapes and sizes
  • vintage looking rugs
line art illustration lightbulb

Pro Tip

Mix furniture with legs and pieces without legs for an even more casual look!

Nadine, founder of Malmö-based interior design studio NH.DESIGN.

Design Consultation

Ask a Designer

Need help putting the finishing touches onto your home?

During this 1 hour virtual Design Consultation you get my expert advice on your specific interior challenge.
From finding the best layout, choosing the right colours to solving storage problems and styling tips – ask me anything!

Studio McGee style bedroom

Bedrooms are a place to relax, re-charge and feel safe. So making this room as cosy as possible is key.

So to get the Studio McGee look on a budget for your bedroom, use these elements you’ll find in (almost) every Studio McGee bedroom:

  • Upholstered beds with light coloured head boards
  • sofa/bench at the foot of the bed
  • small seating area if you have the space
  • layered bed textiles and lots of cushions
  • vintage looking rugs
Design your dream bedroom with this detailed and comprehensive Design Guide by NH.DESIGN.

Design Guide - Bedroom

Learn how to design the bedroom of your dreams with my tried and tested 6-step process.

This step-by-step includes everything you need to design your bedroom, from floor planning to product selection.

Studio McGee style bathroom

We all want our bathroom to be an oasis, a spa at home. But creating that on a budget isn’t always easy, especially if you’re not planning on doing a complete renovation. Not everyone has the space for (or wants to have) free-standing tubs, double vanities and large shower area.

Luckily there are ways to get the Studio McGee style into your bathroom in a budget-friendly way.
To get the Studio McGee look on a budget for your bathroom, use these elements you’ll find in (almost) every Studio McGee bathroom:

  • mixed metals (1 dominant and 1 accent)
  • look-a-like hand-made tiles for the backsplash
  • marble countertops (for a budget-friendly option choose quartzite with a marble effect)

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