I have been struggling with this for my tragic office cube at work.
Here is the thread. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=81442.0
What I have done so far is get furniture that matches. I am lucky I just had to go to the state office warehouse. Do you have a used office furniture store in town? You can get some great deals and for a few extra dollars in paint and fabric make a really cool retro look. Maybe use some orange and fuchsia with hints of lime green or zebra stripe thrown in every now and then. Keep the main pieces neutral either brown or taupe or off white, maybe even white? That would depend on the light in the room and the overall feel you want. Then go nutty with fabrics and inexpensive accessories (bulletin board, mouse pad, pots for plants, lamp shades...etc) that you can easily change. That way if your daughter wants to go with red and purple or totally neutral colors or something different in a year it won't be difficult (or expensive) to change.
I cannot paint my furniture (since it is government issue) so I just got stuff that matches....dark brown. I'm now going to recover my chairs in darkbrown and teal and light blue fabric. I'm waiting for a sale. I'm going to cover my tragic cube walls in something a bit more soothing than the dirty ripped taupe that it is now. The two real walls I have I'm going to hang a couple of coordinated ornate fabrics and some bulletin boards painted to look like one painting. Fashion and form meets function.
If I can find an affordable area rug I'd like to put one down. If not, I'll live with the rug I have.
Here is are the chairs I got and the fabric I currently have. It was on sale from $25 a year to $1 a yard. You can't beat that!!! I have two of them now and like I said, I'm waiting for brown and teal and light blue fabric to go on sale so I can recover them again. The chairs are pretty darn good for free
standard issue government office chairs!
Just make sure when you pick furniture that it is easy to take apart and recover. That is why I have these chairs. Let me assure you they were in sad sad shape before they were recovered!
Someone suggested this book for ideas. I haven't seen it yet but it looks like it might have some good ideas. At the very least it has ideas that are not old and tired!http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594741050/sr=8-1/qid=1141838465/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-1868541-6736833?%5Fencoding=UTF8
I also like to flip through decorating magazines for inspiration. I may not make my room look like the exact room in the magazine but I might take an idea from a room in a magazine or get color combination idea from magazines. They are a good source of inspiration for me.
The bottom line is you can make a really hip office for cheap. You can make an AWESOME office if you are able to spend just a little bit on it, especially if you shop smart and cheap. And you can have a down right awesome office if you can spend little bit of money and alter the furniture and area (aka paint or wallpaper or cover the walls and/or furniture with fabric or some other covering) you have to work with! Just use your imagination and go for it!! Don't ask why ask why not!
People think I am just plain crazy for decorating my office cube but I figure I spend 9+ hours per day in there so I should not spend that much time surrounded by that much ugly. We don't give office space the credit or time it deserves. That's my theory anyway.
Good luck, keep us posted along the way!