Ok, so this isn't my most dignified post.
When you hear me say cardboard, you might think of strange pieces like this from Cardboardesign:
If you like this sort of thing, then by all means, go for it. But I'm talking about more usable, normal uses for cardboard.
Earth shattering, right? But using cardboard boxes doesn't mean you have to have Amazon labels and shipping packets on display for the whole world to see. Find a plain side, add some sharpie designs, and its all right.
Or, like the burlap box on the middle shelf... cover it with fabric. I have several fabric boxes around the house that are cardboard underneath. They work just fine, and they cost me nothing!
Also, consider cardboard for organising. Boxes with dividers in them, like wine boxes or packing for glass items, work really well as drawer organisers.... socks and undies, makeup, crafts..... it's way cheaper than buying those plastic organising systems, and works just as well!
I admit, there's a bit of a pride element for a lot of us. We think cardboard boxes belong in the broke, milk-crate decorating phase of college life. But if we can be a tad more creative, we realise that it can work just fine, and no one will notice, let alone judge you for it!
To quote Tim Gunn: "Make it work!"