With so many people working from home these days, a home office has become an essential space for many. However, not everyone has a big budget for outfitting a home office, and few people can pay to have a professional space planner design an efficient home office space.
Whether you're working at home full-time or using the home office sporadically, be sure to include adequate lighting, music, and comfortable seating. Bring in plants and inspiring artwork. After all, you might be spending a lot of time in this new home office—it should be a comfortable space that you enjoy spending time in.
It's tempting to jump online and immediately start ordering furniture and decor for a brand-new home office. However, you should take a day or two to plan the office layout and design.
Define Your Work Office Space
For the greatest efficiency in work, find a space that can be dedicated to a home office area. You can make use of whatever space you have for a stylish and small home office, whether it's a large stair landing, a small closet, a spare room, or an unused corner of the living room.
Create a Floor Plan
It might be tempting to just move pieces of furniture—even if it's just a desk and a chair—around until the space works. However, if you spend some time measuring your space, creating a floor plan (small as it might be), measuring your furniture, and thinking it through, the final result is much more likely to be the best use of the space.
Determine What You Can Do Yourself
Before you start collecting quotes from professionals, figure out what projects you can manage yourself. For example, inviting professional painters to paint your home office is a luxury, but it's not too hard to paint a small space yourself—and it will save you a good chunk of change.
Use What You Have
Think about whether you move furniture or accessories from one part of the house to your new home office. If you don't have to buy some pieces, you'll save a lot of money. Is there a comfortable chair in the guest room? Do you have some pictures tucked away in a closet that would be inspiring and decorative on the walls of your workspace? Look around to see what you can use in your new home office.
Construct DIY Office Furniture
A desk is essential for a home office, but you don't have to shell out big bucks for a piece of heavy furniture. You can DIY a simple desk by placing two filing cabinets in your office space and laying a board across them. Sand the edges, and paint it your favorite color for an inexpensive desk with plenty of storage capacity.
Think of other ways you can use inexpensive materials to create shelves, filing systems, and in-and-out boxes. Use a decorative flowerpot to hold pencils and scissors. Buy several multi-level shoe shelves to put on top of the desk to hold a printer, some paper, or books.
Shop Around for Cheap Bargains
You'd be amazed by what you can find at garage sales, flea markets, consignment shops, and thrift stores—not to mention online options such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. It seems that people are always getting rid of bookshelves and desks, and you might find just what you need. Even if you have a small space, you can find a stylish small desk to match it.
Clean off the pieces, sand them down, and paint all of the items the same color. It will look as though you bought them to match. If you don't want any hand-me-downs, keep your eye open for furniture sales or check web sources.
Accept Used Furniture
Visit professional offices to see if they are renovating. Quality hotels redecorate guest rooms every four or five years. Maybe you could buy a used desk or chair there. Does your own company have any extra furniture that's not being used, since people are working at home?
Also, look for a used furniture store or a furniture rental store. They often have pieces they're willing to sell. Be ready to do some fixing when you take the pieces home. Check to see if your community has a store that sells used office furniture exclusively.
When you go shopping for furniture, be sure to take your measurements with you. It would be a shame to get a great price on a great desk, only to find that it doesn't fit in your space.
Buy New Decor at Bargain Prices
Discount stores, home centers, furniture outlets, lighting showrooms, and home decorating centers offer an amazing assortment of items at deeply discounted prices. You might be surprised to find a beautiful desk at a great price next to factory-second towels.
Swap With Friends
Consider trading pieces of furniture with a friend. If you have a dining table that doesn't fit in your home, how about trading it for a desk that you need? Or do you have children's furniture that a neighbor can use in exchange for bookshelves? Consider swapping services for furniture, too. Offer your decorating skills in exchange for a chair. Or make some curtains for a neighbor who could build you a desk. Everyone has something of value that they can offer.